Weber worshipping at the the feet of his dog, Dottie.

As a herbivore, your rabbit cannot enjoy the culinary variety you or your dog can. The rabbit has a delicate set of pipes inside with specialized gut flora (good bacteria) it received from its mother’s milk and that cannot be replaced once the flora dies from a poor diet. Dead flora = dead wabbit.

There are some things you just shouldn’t buy at a grocery store:

shoes

jewelry

rabbit food

The grocery store variety of rabbit food may take 6-12 months to kill your rabbit – but it will be successful. Just read the ingredients on those bags – animal protein, animal byproducts, bird seed! Most rabbit owners (like myself) come into rabbit ownership totally ignorant. A rabbit must eat or it will die… so with only barely edible things to eat, it will eat the most edible of the inedible bag-o-garbage you bring home for him.

Most expectant parents read all they can about the impending arrival of a newborn, including diet – things you can’t allow a child to try until they’re old enough (like cow’s milk or honey)… but so many don’t read up on a pet before bringing one home. Not to toot my own horn, but I had read up on rabbits a few years earlier, idly thinking one day I’d have a bun… so I was able to avoid some pitfalls, but not all.

To humans, hay looks like hay – dead grass… but the nutritional makeup of the different species of hay makes a difference in the overall health of your rabbit.

I gave my bunny unlimited hay – alfalfa for the first year of his life, and some pellets that were made of alfalfa and had dried carrots. He loved the stuff – and it was killing him. One day, he was just laying there – not moving or playing and his tummy was rumbling. I brought him to the vet the next day and she gave him an x-ray and announced he had gastric stasis. She gave me a list of appropriate diet items for him and said he should be ok in the morning. I switched to Timothy hay and Weber had a tantrum. It wasn’t as ‘yummy’ as the alfalfa and he missed it – but he was feeling a lot better…and he’s never had gastric stasis again. Alfalfa is great for the first year – but after your rabbit reaches 1 year, you need to switch to Timothy Hay – or if not available in your area, Coastal Hay.

The unlimited Timothy hay is good for his innards and healthy gut flora – and the silica in the hay helps to wear down his teeth so he doesn’t need a tooth trim.

He has limited Timothy pellets and as a treat, he gets cilantro, a wedge of Granny Smith apple and his favorite – papaya pills from OxBow Hay. I have two air-tight drums I got from PetCo – one contains his hay, one contains the pellets – so they stay fresh and so the pellets don’t get infested with larva from the confused flour beetle.

Fruits are ok, but only in moderation – too much sugar in their system feeds the bad gut flora – not good. Veggies should be clean and FRESH. If you would balk at eating it, don’t offer it to your rabbit. All veggies should be raw.