A rabbit’s diet is what gives it the energy to hop, dig, and run around their play area. Without a proper diet, rabbits run the risk of developing gastrointestinal issues, obesity, or heart disease. To make sure your pet is getting the right amount of nutrients in their diet, you will need to make sure they have variety, which includes the correct type of dry food, or pellet. So, what is the best pellet for a rabbit?
The best kind of pellet is a solid, uniform pellet. It should not contain a mix of dried or processed ingredients. The more boring your pellet looks, the more nutritionally sound it probably is. While pellets should not be the main source of food, the best pellet would consist of mostly dried grass and take on that color.
I will be discussing the types of dry rabbit food that is available, and out of those which is the best type of pellet to feed your rabbit. Since there are so many different brands, I will be highlighting some of the most-trusted brands and which specific products are recommended.
How to choose your pellet based on nutritional composition as well as physical appearance is also a topic of importance that will be covered. On top of this, I will dive into the pellet’s nutritional relationship to a rabbit’s health and how they should be incorporated into a rabbit’s diet.
What is the Best Pellet Food for Rabbits? There Are Generally Two Types of Pellets for Rabbits. One is a Plain Pellet Made Mostly from Some Type of Grass or Alfalfa Hay, and the Other is a Mix of Ingredients Like Dried Fruits, Nuts, and Seeds with a Few Pellets Thrown in the Mix. It is Wise to Steer Clear of the Mix, as This Does Not Offer the Nutritional Benefits of the Formula with Only Pellets. Rabbits Generally Need the Higher Fiber Formula Provided by Plain Pellets.
A dry food mix for rabbits will often times look similar to a cereal for humans. The ingredients in this type of food are usually processed or dried. This makes it appear as though it is healthier since the dried ingredients usually contain fruits and vegetables. This will confuse owners because they associate fruits and vegetables with health in their own lives.
The reason these mixes are not the healthier option for rabbits is because rabbits may pick and choose the pieces that they want to eat based off of what they find visually appealing. As a result, they miss out on vital nutrients and fiber in the pieces with a concentration of hay.
Many owners would also prefer to skip the artificial colorings and flavorings as a precaution.
Pellets are all the same little dried grass hay pellets. This does not give them an option to leave out the vital pieces.
While it is important to look for uniform, plain, pellets rather than the mix, there are still pellets that are not the healthiest for your pet. This is why reading labels and learning what the nutritional composition of the pellet should be is vital.
How Should You Choose Your Pellet to Find the Best for Your Rabbit’s Health? So, You Eliminated the Mixture of Dried, Processed Food from Your List of Available Options, So You Should be Good, Right? Unfortunately, that is Not the Case. Not All Plain Pellets Are Made of All-Natural Ingredients. Some Contain Additives or an Inadequate Amount of Fiber. This is Why You Must Pay Close Attention to the Label to Choose the Best Pellet.
While it is the most common case for pellets to be made from grass hay, sometimes some further investigation needs to be done on the pellets you are interested in as a pet owner. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misleading advertising by pet food brands.
If a pellet has a strong color, that is a bad sign. A red colored pellet, or a green colored pellet usually does not mean the pellet has a strong concentration of vegetables, contrary to the label claiming, “all-natural ingredients.”
When purchasing a pellet, it is usually best to go for a very bland colored pellet. Bright colors are not something you should take a gamble with.
More important than the appearance though, is the nutritional content on the label. Adult rabbits should have at minimum 19-20% dietary fiber so they can digest with ease.
If a rabbit is under the age of six months, their protein content should be at least 19% in order for them to develop their adult bodies.
If you are caring for an elderly rabbit, you may want to look for a pellet made from alfalfa hay as this has a higher amount of fat and protein.
Which Brands of Pellets are the Best? This is a Question That Could Depend on a Matter of Opinion, and Ultimately Fall on Your Rabbit’s Preferences. When it Comes to Best Brands as a General Rule of Thumb, it is the Best for an Adult Rabbit’s Health to Purchase Something Made from Grass Hay Which is Also Low in Sugar and Starch.
Some of the most popular rabbit brands that fit into this category…
- One of the most popular rabbit food brands
- Range of products
- Offers products for different age groups
- Range of products for exotic pets
- Considered one of the most trusted rabbit food brands in the world
3. American Diner:
- American made
- Available in pellets as well as mixed
- Variety of food for rabbits, guinea pigs, tortoises
Some of the best foods for adult rabbits…
1. Oxbow Animal Health Bunny Basics Essentials
- One of the most complete nutritional profiles among dried foods
- Blend of ingredients that provides vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy fats, and calcium an adult rabbit needs every day.
- Main ingredients are Timothy hay and wheat
- Vitamin blend includes Vitamins A, D, E, and B. These are beneficial for a rabbit’s fur, skin, nails, and eyes.
2. Kaytee Supreme Food for Rabbit
- The most widely used rabbit food in the world.
- Sourced from a blend of grains and seeds
- Contains oat hay as the main ingredient with traces of alfalfa
- Healthy vitamin blend
- Rosemary, Vitamins; A, E, B12, Niacin, Folic Acid and others
Some of the best foods for young rabbits…
1. Oxwood Animal Health Bunny Basics Young Rabbit Formula
- Alfalfa content perfect for a growing bunny
- Enough protein and calories provided to sustain nutritional requirements for growing bodies
- Healthy blend of carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins
- Gentle enough formula for young rabbits
- Fresh aroma and soft feel
2. Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Food for Juvenile Rabbits
- Specifically designed for growing rabbits
- Alfalfa, ground oats, ground wheat, oat hulls, and flax seed provide necessary fiber and Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids; helps rabbits develop a healthy coat
Even After Finding the Best Pellet, what is a Pellet’s Nutritional Relationship to a Rabbit? While Finding the Correct Pellet is Important, Pellets Should Still Not Make Up a Rabbit’s Entire Diet. A Pellet Which is Derived from Grass Hay, and Free from an Abundance of Artificial Ingredients is a Great Start, However, Rabbits Still Need Many Other Things in Their Diet.
While pellets can be an important part of a rabbit’s diet, they are not the most important. They need to be given sparingly. Too many pellets can actually cause obesity or gastrointestinal issues in rabbits.
Pellets were originally designed for rabbits who were being bred for meat. This is because pellets can cause rabbits to gain weight at a drastic rate. When rabbits are being fed a diet similar to their diet in the wild, they hold a much healthier weight than a diet heavy in pellets.
Growing rabbits, or young rabbits, can eat unlimited pellets. Since the goal is to gain a dense amount of nutrients as well as growth, pellets are appropriate in this case.
Rabbits are actually able to survive on a pellet-free diet. It takes much more attention to detail, work, and supplementation; however, it is very possible. A small amount of pellets helps supplement those few nutrients.
How Should Pellets be in a Rabbit’s Diet for the Best Health Possible? In Order for Your Rabbit to be as Healthy as Possible, You Should Have Only a Small Amount of Pellets in Their Every Day Diets. A Rabbit’s Diet Should be As Close to Their Natural Diet as Possible. In the Wild, Rabbits Would Not be Eating large Amounts of Pellets, Therefore They Should Not be As a Pet.
In order for your rabbit to not be at-risk of obesity or other health problems, it is important to ration their supply of pellets. If you do not ration the pellets for your pet, they will overeat the pellets and gain an unhealthy, and possibly dangerous amount of weight.
A healthy portion of pellets to feed your pet rabbit is ¼ to ½ of a cup daily for a 5-7 pound adult rabbit.
If your rabbit already happens to be overweight, their pellets should be restricted even further. This should be combined with an increase in exercise.
If your rabbit is sick and needs to gain weight or is young and still growing, pellets should not be restricted. These situations call for alfalfa-based pellets.
Along with restricting the use of pellets, you should give your rabbit an ample amount of hay. Hay should be the largest part of your pet’s diet. This is very important for proper digestion, as well as wearing down teeth. Without enough hay your pet may face gastrointestinal stasis and tooth spurs, both of which can be extremely harmful, even deadly.
On top of the large amounts of hay, rabbits need plenty of leafy green vegetables. Sweet vegetables like carrots are not a good food to be feeding your rabbits daily, contrary to stereotypes about rabbits.
Carrots as a whole should only be used as a treat.
This same rule of thumb goes with foods like apples, nuts, and seeds.
The leafy part of a carrot is good for a rabbit to get necessary nutrients from, so is basil, clover, and Chinese cabbage.
Although Pellets Should be Used Sparingly, they can be A Very Important Part of a Rabbit’s Diet When the Best Possible Option is Provided. While a Larger Focus Should be Put on Supplying Plenty of Fresh Grass Hay for the Rabbits, As Well As Plenty of Leafy Greens, Pellets can be Helpful for Supplementing Some of those Nutrients Not Found in Hay.
Hay is definitely the most important resource to have available to your furry friend. Without hay, your rabbit has no way to wear their teeth down all day. Also, the risk of not getting enough fiber becomes present and that can cause serious gastrointestinal distress.
After hay, you must supply some type of leafy greens to ensure your pet is getting some fresh, organic nutrients.
When choosing a type of pellet, it is vital to choose the right type. There are two types; a mix, and a compressed, uniform pellet. Always choose the compressed, uniform pellet. The mix is full of additives, sugars, and starches that are not only not going to help your pet, but they can cause health issues for them.
You are not off the hook once you have chosen the compressed pellet. Since compressed pellets can sometimes have dyes and be lacking in fiber, it is important to make sure you read the label each time you purchase a different food for your pet.
There are many different brands and products to choose from. Some brands are more trusted than others and have a reputation for using healthier ingredients than others. With proper research you can find the brand that will work for you.
The process of choosing a pellet that is the best for your rabbit can seem like a daunting task, but with the right care and attention to detail, you can find the right balance for their diet.