In the pet shops I have seen a lot of various pellets as rabbit food. If there is so much it must be a good food, isn't it?

What is the risk in feeding pellets?

  • 1
    not an answer but one can make pellets from many different things so you might get the entire spectrum of different quality,from very good to really bad.in the EU the content is listed in falling order from most on top and least at the end of the listing. Jan 24, 2020 at 19:37
  • @trondhansen In the end it is no matter what the raw material was. By the production it looses all good properties. In EU there are a lot of content which is not needed to be declared on animals food. Jan 24, 2020 at 20:21

1 Answer 1


First point: look at the description of the pellets. Are there any facts of what they are made of? If no, then do not buy them! In any case!

In general, pellets are made of waste from the manufacturing process of other vegetable products; for example peelings of potatoes, carrots and other. Sometimes there could be waste from meat production, milk production and/or egg production too. (In German they are called "Tierische Nebenprodukte" or "Milcherzeugnisse"). All non vegan food is not natural food for a rabbit!

Pellets are produced by grinding. This causes very short fibres. Rabbits' digestive system needs near 100 percent long fibres to work well. The muscles of digestive system are not very powerful. They could not move food with short fibres and so caused high density fast enough. This causes blockage and pain. Another consequence of short fibres is less tooth abrasion. The teeth will grow faster than be shortened by abrasion. One spoon of dry food (pellets, grain) is enough to let the teeth get longer. Next point: the rabbit will crack the pellets instead of grinding it like leaf or grass. Because of this the teeth roots are more stressed and pressed into the jaw. This causes painful visits at the vet who has to shorten the teeth or treat root abscesses. (Through the closeness between jaw and tear canals tearing eyes could be a sign for abscess!)

In the production of pellets the raw materials are extremely dried. This way they are easy to grind and last longer in the packaging. This causes a high thirst in your rabbit. In nature rabbits only drink in very rare case. In general, they get all water with their fresh food (leafy and herbs). If the dry pellets become wet in the stomach, they swell. Some kinds of pellets become 5 times bigger! The rabbit is full and happy with its pellets, then gets thirsty and has no room for 5 times the "normal stomach intake", but they are swelling on. (You could try this by yourself with one pellet in a glass and added water).

During the process of drying, high temperatures are used. All vitamins and other good ingredients are destroyed here. The vitamins written on the package are all chemical additives.

To form nice little pellets from the "pellet flour", some "glue" is needed. This could be anything from sugar, over gelatine or bone flour, to chemical glue. In any case, it is nothing you want to feed your rabbit.

A high amount of sugar and starch causes growth of yeast and bacteria in the digestive system. They replace normal digestive flora and cause sensitivities for normal natural food like cabbage. (This high amount is present in grain too. In nature, rabbits could get grain only in autumn for less weeks...).

High energy food causes two more problems: on one hand, the rabbit gets fat if it does not stop eating. On the other hand, if it stops it has more "free time" than a "natural" eating rabbit (who is, 80 percent of time, searching for food and eating). This rabbit would probably become bored and develop strange behavior, like licking, biting or scratching itself/its home/the furniture.

In the end, colors and chemical flavors are added. The colors are meant to impress the humans (red for fruits, green for hay, yellow for grain or vegetables). And the flavour to let the human see a rabbit that "loves its pellets".

A lot of other chemicals (for example preservatives to preserve the product from spoilage, emulgators to mix unmixable things like oil and water) in most countries are not needed to be declared on the packaging.

Such food is often too high in minerals. This causes bladder and kidney stones. Some packaging writes "with added minerals" on it.

So in conclusion, pellets are a very high risk for your rabbit's health.

(Source (German language): www.kaninchenwiese.de)

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