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Yes, they do, but they don’t need supplementary salt. At least, they don’t unless your vet has told you that they do. But a healthy rabbit with a good diet (85% hay, 10% veggies, 5% pellets) will get all the salt they require from their diet.
Do Rabbits need salt licks?
No, but that won’t stop pet shops from trying to sell you them.
The thing is, a healthy diet should always provide all the vitamins and minerals that a mammal needs.
It’s a bit different for animals like reptiles because they need extra light and minerals to make up for the lack of sunlight, but it seems like mineral licks for small animals are just a way for pet companies to make money. I kind of think the same thing about treats. They’re not necessary, they’re just something else to sell to worried customers.
You may watch a wildlife documentary showing all the animals chilling at the salt lick, but that’s to make up for a nutritionally deficient diet, which a pet shouldn’t have.
How to make sure your rabbit has a balanced diet
The key to a healthy diet for a rabbit is hay, and lots of it. Rabbits don’t strictly need pellet food, but it’s an easy way to make sure they’re getting the correct micronutrients. Veggies such as romaine lettuce and herbs also provide additional vitamins.
If your rabbit is eating a great diet, they’ll get all the salts they need from their diet.
It’s common to see wild rabbits eating salt that’s been put out for livestock or whatever, but remember that a wild rabbit doesn’t have access to unlimited food. The grass they’re eating may be depleted in minerals, so they have to get salt from elsewhere.
Why salt licks are bad for rabbits
It’s unlikely that a salt lick will hurt your rabbit, since rabbit SHOULD be able to tell when to and when not to eat extra salt. However, salt licks are great, chewable toys, so your rabbit may end up taking in too much salt through playing with the salt lick.
Do you need a salt lick to wear down a rabbit’s teeth?
Nope – that’s hay’s job. If you’re worried about your rabbit’s teeth and you want to something to wear them down, you’re better off getting them a wooden chew toy to do this (though mine prefer to chew the wooden parts of their pen, or preferably, the sofa). Rabbits like toys that are fixed down, which is why they chew things like sofas.
What to do if you think your rabbit is nutritionally deficient
If your rabbit is eating well and seems happy and healthy, there’s so reason to think that they’ll have a nutritional deficiency. However, there’s always the vet if you’re worried.