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I'm wondering what I can do for my over weight bunny. He's a neutered male, 3.5 years old, a mini Rex mix.
The vet has seen him and says his weight issue doesn't seem to be linked to an underlying health problem, but to his breed. He is very active, is in a 7'x3'pen half the day, the other half he's free roam. He eats plenty of hay and leafy greens. He gets only 1 teaspoon of pellets, Oxbow Natural Science. He gets treats only twice a week-- oxbow papaya enzyme tablets. I give these to prevent wool block.
I also give him Snak Shaks-- made of alfalfa hay and honey. I know these are total junk, but I give them to keep his front teeth a good length.
I'm wondering if I should take any of these things out of his diet, or will that do not harm than good? Is it better for him to be overweight and get the nutrition from the pellets? Does he need the papaya enzyme tablets? Does he need the snak shaks for his teeth? Should I leave the diet as is and let me him be fat? Or restrict his diet farther?
Thank you so much!

Dear Bethany,

You know... we have a couple of bunnies (Elinor and Zuma; each living with different pals) who are just BIG girls.  They do not overeat.  They do not get a lot of snacks.  They are relatively active.  But they are just BIG.

Your bunny has the added difficulty of being a Rex. This breed is prone to being overweight, possibly because they spend less metabolic energy making fur.  If your bunny is neutered, he's also not expending energy on reproductive activities, and that's another possible reason his calories are just...stored.

Life is too short for Draconian measures.  From your description, his diet sounds healthy.  Some bunnies are just genetically destined to be "big boned".  Wish I had a magic solution, but my suggestion would be to keep up what you're doing and just love that big guy the way he is.




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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:

Find a rabbit vet at for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.

RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.


I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology

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