For the beloved pet, everyone always wants the best. But what is best sometimes does not seem so obvious.
In addition to a spacious hutch and at least one partner animal, keeping rabbits in a species-appropriate manner also includes proper feeding.
And here we come to the real question: Are rabbits allowed to eat meat?
In this article you will find a detailed answer!
Are rabbits carnivores?
Rabbits are vegans by nature.
They eat a purely plant-based diet and prefer hay, grasses, various vegetables and the odd piece of fruit as a little dessert.
This answers the question of whether rabbits are carnivores: No, they are not!
If you want to get rabbits or even if you already own several of these fluffy specimens, then you should read this article carefully.
Because although rabbits are not carnivores by nature, it can still happen that rabbits (involuntarily) eat meat.
How this behavior comes about and why it is so dangerous for your rabbits to eat meat is what we will now deal with in detail.
The peculiarities of digestion
The digestion of rabbits has some peculiarities compared to other animals and also to us humans, which you should be aware of.
Since rabbits are vegans by nature, the entire digestive system is designed for the utilization of plant food.
The long intestinal tract, in which the food remains for a long time, is particularly noticeable. And here we come directly to a big problem: Since the digestion of rabbits is quite slow, eating meat has a fatal effect on the whole system.
The meat lingers in the intestines for far too long, causing major problems.
Rabbits eat small portions over and over again throughout the day, resulting in a steady intake of food. This behavior is completely normal, because this is what the animals’ digestion is designed for.
However, there is one big peculiarity here: rabbits are not able to regurgitate or vomit!
This means that everything that is swallowed by the rabbits must travel once through the entire digestive system to be excreted again.
If food that is difficult to digest, such as meat, remains too long in the stomach and intestines, the animal eats less. The meat spoils during digestion. This results in the formation of toxins and gases.
These gases can quickly lead to extremely painful colic.
As a result, the rabbit refuses to eat, which makes the problem even worse. The only thing that can help here is to go to the vet! Otherwise, there is quickly acute danger to the rabbit’s life.
The consequences of incorrect feeding
Due to ignorance in the area of species-appropriate feeding of rabbits, life-threatening situations can quickly arise for the fur balls.
An intensive examination of the subject is therefore essential if you care about the health of your animals.
Here is a list of the most common feeding mistakes that you should avoid at all costs:
Many people want to do something good for their rabbits and offer them food in the form of pellets around the clock.
In itself, this basic idea is not wrong, because a 24-hour food possibility is important for the animals. Nevertheless, feeding with pellets is definitely not recommended!
This is quickly explained.
Pellets are dry food. The problem with dry food is that it swells as soon as it comes into contact with liquid. If your rabbit eats its fill of pellets, the stomach is filled.
The stomach acid or absorbed water causes the pellets to swell in the stomach. It is not uncommon for the pellets to reach three to five times their original volume after swelling.
As a result, an overload of the stomach occurs.
The rabbit stomach is overfilled, the pellets cannot be transported fast enough and the disaster takes its course: Since the stomach walls are relatively thin in rabbits, the pellets can enter quickly! Since the pellets are only transported out of the stomach after they have soaked through, the food continues to linger in the stomach despite being overloaded.
Here haste is required!
Only the veterinarian can help your animal with a stomach overload and prevent the worst – the death of the animal.
By the way: Even the pellets without grain, which are advertised as healthy, swell up! It’s best to avoid feeding pellets and other dry foods altogether and go for fresh greens and vegetables.
- human food
You have leftovers from breakfast, lunch or dinner?
Then please do not feed these leftovers to your rabbits, but use them otherwise!
It may look funny to you at first, when your rabbit is eating the breaded schnitzel like crazy, but this fun can turn into seriousness very quickly!
Two factors come together here:
Rabbits are not allowed to eat meat for the reasons mentioned above.
The spices irritate the digestive tract additionally
If you care about the health of your furry companions, it is better to avoid this kind of fun and feed your rabbits only with food that their digestive tract is designed for.
- feeding time
Ideally, your rabbits should have food available to them around the clock.
However, if you prefer to introduce fixed feeding times, these times should be well considered. If you only feed in the mornings and evenings, your rabbits will pounce on the food with empty stomachs and gobble it all down until they are literally on the verge of bursting.
To prevent these feeding episodes, it’s a good idea to offer smaller portions several times a day or switch to 24-hour feeding after all.
No matter what you decide, know this: Hay is essential and should be available for your rabbits to nibble on 24 hours a day no matter what. Nibbling on hay not only keeps your rabbits busy and fills their stomachs a bit, but it also helps them rub down their teeth, which by nature never stop growing.
In addition, the animals like to build a cozy nest with the help of the hay, in which they feel really comfortable.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
I take great pride in being the best possible author and giving you the knowledge that i have on all different types of animals!
I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
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