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Rabbit Obesity a Growing Trend

In our culture today most of us are struggling with our weight.  Since our pets live so close to us it is no wonder they are experiencing the same problems.  For the past several years dog and cat obesity has been widely recognized.  

The online newspaper Adelaide Now recently featured a vet in Australia that is trying to bring public attention to the issue of rabbit obesity.  And she has some unique solutions she's using in her practice!

The story from Adelaide Now:

"OVERFED rabbits are joining the ranks of the nation's obese pets and some are taking part in animal weight-loss programs to help shed excess fat.

Adelaide Animal Hospital veterinarian Dr David Mason said owners who feed their rabbits too many pellets and not enough grass and hay were mainly to blame. "Dogs and cats are still your main problem, but we're seeing rabbits and guinea pigs in the same boat," he said.

At the Glenside Veterinary Clinic, owners whose rabbits are carrying too much weight are given a new target for their pet to reach at weigh-ins and take part in a consultations about diet and exercise.

"If they've reached that target in a set period of time the owner gets their next vet visit for free," Dr Pin Needham, from the clinic, said.

Glenelg Veterinary Clinic veterinarian Dr Rebecca Nathan said there was no ideal weight range for rabbits because breed sizes, from small dwarf varieties to bigger types, such as New Zealand giant rabbits such as Patrick, pictured, varied dramatically.

"If they've got rolls around their neck and under their belly that's when you know you've got problems," Dr Nathan said."


How about your buns?  Are your buns overweight, just right, or underweight?  How much pellet do you feed vs hay?  Leave your comments below!

  1. Angie Breeden Angie Breeden

    My Dot and Charlie get unlimited timothy hay, all kinds of greens 3 times a day (kale, wheatgrass, a fresh herb salad (I checked all the herbs and they are okay in this mix), dandelion greens,etc.  They do get pellets because my larger bun Charlie loses weight if he doesn't have them.  I offer them to Dot but she eats very little and maintains a good weight.  Don't change anything too fast though…wean them off.  My little Dot got bloat from a quick change in the diet.  (Honestly I think she was eating too little fiber and too much fancy mix from the petstore)  It was a costly lesson $700 at the vet and she almost didn't make it.  She is doing much bettter now 🙂

  2. Christina Christina

    We don't give pellets here either and all 4 buns do great on good hay (almost all grass, but I do look for a tiny bit of clover mixed in so they don't miss anyting from a lack of pellets) and a variety of organic produce.  One of my rescues was terribly overweight when I got her– like almost unrecognizable from the picture of her on petfinder!  When she came home with me though, it only took her a couple months to get down to a healthy weight eating all the hay she wanted and plenty of produce.

  3. Loni Loni

    My Lionhead gets 1/4 cup of timothy pellets in the morning, grass hay all day and about two cups of veggies at night.

  4. Loni Loni

    I forgot I only give 1/8 cup of pellets a day.

  5. Tiffany Tiffany

    Doesn’t the rabbit breed matter?

    It looks like the bun in the picture is a Continental Giant, a British breed, with a very high, if any weight limit. The biggest of the Continentals are about 40lbs…

    I have a French Lop at 13-14lbs. And a Holland at about 5lbs.

    I started a garden at the school where I teach and provide my buns with almost a limitless supply of veggies (hay and Oxbow pellets).

    My point is, depending on the breed of the big, beautiful bunny in the pic, he may not be overweight at all…

    • Courtney Courtney

      My 2 year old French lop just got weighed at the vet yesterday and I was told that he is overweight (he's almost 11 lb.). I was a little surprised by this, as I thought that French lops are a giant breed and that his weight was normal. I guess we'll try cutting down on pellets and his favorite – bananas!! – and see what happens.

  6. Lynda Lynda

    Rambo would eat pellets all day if i let him, he gets hay all day, about quarter cup pellets at nite, small pieces of fruits and vegies, he is quite active.  I think he is just perfect with a slightly rounded tum.

  7. Rachel Rachel

    Wish this was a problem Aus-wide, but it's not. Rabbits are illegal here in QLD…. it sucks 🙁

  8. Pina Pina

    Hi, the issue is not only the amount of food, also the quality, what kind of pellets are you giving???, what treats you give??? and, something very important is exercise, rabbits need to run free and jump some hours a day. And their houses need to provide enough room to move around. Also, having a companion motivate them to do more exercise when they are running free.

  9. Beverly Benson Beverly Benson

    We give our 3 Dutch bunnies 1/4 c of Timothy pellets in the a.m. and 1/4 c. at 8 p.m.  We give them plenty of Timothy hay.  At noon they get a yogurt chip, and at 3 p.m. they get their "super deluxe salad" consisting of romaine, carrots, celery, green pepper and a a few apple chunks or papaya chunks.  Sometimes they will leave some of the salad and so we cut back on occasion.  Since we cut back some on the Timothy pellets they seem more lively.  They go right for the papaya or apples first.  One time I didn't have the fruit on top and we saw all three buns digging around their salad bowls to find the apples and papayas.  Soooooo cute!

  10. Amie Amie

    I feed my new Bunny roughly 3/4 of a cup of pallets – I read that you should feed them 1oz per pound and when I adopted the beauty she was weighing in at over 6 pounds. There are always pallets left over at the end of the day. She also gets 1 cup of fresh greens, normally curly parsley – her favourite – twice a day and every second day she gets a treat of 2 tbs of fruit. She goes crazy for banana's and absolutely bonkers for apples… I think she forgets how to breathe sometimes…

  11. Soy in Oxbow timothy pellets? I thought Oxbow was the very best around these days? I give 1/8 cup of pellets to each rabbit each evening…….can someone give me more details on this. Oxbow is recommended by every Rabbit Rescue I know.

  12. Janelle Janelle

    My buns don’t get pellets since my vet told me if I want healthy (not overweight) buns then to elimiate pellets entirely, so my buns get an obscene amount of hay/grass and a variety of veggies at night or in the morning.
    At last check up the bun I got from a rabbit rescue/shelter was totally healthy while my craigs list bun was 0.25 lbs overweight so I need to give her some more exercise clearly.

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