You might reach for the Snickers and candy corn this Halloween, but these sweet treats are very dangerous for rabbits. But this doesn’t mean that your bun has to miss out on all the fun! There are plenty of healthy and fun rabbit food and treats that you can feed your bunny this Halloween. (And throughout the year!)
We’ve discussed the importance of your bunny’s diet here before, and today we’ll discuss even more tasty treats for your rabbit. Let’s dive into what to feed your rabbit, what not to feed your rabbit, and how you can safely give them treats all year long.
All of these tips will help you make sure your bunny is happy and healthy for a long lifetime full of binkies.
What to Know About Feeding Your Bunny
Rabbits love all kinds of food, from healthy hay to fresh greens. Some rabbit parents feed their bunnies pellets, but the best diet is high-quality hay and plenty of fresh greens and veggies. Just like their human friends, rabbits feel their best when they are fed a fresh, healthy diet.
The Case Against Pet Store Pellets
Many bunny parents turn to pet store pellets because of their convenience, but they're usually processed, and not the healthiest rabbit food for your little friend. They are usually made out of all kinds of fillers and additives, which can be hard to digest. They can be very high in sugar, and sometimes the sugar content isn’t obvious in the ingredient list. These pellets are commonly used, and don’t have the nutrients your rabbit needs and deserves.
If your adult bunny insists on eating pellets in addition to a fresh diet, look for ones that are Timothy hay-based, instead of alfalfa hay-based (alfalfa-based pellets are reserved for young animals - 1 year and under - who need some extra calories). These pellets should be a very small part of their diet (about 10%) and shouldn’t be a substitute for hay. Speaking of hay...
Hay Isn’t Just for Horses: It’s for Bunnies, Too!
Rabbit hay is seriously the magical ingredient in any bunny’s diet. It keeps their digestion running smoothly, helps prevent kidney and GI issues, and is an all-around powerhouse. In fact, it’s absolutely essential to your rabbit’s health.
Here are some of the types of hay to know:
- Timothy hay can be introduced to your bunny near the end of their first year and used throughout their life. This hay comes in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cuttings. 1st cutting Timothy hay is high in fiber, low in leaf, and great for the digestive system. 2nd cutting is the golden standard in rabbit hay and is a great every day hay for your little bun. Lastly, 3rd cutting has lots of leaf and less fiber. If your bun needs to put on a few pounds, this high-protein hay is perfect.
Orchard hay is considered a treat hay and will encourage even the pickiest of buns to eat their daily dose of hay. Add this delicious hay to your rabbit’s diet for a fun and healthy snack.
Alfalfa hay is perfect for baby buns (under a year) because it is full of fiber, protein, and fat. But alfalfa hay might cause older rabbits to gain weight, so slowly taper off alfalfa as they get older and feed other types of hay and fresh fruits and veggies.
- Oat hay will give your rabbit the zoomies, thanks to its delicious flavor and high fiber! Keep this hay on hand and your bunny will love you for life.
It’s super important to never run out of hay because without it, your bunny’s digestive system could shut down. When a rabbit’s digestive system stops moving you end up with a true emergency, and some very lethal situations. Avoid the scare and the vet bills by giving your bun great fiber all the time.
What Rabbit Food is Safe?
In addition to hay, rabbits love all kinds of goodies. Your bunny’s diet should include lots of greens, and tiny amounts of fresh fruits or veggies, plus the occasional treat. Just like their hoomans, rabbits love diversity, so try to mix up their diet with at least three different types of greens each day.
Fruits and veggies can be used as an occasional sweet treat, but only very sparingly. Did you know a lot of veggies are high in sugar? Guess which one is one of the highest? Yup, carrots. So unfair, right? No bun should get more than a tiny nubbin of a baby carrot per day. We don’t recommend more than one raisin, or half a blueberry each day. Watch that sugar intake, even when it is all natural from fruits and veggies!
Safe Veggies for Rabbits
Bunnies go crazy for veggies (we wish eating our daily dose of veggies was that delicious!). Some of their favorites are radishes and their green tops, bell peppers, leafy greens (basil, cilantro, romaine, frisee, watercress, dandelion greens), pumpkin, and more. For more information, check out The House Rabbit Society’s rabbit food ideas on their site.
Safe Fruits for Rabbits
This Halloween, treat your bun to some juicy fruits! Fruit is higher in sugar content than veggies, so they should only be used as a complement to your regular rabbit food. But they do make a great addition. Some of these delicious foods you guys can even eat together. Bond with your bunny and munch on:
- Dried pineapple
We can almost see it now: a little family Halloween party with the hoomans munching on some chocolate, while their happy bunny enjoys a banana chip nom nom. And lucky for you, your bunny doesn’t even need a costume because they’re already so cute!
Other Rabbit Food Options
Hay and healthy veggies will make up the majority of your bunny’s diet, but there is still room for some special treats. This Halloween season, treat your baby by adding in some sweet treats to their regular rabbit food.
Your Bun’s Favorite Sweet Treats
Many pet parents might even want to take their bun’s sweet treats a step further and make their own. DIY rabbit treats are a super fun way to bond with your bunny. One of our favorite recipes is carrot cake, rabbit style. Carrot cake is a delicious treat for humans, so why can’t it be a special something for your bunny, too?
All you need is a half cup of raw oats, a half cup of flour, a half cup of ground up carrots, and some water. Blend these all together and mix until smooth. Roll the dough into balls and bake them at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Let them cool for about an hour before feeding to your rabbit! What a delicious, healthy treat (that should only be given in moderation).
What NOT to Feed Your Rabbit
We’ve talked about a bunch of delicious rabbit food that you can feed your little friend, but what about the no-no list? Rabbits have very sensitive stomachs and if they are fed food that’s not made for them, they could have digestive issues, kidney stones, GI tract issues, and more. Take close note of what not to feed your bunny to make sure they stay healthy.
Yogurt drops are often marketed as a treat for small animals, but these can be dangerous to buns. Yogurt can lead to a toxic rise in “bad” bacteria in their gut. Rabbits aren’t built to eat dairy.
Breads, pastas, and other carbs can cause stomach issues, especially if they are high in sugar. Never give your bunny table sugar, and instead feed them the rabbit food and treats that are safe above.
Avocados may be healthy to humans, but they can be deadly for rabbits. Small amounts of many kinds of fresh veggies are great, as long as they aren’t avocados! Save these delicious snacks for your guacamole.
Chocolate is a definite no-no, as it is for most animals. It can be poisonous and even fatal to your little bun.
Meat is not good for your little herbivore’s diet. This might seem like common sense, but we just want to be extra sure your rabbit is safe! Plants, plants, and more plants for your little guy or gal.
Cauliflower isn’t fatal, but it won’t make your rabbit feel very good.
Broccoli, like cauliflower, causes gas and can hurt your bun’s tummy. Although most veggies are good additions to rabbit food, cauliflower and broccoli are not.
Become a Rabbit Food Pro
Now you know everything it takes to help your rabbit live their best life! Just like us, they deserve to eat the healthiest, most nutritious diets. The majority of your bun’s diet should be high-quality hay, with plenty of fresh greens, and the occasional fruit or veg thrown in. Timothy hay is a great everyday hay for most bunnies, but orchard hay is also a good choice. Sprinkle in some oat hay or alfalfa hay for a fun little treat.
Got a bun with a sweet tooth? Sweet veggies like carrots and squash are a super good addition to your rabbit’s food, as are fruit treats like apples, mangos, and dried pineapple. With these treats and a proper diet, get ready for the zoomies and one happy bun!