Why rabbits won’t eat

This is easily the most common problem we see in pet rabbits coming to our practice. The biggest UKbased study has shown that this is sadly also the second most common cause of mortality in pet rabbits.  

There are many reasons why your beloved bunny stops eating, these include teeth problems, incorrect diet, and blockage in the intestines 

Rabbits need constant passage of food through their gut to maintain its normal function. Any period of not eating lasting longer than eight hours brings potential risk of gut stasis, where the gut movement slows down or stops completely, leading to overproduction of gas and eventually bloat.  


The perfect diet for rabbits contains large amounts of fibre and should avoid easily fermenting carbohydrates. . .


In such cases you should always seek help from a veterinary surgeon who is skilled in small mammal medicine, as untreated inappetence in rabbits will always be fatal. What is just as important is to know how to prevent these episodes of anorexia and gut stasis.  

Correct diet and husbandry will have a major impact on your rabbits appetite. Good quality hay, preferably timothy or alfalfa, should always make up 80 per cent of their daily ration and be available.  

On top of that they should get a handful of fresh mixed leafy greens and a very small amount of good quality nuggets (not muesli based) 

The perfect diet for rabbits contains large amounts of fibre and should avoid easily fermenting carbohydrates, this means only very small and infrequent amounts of treat foods like carrots 

This high fibre diet will also promote plenty of chewing that will have a positive impact on dental health. The main reason for dental problems is inappropriate diet, overfeeding with nuggets, not enough hay, too many high sugar/high energy foods, all of these will reduce fibrous food intake and time spent on chewing which is a direct reason for molars to become overgrown.  

Most intestinal blockage cases occur in long hair breeds due to increased hair intake during self-hygiene, forming trichobezoars (furballs!) Regular brushing should reduce the risk, but in case it is difficult, feeding fresh pineapple can also help, as pineapple juice contains enzymes which dissolve keratin from hair and make it easier to pass.  


Lucas Gosciek MRCVS 

Veterinary Surgeon 

Severn Edge Vets, Bridgnorth  


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin
On Key

Related Posts

Refill for a greener 2021

In 2018, the #PreventPointlessPlastic campaign was launched to cut levels of single-use plastic in Bridgnorth in a bid to reduce waste. The idea was to

Exciting project for Dawley

Work is under way on an exciting project to provide Dawley with a much-needed new facility. The Great Dawley Community Network Hub is set to

Spinning the decks for charity

Shropshire DJ duo the 90s Revival will be bringing back their weekly lockdown live sets to raise money for charity. The 90s music livestreams will

Music charity clicked with firm’s MD

Four charities, including one which provides music therapy to children, are set to benefit from a share of £10,000 thanks to a Bridgnorth business.  Website design agency Clickingmad will split the

Commemorating kindness

Volunteers and Town Councillors planted a tree in Broseley’s Memorial Garden in recognition of those who helped the community during coronavirus lockdown. The tree selected