Rabbit Awareness Week: Protect And Prevent Through Neutering And Nutrition

27th June 2023
Awareness Days
Rabbit Awareness Week
Small animals

Did you know that a staggering 80% of unneutered female rabbits develop cancer of the womb by the age of five?1 And in 2023, 43% of rabbits are not neutered (470,000)?2 These alarming statistics form the core message of this year’s Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) – Neutering: Protect and Prevent.

The theme highlights the fact that neutering is not just about preventing unwanted litters, but it can also help to prevent diseases linked to reproductive organs and allows rabbits to live safely in pairs or groups, which significantly contributes to their overall health and welfare.

Now in its 17th year, RAW is the annual campaign organised by the Rabbit Awareness Action Group (RAAG) ‘the trusted voice for rabbit welfare in the UK’. The aim is to educate owners on all aspects of rabbit care and improve the lives of the estimated 1.1 million pet rabbits in the UK today.2

And they’ve had some impactful results, including a significant decrease in the number of rabbits living alone – from 67% in 2011 to 42% in 2020; and fewer rabbits being fed muesli as one of their main food types – down from 49% in 2011 to 18% in 2020.1

However, RAAG recognises that ‘rabbits remain one of the UK’s most owned, but least understood animals’ and they remain committed to raising awareness of the five key welfare needs of rabbits and are asking all retailers, rescues and vets to join them.

The five key welfare needs of rabbits (RAAG):

  1. Environment: a hutch is not enough. Rabbits’ housing should be a minimum enclosure size of 3m x 2m x 1m high. They should be able to stand up without their ears touching the roof, lie stretched right out and hop at least three times.
  2. Diet: move away from muesli, which can cause serious health problems. Rabbits should be fed at least their own body size in good quality hay each day, supplemented by a spoonful of nuggets and a handful of greens.
  3. Behaviour: allow rabbits to exhibit their natural behaviours. Help rabbits to be the active, playful, inquisitive, and sociable animals they are.
  4. Companionship: always keep your rabbits in pairs or groups. Rabbits are incredibly sociable animals and if they don’t have the right company and lots of fun things to do, they can suffer.
  5. Health: the benefits of a good diet and neutering. The most common health problems faced by rabbits come about simply because they are not given the right diet. Up to 80% of unneutered female rabbits can develop cancer of the uterus by the age of five. Un-neutered males can be aggressive to other rabbits, yet neutered males can live happily with male and female rabbits.

For more detail or to download the Rabbit Care Guide for your rabbit owners   – https://rabbitawarenessactiongroup.co.uk/rabbit-welfare/

Helping your rabbit owners choose the best food products for their rabbits

As previously mentioned, there has been a significant drop in the percentage of rabbits fed muesli, but the 2023 PDSA Animal Wellbeing (Paw) Report2 suggests that 150,000 rabbits are still being fed a diet that could have adverse effects on their health. Whilst only 73% of owners feed hay to their rabbits as one of their main foods.

But the same report also reveals that 33% of rabbit owners turn to a vet or vet nurse for advice when it comes to choosing their pet’s food. This presents a prime opportunity for you to stock a range of high-quality, nutritious, and tailor-made food you can recommend to your rabbit owners, to ensure the health and wellbeing of their pets.

Our top pick of products

Selective Rabbit Timothy Hay

This premium quality Timothy Feeding Hay comes from the first cut of the year, fresh from the fields. It’s harvested from carefully chosen Timothy grass which produces the largest, tastiest seed heads and long large blades. This encourages rabbits to forage through the stems and leaves and promotes active chewing for healthy teeth. It’s also rich in indigestible fibre to help stimulate gut mobility.

Visit NVS Online for more information and pricing

Selective Adult Rabbit Food

Made from high-quality ingredients, formulated to provide a complete and balanced meal. These pellets have a high fibre content (25%) to promote natural abrasion of the teeth and increase the growth of good bacteria in the digestive system. It also contains linseed, an excellent source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 that contributes to beautiful fur and healthy skin.

Visit NVS Online for more information and pricing

Selective Naturals Small Animal Garden Stick Treats

These Small Animal Garden Stick Treats with pea and mint are high in fibre (25%) with no added sugar. Perfect for hand feeding, interaction, and bonding, they contain linseed – a natural source of Omega 3 and 6, for healthy skin and fur.

Visit NVS Online for more information and pricing


  1. https://rabbitawarenessactiongroup.co.uk/
  2. 2023 PDSA Animal Wellbeing (Paw) Report https://www.pdsa.org.uk/what-we-do/pdsa-animal-wellbeing-report/paw-report-2023