We care so much about our rabbits that we will do what it takes to supplement their nutritional needs. So now, in comes the conversation about salt. Why do rabbits need salt wheels?
How much sodium do rabbits need? Are salt toys safe for bunnies? At what age should you give salt licks to rabbits?
In this article, we will discuss and discover, why do rabbits need salt wheels?
Why Do Rabbits Need Salt Wheels?
Making sure rabbits obtain enough salt in their diet is eased by the use of salt licks or salt wheels. Salt or sodium is essential for your rabbit’s:
- fluid regulation
A balanced diet with sufficient veggies, fruits, pellets and most importantly, hay, will provide your rabbit with enough sodium. Today’s rabbit pellet formulations satisfy the daily sodium needs for rabbits.
There is no harm in providing your rabbit with a salt lick or wheel for preventing boredom, but if they are on it non-stop, remove it and bring it back into the cage tomorrow or take a break.
Should Rabbits Have Salt Wheels?
Not all rabbits need salt wheels. If your rabbit is enjoying a balanced diet, the healthy bunny you are caring for doesn’t really need a salt wheel.
Fresh leafy greens and their pellet mix should help to provide enough sodium. Rabbits need hay more than anything else for their diet. A salt wheel is not going to harm your rabbit unless they are licking on it all day and night.
Are Salt Toys Good for Bunnies?
A salt toy like a spool, wheel or lick that you place in the enclosure can give your rabbit something to do. It’s a form of enrichment and prevention of boredom while your rabbit consumes the minerals needed for a healthy diet.
Usually, most rabbits get enough sodium from pellets, vegetables and hay without the need for a salt toy. Consuming too much sodium can lead to digestive complications.
Use a salt wheel for your rabbit sparingly as a treat when they seem bored or save your money for higher quality hay and pellets.
Do Rabbits Need Salt Spools?
Salt spools or salt wheels are meant to supplement the sodium needs for bunnies, but they are not absolutely essential. Your rabbit will enjoy it and prevention of boredom can be attributed to a salt toy in the enclosure.
Also, there is enough evidence that licking along with some gnawing on the salt toys, help to wear down rabbit teeth that constantly grow.
This is why we introduced the salt wheel in our rabbits’ enclosures. Nevertheless, we don’t leave it there all day and night.
Can Salt Kill Rabbits?
Too much of anything can kill your rabbit. This includes an overdose of sodium. Rabbits have an extremely sensitive digestive system and need to munch all day long on hay and other familiar food items.
They shouldn’t be ingesting junk foods or high sodium products. Sometimes we provide rabbits with salt licks to give some enrichment and prevent boredom, knowing that sodium is healthy in regulated amounts.
Your rabbit shouldn’t be licking salt wheels all day long, but it’s a fun activity at certain points of the day for your bunny to enjoy.
What Age Can Rabbits Have Salt Licks?
Baby bunnies do not need salt licks or salt wheels. They can rely on their mother for now and we will be there to make sure they are warm and nourished in a safe shelter.
Baby bunnies at about 4 months of age is where we call “the salty spot” instead of “the sweet spot”. We give rabbits an introduction to salt wheels at 4 months of age and go from there.
How Much Sodium Do Rabbits Need?
Only 0.5% of a rabbit’s daily dietary intake is salt. We don’t need to overdo it. A rabbit’s instinct to increase the amount of salt they need kicks in when they fall below this daily dietary percentage for sodium.
They will look to eat more of what is available to absorb more sodium, but you can give them shortcuts.
Instead of letting them pack more and more food in their bellies to get that salt, a rabbit could find the salt wheel much easier and convenient to satisfy this daily sodium need.
What Is the Purpose of Salt Licks for Rabbits?
Before there were carefully formulated rabbit pellets, many rabbit owners would resort to salt spools or salt licks. A rabbit would know instinctively that a lack of sodium needs a direct uptick of salt. They will go over to the salt lick to satisfy their needs.
In some cases a rabbit can be over-licking out of stress, discomfort, fear or a great need for salt. Too much use of a salt lick could lead to digestion issues. The nerves, muscles and fluid regulation of a rabbit are assisted with salt licks.
Do Rabbits Lick for Salt or Affection?
Rabbits that lick you often are obtaining salt from your skin. Dogs and cats do this as well. Salt licks can help your beloved rabbit to focus their love and attention on something else instead of licking you.
Sorry, but affection from a rabbit correlates with trust and as long as you can snuggle together, sit close or hold your rabbit, you don’t need to get licked. Try a salt lick or salt wheel instead.
Salt wheels are entertaining, but not essential for your rabbit. They can help to wear down teeth and avoid boredom.
If only 0.5% of daily dietary needs for your rabbit comes from sodium, then a salt wheel is not crucial. You can offer this as a toy for enrichment and a supplement when pellet intake is low for your rabbit.
We recommend waiting until your rabbit is 4 months of age or older before introducing salt wheels. Start slowly and don’t leave the salt wheel in the enclosure 24 hours a day for now.
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