Rabbits make great pets but like cats and dogs, they too need veterinary attention and care from time to time. At Callbeck Animal Hospital we recommend routine annual veterinary examinations to ensure your rabbit is in optimal health. It is also a good idea to discuss your pet rabbit’s diet and the husbandry care with your veterinarian as these factors greatly impact your rabbit’s overall health.
Understanding Your Rabbits Needs
1. Rabbits have a unique digestive system:
To extract as much goodness as possible from food, rabbits perform a digestive process called ‘caecotrophy’. Food is passed through the gut and special droppings called caecotrophs are produced. Rabbits eat these caecotrophs, allowing the food to be re-ingested.
2. Rabbits dietary requirements:
Hay: A good source of fiber and very important in a rabbits diet! In fact, the bulk of your rabbits diet should be hay; it helps protect the intestines and prevents fur chewing, hairballs and overgrowth of normal bacteria in the intestines.
Pellets: Not essential in the diet but if you decide to feed pellets make sure they are high quality pellets. Be careful not to overfeed because too many pellets can cause obesity.
Vegetables: Provide nutrients and water. Be sure to wash before feeding!
Fruit: The best treats to feed rabbits! They should be fed in small quantities and only as treats! Ex. Apples, peaches, and pineapple.
3. Rabbits have continuously growing teeth:
A rabbit’s incisors grow at a rate of 3mm per week! Grass and hay are abrasive and help to wear the teeth down, thus a very important component of your rabbits diet. Your vet will examine your rabbits teeth at each checkup.
4. Rabbits are highly social:
Rabbits do well in pairs/groups as long as you introduce them gradually to each other.
5. Rabbits are athletic:
Rabbits have long, powerful hind legs and do require regular exercise!
6. Rabbits are subtle communicators:
You should regularly examine your rabbit for signs of illness or pain. Be sure to check your rabbits nails because, just like cats and dogs, they need to be trimmed too! If you notice your rabbit is eating less or not eating at all you should contact the clinic immediately.
If you require further information or would like to book your rabbits health check, please contact us at Callbeck Animal Hospital.