Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Nutrition: dietary requirements

Contributor(s): Molly Varga, Virginia Garner-Richardson

Principles

  • Rabbits are designed to survive on a minimalist diet based on plant fiber, ie hay and grass.
  • Fiber is the single most important component of the rabbit diet, it promotes normal peristalsis, and the act of chewing promotes an even wear of the teeth.
  • The majority of pet rabbits are overfed, mostly on concentrated dry food, with little hay, and many get little, or no exercise. Such a poor diet leads to obesity   Obesity  , chronic soft stools ('sticky bottom syndrome')   Sticky bottom syndrome  , dental disease   Dental malocclusion / overgrowth  and behavioral problems.

Print off the Owner factsheetsFeeding your rabbit    Feeding your rabbit   andGrass and hay  Grass and hay   to give to your clients.

Constituents

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Balanced diet

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers
  • Recent references fromPubMed.
  • Jenkins J R (1999)Feeding recommendations for the house rabbit. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract2(1), 143-151PubMed. Harcourt-Brown F M & Friggens M T (1999)Intestinal obstruction in rabbits by locust bean seeds. Vet Rec145(7), 203 (Letter)PubMed.
  • Kupersmith D S (1998)A practical overview of small mammal nutrition. Semin Avian Exotic Pet Med7(3), 141-147.
  • Harcourt-Brown F M (1998)Pet rabbits - some common clinical problems. Waltham Focus8, 6-13.
  • Harcourt-Brown F M (1996)Calcium deficiency, diet and dental disease in pet rabbits. Vet Rec139, 567-571PubMed.
  • Hillyer E V (1994)Pet rabbits. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract24(1), 25-65PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Harcourt-Brown F M (1999)Selective feeding in small animals - a difference between browsing and feeding. Vet PractJulypp 10 (Letter).
  • Richardson V (1999)Rabbit Nutrition.Coney Publications, Chattisham, Ipswich, Suffolk, UK.
  • Cheeke P R (1987)Rabbit Feeding and Nutrition.Academic Press, Orlando, USA.


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