Did you know that rabbits are considered exotic pets? Because of this, you have to take your rabbit to a vet who is extremely knowledgeable about properly caring for them. You should also be armed with proper first aid supplies should your little pet injure himself.
To help you take care of your little friend as best as possible, we’ve composed tips on issues ranging from your rabbit’s diet to where it should live. Fauna Care is here to help you out!
- Bunny behavior: why your rabbit thumps his feet, and other strange tendencies
- Outside or inside? Caged or freed?
- Foods to include in a balanced rabbit diet
- First aid supplies
- When to take your bunny to the vet
Bunny behavior: why your rabbit thumps his feet, and other strange tendencies
Because rabbits are prey animals, they are usually pretty quiet so as not to draw attention to themselves. For instance, they are known to thump their hind legs when they sense danger. Nonetheless, they do have unique methods of communicating with each other and with you.
When rabbits are happy and excited, they dance! Rabbits will leap into the air, twist their bodies, and kick their feet out. Sometimes a rabbit will binky in a sudden burst, while others will take a running start before binkying.
As a way to mark their territory, rabbits will rub their chins on an object. Their chins contain a special scent gland, called the submandibular cutaneous gland. When rubbed against other objects or rabbits, it releases a scent. Rabbits often do this when searching for a mate. As a result, spayed and neutered rabbits, and also rabbits under the age of six months, do not perform this behavior often.
Rabbits will grind their teeth either out of enjoyment or pain. It is the rabbit equivalent of purring. If your rabbit is enjoying himself, he will usually be lying down in a relaxed manner with his feet stretched out. If your rabbit is in pain, he will be in a hunched over and tense position. He will likely show signs of aggression as well.
Outside or inside? Caged or freed?
Domestic rabbits should not be allowed outdoors. Not only do they not tolerate extreme temperatures well like their wild relatives, they are extremely vulnerable to predators. Even the sight or sound of a wild animal can cause them to suffer a heart attack or die from fear.
If you decide to let your rabbit roam around your house, you must bunny-proof any part of your home your pet might wander to. Since they like to chew things, make sure electrical cords are out of reach from them and your outlets are covered. Certain plants such as aloe, azalea, and assorted plant bulbs can be poisonous to rabbits.
Make sure your rabbit’s cage is at least five times his size. He should be able to stretch himself out and stand on his hind legs without bumping his head.
Foods to include in a balanced rabbit diet
Grass hay should be a major staple in your rabbit’s diet. It is rich in Vitamin A and D, calcium, and protein. You can vary the types of grass hay you give your rabbit or mix different kinds of hay such as timothy or orchard. Leafy greens should make up around 75% of your rabbit’s diet.
You can give your rabbit small amounts of non-leafy vegetables and fruits. Acceptable vegetables include carrots, broccoli, and celery. For fruits, you can give your rabbit pears, peaches, and apricots. You can give them apples and cherries as long as they don’t contain the pits.
First aid supplies
It doesn’t hurt to have some supplies on hand in case your rabbit injures himself.
Cuts and scrapes
Rabbits sometimes cut themselves on sharp wires or the edges of their cages. When cleaning the surface of a superficial wound, use a small spritz of some first aid spray.
To keep your rabbit’s skin moisturized and protected, try a conditioning spray. It will also help soothe raw, irritated skin.
Ringworm and fungal care
If your rabbit gets ringworm, you’re going to want to treat it right away, especially since it can easily spread to you. Treat the affected spot with an anti-fungal spray.
When to take your bunny to the vet
- When a cut or torn nail becomes reddened and swollen
- When a rabbit’s back or leg gets fractured
- If your rabbit falls from an elevated surface, watch for bleeding, limping, difficulty breathing, or changes in behaviour. These signs indicate that your rabbit needs to be checked out by a veterinarian immediately
- Any bite wound, whether it be from another rabbit or a dog, requires immediate attention. The area around the eyes is a critical area to look after, as corneal trauma can lead to a vision-threatening infection.
Hopefully, these tips will make taking care of your rabbit just a little easier. We all just want the best for our pets after all.