Less than 40% of all rabbits and guinea pigs are being fed correctly, according to a recent survey conducted by Supreme Petfoods.
This failure to feed correctly was attributed to a lack of owner knowledge, and has resulted in more cases dental disease seen in the animals.
On average, every vet clinic treats 16 rabbits or guinea pigs with the disease every month, and 75% of these cases involve providing nutritional advice on improving the animal’s health.
Vets discovered that smaller pets were being overfed concentrate that was too low in fibre, as well as not eating enough hay or fresh greens. Obesity as well as dental disease is the result.
In 44% of cases where a nutritional recommendation was made, dietary change was recommended to combat dental disease. In 25% of cases, a dietary change was recommended to help manage the animal’s weight.
Vets said that they had “significant concerns” over the increasing level of weight gain and obesity in small pets, and estimated that 55% of rabbits and 47% of guinea pigs are overweight.
The fibre content was the most “important decision-making criteria” when making a nutritional recommendation.
32% of respondents looked for rabbit food containing between 20% and 30% of fibre, although 9% vets said that they were unsure about ideal levels.
22% said they would look for rabbit food with 70% to 100% of fibre.