Pet News: Shocker for Bugs Bunny – vets warn carrots are BAD for rabbits | Nature | News
Although the cartoon character is rarely seen without nibbling on a carrot, animal health experts say the vegetable is not a superfood for pet rabbits.
Carrots are far from helping rabbits see in the dark. They contain far too much sugar and should only be given to pets occasionally.
The Health Council comes from the British Veterinary Association at the start of Rabbit Awareness Week along with a warning about how the popular pets suffer from poor diets.
Surveys show that five of the top six health problems veterinarians see in pet rabbits are related to the way they are fed.
Misunderstandings about what to give the country’s estimated 1.5 million pet rabbits has resulted in nearly nine out of ten veterinarians having serious concerns about poor diet and potentially fatal but preventable health conditions such as obesity, bowel problems, and dental disease.
On the occasion of Rabbit Awareness Week, the BVA today unveiled a five-point plan to improve pet welfare – including a request to owners to hold back the carrots and other “bunny spoilers”.
These are the BVA top tips for feeding rabbits:
• Eighty percent of a rabbit’s diet should consist of good quality hay, grass, or a mixture of both. Good quality food prevents digestive problems and helps keep teeth the correct shape and length.
• Move away from what is known as rabbit muesli. Although the colored cereal mixes are more attractive to rabbits than other pellet feeds, they encourage selective feeding and predispose the animals to dental disease and obesity.
• Give carrot tops, not carrots. Despite the myths immortalized by cartoon and picture book characters, carrots are high in sugar and should only be given occasionally as a reward. Green carrot tops are a more suitable snack.
• Plants and vegetables should make up 15 percent of a rabbit’s diet, with zucchini, spring greens, broccoli, and kale. Herbs like basil and parsley, and wild plants like dandelion and burdock are good options. Avoid certain salads like iceberg that contain a secretion called lactucarium, which can be dangerous in large quantities.
• Don’t worry if rabbits eat their feces. They produce two types of pellets, the pellets passed in the morning and evening light containing important proteins, fatty acids and minerals.
When the BVA conducted its Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey two years ago, 85 percent of veterinarians admitted they had serious concerns about the health of rabbits due to poor diet.
BVA President John Fishwick said today: “Rabbits are fantastic pets, but unfortunately many vets see rabbits suffering from completely preventable diseases due to poor diet.
“Rabbits need a fiber-based diet of clean hay, grass, and leafy vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and kale to prevent stomach and dental problems, which are some of the most common ailments rabbits experience with veterinarians.
“Any changes to your rabbit’s diet should be made gradually, with the advice of your veterinarian, to avoid dangerous digestive problems.”
The Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) made this year’s theme “Move Away from Muesli”.
Pets at Home introduced a ban on rabbit cereal sales five years ago and is encouraging other retailers to follow suit.
Dr. Maeve Moorcroft, Director of Pets in Home Pets, said, “Rabbits fed cereal are more likely to have dental and digestive problems, and these health problems can be detrimental to rabbits, so we did not sell rabbit cereal in our stores and online for five years.
“It’s great that RAW continues to raise awareness of this issue, and we hope that ‘Move Away from Muesli’ will help really improve the welfare of all rabbits by making sure they are receiving the right nutrition to keep them healthy and healthy to stay happy. ”