If you have concerns about your rabbits weight, you’ve come to right place. This article aims to address some of the areas of your rabbits life that can make a difference to its weight. Whether your rabbit is overweight, or if you’re looking to take preemptive steps this post will be of help to you.
Rabbit Weight loss tips for Overweight Rabbits
Below we have listed the best rabbit weight loss tips for overweight rabbits that will be sure to help you out.
Understand the complications overweight rabbits can face
Obesity, or being overweight puts a great strain on the health of your rabbit. Just like humans, other complications can arise with rabbits when strain is put on their organs due to weight issues. This could make your rabbit susceptible to heart or kidney disease. Other problems can include chronic diarrhoea, heat stress and arthritis later in life. Reproductive issues can also occur due to being overweight, leading to difficulty in the act of breeding and birthing.
FAs weight recommendations can vary across rabbit breeds, it’s difficult to give any specific guidance for your rabbits healthy weight. After all, we’re by no means experts in rabbit health, and if you’re reading this article we’re assuming you aren’t either. With this in mind before making any assumptions towards your rabbits weight, or adjusting its diet it’s important you seek advice from your vet.
Look for the signs your rabbit is overweight
This may seem obvious, but identifying the common traits for overweight rabbits can be your call to action. If your rabbit has huge rolls of fat, a double chin and can no longer see its own feet, this may be all the evidence you need.
Rabbit Shape is another key indicator of whether your rabbit is a healthy weight or not. We found a guideline chart shown below courtesy of dunsterhouse, which is a great indicator of healthy and unhealthy rabbits you can access here.
1. Hip bones, ribs and spine easily felt but are rounded, rather than sharp.
2. No bulge in the abdominal area
3. Flat rump area
Measure your rabbits weight
If you’ve found that your rabbit is overweight, it’s important to capture its current weight. This provides you with a baseline, allowing the success of future techniques to be measured. This way, if you’ve made a change to your rabbits diet and you can see whether any weight has been lost.
If you find your rabbit hops right off after you put them on the scales fear not. Rather than weighing the rabbit, you can weigh yourself and write down the number. Next weigh yourself whilst holding your rabbit, afterwards write the new weight down.
To find the weight of your rabbit, minus the weight you recorded when standing alone on the scales from the weight you recorded when standing on the scales holding your rabbit.
After you have gathered your rabbits initial weight, it is important to continue to weigh your rabbit in order to monitor its progression. Please note that your rabbits’ weight may fluctuate, this is unavoidable as rabbits are free to graze and leave their droppings whenever they please. However, for maximum consistency measure your rabbits weight at the same time of day.
We recommend taking your rabbits weight at-least twice a week at the same time of day. Find the average weight for the week and recording it. This way you can track your rabbits average weight for week.
Consider your rabbits’ diet
If your rabbit is overweight, the first place to examine would be its’ diet. Rabbits should have an unlimited amount of timothy hay, and a good supply of fresh grass. As an owner you must be conscious of what you feed to your rabbit. If you’re rabbit is overweight you need to consider whether you’re feeding your rabbit too many pellets or treats.
As mentioned in our best healthy rabbit food article, pellets should not be the main source of food for your rabbit. Keep in mind that your rabbit only needs a 1/4 cup of pellets per 5 pounds of body weight each day.
It’s always fun to give your rabbit a treat, after all they often deserve one after a long day of being cute and fluffy. However, treats need to be given in real moderation. If you’re currently buying rabbit treats in a packet, we recommend ditching them. Treats for rabbits bought in store often contain high levels of sugar and starch which can contribute to weight gain.
Give them a natural treat such as fruit. Again, this must be done in moderation due to high sugar content in fruit. We recommend a teaspoon of fruit per 2 pounds of bodyweight. Fresh fruits that your rabbit might enjoy include pears, kiwi and mango. We advise staying away from dried fruits as these contain higher sugar levels than fresh fruit.
You could also opt for a vegetable based snack, which has lower sugar levels than fruit. Snacks such as carrot leafs or broccoli are often considered tasty by rabbits. However, we recommend staying away from feeding them lettuce, due to high water content and little nutritional value.
Evaluate your rabbits exercise
Just like humans, rabbits need a fair amount of exercise to remain healthy. Your rabbits level of exercised will vary depending on how much time your rabbit spends cooped up in a hutch.
It’s important that your rabbit gets at-least a few hours a day of good exercise a day, this could mean having the run of your house if it’s been rabbit proofed. If not you could look at alternatives, such as buying a rabbit run. Placing your rabbit run outdoors would also allow your rabbit to graze on the grass.
Be sure to provide your rabbit with plenty of toys. This will encourage playful behaviour and prevent your bun from getting bored in the rabbit run.
Obesity in rabbits is a serious problem, but one that needs to be approached with caution. Rabbits have complex digestive systems so any changes to their diet need to be made carefully.
If you decide to alter your rabbits diet, you need to make sure this is done very moderately. Whether your adding something or removing something from your rabbits diet do so very gradually with a transition period across a number of weeks.
Another consideration is that neutered rabbits, can often face a slowed metabolism potentially causing it to gain weight more easily. If you find this is the case for your rabbit you will need to make adjustments accordingly.
Always be sure to seek advice from a qualified professional if you have health concerns for your rabbit.