Keeping Your Rabbits Weight In Check
Is your rabbit looking a little tubby? Like us, rabbits probably exercise less and get a few extra treats during the winter months and – like us – may well gain a little weight as a result.
That extra weight could put a strain on the cardiovascular system, make it tricky for your rabbit to groom itself properly and even make existing conditions, such as arthritis, worse. It can also cause lethargy, diarrhoea, splayed legs and breeding problems.
All that said, the remedy is exactly the same as it is for humans – fewer treats, more exercise.
First things first – it’s very simple to check if your rabbit has slipped into the realm of plump. Run your hand over its spine and if you can feel the bone after pressing gently your rabbit’s probably in great shape. But if you feel the bone easily it may be underweight, if you can’t feel it at all, there’s every chance it’s overweight.
You can help by cutting treats out of your pet’s diet for a while and making sure you’re not feeding it too much concentrated food, but exercise is equally important.
Tips on exercising your rabbit
- Allow it to run around supervised outdoors or indoors in a rabbit-proof space for a few hours each day.
- Provide plenty of toys and maybe some jumps or tubes to stimulate exercise – in the wild rabbits are thought to run as much as three miles each day.
- If you have a house rabbit, provide a safe area – especially if you have other pets – and play games with it. Rabbits love companionship and interaction with each other and with you.
For advice on maintaining your rabbit’s diet, do speak with your vet, who will be able to suggest a specific regime catered to your pet’s needs.