Rabbits are some of the world’s most popular pets and are arguably third behind dogs and cats in terms of popularity. This is because they are perfect pets to have for any household due to their overall friendly and gentle demeanor. But it has always been the furry and cute appearance that has made bunnies very popular among different pet owners.
When you look at a rabbit, you probably will notice that these pets are not only furry but are actually pretty plump. Bunnies are well-loved because of how they look like little balls of fluff that you can never really get enough of. However, you may actually wonder if it is natural for rabbits to be as fat as they are. Is it okay for bunnies to get fat? Well, that is something we are going to discuss and answer.
How rabbits get fat
You may see rabbits as those playful animals that love to run and hop around the house all day long while eating only nutritious vegetables and pellets. So, in that regard, you might wonder why they would even get fat in the first place if they follow that kind of a lifestyle. It is actually quite simple, and it goes back to how rabbits have been domesticated.
Wild rabbits are usually very lean and are much more active than their domesticated counterparts. That is because wild rabbits are naturally built to be able to run and move fast enough to avoid predators. On top of that, they also follow a diet that allows them to stay lean and does not have all of the added sugars that get your pet rabbit fat when you give them treats. As such, it is quite easy to understand why different breeds of wild rabbits are made to be much leaner than the plump ones you are used to seeing in most households. Breeds of wild rabbits are also sold as pets and are usually not as prone as their domesticated counterparts.
On the other hand, domesticated pet rabbits are built to be fat precisely because they are designed that way. A lot of the pet rabbits you see getting sold in the market were not meant to be bred as pets per se. Instead, most of them were bred specifically for commercial purposes such as for their fur or for their meat. As such, because some rabbit breeds needed to get big enough to have big fur or to be sold for higher prices because of their weight, a lot of domesticated rabbits species have genetically evolved to be fatter and much more prone to obesity than their wild cousins.
Of course, it also helps that a lot of domesticated rabbits today lack the physical activity and exercise than their wild counterparts get because of how they lack predators in the households they live. Add all that, and it will make it easy for you to understand why rabbits get fat in the first place.
Obesity and rabbits
Truth be told, obesity is not something that is only common in humans, dogs, and cats. There are plenty of different animals and household pets that are prone to obesity because of their very nature and how they were bred to be easily gain weight even when they are actually moving around a bit from time to time. Despite their nature, being playful animals, they are prone to obesity.
That is right. Rabbits are some of the more prone pets when it comes to getting overweight. These pets generally are so in love with eating that they easily gain weight. On top of that, bunnies tend to eat food that is high in sugars that will allow them to gain a ton of weight in no time if they do not get enough physical activity to burn the extra energy. As such, it is no wonder why there are plenty of rabbits that are plumper and rounder than most other bunnies.
Obesity is actually the second most common health problem you can find in rabbits (with overgrown teeth being the first). An overweight rabbit may be cute, but obesity in your bunny is something that you should try to avoid as much as possible because of how it can lead to a lot of different problems concerning your pet’s overall weight in a similar way as humans are more prone to illnesses if they are obese.
Overweight rabbits are not only prone to heart problems but are also going to experience several complications in their digestion and urinary tract problems. Moreover, obese bunnies can also have weak fur and a poor heart due to being overweight. But the biggest problem that rabbits experience when they are overweight is related to one of their basic daily activities.
Rabbits are known to excrete cecotrophs, which are feces that contain essential nutrients that they were not able to digest the first time properly. Cecotrophs form a huge part of a rabbit’s daily diet as they are known to eat these at night or whenever they are in their cages during their idle time. It is perfectly normal for rabbits to eat this fecal matter because of how healthy it is for them. But if the rabbit is overweight, it might not be able to reach its rump and consume cecotrophs. This may lead to a malnourished rabbit that is unable to reach its daily protein and vitamin requirements.
All that said, a rabbit getting fat is a very big possibility that you need to avoid because of the many different health issues that an obese bunny can suffer from. A fat bunny might be cute, but it should still remain in a manageable weight if you want it to stay healthy. In other words, it might be alright for a rabbit to be fat, but you should make sure that it is not too fat to the point that it is already obese.
Conclusion – What you should do
All that said and explained, the meat of the matter is that rabbits easily get fat because of how they were bred and due to their lack of physical activity. And while it is quite understandable and maybe even normal for bunnies to get fat, you have to take into consideration the fact that getting them obese or overweight is not healthy. A bit of fat might not hurt and may give the rabbit that extra plump cuteness and some added insulation, but it should stay within a manageable weight.
So how do you do that? Well, the first thing you need to look at is your rabbit’s diet. Rabbits are vegetarians that should rely on a diet that is mostly fiber and carbohydrates. But not all carbs are made to be equal. You have to choose the types of food that give the right balance of fiber and carbs to your rabbit to make sure that it gets to follow a healthy diet. As such, a rabbit’s diet should be composed of 85% hay as this not only covers its nutritional needs but also aids in the rabbit’s digestion and in its oral health. Vegetables and pellets should comprise the rest of their diet. You may also give the rabbit fruits from time to time as treats. Of course, some physical activity more than helps. During the times when your rabbit is active, take it out of its cage and allow it to play around and roam freely. This will all help it stay within a manageable weight while maintaining its healthy and vibrant appearance.