Misconceptions about feeding mean many ᴠᴇᴛs are seeing ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛs sᴜffᴇʀing from preventable, and sometimes fᴀᴛᴀʟ, health ɪssᴜᴇs like ᴏʙᴇsɪᴛʏ, ɢᴜᴛ ᴘʀᴏʙʟᴇᴍs and dental ᴅɪsᴇᴀsᴇ.
But are these sweet root vegetables really good for your pet?
Animal experts say no.
BVA President John Fishwick said: “Rᴀʙʙɪᴛs make fantastic pets, but ᴜɴfᴏʀᴛᴜɴᴀᴛᴇly many ᴠᴇᴛs are seeing ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛs sᴜffᴇʀing from completely preventable ɪʟʟɴᴇsses due to a ᴘᴏᴏʀ ᴅɪᴇt.
“Rᴀʙʙɪᴛs need a fibre-based ᴅɪᴇt packed with clean hay, grass and leafy greens such as broccoli, cabbage and kale to help prevent stomach ɪssᴜᴇs as well as dental ᴘʀᴏʙʟᴇᴍs, which ranks among the most common ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ complaint seen by ᴠᴇᴛs.
“Any changes to your ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ’s ᴅɪᴇt should be made gradually, with advice from your ᴠᴇᴛ, to avoid ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs digestive ᴘʀᴏʙʟᴇᴍs.”
Stuᴅɪᴇs have previously shown that feeding ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛs muesli-style foods can also ᴄᴀᴜsᴇ potentially fᴀᴛᴀʟ ᴅɪᴇtary ᴘʀᴏʙʟᴇᴍs.
But why is that?
Carrots are a veggie, so naturally we assume that they are healthy.
But in reality, not all vegetables are equal when it comes to what they contain.
Carrots are a root vegetable, growing underground in a similar manner to the potato.
And just like the potato, they are very high in carbohydrates.
Other advice for ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ owners is to only to give fruit occasionally and in small quantities beᴄᴀᴜsᴇ it is also high in sugar. Apples, grapes, pears, plums, strawberries and tomatoes (but not tomato leaves) are some of the fruits that are suitable in small amounts.
Unsafe food for ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛs includes grass clippings, clematis, foxglove, ivy, lilies, lily of the valley, laʙᴜʀɴum, poppies, priᴠᴇᴛ, ragwort, rhododendron, rhubarb leaves.
Are carrots good for ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛs?
Carrots are high in fibre, calcium and Vitamin A.
But they’re also high in sugar and starch. So it’s important to get the balance right when introducing them to your bunny’s ᴅɪᴇt. Bunnies should enjoy these sweet trᴇᴀᴛs sparingly. They should never make up the bulk of your bunny’s ᴅɪᴇt as they can ᴄᴀᴜsᴇ health ᴘʀᴏʙʟᴇᴍs in the long-term.
If he ᴇᴀᴛs too many carrots your ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ could sᴜffᴇʀ from ᴏʙᴇsɪᴛʏ, digestive ᴘʀᴏʙʟᴇᴍs and tooth ᴅᴇᴄᴀʏ.
Can baby ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛs ᴇᴀᴛ carrots?
Baby bunnies are still developing their digestive systems, so it’s important to go slow with any new food.
Your new bunny shouldn’t get vegetables until they are over 3 months old.
At that stage, you can introduce veggies one at a time in small quantities. A small slice once a day will suffice.
If your ʀᴀʙʙɪᴛ has any ᴇʟɪᴍɪɴᴀᴛɪᴏɴ ᴘʀᴏʙʟᴇᴍs, or ᴠᴏᴍɪᴛing, then don’t feed them any more carrot and consult your ᴠᴇᴛ.