- High fiber (and low carbohydrate) diet. A diet high in fiber (lots of fresh hay and vegetables) stimulates motility of the gastrointestinal tract and keeps food (and acidentally ingested hair) moving through the stomach. See "Feeding Rabbits" for more information on the proper diet for house rabbits.
- Lots of exercise (also aids gastrointestinal motility and digestion). This means playtime outside of the cage along with toys to encourage activity. "Rabbits for Toys" discusses good toys and activities for pet rabbits.
- Grooming. Regular brushing especially during a heavy shedding period will help reduce the amount of hair swallowed.
- Low stress environment. Rabbits kept in stressful (crowded, unclean, noisy, presence of possible predators, etc.) are more susceptile to this condition.
Rabbits affected by hairballs (or or any other materials accumulating in the stomach) will often show a decrease in appetite and eventually weight loss. The amount of feces produced usually decreases too. The rabbit may act depressed or lethargic as well. If your rabbit is showing any of these signs you should see your vet immediately. Remember that if your rabbit stops eating, numerous other digestive problems often result and your rabbit's health can deteriorate very quickly. If hair balls are diagnosed a number of treatments can be attempted to treat the problem medically; if they progress to the point when surgery is required the chances of recovery are reduced. Providing the appropriate high fiber diet along with opportunity for exercise are critical to you rabbit's health.