What is the first thing that comes to your find when I say rabbits? For most of us it is our beloved character Bugs Bunny from the cartoon The Looney Toones. We always imagine rabbits munching on carrots but normally rabbits do not like carrots at all. Some might but mostly rabbits eat only green leafy stuff and hay. What is worse is that due to the notion of rabbits eating carrots people start feeding rabbits nothing but carrots and it leads to death in most cases.
Rabbits are adorable little balls of fur that need our love and attention; if they are properly trained they are really friendly and become companion animals. Rabbits come in different sizes and colours, brown, white or a mixture of both. If trained well rabbits learn to use the litter box but due to hormonal changes unspayed and unneutered rabbits try and mark their territory. To avoid this they have to be spayed and neutered and this not only prevents aggressive behaviour and excessive chewing but it will also give your rabbit a long long life. The best time to neuter your rabbit is between ages 3 ½ months to 6 months. If your rabbit is more than 2 years old check with a vet first before you decide to neuter your rabbit.
Most of us don’t like to keep our pets in cages which of course is a very good thing but in case you have a rabbit, keep it in a cage for sometime in the beginning atleast. Once it gets accustomed to using the litter box in its cage you can allow it to freely roam outside. To train a rabbit properly you must use treats and praises the same way as you would train a dog.
We all have heard of baby proofing but bunny proofing is not a much known concept. Rabbits have the ability to chew on everything, be it curtains, drapes, furniture and if can lay its furry paws on some wires and cords it will chew through it too. It’s not their fault; it is in their nature to chew. To prevent this, exposed cords must be encased in vinyl tubing and others must be hidden from their sight. Rabbits like dogs and even cats need toys to play with, small chew toys distract them from chewing the furniture and even a cardboard box filled with hay works well as a playground for them. Rabbits get along well with both cats and dogs and you can even keep another rabbit if the first is neutered. Getting another rabbit will be a good idea because your rabbit will have a companion to play with when you are not around and it will not get bored.
MAJOR HEALTH PROBLEMS
Bacterial balance: rabbits have good bacteria in their digestive tract and this balance between good and bad bacteria must not be broken because it will lead to the death of your rabbit.
Prevention: stale food must not be given to your rabbit and sudden change in food habits must not be made.
Intestinal blockages: like cats, rabbits have the tendency to clean themselves which results in fur balls but unlike cats they do not have the ability to cough out the fur ball. This leads to intestinal blockage.
Prevention: always keep your rabbit’s fur brushed and groomed. Give your rabbit space and time to exercise, add veggies to its diet and during heavy molting make sure you give your rabbit petroleum laxatives.
Infectious bacteria: most people believe that viruses and not bacteria cause diseases in rabbits but this is not true. Bacteria are responsible for most diseases in rabbits. Drugs belonging to the penicillin family should never be given to rabbit because this may destroy the good intestinal bacteria.
If you see any of these signs call a vet immediately
- Sudden loss of appetite with bloat
- Loss of appetite with runny nose
- Labored breathing
- Swelling and lumps
- Urine soaked rear legs
- Sudden change in behaviour
THINGS YOU NEED TO MAKE YOUR RABBIT COMFORTABLE
- Litter box
- Roomy cage
- A small bed
- Feeding bowl
- Pet carrier
- Toenail clippers
- Flea comb
- Flea products safe for rabbits
Once you see a rabbit in a pet store you can’t help but get one home. They are adorable little creatures that make wonderful pets and are suitable pets for children of all ages.
Rabbits may be small pets but they need a lot of exercise. They need an hour or two everyday to jump and hop around. But don’t leave your bunny outside unsupervised, birds or other animals like snakes or ferrets may take your bunny away and kill it. The best way to make your rabbit do some exercise it to buy a harness and leash and then take it for a walk in your neighbourhood. Not only will it be safe from predators this way but it will also look really cute if you have a rabbit walking on the road with you.
Rabbits may have all the qualities to make a good pet but before you decide to buy one make sure you can keep one properly. Just because they are not dogs doesn’t mean that they won’t need your love or attention. Gather as much information as you can on rabbits and then think about getting one home. Remember that pets are there to give you company and love when you need it not to amuse or entertain you when you are bored.