Rabbits are relatively predictable animals, and if you’ve ever seen a rabbit before in your life, then you’ve almost certainly seen a rabbit eating. It seems like every time you see a rabbit, they’re eating. Surely rabbits don’t eat all the time, right? At some point they have to get full, but will rabbits actually stop eating when they’re full?
Will Rabbits Stop Eating When Full?
Yes, rabbits will stop eating when they feel satiated, or that they’ve had enough to eat. They will also stop eating when they’re ready to rest. It’s important to know, though, that rabbits eat multiple meals throughout the day.
If your rabbit stops eating for extended periods, this can actually be very concerning for their health. Your rabbit should always have unlimited access to fresh hay, like meadow or Timothy hay.
Can Rabbits Overeat?
Yes, rabbits can overeat. If your rabbit overeats, they can develop multiple issues, including obesity and all of the conditions associated with it. While your rabbit should have unlimited access to hay, all other foods should be given in moderation.
Pellets are the primary reason that some rabbits overeat. These highly palatable pellets can become a preference for your rabbit over all other foods, but it’s important to properly measure the correct amount of pellets every day and not overfeed them.
Your rabbit can also have a variety of fresh foods, including pumpkin, carrot, apple, lettuce, spinach, chard, berries, and pears. While leafy greens can be fed daily, most of the other fresh foods should be fed as treats and not as a primary component of your rabbit’s diet.
The Dangers of Not Eating Enough
While your rabbit is likely to naturally eat enough without overeating, some rabbits may undereat. If your rabbit isn’t eating enough because of an underlying problem, they can develop gastrointestinal stasis.
With stasis, the gastrointestinal tract stops functioning properly. Stasis can rapidly become a deadly condition for your rabbit, so ensuring they are eating enough is extremely important.
Stasis can be caused by multiple things, but the most common cause is your rabbit receiving too little fiber in their diet. This can occur if your rabbit doesn’t have free access to hay at all times. Without unlimited hay access, your rabbit is at a very high risk of developing stasis at some point. Your rabbit also needs to always have access to clean water.
Dehydration is another common cause of stasis in rabbits. If your rabbit doesn’t naturally drink enough water, you may need to discuss adding more high-moisture foods to their regular diet with your vet.
Rabbits will typically stop eating when they are satiated or ready to rest, but some rabbits will overeat, especially if fed too many pellets or treats. Overeating can lead to obesity, which can lead to joint, endocrine, and heart problems.
If your rabbit undereats, though, this can also be acutely deadly. Stasis will occur if your rabbit isn’t eating or isn’t receiving enough fiber, and stasis is an emergency situation that often requires veterinary intervention to resolve.
Featured Image Credit: Leena Robinson, Shutterstock