Do rabbits need supplements? With the proper diet, your pet doesn’t need supplements to meet the nutrients it needs. However, you can add them to your pet’s diet to ensure that your bunny gets enough vitamins and minerals. In this blog post, you will learn the benefits of supplements for bunnies. You will also know if a mineral salt block is suitable for your pet. Enjoy reading!

A bunny munching herbs

Do rabbits need supplements?

 

In an ideal setting, rabbits don’t need supplements. They will grow healthy and strong if you give them enough hay, leafy greens, and water. However, supplements can benefit your pet, especially if it cannot get enough nutrients due to age or condition. Bunnies may also suffer from vitamin deficiencies. Thus, the vet may recommend giving them supplements.

Unlike healthy ones, disabled rabbits also don’t eat much. You have to add supplements to their diet so they would maintain their weight after an illness or injury. Another situation where you can provide additional nutrients to your bunny is during training. Giving it supplements can prevent it from getting bored. Besides the nutrients, they also add variety to the bunny’s pallet.

We must also accept the fact that the foods we have today have limited amounts of nutrients. Since most of them are manufactured, they are losing their natural nutrients. Cheap ingredients are added to enhance the flavors. Hence, adding the right supplements is a good idea. Rabbits with dental and digestive problems will benefit the most from it.

In addition, stressed bunnies need additional nutrients since they tend to lose their appetite. Providing vitamin C can also protect your pet from heat stress. Meanwhile, zinc is an antioxidant stress agent that prevents inflammation.

 

 

Nutrients Needed by Rabbits

 

Before giving supplements to your pet, you must know what vitamins and minerals they need. Since rabbits cannot produce nutrients, they get them from their food. Thus, you must provide them with a proper diet. Bunnies need primary nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water.

Rabbits get their energy from carbohydrates. This nutrient is also responsible for aiding the biological processes of the bunnies. Some of these are synthesizing protein and creating new tissues. Carbs also help in digesting nutrients and stimulating the appetite. You are giving the carbs your pet needs by providing enough hay. 

Aside from carbohydrates, rabbits also need protein since it supports their growth. However, the amount of protein your bunny needs may vary, depending on age and condition. An average rabbit requires 12% to 18% crude protein. For a gestating and lactating bunny, it is 18%, and 15% to 16% for growing rabbits.

Furthermore, ensure that your bunny gets enough fat-soluble vitamins to reach optimum health. However, your bunny needs fats to absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Don’t worry since your pet can get the necessary fats from a regular vegetable diet. You don’t have to provide a special diet for your bunny.

Minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus are also necessary. But you should give them only in small amounts. Lastly, water is the most vital nutrient for bunnies. To be hydrated, they must at least consume 10% of their body weight in water daily. Thus, an unlimited supply of clean water is needed in their hutches.

 

 

Nutritional Requirements of Rabbits

 

Nutrients keep the bunny healthy. However, giving the incorrect amount may lead to health issues. Too much protein may result in enteritis. Meanwhile, fats can cause obesity, atherosclerosis, and hepatic lipidosis. A bunny that consumes too much calcium may form crystals and uroliths in its kidney.

Also, bunnies with vitamin E deficiency are prone to muscular dystrophy. It is also recorded that female rabbits have unborn kits and dead newly born babies. If your rabbit lacks vitamin A, it may experience reproductive problems. On the other hand, deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D can result in rickets and broken backs. Too many carbs can make your pet prone to dental and gastrointestinal diseases. Below is a table showing the recommended daily nutrient intake for rabbits.

 

Nutrient

Recommended daily intake for growing rabbits (per kg)

Recommended daily intake for adult rabbits (per kg)

Fiber

140-160 g

140-250 g

Protein

150-180 g

120-170 g

Fat

30-50 g

25-50 g

Starch

Less than 135 g

Less than 200 g

Calcium

5 g

5 g

Chloride

1-5 g

1.7 g

Magnesium

0.4-0.7 g

0.3-3 g

Phosphorus

4 g

4 g

Potassium

2-6 g

6 g

Sodium

1-2 g

1 g

Cobalt

0.1-1 mg

0.25 mg

Copper

3-6 mg

5-20 mg

Iodine

 

0.4-0.5 mg

Iron

100 mg

30-400 mg

Manganese

20-40 mg

8-15 mg

Selenium

0.1 mg

0.05-0.32 mg

Zinc

40 mg

50-150 mg

Vitamin A 

6,000-10,000 IU

10,000-12,000 IU

Vitamin D

500 IU

800-1,000 IU

Vitamin E

50 mg

50-160 mg

Vitamin K

 

1-2 mg

Vitamin B

Not required

Not required

Vitamin C

Not required

Not required

Rabbit Supplements

 

Since we have answered the question “Do rabbits need supplements?” you must determine the best supplement for your pet. Bunnies may vary in age and condition. Thus, the effects of the additional nutrients on your bunny may differ. Below are some of the best rabbit supplements you can give your pet.

 

Flaxseeds

 

Flaxseeds are good supplements for rabbits since they help maintain weight. You can also give them to your pet if you want to reduce the effects of a high-fat diet. Some rabbit owners also saw the positive effects of flaxseeds on their bunnies’ coats. A small pinch of seeds a few times a week is enough for your pet. 

Do rabbits need supplements

Echinacea

 

Echinacea is a medicinal plant that is known for its antibiotic properties. It also boosts the immune system, helping the rabbits fight colds and infections. Since it is rich in fiber, the supplement can improve your pet’s digestion. If you want to give it to your pet, you can sprinkle a small amount of the herb on the hay or pellets.

Do rabbits need supplements

Papaya Tablets

 

Since bunny loves to groom themselves, they are prone to ingest their fur. The papaya tablets can prevent hairball blockages in your pet. It is because they contain the enzymes bromelain or papain. These enzymes help to break down the hair, aiding in laborious digestion. If your bunny is shedding, you must give it at least six or more papaya tablets daily.

Do rabbits need supplements

Critical Care

 

If you want your pet to have a speedy recovery, giving it Critical Care can help. It is a specially formulated food mix intended for bunnies who don’t have the appetite to eat. All the vital nutrients are in the food mix, aiding gut physiology and digestion. The advisable dosage for rabbits is three tablespoons per kilogram of body weight. 

 

 

Mineral Salt Block as a Supplement for Rabbits

 

Do rabbits need supplements like mineral salt block? The answer to this question may stir a debate among rabbit owners. But as mentioned, rabbits with a proper diet don’t need supplements as the mineral salt block. However, some owners claim that it is beneficial for their pets.

A mineral block is a supplement that contains manganese, zinc, copper, and iodine. The Nutrition and Digestive Physiology claim that rabbits consuming mineral blocks are heavier. They concluded that it is because of the higher content of calcium. As long as your bunny gets the minerals it needs from its food, giving it a mineral block is unnecessary.

On the other hand, a salt lick is intended for horses and cattle to encourage them to drink more water. Thus, they can attain electrolyte balance and hydration. It is also helpful for bunnies that are experiencing sodium deficiencies. A rabbit without enough minerals and salts is prone to various diseases.

Other rabbit owners argued that salt licks are dangerous to rabbits. Rabbits only need 0.5% salt, which they can quickly get from a proper diet. Too much salt can result in the formation of bladder stones. A bunny may also suffer from dehydration if it consumes excessive salt. If you want to provide a mineral salt block to your pet, ensure that you provide your bunny with fresh water. It is also a good supplement for a free-ranging bunny since it can provide the minerals it needs. Furthermore, it can prevent boredom and encourage your bunny to forage.

Mineral salt block

How to Give Supplements to Your Pet

 

To choose a suitable supplement, you must determine your pet’s condition. If it is healthy, providing supplements is not necessary. But if you notice your bunny is sick, taking it to the vet is the best solution. The vet will check your pet’s deficiencies, prescribing the needed supplement.

As a preparation, place the bunny food inside a bag and put a label on it. It will give the vet if you are providing enough vitamins for your bunny. He may also perform physical examinations and blood work to know your pet’s condition. If the vet finds out that your bunny needs more vitamins and minerals, he may prescribe a pill or tablet.

Once you have the prescription, follow the vet’s instructions to prevent an overdose. Most supplements are added to the food of the rabbit. As a warning, never put the supplement in your bunny’s water. You must also check if your bunny is suffering from vitamin toxicity. If your rabbit is becoming weak, don’t hesitate to bring it to the vet.

Feel free to ask the vet how you can store the vitamins properly. Remember, although it has supplements, you must still feed your bunny correctly. Thus, giving it enough hay, leafy vegetables, and water is necessary. Also, add supplements with the vet’s prescription. Below is a video showing how you can provide supplements for baby rabbits.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Do rabbits need supplements when they are sick?

Rabbits that are sick don’t have the appetite to eat. Thus, they cannot meet the nutritional requirements for a healthy body. Supplements like Critical Care can provide them with enough calories and water. Therefore, their recovery will speed up. It is a food formula that you must mix with water until it has a consistency similar to pudding.

 

Is a mineral salt block beneficial for a free-ranging rabbit?

Giving a mineral salt block to a free-ranging bunny improves joint function. It also helps the bunny’s digestion, making it easier to pass stools. Also, it can stimulate your rabbit, preventing it from experiencing boredom.

Bunnies eating pellets

Conclusion

 

Do rabbits need supplements? Not really. However, giving them suitable supplements can help them grow healthy. If your bunny suffers from vitamin deficiencies, bring it to the vet and know what nutrients it needs. Provide your pet with the prescribed supplements for your bunny. Hence, you can expect your pet to be more healthy and happy.

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