Most owners who adopted rabbits as pets will agree that they are always learning new things about their pet rabbits. Due to the serious lack of resources and information, pet rabbits care remains one of the top questions. So, how do you care for your pet rabbits?
Indoor rabbits do not demand a lot from us. A good pet rabbit care consists of nothing more than providing suitable housing, food, protection and recreational activities for your rabbits. Simple as it sounds, many owners still struggle to live with their indoor rabbits due to lack of understanding about pet rabbit’s behaviour.
As rabbits have only been domesticated as pets for only about one century or so, they still retains much of their genetics inherited from their wild cousins. To the rabbits, they find it hard and difficult to understand their human owners too. Hence, a comprehensive pet rabbits care begins with the mutual understanding of the pet rabbits and their owners. It is sad to note that many owners adopted rabbits only to give them up to shelter or worse, abandon them.
We recommend that you house your rabbits indoor. Outdoor rabbits are always subject to a lot of threats from other predators and human as well. Lately, there have been many cases of some bad kids playing prank on their neighbours by killing their pet rabbits. This is sad. Rabbits deserve better protection. Contrary to many misunderstanding about rabbits, they do not smell and live well as indoor pets. There are some precautions you make need to take though, such as bunny-proofing your house and providing him with rabbit toys to stimulate his mind and so that you are able to better manage his behaviour.
You can get an indoor rabbit cage for your pet rabbits. Wire cage with pull-out tray seems to work fine and is a favourite among many pet rabbit owners. The other alternative is to use office storage cubes and build a rabbit cage by your own. Some of the rabbit cages built using office storage cubes can be two storey and is often known as rabbit condo. Rabbits will amuse themselves climbing up on the second floor and look out of the cage.
If you are using a wire cage, pay attention to the wire floor. While using wire cage is very convenient for many, if the wire spacing of the floor is too far apart, it can actually hurts the rabbit’s legs and may be extremely uncomfortable for them. You may consider buying a grass floor mat which is chewable to be placed at one corner of the cage.
Rabbits live on commercial pellets and hays which can be bought from pet store. Needless to say, rabbit loves carrot. Vegetables are fine but should not be their main diet. Young bunnies should be fed alfafa hay, but as they grow older, they should be fed timothy hay. Commercial pellets are good to build up the weight of the rabbits and should be moderated if your rabbit began to get overweight.
Rabbits have sweet tooth. Do not give your rabbits chocolate. Treats such as apples and other fruits should be given in moderation. Some other treats that we find rabbits love include banana (yes, rabbits love them) and commercially produced corn nuggets.
Fresh water should be supplied all day long and is one of the most basic necessity to pet rabbit’s care.
Rabbit had only been domesticated as household pets for less than one century and this affects a lot on how they behave. They still inherit a great deal of their wild cousin’s behaviour including burrowing, digging and chewing. When a rabbit sees an electrical cable, they look at it as an obstruction and would hope to break it by chewing. That is why it is very important to bunny proof your house.
Electrical cords should be wrapped with PVC tubing to prevent expensive repair and for the pet rabbit’s safety too. Your rabbits may soil your carpet if they are not properly trained. Many owners are not aware of this, your pet rabbits can be litter-box trained. You can even train them to run to the toilet or return to their cage if they need to do their toilet. The good news is, rabbits can be quite easily trained.
Rabbits are habitual creatures. As long as you understand their behaviour, you will be able to train them easily. They also get accustomed to human daily routine quite easily. Rabbits nap away most of their afternoon, and are most active during dusk and dawn. This makes them excellent pets for working adults.
Rabbits do not make loud noises, which makes them excellent pets for those staying in condo or apartments. They love to be petted and caressed, but this depends very much on the individual rabbit. Some will even demand that you sit on the ground to pet them as you are watching your favourite TV program.
There are plentiful of commercial toys produced for rabbits. These include chew toys and those that they can toss and throw. We find that rabbits love tunnels and will seldom get bored with it. Tunnels can be purchased from pet store or they can be made from cardboard boxes.
If you do not wish to spend money on buying rabbit toys from pet store, you can also make them by yourself. Toilet roll can be converted to chew toy. Yellow Pages business directory is excellent to be used as chew toys. Baby toys can be converted to rabbit toys too. Just be creative about it. Your pet rabbits may reject some of your toys. Sometimes, you will need to rotate the toys to keep your rabbit’s interest in them. Your pet rabbits sometimes will come out with very creative ways of playing with the toys.
Pet rabbits seldom fall sick and require very few visits to the vet. However, as they are at the bottom of the food chain, they can be very vulnerable. As soon as you find out that your pet rabbits had lost their appetite and seemed to grow aggressive to you handling them or are to be behaving very passively compared to normal days, then it is time to visit the vet.
Check that their teeth are not overgrown regularly. If you do not bathe your rabbits often (rabbits do not need to bathe often), check their ears for any moss growth or parasites. The presences of these growth in the rabbit’s ears can sometimes lead to serious illness and vets should be consulted immediately.
Rabbits are also prone to virus that leads to Myxamotosis. Myxamotosis will cause the rabbit’s eyelid to swell and blindness and in less than 2 weeks the rabbit will die. The other condition that sometimes happen is the rabbits paralysis. This can be caused by many factors but the most are bone degeneration and injuries to the spines.
Handling Pet Rabbits
Pet rabbits should be handled with care. They are many cases where children broke the rabbit’s spine because they were holding them too hard. If you are getting a pet rabbit for your children, try to get larger rabbit breed that is suitable for children as they are less prone to injuries. Do not hold your rabbit by its ears. The rabbit’s ears are one of the most sensitive part of the rabbit and is full of veins. Holding a rabbit by its ears are painful for the rabbit. Instead, you should gently lift him up with one hand under his chest, and support his buttocks with your other hand while restraining his fore legs.
Do not try to restrain a rabbit whenever they wanted to escape from your hands as the twitching may easily injure their spine and may lead to death or injuries.
In the end, caring for a pet rabbit is not that difficult task after all, and just require some common sense. Rabbits consume very much less time compared to dogs or cats and can be very easy to care for. Most owners that abandon their rabbits are those who have not find out more if rabbits suit their lives and have not develop sufficient understanding about rabbits before they adopted one.