There is nothing better than seeing your bun enjoying life, ears pricked up when they hear you coming and tucking in to their food. After all a hearty appetite is one sign that their nugget offering is super tasty and that your pet pal is feeling on good form. But how about those rabbits that gobble down their nuggets in next to no time? If you have ever wondered what to do if your bunny eats too fast, read on…
What happens if my bunny eats too fast?
Some rabbits just LOVE their food – the rustle of the nugget bag gets them super-excited, and their portion is hoovered up in a flash. You may wonder if this even matters. Well…here are the top three reasons to slow down your bun’s piggy tendencies:
1. Eating too fast can lead to obesity
Rabbits who are speedy eaters may be more at risk of weight gain. Of course, if you stick to a carefully measured portion every morning and evening, and don’t give in to the hopeful nose-twitch when the nuggets have gone, it is still possible to keep your pet’s waistline in check. Sometimes easier said than done though.
Not only that, but it also goes without saying that rabbits thrive on companionship. Sharing living quarters with their pals means that there is always the risk that a speedy eater will munch through their own nugget offering, and then move on to polish off the portions of any slower-eating bunny friends.
2. Eating too fast contributes to boredom
Food is the main focus of a rabbit’s day. In the wild, rabbits spend long periods of time foraging for fibre-rich plant material. If our pet buns are able to get enough calories in a much shorter space of time, there is a risk that they will soon become bored.
Boredom is one of the main causes of behaviour problems in rabbits, which can include:
- Bar biting
- Chewing furniture
- Digging carpets
Did you know? An astounding 44 percent of owners want to change at least one of their rabbit’s behaviours1
3. Eating too fast may increase the risk of choking
Choking is not a common problem, but is likely to be more of an issue in rabbits who are voracious eaters. Signs of choking include pawing at the mouth, drooling, raising the head, and pale gums, and you should seek urgent veterinary attention. The most common cause of choking is dental disease, so rabbits who choke should also be checked to rule out any issues such as overgrown teeth or spikes on molars.
What to do if my rabbit eats too fast
There are lots of things that you can do if you think that your bunny is eating their food too fast.
- Offer plenty of tasty hay
First and foremost, make sure your bun has an unlimited supply of delicious Timothy or meadow hay. Science Selective Timothy Hay and Russel Rabbit Tasty Hay are both great choices. Poor quality hay will be less palatable, and if your rabbit turns their nose up at their hay, not only is this bad for their digestive and dental health, but they will also be super hungry when it comes to nugget time!
- Scatter feed nuggets
Offering your bun their nuggets in a bowl, makes it easy for speedy eaters to hoover up their food. Scatter feeding nuggets around the living quarters will slow eating down, reducing the risk of choking and encouraging natural foraging behaviour too. So, why not…
- Hide nuggets in hay
Rather than simply scatter feeding, why not hide nuggets in a bundle of fresh hay? It’s a great way of providing environmental enrichment and has the added bonus of encouraging extra hay-eating.
- Use snuffle mats or treat balls
Snuffle mats are another great boredom busting option. Covered in felt strands or ‘leaves’, they are just perfect for hiding a few nuggets and rabbits love having a ‘snuffle’ for a tasty reward. Or how about investing in a treat ball to help keep your pet active, provide enrichment and slow down speedy eating in one fell swoop.
- Hand feed the nugget portion
For particularly enthusiastic eaters, you could think about hand feeding. While time-consuming, it is an easy means of keeping the speed at which your four-legged friend eats in check, as well as being a wonderful way of spending quality time together and bonding with your bun.
Did you know?
Here at Supreme, our nuggets are specially designed to actively encourage chewing which is needed to keep constantly growing teeth healthy, and that is why our nuggets are made to the size and shape that they are.
From Science Selective Junior Rabbit Food to Science Selective Adult Rabbit Food and Science Selective Four+ Rabbit Food, our nuggets help provide your bunny friends with optimum nutrition at every life stage.
For more ideas to keep your rabbit busy, why not have a read of our blog on enrichment activities?
1. PDSA (2019) PAW Animal Wellbeing Report