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Best Rabbit Dog Food: Hoppin’ Good Eats!

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Dog Food By Ben Team 22 min read April 8, 2021 4 Comments

rabbit dog food

We’ve been talking a lot lately about dog foods that skip chicken, beef, and pork in lieu of more unusual proteins.

We’ve covered bison– and alligator-based foods already, so today we’ll be concentrating on dog foods made with rabbit.

Rabbit is an especially attractive protein for dogs, as it is not only lean and delicious, but nutritious too.  

We’ll start by recommending five of our favorite dry (kibble) foods made with rabbit and then cover three of our favorite canned options. A

fter discussing the best rabbit foods around, we’ll talk about the nutritional value of the meat and the things you want to look for when picking a specific product for your dog.  

Quick Picks: Best Rabbit Dog Foods

  • Instinct Original Rabbit [Best Grain-free Recipe]! This protein-packed dog food is made with a rabbit and salmon as the first ingredients, with tasty freeze-dried raw bites!
  • Holistic Select Natural Rabbit & Lamb Meals Recipe [Best for Digestion]. This digestion-focused features 10 probiotic strains in a recipe that relies on rabbit and lamb as the main protein sources.
  • Stella & Chewy Rabbit Freeze-Dried Patties [Most Unique Option]. This rabbit-based freeze-dried food comes in patty form, made primarily of rabbit, organs, and bone. It also includes four different probiotic strains as well as pumpkin seeds for additional fiber.
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Real Rabbit Recipe [Best Limited Ingredient Diet] A limited-ingredient wet food which contains only a single protein source (rabbit) and no ingredients that commonly trigger allergies.
  • Merrick Lil’ Plates Rascally Rabbit Stew [Best For Small Dogs]. This tray-style wet food features rabbit as the main ingredient, along with chicken as an additional protein source. It’s formulated specifically for little tummies!

The Best Rabbit Dog Foods (Dry)

When most people speak of dog foods, they are referring to dry (kibble) products.

Kibble is certainly convenient, and it is usually a more affordable option than wet foods, so most owners will want to start their search for a rabbit-based food with one of the following five.  

1. Instinct Original Grain-Free Rabbit

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Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free Recipe with Real Rabbit

Instinct Original Grain-Free Rabbit

Rabbit-based kibble boosted with raw ingredients

Rabbit, salmon meal, and menhaden fish meal top this ingredient list for a mix of lean animal proteins in a grain-feee formula.

About: Instinct Original prides itself on making supremely nutritious foods, made from only the best ingredients available – including bits of raw, freeze-dried meats.

Their Real Rabbit Recipe may feature an unusual protein, but it is made with the same dedication to quality all of their other recipes are.

Features: Instinct Original Rabbit is a protein-packed dog food, made with a number of different meat-based items.

Rabbit tops the ingredient list, but salmon meal, menhaden fish meal, rabbit meal, and whitefish meal also appear in the first eight listed ingredients.

However, Instinct’s real claim to fame lies in their inclusion of raw, freeze-dried meats and organ meats. This particular recipe contains freeze-dried rabbit (with ground rabbit bone), as well as freeze-dried rabbit liver, lung, and kidney.

These organ meats not only provide a taste that dogs love, they’re also rich in vitamins and minerals.

A grain-free food, Instinct Original Rabbit uses chickpeas instead of grains or potatoes.

Peas, carrots, apples, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds are also included for extra fiber, flavor, and antioxidants.

This food is fortified with a single probiotic strain, which may help promote proper digestion. Instinct Original is also made in the USA with no grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meal, artificial colors or preservatives.

PROS

Instinct Original is a pretty attractive option that provides most of the features and benefits owners would want from a premium dog food. It’s full of rabbit and other proteins, contains no grains, features several nutritious fruits and vegetables, and it is fortified with a probiotic. It even features raw, freeze-dried meats, which many owners like giving their dog. 

CONS

The only real shortcoming of Instinct Original is the cost – this is a pretty expensive dog food. While the mix of animal proteins is tasty and nutrious, some owners may prefer fewer protein sources in the case of dogs with allergies.

Ingredients List

Rabbit, Salmon Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Chickpeas, Canola Oil...,

(preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Tapioca, Rabbit Meal, White Fish Meal (Pacific Whiting, Pacific Sole, Pacific Rockfish), Dried Tomato Pomace, Natural Flavor, Peas, Montmorillonite Clay, Carrots, Apples, Cranberries, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin), Choline Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Freeze Dried Rabbit (including Freeze Dried Ground Rabbit Bone), Potassium Chloride, Salt, Pumpkinseeds, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Freeze Dried Rabbit Liver, Freeze Dried Rabbit Lung, Freeze Dried Rabbit Kidney, Rosemary Extract

2. Holistic Select Natural Rabbit & Lamb

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Holistic Select Natural Rabbit & Lamb Meals Recipe

Holistic Select Rabbit & Lamb

Digestion-focused rabbit recipe

This grain and potato-free recipe features rabbit and lamb meal as the first two ingredients and is fortified with 10 different probiotic strains.

About: Holistic Select produces premium foods made from all-natural ingredients and no corn or artificial additives.

They are designed to be very easy for dogs to digest and, unlike some foods made with an abundance of simple carbs, provide your pet with a healthy coat and energy that will last for hours.     

Features: The first thing many owners will notice about the Holistic Select Natural Rabbit & Lamb Meals Recipe is that it does not feature a whole protein at the top of the ingredient list.

However, it does list rabbit meal and lamb meal as the first and second ingredients, respectively. Rabbit meal and lamb meal are both high-value ingredients, and dogs usually love the way they taste.

Chickpeas, lentils, and peas provide the bulk of the carbohydrate content of this grain- and potato-free recipe.

It includes dried beet pulp and pumpkin, which are both rich in fiber; flaxseed and canola oil, which are full of omega-3 fatty acids; and cranberries, papaya, blueberries, and pomegranate, which are packed with antioxidants.

This recipe comes fortified with 10(!) different probiotic strains to help improve your dog’s elimination habits and promote good health. Glucosamine is also included to help prevent joint problems.

Holistic Select Natural Rabbit & Lamb Meals Recipe is made in the USA.

PROS

Where do we start? Healthy proteins? Check. High-value carbs? Check. Plenty of tasty fats, colorful fruits, and important supplements? Check, check, check and – you guessed it – check. And while ten different strains of probiotics may be overkill, this broad collection of bacterial strains may be just what some dogs need to digest their food properly.

CONS

The lack of a whole protein is a bummer, especially given the price tag associated with this food. Additionally, we always prefer foods that have lots of reviews from happy owners, but this recipe hasn’t earned many reviews at all yet. However, many of Holistic Select’s other foods have received great reviews.

Ingredients List

Rabbit Meal, Lamb Meal, Chickpeas, Lentils, Peas, Canola Oil...,

(preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Flaxseed, Pumpkin, Cranberries, Apples, Brewers Dried Yeast, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Papaya, Blueberries, Pomegranate, Vitamin E Supplement, Taurine, Inulin, Dried Kelp, Zinc Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Yucca schidigera Extract, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Ground Cinnamon, Ground Fennel, Ground Peppermint, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Dried Lactobacillus bulgaricus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus thermophilus Fermentation Product, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Dried Bacillus licheniformis Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Trichoderma reesei Fermentation Product, Dried Rhizopus oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

3. Merrick Real Rabbit and Chickpea

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Merrick Real Rabbit and Chickpea Recipe

Merrick Real Rabbit and Chickpea Recipe

Grain-free, chickpea-based recipe

This recipe features an impressive selection of proteins, including real deboned rabbit, along with turkey, lamb, and pork meal at the top of the ingredient list for a protein-packed composition.

About: Merrick Real Rabbit and Chickpea Recipe is a top-tier dog food that’s made in the USA. With a variety of natural ingredients but without grains, Merrick recipes provide the kind of nutrition that many dog owners want for their pet.

Features: Merrick Real Rabbit and Chickpea Recipe features real, deboned rabbit at the top of the ingredient list, but it also contains a number of supplemental proteins, including turkey meal, lamb meal, and pork meal.

Even the primary carbohydrate sources – chickpeas and peas – are rich in protein.

Several other nutritious ingredients appear farther down the ingredient list. This includes not only flavorful chicken fat and salmon oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids, but apples and blueberries which provide a taste dog’s love and the antioxidants that may help support your dog’s immune system.

Four probiotics round out the ingredient list and help promote proper digestion and problem-free elimination.

PROS

Merrick Real Rabbit & Chickpea has a lot going for it. It features an impressive selection of proteins, including real rabbit, and the grain-free, chickpea-based recipe appeals to many owners. Most dogs find that it tastes great, and several owners report improvements in coat quality, mobility, and elimination habits after giving it a try.

CONS

Simply put, Merrick ain’t cheap. But that’s to be expected of any premium food, and this one provides very competitive value for its price point. Like some other foods on this list, it may not be a good choice for dogs with food allergies, as it features multiple protein sources.

Ingredients List

Deboned Rabbit, Turkey Meal, Lamb Meal, Pork Meal, Chickpeas...,

Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Peas, Tapioca, Natural Flavor, Pea Protein, Salmon Oil (source of Omega-3 fatty acids), Apples, Blueberries, Organic Alfalfa, Salt, Choline Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Amino Acid Complex, Sodium Selenite), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate), Yucca schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract.

4. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Absolutely Rabbit Patties

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Stella & Chewy

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Patties

Freeze-dried rabbit meat patties

Freeze-dried rabbit patties composed of a single protein (rabbit) along with healthy fruits & veggies.

About: Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried recipes give owners a different way to feed their dogs.

Made in the form of a freeze-dried patty, these foods can be fed as-is, or rehydrated by mixing them with a little water or salt-free broth.

You can give them to large dogs whole (each one weighs about half an ounce), or break them into smaller pieces for smaller canines.   

Features: Stella & Chewy’s Absolutely Rabbit Recipe – like most other Stella & Chewy’s recipes – is primarily comprised of rabbit, organs, and bone (which make up 90% of this food’s composition), with a few awesome fats, fruits, and vegetables thrown in for good measure.

Four probiotic strains are included to promote digestive health, and a litany of organic produce – including rarely seen items like beets – help ensure your dog gets plenty of antioxidants.

Pumpkin seeds are also included as a fiber source (although they also provide a flavor that some dogs love).

All of the ingredients used in these recipes are sustainably sourced, and they never originate in China. The patties are made in small batches, right in Stella & Chewy’s US-based kitchens.

PROS

Just look at the ingredient list – the first two lines look like they were taken from a fancy gourmet recipe. Organic dog food advocates will love the number of organic ingredients in the food, and it provides most of the major nutritional benefits (omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, and antioxidants) you could want. It’s easy to use and, according to most owners, dogs go crazy for the taste.

CONS

Stella & Chewy’s Absolutely Rabbit sounds phenomenal, but it is likely prohibitively expensive for large dogs. Hundred-pound dogs may need more than 20 patties a day if you rely on them for all your pet’s calories. You’d polish off a package every other day at that rate. You could, however, use it as a treat or topper for big dogs.

Ingredients List

Rabbit with ground bone, olive oil, rabbit liver, pumpkin seed...,

organic cranberries, organic spinach, organic broccoli, organic beets, organic carrots, organic squash, organic blueberries, fenugreek seed, potassium chloride, dried kelp, sodium phosphate, tocopherols (preservative), choline chloride, dried Pediococcus acidilactici fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium longum fermentation product, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, taurine, calcium carbonate, vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid.

5. Grandma Lucy’s PUREformance Freeze-Dried Rabbit

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Grandma Lucy

Grandma Lucy’s PUREformance

Freeze-dried USDA rabbit

This easy-to-prepare freeze-dried food features USDA rabbit as the first ingredient, and contains no grains, by-products, preservatives or GMOs.

About: Grandma Lucy’s PUREformance USDA Rabbit Recipe is a freeze-dried dog food that you’ll prepare in oatmeal-like fashion before feeding to your dog.

87% of the ingredients in this food are sourced from the USA, and it is made in Grandma Lucy’s family-owned facilities in southern California.

Features: The ingredient list for Grandma Lucy’s USDA Rabbit Recipe starts exactly the way you’d want, with rabbit appearing at the top of the list.

Chickpeas and flax serve as the primary carbohydrates, and a litany of fruits and vegetables – including carrots, celery, apples, bananas, blueberries, and more – provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

All of these fruits and vegetables provide another benefit too: They increase the fiber content of the food. This can help keep your dog feeling full for longer and promote proper digestion.

Grandma Lucy’s USDA Rabbit Recipe – like most of the other recipes in this product line – is packed with protein. In total, 36% of the calories come from protein, which is not only great for adult dogs, but it even makes this food suitable for puppies, as well as pregnant or lactating females.

PROS

Grandma Lucy’s Rabbit Recipe satisfies almost every criteria dog owners could want. Most dogs love the taste and moist consistency of the food, while owners appreciate the high-quality ingredients used in the recipe. And, because it is based on a single protein, it may be helpful for dogs who suffer from food allergies.

CONS

The fiber content of this food actually proved to be too much for some dogs, according to owner reports. It is also quite expensive and fails to include any probiotics, so you may want to pick up a supplement for your pooch.

Ingredients List

Rabbit, Chickpeas, Flax, Carrots, Celery, Apples, Bananas...,

Blueberries, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Papaya, Spinach, Garlic, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Calcium Carbonate, Phosphorous, Zinc Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Monoitrate, Potassium Chloride, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Magnesium Chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Cyanocobalamin.

The Three Best Rabbit Dog Foods (Canned / Wet)

Most owners feed their dog kibble because of the convenience and cost-savings it offers.

However, canned or wet foods make sense in some situations, such as dogs who don’t usually drink enough water or suffer from dental problems.

They’re also marvelous for tempting dogs with picky palates.

The three below are all great options for owners who want a canned food made from rabbit.

1. Instinct LID Rabbit

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Nature

Instinct LID Rabbit

Limited-ingredient, grain-free wet food

This limited-ingredient formula uses rabbit as the single animal protein, making it great for doggos with allergies.

About: Nature’s Variety Real Rabbit Recipe is a limited-ingredient dog food, which contains only a single protein.

So, while you can certainly feed this to dogs without food allergies, it is an especially attractive option for those who get itchy skin when they eat chicken, beef, or other common proteins.

Features: Nature’s Variety Real Rabbit Recipe doesn’t contain that many ingredients at all. Rabbit and rabbit liver provide the bulk of the protein, and peas are the only other food used in the recipe.

The remaining items that appear on the label include vitamins, minerals, and ingredients used to provide the proper consistency and prevent spoilage.

This limited list of ingredients means that Nature’s Variety Real Rabbit Recipe doesn’t contain any grains, soy, dairy, or eggs – all of which can trigger food allergies in some dogs. This recipe is designed for adult dogs, and it is made in the USA.

PROS

Because the recipe includes very few ingredients, it is a great option for treating dogs with food allergies. Most owners reported that their dog liked the taste of Instinct LID Rabbit, and several mentioned a reduction in itchiness as well as improved coat and skin condition.

CONS

Like most other canned foods, Instinct Rabbit is more expensive than kibble, but it is also pretty pricey when compared to other wet foods. Some owners complained that the food seemed too watery, but, as long as your dog doesn’t mind, this isn’t a huge problem.

Ingredients List

Rabbit, Water, Rabbit Liver, Pea Protein, Peas, Montmorillonite Clay...,

Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Proteinate, Potassium Iodide), Salt, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate

2. Merrick Backcountry Rabbit Stew

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Merrick Backcountry Rabbit Stew

Merrick Backcountry Rabbit Stew

Great-tasting and nutritious diet

This grain-free recipe features real deboned rabbit as well as turkey and a host of added vitamins and minerals.

About: Merrick Backcountry Rabbit Stew is a hearty canned recipe that is designed to please your pup’s palate and provide him with the nutrition he needs to remain fit and healthy.

Features: Merrick Backcountry Rabbit Stew’s featured ingredient is real, deboned rabbit, but it is also made with deboned turkey and turkey liver for additional protein.

Chicken broth and turkey broth are used to provide the proper consistency and for additional flavor.

A grain-free recipe, Merrick Backcountry Rabbit Stew relies on peas and sweet potatoes to provide the carbohydrate content.

Most of the other ingredients included are used to preserve the food and to provide the necessary vitamins and minerals.

However, it does contain flaxseed oil, sunflower oil, and salmon oil, which are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

This food is appropriate for dogs of all life stages, including puppies and reproductively active females. It is cooked in the USA.

PROS

Most owners were pleased with Merrick Backcountry Rabbit Stew and reported that their dog appeared to like the taste — several even reported that this food was great for tempting picky dogs. A few owners also mentioned that they liked the way the food smelled when the cans were opened.

CONS

A few owners complained that they thought the food would be comprised of real cuts of rabbit. However, it is actually a pâté-like food, which has been cut into small cubes and then mixed with gravy. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it may not be what some owners want.

Ingredients List

Deboned Rabbit, Chicken Broth, Turkey Broth, Deboned Turkey...,

Peas, Turkey Liver, Dried Egg Product, Carrots, Pea Protein, Sweet Potatoes, Potato Starch, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Flaxseed Oil, Sunflower Oil, Salmon Oil, Guar Gum, Caramel Color, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodate, Cobalt Glucoheptonate, Sodium Selenite), Xanthan Gum, Cinnamon, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate).

3. Merrick Lil’ Plates Rascally Rabbit Stew

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Merrick Lil

Merrick Lil’ Plates Rascally Rabbit Stew

Succulent stew designed for small and toy breeds

This small-dog-friendly food features a mix of rabbit and chicken proteins in an easy-open tray.

About: Merrick Lil’ Plates are grain-free recipes designed specifically for small dogs. They come in small plastic trays with a removable lid, which makes them convenient to offer to your pet.

Features: Merrick Lil’ Plates Rascally Rabbit Stew is full of great ingredients, including deboned rabbit, which tops the list.

It also features chicken liver, deboned chicken, and egg whites as supplemental proteins. Two different broths – venison and chicken – are used to provide the proper consistency and improve the flavor.

Unlike some other wet foods, which are made without many fruits or vegetables, Rascally Rabbit Stew features carrots, apples, and pears, to help ensure your dog gets the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants he needs. Potatoes provide the bulk of the carbohydrate content and help make the food hearty and filling.

Merrick Lil’ Plates Rascally Rabbit Stew is cooked in the USA and designed for small-breed adults.  

PROS

This food is made with a number of very tasty ingredients, and several owners reported that their dog loved the recipe. It may also be a great topper for dogs who normally eat a kibble-based diet.

CONS

There aren’t many problems with Merrick Lil’ Plates Rascally Rabbit Stew, but it isn’t a good choice for dogs with food allergies, as it contains several chicken-based ingredients (including eggs).

Ingredients List

Deboned Rabbit, Venison Broth, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver...,

Deboned Chicken, Dried Egg Whites, Carrots, Potato Starch, Potatoes, Apples, Peas, Guar Gum, Sunflower Oil, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate, Potassium Iodide), Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Xanthan Gum.

What Makes Rabbit So Special?

Rabbit isn’t a terribly common protein in dog foods, but that’s beginning to change as more and more owners are learning about the value it provides. A lot of people are even starting to incorporate rabbit-based dishes into their own diets.

A few of the reasons rabbit meat is a good protein source for dogs include:

Rabbit Is Delicious

Although rabbit has a reputation for being gamey, that doesn’t seem to bother dogs, who usually love the way rabbit meat tastes.

Additionally, this gamey taste is characteristic of wild rabbits, who feed on grasses, forbs (like sunflowers), and fruits. Domestic rabbits, who are often fed commercially produced feeder pellets, don’t develop a gamey taste.

Many people who’ve tried farmed rabbit characterize its taste as chicken-like.

 Rabbit Has More Protein than Many Other Common Choices

Your dog needs quite a bit of protein to remain healthy and happy, so it is often a good idea to opt for meats that contain the most protein per ounce possible.

Rabbit definitely fits this bill, as it contains 6.1 grams of protein per ounce. This means that rabbit has more protein per unit than chicken, turkey, beef, duck, lamb, or pork.

rabbit food

 Rabbit May Be a Good Choice for Dogs with Food Allergies

Many dogs struggle with the itchy skin, poor coat condition, and (less frequently) intestinal disturbances caused by food allergies. Often, the primary protein used in a dog food — usually chicken, beef or pork — turns out to be the allergic trigger.

To help allergic dogs feel better, it is often necessary to switch their diet to one based on a novel protein they’ve never been exposed to. Rabbit works quite well in this context, as relatively few dog foods are made with rabbit meat.

 Rabbit Meat Is Full of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is important for your dog’s nervous system and energy level.

And while most dog foods are supplemented with B vitamins (among others), it is always preferable to obtain vitamins directly from the ingredients included in a given food. Rabbit is packed with B12, making it a fantastic protein source for dogs.

Things to Look for in Any Dog Food

Whether you are looking for a food made from rabbit, alligator, bison, or kangaroo, there are a few criteria you’ll want to satisfy when making your choice. It isn’t always possible to check off every box on the list with a single food, but do your best to find one that:

 Features a Whole Protein at the Beginning of the Ingredient List

Dogs need a food that is rich in protein, so you’ll want to select one that features a whole protein – rabbit, in this case – at the beginning of the ingredient list.

Supplemental proteins, such as meat meals and byproducts, are excellent additions, but they should be listed farther down the ingredient list.

 Is Made Without Artificial Colors, Flavors, or Preservatives

Artificial additives are unnecessary and potentially problematic ingredients which have no place in a high-quality dog food.

Foods made with tasty ingredients don’t need artificial flavors, your dog doesn’t care what color his food is, and dog foods can be preserved naturally with vitamins and mixed tocopherols.

 Not Contain Any Unidentified (or Poorly Identified) Meat Meals or Byproducts

As mentioned above, meat meals and meat byproducts can be valuable ingredients to include in a dog food recipe.

However, they must always be properly labelled so that you know what your dog is getting. For example, foods made with “rabbit meal” are fine; foods made with “meat meal” should be avoided.

 Is Manufactured in a Country with High Safety and Quality-Control Standards

You always want to be confident that the food you give your dog is safe and properly made. And while there is no fool-proof way of doing so, sticking to foods made in countries with high safety and quality-control standards will help greatly.

This essentially means picking foods made in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or Western Europe.

 Is Fortified with Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that colonize your dog’s intestinal tract. They help your dog digest food, try to outcompete harmful bacteria, and encourage problem-free digestion.

Many of the best foods contain several probiotic strains, but you can always purchase a stand-alone supplement if necessary.

 Includes Ingredients That Contain Chondroitin and Glucosamine

Chondroitin and glucosamine are two compounds that help to protect your dog’s joints. And because many dogs suffer from joint problems as they age (including osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia, among others), feeding your dog a diet that contains ingredients with these substances can help prevent your dog from suffering these types of problems.   

Contains Plenty of Antioxidant-Rich Fruits and Vegetables

Dogs don’t need a ton of fruits and vegetables, but they do require some. This will help ensure they get all of the vitamins, minerals, and cell-protecting antioxidants that they need.

Many antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables – such as blueberries, pumpkin, and pomegranate – also improve the taste of the food.

***

As you can see, rabbit dog foods are attractive for several different reasons, so you may want to consider giving one a try.

Any of the eight products analyzed above should suit your dog well, so go ahead and pick your favorite. Just be sure to switch foods slowly and keep your vet in the loop anytime you make a substantive change in your dog’s diet.

Have you ever tried a rabbit-based dog food for your dog? How’d he like it? Did you stick with it and make the switch permanent? Let us know about your experiences – including the exact product you tried – in the comments below.

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Written by

Ben Team

Ben is the senior content editor for K9 of Mine and has spent most of his adult life working as a wildlife educator and animal-care professional. Ben’s had the chance to work with hundreds of different species, but his favorite animals have always been dogs. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his spoiled-rotten Rottweiler named J.B. Chances are, she’s currently giving him the eyes and begging to go to the park.

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Randa

My Lhasa and Shorkie are both sensitive to most proteins, especially chicken beef and lamb. I’ve been feeding them rabbit for 3 years, but there are limited choices without additional proteins that they can’t eat. That’s why I’m commenting… Merrick Lil Rabbit Stew isn’t safe for dogs allergic to chicken as its the 4tg ingredient

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Ben Team

Hey, Randa.

You’re right: A lot of rabbit-based dog foods also contain other proteins. In fact, it was tough for us to find many that were completely devoid of other animal proteins.
But there are a lot of reasons some owners like rabbit-based foods; not all owners seeking rabbit foods are doing so for food-allergy reasons. Some dogs like the taste, and rabbit is a very nutritious protein.

Nevertheless, we hear your frustration! We’d recommend going with Stella & Chewy’s Rabbit Recipe discussed above. It’s a little pricey, but it doesn’t contain any chicken, lamb, or other proteins.

Best of luck!

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Tamara Keene

I started feeding my dog Earthborne Venture Limited Ingredient rabbit kibble along with Instinct limited ingredient rabbit canned food about a month ago. My dog is 2 years old today! She started with vomiting issues at 7 months old, often times with blood in it. After several trips to the vet and much testing, it was assumed she had IBD. I have home cooked for my dogs for over 20 years and for this dog, I started using BalanceIt recipes to ensure she was getting what she needed. I joined an IBD facebook group and saw a lot of folks were using rabbit, so I decided to give it a try. She had been on Purina EN vet diet for about a month and was doing OK, but I didn’t like the ingredients. So far I can see she is doing very well on the rabbit diet (fingers crossed). She hasn’t been sick in almost a month and before it was 3-4 times a month consistently. So the only thing I’m uncomfortable with is the Earthborne food has a lot of peas and legumes in it and with the DCM scare, I’m not going to keep her on it for very long. But I will bask in her feeling well for the time being until I figure something else out. Thanks for the great article.

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Ben Team

Glad you enjoyed the article, Tamara, and we’re extremely happy you’ve found something that works for your pupper!
I would recommend discussing the DCM issue with your vet before you worry about making the switch. In your dog’s case, the benefits of the legume-rich diet may outweigh the potential risks.
Best of luck!

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