Burgess - Tips for getting a New Rabbit
By Pet Parent Francesca
Hey Pet Parents,
Commonly known as being good pets for children, rabbits can prove to be a challenge to look after and it is always recommended for a responsible adult to be supervising their care. When in the right care, pet rabbits can live up to 12 years old. This guide outlines the incremental rabbit needs and lifestyle changes that can ensure that you can enrich the lives of these clever and curious creatures.
There are many things to consider before you can bring your little fur baby into your home to make ensure that your rabbit has a safe and secure environment.
A shelter – Space, ventilation, predators and weather.
As an animal that actively hops, runs and jumps, it is no surprise that rabbits a spacious shelter to explore. This shelter should be the size of a garden shed and tall enough to allow a rabbit to stand without ears touching the roof (A height of at least 75cm for a medium sized rabbit).
Rabbit proof your home.
Being natural explorers that they are, it is likely that your pet rabbit will find its way around. Therefore, it is important as a pet parent, to view your home and garden from your rabbit’s view point and ensure that everything in reach is safe to come into contact with. This is ever more important for house rabbit owners with exposed wires and cables that may either need to be removed or covered them as rabbits love to chew.
A prey species.
As a species typically found at the bottom of the food chain, it is essential that rabbit have a plenty of hiding places to escape to if hunted or when feel afraid. This environment should also be one that is easy to scan to ensure that hideouts are visible.
In order to ensure that your pet is comfortable and warm, it is essential to ensure that your rabbit has bedding material as per recommended for its size. This bedding should also be insulated with dust-free to ensure that it is safe enough to eat such as dust-free hay.
Constant access to a suitable toilet.
This litter tray (not cat litter) should be separate to where they sleep and can be made from a handful of bedding and hay as most rabbits like to chew while excreting.
Curious in nature, it is important to always have plenty of things to occupy your rabbit. This can be safe toys, tunnels and cardboard boxes with holes in them. Providing a variety of different toys also enables you as an owner to discover what your pet enjoys.
Once settled, rabbits will mark their scent within their home and on objects using chin secretions, urine and droppings. This is a familiar smell undetectable by humans that provides a sense of comfort and is used to mark one’s territory.
As rabbits love digging it is recommended to keep a pot of earth or child safe sand filled pot.
Cleanliness is an important factor in health, well-being and happiness of a pet rabbit. Therefore it is essential for all homes to be cleaned thoroughly at least once a week with toilets with a requirement of once a day using non-toxic products. This can often be a stressful experience for rabbits and to reduce such as impact it is advised for owners to keep a clump of bedding to provide a familiar smell and reduce stress.
Rabbits need to eat lots of good quality feeding hay to keep their digestion healthy and help wear down their continually growing teeth. Feeding some hay from a hay rack or hanging basket keeps it clean and above floor level.
2. Nuggets and Grass
They also enjoy a daily portion of high quality rabbit nuggets and a handful of leafy greens such as kale and mint. While grazing on fresh grass is fine, don’t feed them lawnmower clippings as these can upset their digestive system and make them ill. A small cube of carrot or apple can be given as occasional treats, once or twice a week. They also need fresh, clean drinking water, which should be checked every morning and evening. You can find more rabbit nutritional advice and details of the Excel 5 Stage feeding plan, recommended by vets.
Friends and Family
If handled in the right way from a young age, rabbits can develop good relationships with humans as many rabbits enjoy interacting with humans and can respond to reward based training known as house-training. However, it is recommended that a supervising adult is present while in the care of children.
When in the care of humans is vital that rabbits are held in the correct manner (Gently but firmly to feel secure against the body) making sure that their back and hind quarters are supported at all times.
As rabbits are often hunted by other animals as previously mentioned such, it is important to never leave them unsupervised with other animals such as cats and dogs that are their natural predators even if they are friends.
Many of the health problems life-threatening faced by rabbits are often caused by diet and can be prevented through a good diet, preventative care and vaccinations. Therefore, it is important to be alert to spot for any potential pain, illness, injury or change in behavior which if spotted must be reported to a vet.
All information has been sourced from https://www.burgesspetcare.com/blog/post.php?s=2017-05-04-happy-bunnies.
Rabbits should be neutered to avoid unwanted babies and to reduce the risk of fighting with each other.
Check the length of your rabbits’ nails and teeth every week to make sure they’re not too long. This is essential as overgrown teeth can cause immense pain for rabbits.
Check bottoms and tails – These areas must be checked every day to ensure that they are clean and no urine staining or stuck-on droppings can be found as this can cause fly-strike. This can cause flies to lay their eggs within your animals fur that hatch into maggots which eat animal flesh and release harmful toxins. If maggots are ever spotted, emergency treatment will be needed.