Rabbit meat is an often overlooked meat source for human and dog consumption alike. You may not be able to find rabbit meat on the shelves of your local grocery stores, but rabbit meat is often available at local markets, butchers, and specialty meat stores.
There is also a small selection of commercial dog foods that use Rabbit meat as an ingredient. Rabbit meat is often considered to be Novel Meat and can be fed to dogs with severe dietary allergies or sensitivities.
Other examples of Novel Meats could be Kangaroo, Venison, and Aligator. Find out more about Novel Meat Diets and how to deal with allergies in dogs in our Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food Guide.
The primary Logic behind feeding dog novel meats such as Rabbit meat is that most dogs will not have eaten rabbit meat previously and so are less likely to experience an adverse allergic reaction to the rabbit meat in comparison to more traditional meat ingredients such as Chicken or Beef.
However, Rabbit meat can also be fed to dogs without any allergies or sensitivities, as if it were any of the other common meat ingredients. Rabbit has a distinct taste which may be appealing to your dog either as a treat or on a regular basis.
For those unfamiliar with food allergies for pets, we’d recommend reading this short summary by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition.
Rabbit Meat Nutrition for Dogs
Rabbit meat is relatively low in fat and contains less fat per pound than the popular red meats such as Beef or Pork. While animal fat is essential to a dog’s diet, lower levels of fat can be advantageous to a select number of dogs. This includes senior dogs, dogs attempting weight loss, and dogs that are less active.
Not only can dog foods with lower levels of fat help with weight loss, but they can also be used to prevent weight gain or obesity, which is a fast-growing problem for dogs as owners are over-generous with treats or don’t monitor their dog’s food intake.
Rabbit meat has a generous proportion of protein. Protein from animals and fish is advantageous when compared to plant-based protein as it contains the full range of amino acids.
Also, some studies show that animal protein is more easily absorbed by a dog’s digestive system than plant-based protein.
Therefore protein from meat such as Rabbit should be at the core of any dog’s nutrition profile. A dog food formula that contains a sufficient proportion of rabbit meat will provide adequate protein for the growth, repair, and maintenance of a dog’s muscles.
Vitamin B12 is one of the most abundant in Rabbit meat. Vitamin B12 is vital for the health of a dog’s nervous system.
If a dog suffered from a lack of Vitamin B12, this could negatively affect their senses, such as their sight, hearing, and smell. Other common sources of Vitamin B12 are organ meat and fish like Trout.
Rabbit meat is high in some crucial minerals such as Phosphorous. Phosphorous is vital in a dog’s diet as it plays a role in the repair and maintenance of the body’s cells, especially a dog’s bones and teeth.
While balancing the intake of phosphorus and calcium in a dog’s diet is an elaborate and complicated discussion, it is simple enough to say that rabbit meat can positively contribute to this balance.
Find out more about the importance of balancing minerals such as phosphorous in large and giant breed puppies in our Best Puppy Food Article.
Selenium is another essential mineral that Rabbit meat has high levels of. Selenium has two primary purposes for dogs; firstly, it aids the body’s immune system, which is critical to avoid sickness and fight off dangerous infections.
Secondly, Selenium is critical in maintaining proper thyroid function in dogs and humans, and therefore, an appropriate quantity of Selenium in a dog’s diet can help avoid thyroid-related conditions.
Is Rabbit Meat or Rabbit Dog Food Expensive?
The cost of Rabbit meat varies significantly and is primarily dependant on where in the world you are located. For example, in many European countries such as Spain, rabbit meat is relatively inexpensive.
Whereas in other countries such as the United States of America, fresh rabbit meat is hard to acquire and can often be quite expensive.
Contrary to popular belief, Rabbits can be farmed similarly to other more traditional farm animals such as chickens, cows, or pigs.
This is a necessary evil for Rabbit meat to be affordable as modern farming techniques lower the overall cost of meat production.
Most, if not all, Rabbit meat found in the dog food mentioned in this article will be from Rabbit farms as they need an abundant and reliable source in order to maintain production.
We have found that many of the dog food formulas that contain Rabbit meat are not notably more expensive than recipes that include traditional meats.
For example, we found on Chewy that Instinct’s Original Chicken recipe was the same price as their Original Rabbit recipe for a 20-lb bag.
For this reason, you should not become overly concerned about Rabbit dog food formulas being more costly unless you are attempting to buy fresh Rabbit to create your own homemade dog food.
However, dog food with Rabbit is certainly not going to be some of the cheapest available, and formulas that focus on meats such as Chicken may be a better bet if you are on a tight budget.
Be sure to check out our article on the Best Dog Food At Walmart for some of the best low-cost dog food formulas that you can buy.
The Unique Benefits of Rabbit Meat
As we have discovered, Rabbit meat certainly seems to be an excellent source of nutrition for dogs, but it also has some other notable benefits which many of us wouldn’t be aware of or would overlook. While these factors may not directly benefit your dog, they are nevertheless worth noting.
Rabbit meat is one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable meats to produce. In comparison to traditional meats such as Beef, Rabbits can consume as little as six times less feed or water to provide the same quantity of meat.
Also, Rabbits need a far smaller space to thrive than other farm animals. In many European countries, where farming land is at a premium, Rabbits could provide an efficient solution to this problem without having to resort to factory farming or imports.
Rabbit fur is also in high demand, which ensures that none of the Rabbit is wasted. Rabbit fur has a range of uses, such as being used to produce fur clothing, part of stuffing within toys or pillows, or used to create complete sets of bedding.
The fur is easily workable and dyeable, which is a significant advantage. While many consumers would frown upon the use of animals furs in clothing, it is no different from leather, which is harvested from livestock cows and used to produce shoes, clothes, and other products that almost all of us use.
Best Dog Foods With Rabbit
The Original range by Nature’s Variety Instinct is a classic and one of the most consistent dry dog food range’s on offer in the United States.
Instinct’s recipes use high-quality ingredients to provide excellent nutrition at a very competitive price in comparison to other premium dog food brands.
The brand is best known for its raw, semi-raw, and raw-coated products, which many dogs find extremely enticing and appealing.
While we are going to focus on their Rabbit recipe, the Original range has recipes with many of the traditional meat and fish ingredients in dog food, such as recipes with Beef, Chicken, and Salmon.
You can learn more about Nature’s Variety Instinct, including information on their raw recipes, their ingredient selection, their full product range, and their recall history in our Nature’s Variety Brand Review.
Despite being more niche, their Rabbit formula, however, is one of their best recipes. It combines a significant portion of Rabbit meat with other high-quality fish ingredients like fresh Salmon and Whitefish.
These fish ingredients provide high levels of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which are proven to be beneficial and can help keep your dog’s skin and coat in excellent condition, while the large portion of rabbit meat provides a superb base proportion of protein, far above most formulas.
The Rabbit recipe also includes a mix of plant-based ingredients such as whole Chickpeas and Tapioca, which are regular additions to dry dog food recipes and can act as sources of carbohydrates and fiber for healthy digestion.
While Tapioca is a little-known ingredient in the western world, it is far more common in other regions such as South America. If you’d like to find out more about Tapioca and why it’s used in dog food, you can do so in our article Tapioca In Dog Food.
Finally, the formula contains a small portion of Tomato Pomace, which provides soluble fiber to further aid digestion and small quantities of fruits like Cranberries and Apples, which can boost the levels of certain vitamins and minerals.
Nature’s Logic is a lesser-known dog food brand, but that doesn’t diminish its strengths, and it is a fantastic option for those on the lookout for Rabbit recipes.
Nature’s Logic produces a range of dog food formulas, including several that utilize less common meat and fish ingredients such as Sardine, Venison, Lamb, and Rabbit.
Many of these ingredients are considered to be Novel Meat ingredients, which can make Nature’s Logic very appealing to those dogs with severe allergies.
One of the most significant advantages of Nature’s Logic, compared to their competitors, is that they very clearly display a vast range of nutritional and Ingredient information on their website, which is far more than other similar brands.
The information provided includes accurate levels of a wide variety of micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals in addition to the core nutrients like protein, fat, and fiber. You can see an example of this information below.
In addition to detailed dry matter analysis like this, Nature’s Logic also shows you exactly where their ingredients are sourced from on an easy to distinguish map.
This level of transparency is unheard of and shows they are passionate about dog nutrition and not ashamed of the nutrition their formulas provide or the source of their ingredients, which is something that many other dog food brands could not say with confidence.
You can learn more about Nature’s Logic, including its recall history and its full product range, in our Nature’s Logic Brand Review.
Their Rabbit Formula maintains the high standards of all of their dry dog food recipes and is very high in protein, which, as we mention regularly, should be at the core of every dog’s diet.
However, like several others listed here, the formula doesn’t just contain Rabbit and also contains a smaller portion of Turkey and Pork Liver. Pork Liver can be an excellent addition to a dog food recipe as it can provide unique minerals and vitamins that traditional meat cuts can not.
One of the other unique traits of Nature’s Logic is their consistent use of a very specific grain ingredient which is Millet.
While some look down upon Millet, it can be a very viable and consistent plant-based ingredient and a great choice for those who do not react well to other grains or to vegetables like Peas and Chickpeas.
Many of the new grain-inclusive recipes and ranges offered by dog food brands include Millet and similar grains, which has been one of the primary reasons its use has grown.
You can learn more about Millet, including its background, its nutritional value, and which brands are using it in our article Millet In Dog Food.
Merrick is another well-known brand in the high-quality pet food sphere and is often seen on the shelves of large and small pet food stores.
However, in 2015, Merrick was bought by Nestle Purina, which many will know as the producers of brands like Purina Pro Plan and Purina One.
While not everyone may be a fan of this acquisition, Merrick can benefit from the decades of research and expertise at Purina, which is one of the most advanced pet food companies in the world.
You can learn more about this acquisition and other important information such as nutritional value and recall history in our Merrick Brand Review.
One of the most notable advantages of Merrick is that they produce a vast range and variety of formulas, so there is almost always one that would appeal to your dog. This range includes several niche or uncommon formulas, such as one with Rabbit and others with Venison and Buffalo.
While Rabbit may be the primary meat source present in this Rabbit recipe, other meat ingredients are also present. Examples of these ingredients include Pork, Lamb, and Turkey. These additional meat ingredients alongside Rabbit are all ideally suited to a dog’s diet and are highly digestible.
Merrick’s Rabbit recipe is somewhat unique in that it uses Chickpeas as its primary source of carbohydrates rather than the vast majority of Merrick formulas that make use of Peas. While Chickpeas and Peas offer very similar nutrition, many dogs have adverse reactions to one or the other.
While this recipe is a great example of the use of uncommon meat ingredients like Rabbit, the large number and variety of meat and plant-based ingredients present may make this formula unsuitable for those looking to undergo a novel meat diet because of severe allergies.
Earthborn Holistic is not as well-known as Instinct or Merrick but is still a large player in the United States market and abroad. They are owned by Midwestern Pet Food, which also owns other smaller brands such as Pro Pac and Sportmix.
Earthborn Holistic’s Venture range has been aroundfor a few years now and is a group of limited ingredient formulas. They each combine a single high-quality source of meat or fish with a mix of vegetable ingredients.
As we discuss in our Hypoallergenic Dog Food Guide, Limited Ingredient recipes are designed to help dog owners identify allergies or intolerances by eliminating the vast majority of ingredients. Owners can then slowly reintroduce these ingredients over time to identify an allergy.
Some examples of non-Rabbit formulas in the Venture range include Alaska Pollock Meal and Pumpkin, Squid and Chickpeas, and Duck Meal and Pumpkin. While we won’t discuss these in this article, they are noteworthy and worthy of exploration.
The Rabbit formula from Earthborn Holistic uses Rabbit Meal as its primary source of Rabbit, which is a concentrated form of rabbit meat, which has had most of its moisture removed.
Many people look down upon meat meal ingredients such as Rabbit Meal and consider them to be low or poor-quality.
However, this is not accurate, and meat meal ingredients can be advantageous to dogs as they are a much denser source of protein and fat than whole meat ingredients that are mostly moisture.
Outside of Rabbit Meal, the formula also contains a mix of Peas and Pumpkin, which are both industry-standard vegetables that can provide carbohydrates and a plentiful supply of dietary fiber to aid digestion.
Pumpkin, in particular, is a fantastic inclusion as it contains a number of beneficial vitamins and minerals in addition to its carbohydrate and fiber content. You can learn more about Pumpkin and its benefits in our article Best Dog Food With Pumpkin.
However, in 2020, Earthborn Holistic was one of several to react to the backlash against grain-free dog food by releasing a brand new grain-inclusive range known as Unrefined.
This Unrefined range also included a Rabbit recipe known as Roasted Rabbit (See below).
This makes Earthborn Holistic one of a tiny number of brands with several Rabbit-based dog food recipes.
As we mentioned, the key difference with the Unrefined range is its use of grain ingredients such as Quinoa, Buckwheat, Oatmeal, and Barley.
You can learn more about this Unrefined range and why Earthborn Holistic created it in our Earthborn Holistic Brand Review.
Health Extension French Bistro Rabbit Recipe Review
Health Extension is a smaller family-owned pet food company based in the United States. While it has many fans, many dog owners will be unfamiliar with the brand.
What makes Health Extension stand out from its competitors is the very impressive transparency they have about the source of their ingredients, including an interactive map for visitors to their site to explore.
This level of openness is unmatched in the industry and is something that many larger pet food brands could learn from. Pet owners are increasingly interested in this level of detail and information, and Health Extension has gained many long-term followers thanks to its consistent efforts.
You can learn more about Health Extension, including examples of its transparency and its stance on animal testing in our article Health Extension.
While Health Extension does not have a dry dog food recipe with Rabbit, they do have a canned option which could be ideal for dog owners looking to trial rabbit with their dogs or provide it as an occasional treat.
The above French Bistro recipe combines a large portion of Rabbit with several fish ingredients like Salmon, Trout, and Herring. This unusual combination provides an impressive proportion of animal or fish-based protein and fat.
Outside of the meat and fish content, the recipe contains small portions of several plant-based ingredients, including Peas, Lentils, and Sweet Potatoes.
These industry favorites act as binding agents as well as providing a modest proportion of carbohydrates, fiber, and beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Holistic Select used to be part of the Eagle Pack brand, but it is now it’s a small stand-alone dog food brand. It may not be super common in pet food stores but is found in some and is readily available online on sites like Chewy.
The WellPet group of pet food brands owns Holistic Select, and they also own other established brands such as Wellness and Old Mother Hubbard.
Some of Holistic Select’s most popular recipes are those for larger or giant breed dogs. These breeds often need specialized recipes to ensure they remain healthy and active.
You can see Holistic Select’s full product range as well as a variety of other information in our Holistic Select Brand Review.
As we mentioned previously in this article, Rabbit is lower in fat than other more traditional meats. The above Holistic Select Rabbit & Lamb Meals formula is a prime example of this.
With less than 30% of its calories being derived from fat while still maintaining a high protein proportion, it is a very viable formula for dogs who need a low-fat diet.
Dogs that could benefit from a lower fan intake include older dogs who are not as active as they were in their youth or those dogs who are overweight and are attempting weight loss or attempting to minimize weight gain.
Similar to previous recipes, this formula uses Rabbit Meal rather than Rabbit, which has already had the bulk of its moisture removed.
The Lamb present is also in meat meal form, and seeing these two meat meals as the recipe’s two primary ingredients is an impressive sight.
The formula uses a range of legumes and pumpkin to provide its carbohydrate content and does not contain any grain ingredients. In addition to their carbohydrate content, these vegetables also offer an ample portion of fiber to aid digestion.
Lastly, it is worth pointing out that the formula has a very satisfactory proportion of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids, one of the highest of any dog food formulas without fish ingredients, which is a notable positive trait.
The low levels of fat and high levels of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids could make this formula very appealing to senior dogs who often struggle with health issues that could be alleviated by the Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
If you would like to learn more about Senior dog nutrition, including how their nutritional needs change as they age, you can do so in our Best Senior Dog Food article.
Blue Buffalo is often considered the king of many large commercial pet food stores such as PetSmart. You can usually find dozens of recipes available for dogs of all shapes and sizes, as well as an equally extensive range of recipes for cats.
Over the last two decades, the brand has grown immensely and is now one of the largest pet food brands in the United States and Canada.
However, that growth hasn’t come without controversy, with some saying that Blue Buffalo has focused too much on packaging and marketing rather than suitable nutrition and the use of high-quality ingredients.
You can learn more about Blue Buffalo and its controversy, including a detailed look at its ingredients, recall history, and nutritional content in our Blue Buffalo Brand Review.
Blue Buffalo’s Wilderness line is a grain-free range dog food range and is priced at a slightly higher price point than some of their others. There is a vast number of formulas available with all the typical meat and fish ingredients you can imagine.
Some classic examples include Chicken, Salmon, and Duck; however, one of those formulas in the wilderness range contains Rabbit meat which, as you are now aware, is a much less common ingredient.
While Rabbit may be the primary ingredient, this Rabbit recipe also includes Chicken and Menhaden Fish. Menhaden Fish are small oily fish from the Atlantic Ocean that are commonly included in pet food to provide additional protein at an affordable cost.
Menhaden Fish could be considered a superior source of supplemental protein in comparison to vegetables or other plant-based alternatives.
The formula also contains Peas and some Pea by-products like Pea Protein. Unfortunately, we don’t look upon Pea by-products, such as Pea Protein, too favorably as they are often used to inflate overall protein levels in dog food formulas.
Thankfully the portion of Pea Protein present in this recipe from Blue Buffalo is not too significant and worthy of concern, but it is still worth mentioning.
Hound & Gatos 98% Rabbit Recipe Review
Hound & Gatos is an ultra-premium dog food brand and has some of the highest-quality ingredients and impressive nutrition in the industry.
Many of their recipes use ingredients from sources that a similar to food for human consumption or, in some cases, even superior.
These traits, among others, have earned them a well-deserved and recurring spot in our Best Canned Dog Food Article.
Along with high-quality ingredients, Hound & Gatos use a very broad range of meat and fish options, including a recipe made up of almost entirely Rabbit Meat.
Unlike some of the others mentioned here that are mixed with fish ingredients or Chicken, the 98% Rabbit recipe only contains Rabbit, which could make it an excellent choice for dogs looking to combat severe allergies.
Not only is Rabbit the only meat ingredient, but it is practically the only ingredient full stop. The only other notable additions are a tiny portion of Sunflower Oil and Agar-Agar, which are both present to help bind the rabbit meat together in a consistent texture.
If you’d like to learn more about Hound & Gatos, including their full product range and their recall history, head on over to our Hound & Gatos Brand Review.
Stella & Chewy’s Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Patties Review
Stella & Chewy’s is drastically different than most of the brands mentioned here and primarily due to its product range. While they do produce some traditional dry or wet dog food, most of their products are freeze-dried or raw, which is seeing huge growth in the United States.
While there is no conclusive evidence that freeze-dried or raw dog food is superior to traditional dog food, many dogs find it extremely appealing, and it often contains very high proportions of protein and fat.
You can read more about Stella & Chewy’s and their full product range in our Stella & Chewy’s Brand Review.
The above raw patties are designed not to be cooked or heated but can be rehydrated for those dogs that prefer that or need assistance taking on fluids.
The patties contain a mix of Rabbit With Ground Bone and Rabbit Liver as their core ingredients. Rabbit Liver is very rarely seen in dog food and is similar to other organ meat ingredients in its nutritional value.
Outside of Rabbit, the recipe contains several other ingredients in tiny quantities, including Olive Oil, Pumpkin Seeds, Cranberries, Spinach, and Broccoli.
These plant-based ingredients can improve the flavor of the recipe, provide a minor portion of carbohydrates, and fiber, and some beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Homemade Dog Food With Rabbit Meat
Didn’t like the look of any of the above dog food formulas? Then maybe you should try making your own. While you might not be able to pick up Rabbit at your local grocery store, it is commonly available from local markets, butchers or specialists.
You could then combine this Rabbit meat with fresh fruit and vegetable ingredients to provide your dog with balanced nutrition, tailor-made to their needs.
While homemade dog food may take some additional time, effort, and research compared to scooping kibble out of a bag, it can be worth it to keep your canine friend happy, healthy, and well-fed.
We’d highly recommend reading our Dog Food Guide, to get the complete picture on dog food.