CARING FOR YOUR PET RABBIT
Rabbits need fresh water every day.
They need unlimited amounts of Timothy Hay or Grass Hay every day. Without this hay they will not be able to properly digest. Having the hay also calms them and reduces stress and nervous behaviors.
They also need rabbit food/pellets that you can buy in any pet supply store, and fresh vegetables. The pellets should not contain protein over 16%. A balanced diet is half fresh foods and half pellets.
Fresh foods a rabbit can have are:
Carrots and carrot greens/tops, apples, pears, parsnips and parsnip tops, beets and beet tops, parsley, basil, dandelion, kale, celery, cucumber, and tomato. (A little banana is good too, but don't leave any in there if they aren't interested to eat it right away.)
Do not give your rabbit lettuce or cabbage. These are too high in nitrates, and cause the rabbit digestive distress.
Alfalfa hay and marigold hay are also great for your rabbit’s health. Lionhead rabbits can not have Alfalfa.
Rabbits can also have yogurt drop treats. Yogurt drop treats are also available where you get your rabbit pellet food and your timothy hay.
When looking at other rabbit treats in petshops such as seed sticks, be careful not to give your rabbit any with dyes, sugar, or chemicals.
Papaya is a wonderful digestive aid you can give your rabbit. Putting a chewable papaya tablet from your vitamin shop in your rabbit’s food every day will help keep him comfortable and regular.
A handful of oats, like from the uncooked old fashioned oatmeal box is a great treat for the rabbits especially in winter as it is a natural body warmer.
Do not feed your rabbit grapes or raisins. Just like with dogs, there is a property in the grape skin that can cause kidney damage.
Why all the fuss about digestive health? Rabbits are lagomorphs, which are non-regurgitating animals. Rodents and lagomorphs tend toward having issues with their digestive and excretory systems. A carefully balanced healthy diet is the key to your rabbit’s longevity.
The are no regular vaccines a rabbit needs. You only need to bring your rabbit to your veterinarian when something is wrong.
Here’s some things that you should watch for:
Rabbits can get ear mites. Mites make hive like homes inside the rabbit’s ears that look like filo dough. If you see these crusty layers in your rabbit’s ears you need to get him medical attention.
Rabbits can get impacted pretty easily. Impaction is when a rabbit’s poop isn’t passing all the way out and packs against the rabbit’s bottom. This can be caused by a cage not being clean enough, or by a digestive illness. Rabbits die from impaction commonly, so if you see signs of this seek medical attention for your pet right away.
Sometimes a rabbit’s teeth keep growing. They need to be clipped just like finger nails with a very sharp tool. If you see your rabbit’s teeth have grown, bring your rabbit to a vet for a teeth trim. Often it’s something your vet can show you how to do yourself but you should consult your veterinarian before trying to clip the teeth as there could be other mouth disorders going on.
There are other illnesses such as upper respiratory snuffles & anorexia, other info like grooming tips for long haired rabbits and genital lap cleaning, and other conditions such as epilepsy. Your veterinarian can answer your questions, or you may want to invest in a decent bunny care book, or seek out an informative website.
Rabbits are communal animals. This means they do not fall within the pack mentality.
Rabbits can be litter box trained. They can live happily in a cage if they get the chance to be taken out and played with, exercised and left to run around free sometimes. They can also live happily outside of a cage, where they can run free in a room or a confined area, where they can use a litter box.
Rabbits are indoor pets. While it is true livestock rabbits used for food can grow a warm enough coat to survive outside in a mild winter in this area, that does not mean that they thrive or are happy. They often suffer heat stroke, dehydration, cage-craze, impaction, or frost bite if forced to live outside, let alone the loneliness the rabbit would suffer.At the Pike County Humane Society, we have pets for adoption. A pet is a part of the family. A pet is not livestock that should be forced to live outside, isolated and alone.