It is a very good question to ask. Is my pet rabbit fat? The quick answer is If you cannot find your rabbit’s ribs underneath their skin, then they are most likely overweight. If you are concerned about obesity in your rabbit, you should have them checked by a veterinarian through a physical exam. Ways to avoid or cut down on weight include reducing treats or snacks and adding more exercise to your rabbit’s diet.
How Can You Tell if Your Rabbit is Fat or Obese?
Well, there is a Chart to Determine Your Rabbit’s Health When It Comes to Their Weight. By Feeling Their Ribs, Spine, and Hips it is Possible to Gain a Pretty Fair Understanding of Their Health. Their Activity Level Can Also be Monitored in Order to Determine Their Health Because of Their Level of Mobility. If They are Extremely Overweight, They May Struggle to Move Due to the Extra Padding. If They are Extremely Underweight, They May Struggle to Move Due to the Lack of Energy and Support.
This Chart Provides a More In-Depth Explanation of Each Body Type and the Identifying Factors:
- The spine, ribs, and hip bones feel sharp and prominent, with no padding.
- Loss of fat and muscle means limbs feel thin and bony so the ability to move may be compromised.
- Depressions around the pelvis and spine.
- Spine, ribs, and hip bones are easy to feel.
- Little fat and some loss of muscle.
- A smooth curve from neck to tail and hip to hip.
- Spine, ribs, and bones are easy to feel but are rounded and not sharp. They feel like they are covered in a thick cloth.
- Some rabbits, particularly females, may have a roll of fur under the chin (called a dewlap), this should just feel like a fold of skin when gently pinched.
- You need to apply more pressure to feel the ribs, spine, and hip bones.
- Your bunny generally feels round and well-padded.
- Females may have a large dewlap that feels like a roll when pinched.
- Impossible to feel the ribs. The spine and hip bones are also tough to feel.
- Rolls of fat around the ankles, tail, and neck.
- Saggy tummy
- Difficulty moving about freely.
What Else Should You Know About Weight in Rabbits?
- The dangers of obesity are often underestimated by pet owners. Too much fat on a rabbit’s body can put stress on their liver as well as their joints.
- Domestic rabbits are at a higher risk for becoming obese than rabbits who live in the wild due to being fed the wrong foods and having less space to exercise.
- Other conditions may mimic obesity in rabbits such as pregnancy, a tumor mass, or fluid in the abdominal cavity.
- Rabbits prone to obesity typically tend to be more than 20-40% overweight.
- Dwarf rabbits are more at-risk for being overweight or obese due to their short stature and inactivity.
- When dealing with an overweight rabbit, high-quality grass hay and fresh greens such as lettuce, parsley, and carrot tops are what the diet should consist mostly of. Pellets should be reduced to a minimum, and snacks like yogurt drops, fruits, and other non-leafy vegetables should as well.
How Much Should a Rabbit Weigh if they are not Considered Fat?
Since There are so Many Different Kinds of Rabbits, Each Kind Has a Different Range in Which They are Considered Healthy. Not Only are Some Breeds Larger than Others by Nature, Females are Also Naturally Larger than Males. This Weight Chart Shows the Average Minimum and Maximum Weight for Each Breed in Order for them to be Considered a Healthy Weight. The Basic Categories are; Dwarfs, Small, Medium, Large, and Giant. Each of these Categories Differs Greatly in Weight, and the Specific Rabbits in Each Group Will Differ Some as Well:
|What Kind of Rabbit?||Ideal Weight Range? (lbs.)|
|Angora, French||7 ½-10 ½|
|Angora, Giant||8 ½ and up|
|Angora, Satin||6-9 ½|
|Belgian Hare||6-9 ½|
|Britannia Petite||2 ¼ -2 ½|
|Checkered Giant||11 and up|
|Cinnamon||8 ½ -11|
|Crème d’Argent||8 ½ -11|
|Dutch||3 ½ -5 ½|
|Dwarf Hotot||2 ¼ -3 ¼|
|Flemish Giant||13 and up|
|Harlequin||6 ½- 9 ½|
|Havana||4 ½- 6 ½|
|Himalayan||2 ½ -4 ½|
|Jersey Wooly||3- 3 ½|
|Lop, English||9 and up|
|Lop, French||10 and up|
|Lop, American Fuzzy||3-4|
|Lop, Mini||4 ½ -6|
|Netherland Dwarf||2-2 ½|
|Polish||2 ½ – 3 ½|
|Rex, Standard||7 ½ – 10 ½|
|Rex, Mini||3- 4 ½|
|Rhinelander||6 ½ -10|
|Satin||8 ½ – 11|
|Silver Marten||6- 9 ½|
What Are Some Symptoms to Look out for in a Rabbit Who May be Fat or Obese?
Typically Rabbits Who Are Obese Will Have Skin Issues, Issues Breathing, and Will be Very Lethargic. If You Notice Your Rabbit Has Flaky Skin Around the Areas Where Their Skin Folds, This May be a Sign of Obesity. Due to the Inability to Clean Under Extra Fat and Skin, Irritation May Occur. Also, If You Notice Your Rabbit is Very Tired Without Much Motivation to Play or Move, You May Want to Check Them Over for Signs of Obesity. This Same Rule Applies If You Notice Your Rabbit Breathing Heavily or Having Difficulty Breathing.
Being overweight or obese is not good on a rabbit’s body, this is common knowledge. There are signs happening in your rabbit which will show you exactly what is going on which you can look out for. If your rabbit is breathing heavily from just remaining stationary, this is probably a sign they are overweight, and measures should be taken to reduce their weight.
A condition in which flaky, dry skin may develop around skin folds is not uncommon in rabbits. This condition is called dermatitis. This irritation may make it difficult for rabbits to exercise, which may worsen the issue. If your rabbit is uncomfortable due to a skin condition, they may resort to laying around and being inactive rather than playing when given the opportunity. If this occurs changes must be made immediately to the rabbit’s lifestyle.
What Solutions are Available if you Discover your Rabbit is Fat?
Luckily, Reducing the Weight in your Rabbit is not too Difficult with the Necessary Diet and Lifestyle Changes. It is Important to Provide Rabbits a Diet Low in Digestible Fiber, and High in Indigestible Fiber if Weight Loss is to be Achieved Through Diet. Along with a Healthy Diet, a Sufficient Amount of Space for Exercising Must be Provided. If Your Rabbit Only Has a Small Play Area, They May Not Have Sufficient Room to Move and May be Consuming More Food Than They are Burning Off.
If you suspect your rabbit is overweight or obese, take them to your local veterinarian right away. While it may just be excess weight being gained from lifestyle choices, sometimes weight gain may be a result of a more serious medical condition. Dangerous tumors, fluid in an abdominal cavity, or pregnancy could be causing the weight gain or mimicking the symptoms and appearance of weight gain. It is always best to have the opinion of a professional before making any major changes when dealing with the health of a pet.
While humans can eat a diet high in fiber and low in calories and lose weight this way, a rabbit’s body works a little differently. The cecal micro-organisms can digest fiber which release volatile fatty acids in a rabbit, which then can be converted to fat. For this reason, rabbits must be fed a diet low in digestible fiber and high in indigestible fiber to achieve weight loss.
Also, make sure you reduce the volume of pelleted foods when dealing with an overweight rabbit. A maximum of ¼ cup of pellets per 5 lbs. of body weight is recommended. Offer a selection of fresh, moistened greens instead. Remember to never fast rabbits, or make sudden, drastic reductions to their available food. This may cause them to be at a higher risk of liver disease. The amount of “treats,” such as bunny biscuits, fruit, and carrots should be cut down to only once per week. Rabbits should not be eating treats in excess. On a daily basis rabbits should be eating a high-quality hay, leafy greens, with a small amount of pellets.
Paired with a changed diet, a rabbit’s routine for exercise must be looked at as well. Is your rabbit being allowed out of its cage for exercise enough? If so, is there enough space being provided to your pet? These are important factors to look at. A rabbit lives in a cage in many houses, so it is important the animal be able to come out and run that energy off. In its natural habitat a rabbit is able to have plenty of space to run, hop, and exercise, however, when a rabbit is domesticated this space is cut down dramatically. Rabbits are confined to unnaturally small spaces when they are placed in cages which is why it is important to let them out for plenty of time to exercise.
Once these factors are taken care of, it is time to start looking at smaller factors. One quality of your home you should look at if you have a rabbit who is fat is the material of your flooring. Do you have soft, clean flooring? If your rabbit is suffering from sore hocks, which are infections on their rear limbs, they may not have a desire to exercise as much as they should. These can be prevented through having the proper flooring.
Next, look at your rabbit’s level of grooming. Not being taken care of in this area may lessen the desire to engage in physical activity out of a lack of comfortability. Check to make sure the rabbit’s bottom is clean, dry and free of fecal matter. Once this is taken care of, make sure your rabbit does not have any matted hair. Matted hair makes it difficult for a rabbit to move freely. Treat dermatitis if present as this condition is uncomfortable for a rabbit as well.
When a rabbit becomes fat or obese it can take a major toll on their health. There are signs in their physical appearance to pay attention to, as well as behavioral signs. Knowing what the body composition of a healthy rabbit looks like is vital to keeping your rabbit in the best health possible. It is also helpful to know what the healthy weight range of your rabbit is since all rabbit breeds differ in their healthy range of weight. Some rabbits can vary as much as 10 pounds from another breed! Knowing an overweight rabbit may seem tired, out of breath, and show a rash are important to stopping an issue before it gets out of control.
If your pet does happen to put on weight, losing the weight does not need to be extremely difficult. Through switching out some of the pellets being fed with fresh greens, a more balanced diet is able to be created. Also, knowing that switching to a diet high in indigestible fiber, and low in digestible fiber will result in weight loss in rabbits is essential. Once you have fixed the diet of your rabbit, understanding how to maximize space and create an environment suitable for your rabbit’s exercise needs is important.
While diet and exercise are important aspects to consider when trying to get your rabbit on the right track to becoming a healthy weight, knowing what other factors to look out for are important as well. Keeping an eye on their level of grooming is essential. If a rabbit is not comfortable, they may not have a desire to do the things they need to do to be healthy. Through special care and consideration, you can get your rabbit on the right track to a healthy weight.