Is your rabbit overweight? This can lead to many health issues, including joint issues. There are things that you can do to help keep your rabbit fit and healthy. By feeding a proper diet and allowing them plenty of time and space to exercise will ensure that they live a long and happy life.
How to Help My Rabbit Lose weight?
While diet and exercise play an important role in helping your rabbit stay healthy, these are 5 things that you can do to help your rabbit lose weight.
Decrease the number of pellets that you are feeding your rabbit. Pellets are very tasty but can also make your rabbit overweight. Pellets are very high in carbs, which, if you are feeding too much of, can quickly cause your rabbit to gain weight.
A good rule to follow is to feed 1/4th cup of pellets per 5 pounds of body weight each day to your rabbit. If this still is causing your rabbit to be overweight or if your rabbit needs to lose weight, consider decreasing the number of pellets that you are feeding by 25%.
Exercise is one of the best ways that you can help your rabbit lose weight. Taking your rabbit out of their cage and giving them supervised time running in the house or giving them a large exercise pen to play in for a few hours will help them lose weight.
If your rabbit is not motivated to run around, try hiding lean treats of pellets in different parts of the room for them to run around and find. This offers not only physical exercise but also mental stimulation.
Feed More Greens
Vegetables are very good for your rabbit. These also are low in fat and will help your rabbit feel full without adding more weight. Your rabbit should be offered greens every day. By increasing the amount that you are giving them and decreasing their pellet intake, you will help your rabbit quickly lose weight.
Your bunny does not need to eat too many greens each day, as they do contain a lot of water and can give some rabbits diarrhea. Also, greens such as parsley, kale, and spinach can be high in calcium and cause your rabbit to develop sediment in their bladder.
Hold Off on the Treats
While all bunnies love treats, these treats contain a lot of unwanted calories and sugar. Fruit and some vegetables such as carrots should only be given as an occasional treat. Many treats that you purchase at the pet store also contain a lot of carbs and sugars to help entice your bunny to eat them. If your rabbit needs to lose weight, it is best not to give them any sugary treats.
Offer More Hay
Hay is high in fiber and can help your rabbit feel full without all of the added calories. Since you are cutting back on pellets, adding more hay will not only help your rabbit feel full but will also wear down their constantly growing teeth.
When starting on a weight loss plan, it is best for your rabbit to lose weight slowly. Do not starve your rabbit to make them lose weight. This can lead to many other health issues. It can take 6 to 8 weeks for your rabbit to start to show signs of them losing weight.
Why Should My Rabbit Lose Weight?
While a chubby rabbit may be cute, there are many health issues that you can see in rabbits from being overweight. These are a few common health issues that are seen in overweight rabbits.
- Joint Disease: If your rabbit is overweight, they can have issues with their joints. This extra weight on their joints can lead to arthritis forming earlier in their life. Arthritis can be very painful in older rabbits. Also, they have extra weight on their feet, leading to pododermatitis or an infection on their feet from putting too much weight on their feet.
- Heart Disease: Just like with people, being overweight can lead to other organs not functioning Heart issues are seen more commonly in overweight rabbits.
- Liver Disease: Your rabbit’s liver must break down and store this fat. If they are overweight, they can develop a condition called fatty liver, where their body cannot store fat anywhere other than the liver. This will cause the liver not to function correctly, leading to more health issues.
- Unkempt appearance: Rabbits who are overweight cannot properly clean themselves because they cannot reach certain Their hind end may get fecal material or urine scald on their fur. This can lead to a skin infection or other issues from your rabbit not being able to keep themselves clean.
If you notice any health issues with your rabbit, it would be best for your vet to check them out to make sure that their obesity has not caused any health issues. Many times, with weight loss, you will notice that some of these health issues improve on their own, while other times, these health issues are permanent once they have started in your rabbit.
How to Know if My rabbit Is Overweight?
If you are asking this question, most likely, your rabbit is overweight. Many times, you can feel the excessive fat over their ribs. This is one of the main places that the fat will accumulate on their body. Also, if you are noticing that you have to clean your rabbit’s hind end more often, they are overweight and cannot clean themselves. If in doubt, your vet can check your rabbit and let you know if they are overweight. They can also give you helpful tips on how to get your rabbit to lose weight.
By keeping your rabbit fit and healthy, they will live a longer and happier life. The proper diet and adequate exercise will allow your rabbit to be able to stay fit and trim. Following these few tips on how to help your rabbit lose weight can quickly get your bunny back on track for living a healthy life.
Sara Ochoa, DVM is a small and exotic animal vet. She also writes for http://petcomments.com/. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and quilting.