Rabbits are wonderful companions. They are intelligent, litter-box-trainable, affectionate and love to be a part of your family’s daily life. I hope the following information will help you with a happy, healthy relationship with your little fluffy friend.
Water should always be available, fresh, and changed daily. Dirty water can be a breeding ground of bacteria. Use either a water bottle or heavy bowl, secured to the side of the cage so it does not tip over.
Rabbits are herbivores (plant eaters) and they eat continuously throughout the day. 85% of their diet is based on grass hay and it should be available at all times. It is high in fiber which is critical to maintaining a rabbit’s healthy digestive tract. It is also rich in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and proteins. It also provides healthy chewing activity to promote proper wear of the teeth as rabbit teeth grow continuously throughout life. Choose timothy or meadow hay. Make sure it’s fresh, dust-free, sweet-smelling, slightly green and with long strands. Alfalfa hay should be given as treats as it is too rich in protein and too high in calcium.
10% of fresh greens are the next important diet in their daily life. They contain a variety of micronutrients and, importantly, provide water in their diet. Some of the good vegetables include romaine lettuce, bok choy, carrot tops, cilantro, mustard greens, basil, broccoli greens.
Fruits and other vegetables
Fruits should be given in limited quantities as they do not make up the majority of the diet. However, these will make great treats for bonding and training. Good choices include apple, blackberries, blueberries, orange, peach, pineapple, and raspberries.
Good quality pellets can provide vitamins and minerals but not all pellets are created equal. Make sure to feed pellets that are timothy hay-based which are high fiber and low protein, with no seeds, nuts or dried fruits. Offer in small amount to prevent from obesity.
The best option for rabbit housing is metal exercise pen (usually sold for dogs) set up in a formation that allows the rabbit to hop a few times in each direction. Do not get wire bottom cages because it can result in sore hocks and is not very comfortable for the rabbit to relax on.
Rabbits are naturally clean and groom themselves. They shed their fur one to two times per week. They go through larger shed every three months or so and should be brushed daily during this period. This keeps them from ingesting the loose fur which can lead to illness.
Rabbits need to have their nails trimmed every four to six weeks. Only trim the clearer portion of the nail using a small nail trimmer. Keep a styptic power on hand in case the quick (red portion of the nail which contains blood vessel.)
Most rabbits do not like to be picked up and will struggle if lifted off the ground. When picking them up, support their chest and hind ends and hold securely against your body. Allowing them to kick and twist can cause injury.
A hard carrier with good ventilation is important. Bring the carrier out a few weeks before the appointment so your rabbit can get used to it. Place some hay, treats and a favorite toy in it so it associates with good things and will be less stressful on the day of your appointment.
Article by Kaori