No, rabbits shouldn’t eat muesli. It’s often mistaken as a good food to give rabbits, but this is an outdated assumption – made worse by the marketing around the muesli. If you’re looking for a food to top up your rabbit’s diet with, then a far healthier choice is pellets.
Muesli is often advertised and marketed to be a good snack for rabbits, and sometimes the packaging says it’s packed full of useful nutrients. This isn’t the case, and a study by Edinburgh University found just how harmful eating muesli can be for your pet. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the link here.
Muesli is a cheap snack, sold by the bag. It’s colorful and made up with a combination of several parts – seeds, grains, flaked maize, peas, and pellets.
If your rabbit is eating muesli regularly, they could develop:
- Dental issues: High sugar contents in muesli can lead to your rabbit’s teeth rotting, and by eating too much sugar and too little fiber, their teeth can overgrow. This would be painful and require vet treatment.
- Digestional problems: Your rabbit will struggle to digest certain foods, leaving them with stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, and more. If your rabbit has these symptoms and they persist for more than 12 hours, they’ll need to see a vet for treatment.
- Nutritional deficiency: Muesli won’t provide rabbits with enough nutrients. If combined with not getting enough vegetables, your rabbit’s vitamin and mineral levels will slowly drop and with no change it’ll become a deficiency.
- Addiction: If your rabbit exclusively eats sugary food, they quickly develop a sweet tooth and could start rejecting healthier food as they’re craving sugar.
If your rabbit eats muesli but doesn’t have any of these problems, it’s still worth changing their diet to something healthier.
Issues can often develop subtly, and as prey animals, rabbits instinctively hide signs of pain so you might not know something is wrong until it’s too late.
Pellets (or nuggets) are the best alternative for your rabbits. They are made from hay, so can contribute to the high fiber amounts that your rabbit needs and sometimes have extra vitamins and minerals added in.
The best nuggets or pellets are aimed at specific ages – either baby or adult rabbits. Baby pellets usually cover rabbits up to 16 weeks old, where they’d then switch to adult food.
Limit the number of pellets your rabbit eats to an egg cup worth per rabbit per day. You’ll also need to ensure that your rabbit has plenty of chances for exercise so they don’t gain weight.
Rabbits that are overweight should have fewer pellets and increased exercise, while underweight rabbits can temporarily have extra pellets to help them gain weight.
Don’t panic if your rabbit eats muesli. Now you know why it isn’t great for rabbits, you can slowly transition them over to healthier options – it’s never too late!
Over a span of several weeks, you should reduce the muesli and gradually introduce rabbit pellets or nuggets. Mix the two together, and as time goes on the ratio should be less muesli and more pellets until it’s entirely pellets.
Make sure that the rest of your rabbit’s diet is balanced and healthy, this includes plenty of hay and drinking water, and a variety of fresh, raw vegetables. Treats should only be given to your rabbit around once or twice per week.
While they’re changing food, monitor them, watching for any changes in their stool if their appetite is normal, and if they’re behaving normally. If not, take them to a vet.