For some reasons, animals can lose their appetite. Sometimes it’s because they get a disease or simply get stressed out. Never underestimate when your pets lose appetite, because it might be a sign of something worse. Besides, it just breaks your heart when one of your family member gets skinnier and might lead into malnourishment. For example, dogs can lose their appetite, that’s why we need to learn how to to Treat Your Skinny Dog and Gain Healthy Weight.
Rabbits are no exception. And to avoid something bad happened to your rabbits, you need to understand how to increase appetite of rabbit.
There are 2 types of appetite loss in rabbits. One is anorexia and another is pseudo anorexia. Anorexia is the condition where the rabbits totally stop eating, usually because diseases that cause them pain. Pseudo anorexia, in the order hand, there’s a decreasing of rabbit’s appetite, but they still eat their treat foods. While anorexia leads into the symptom of the disease, pseudoanorexia often caused by psychological problems. Sometimes, pregnancy or false pregnancy can be the cause, too. Of course, you gotta check the other signs that your doe is pregnant.
Since the reason can be very different, you need to carefully watch the symptoms occur in your rabbits. After you notice the underlying cause, you can get the proper treatment or using treatment methods you like if your rabbit’s health condition is not dangerous. Then, of course, you will know better on how to increase appetite of rabbits.
Feed the Favorite Proper Food
It goes without saying. Any creatures, including rabbits, has their own preferences, thus they will choose that more than anything else. So, you gotta observe carefully in order to understand your rabbit’s favorite foods. So, anytime they seem lack of appetite, you can lure them with those. The things that you should know also, you can’t give too much dry food for them. It can make them lose appetite. The ideal amount of dry food for rabbits around 50 grams for average size adult rabbits.
Instead, you gotta give a fresh green foods. Of course, you also need to know which is good for your rabbits, which is not. Not all the green foods are good for rabbits. For example, timothy hay has a very good with proper nutrition for rabbits, while alfalfa hay way has too much calcium in it. The foods that can be dangerous for rabbits also the greens that contain too much gas, like broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
You gotta remember that rabbit has a sensitive stomach, too. It means that if you want to try different kind of foods, you must do it gradually while you observe their stomach reaction towards the foods that you gave. Do not rush them, weight gain faster doesn’t mean healthier.
To make your rabbits get more interested with their foods, you can put it where your rabbits usually hang out in the cage. This way, they can leisurely chew the foods, or the hay, while they sit down calmly. Of course, it can only be done if the rabbits still have the appetite.
Maintain a Healthy Environment
Since rabbits are social animals, maintaining psychologically healthy environment is important. First, it’s better for your rabbits to have a cage mate, so they won’t be lonely. However, you need to introduce them slowly, otherwise it will be hard for them to get along, even tend to be aggressive. It’s a stressful environment that surely will decrease your rabbit’s appetite. You can let them wander around in your house to get more space to play, but you need to know how to let loose your rabbit at home safely.
How? When you introduce them for the first time, you gotta put them together in a neutral area. Which means, neither of your rabbits recognize that area as their territory. Don’t directly put an unknown rabbit in the same cage because rabbits are also territorial animals. Their instinct is to protect their area. So, if the unknown rabbit comes in, they will start thinking them as an enemy or attackers, then become aggressive towards the new member of your family.
Besides the social environment, cleanliness of the cage is very important, too. The dirty cage can cause bacteria infection, thus decrease the body endurance of your rabbits and make them stressed out. This can lead to few diseases, like attract fur mites, that can decrease their appetite. Just to be safe, always check whether your rabbits got these infestation, so you can act faster to get rid of those mites.
If you never heard of it, bromelain is an proteolytic enzymes, which is the enzymes that can dissolve protein. It is usually found in pineapple, especially in the stem part. Studies have found that bromelain can help to break down mucus that is binding an obstruction. But, the myth about it can break down keratin, the main component hair, hasn’t been proved yet.
Bromelain also reported has a good rapport in stimulating appetite in rabbits. You can crush the bromelain pills and mix it with pineapple juice. Or else, if you have the bromelain in the shape of powder, you can mix a quarter teaspon of it and mix it with the pineapple juice until it has a runny consistency.
If you don’t have it, you can simply give your rabbits the stem of the pineapple. Normally, rabbits love the taste and it has reported increasing their appetite. However, it is suggested to use bromelain powder or pills, since fresh pineapple juice contains more sugar that is not good for rabbit’s digestive organs.
Other Appetite Stimulants
Beside Bromelain, B-complex vitamins can also help to stimulate appetite in your rabbits. It can be administered orally or by injection, whichever that you think the best for your buddies.
Periactin (cyproheptadine) can help to increase appetite for rabbit as well as B-complex vitamins. You can give 1 mg of Periactin to your average-sized rabbits twice per day. Or, you can consult your veterinarian for better suggestion, in case the weight of your rabbits isn’t in the average size. Read also here How to Treat Scabies in Rabbits
For the emergency situations, of course it will take a long time to persuade and manipulate our rabbits to eat their foods. Emergency is when your rabbits are totally stop eating and show the symptoms of diseases or pain. In this kind of situation, your best option is force-feeding your rabbits. Because the symptom of lack appetite can be dangerous. You are literally against the clock here.
Force-feeding the rabbits usually uses syringe to make them swallow their food. You can get the gruel from the store or you can mix it yourself by grinding pellets and hay, to make special gruel for your rabbits. Make sure the consistency is right, not too runny, but still can smoothly go along the syringe into rabbit’s throat.
Now, you know how to increase appetite of rabbits, you can simply do it by yourself at home. Once again, with the important note, if the health condition or the appetite is not lost at all or followed by acute symptoms. You can also be creative in attracting the rabbits to their foods. Maybe, you can put toys among their foods, make them interested in chewing hay. Or you can mix them with their favorite treat foods, so they can be lured by the scent of it. Whatever it is, I’m sure you are the one who knows all the things about your rabbits and knows how to treat them.