Stop feeding carrots to your rabbits, says RSPCA

Sophia Moir
Yahoo Lifestyle

The RSPCA is launching a new campaign called Hay Fever, which aims to teach rabbit owners what to correctly feed their bunnies.

Many rabbit owners have interpreted the Bugs Bunny cartoon as fact and are feeding their rabbits on an incorrect diet, according to the animal charity. Rabbits do not naturally eat root vegetables, such as carrots, nor do they naturally eat lettuce.

[Related article: 7 celebrity pets with famous names]

The charity said that people were using these foodstuffs as staple parts of a rabbit’s diet – when in fact they can cause health problems. Just 8 per cent of owners knew what to correctly feed their rabbits.

This might explain why 11per cent of rabbits suffered from tooth decay and a further 11 per cent suffer digestive problems, according to research at the University of Bristol, commissioned by the RSPCA.

[Related article: Why Japan prefers pets to parenthood]

"We want all pet rabbits to be eating hay as their main food,” said Rachel Roxburgh, an animal scientist for the charity. “People also think their rabbits should eat carrots because that's what Bugs Bunny does.

"But he's a cartoon, real rabbits don't talk, and they shouldn't be eating carrots too often either.”

[Related article: Cat cafs and doggy dining rooms]

The RSPCA recommends giving rabbits daily bundles of hay, around the same size as them. They can also graze on grass, but you can’t give them lawn clippings to nibble on.

To vary their diet and give them a treat, dark green veggies are recommended, including broccoli, kale and cabbage on a daily basis, as well as regular portions of commercial nuggets or pellets.

What do you feed your rabbits? Are you guilty of giving them one too many carrots?