Rabbits are such sweet little creatures. I remember when I got my first rabbit for Easter when I was a little kid. This was the best present I’d ever gotten! I taught her to use a litter box and she lived in the house for the entire time we had her. The 8 tips on caring for pet rabbits that are listed below are ones I had to learn when I got my first rabbit. I’m now passing them on so other people will be better informed when they have a pet rabbit to care for.
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I had an angora rabbit and it was very important to brush her daily. When I didn’t, she would end up with hair stuck to her tongue and caked to her mouth. It’s the same as with long-haired cats. Most people know how much they dislike getting fur wrapped around their tongue. Well, rabbits are the same way and will tolerate being brushed if you start when they are very young.
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Young rabbits enjoy eating fresh grass and other greens from the yard. The bad thing is that they are a lot like a human child is with candy; they will eat too much and not know any better. Eating too much grass can give a rabbit diarrhea. While this may make a human uncomfortable, it can actually kill a rabbit. They become so severely dehydrated that they can’t function anymore and end up dying.
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Rabbits are like any other living thing; they need to be protected from the elements of nature. If your rabbit lives indoors, then all her shelter needs are taken care of, at least when it comes to inclement weather. You want to be sure to have a nice place for her to stay when you aren’t at home; otherwise you might come home to chewed electrical cords. The rabbit I had when I was little had the run of the house and we came home to water all over the kitchen. She had chewed the electrical cord to the deep freeze in the kitchen. She was okay, but there was a pool in the kitchen that my parents weren’t too happy with.
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Some rabbits seem to have reoccurring ear mites and others never get them. I have one doe that needs to have ear mite medicine every two months and all my other rabbits have never gotten them at all. Mites in a rabbit’s ears don’t look anything like the mites in a cat or dog’s ears. There is a thick scaly substance inside the ear at the base closest to the head and usually it’s pink or red too. I usually notice that one ear is drooping down lower than normal and most of the time this is caused by the presence of ear mites.
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Teaching a rabbit to use the litter box is very easy to do. Rabbits like to use the same spot over and over again, so showing them where they need to go usually doesn’t have to be done more than once. I had to give my rabbit her own litter box so she would quit chasing the cats out of theirs. This is a better idea anyway, since your rabbit probably won’t watch out for the cat poop when she hops into the litter box.
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Alfalfa pellets have everything a rabbit needs for a balanced diet. You can always supplement their diet with some fresh carrots, a mineral block, and other rabbit treats, but it isn’t necessary. They do like the treats though! I have one rabbit now that runs up to me whenever I’m eating a banana. He loves them!
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Whether you use a bowl to supply water or a water bottle, make sure the water is changed daily. During the warmer weather, I make sure to change it twice a day. I even freeze a 2 liter bottle full of water and put this in the rabbit's cage to keep her cool. As long as she has the fresh water to drink and the frozen water bottle to lay next too, her long hair doesn't make her overheat during the summer.
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The sun is something most humans enjoy, but it can mean death to a rabbit. Dark colored rabbits can overheat very quickly. A rabbit with long dark hair has it even worse. Be sure to have your rabbit hutch in a shaded location during the summer, if you live in a climate where the summer weather is intense. I sometimes place a fan on my rabbits even in the shade. Lighter skinned rabbits can get sunburned easily too, just like a person.
I hope these 8 tips on caring for pet rabbits come in handy for you. Even if you don't need them now, it's always good to know a bit about rabbits when you are thinking about getting one as a pet. I know I always feel better being more knowledgeable about something new before I delve into it. Do you have any additional rabbit care tips that you'd like to share? Are any of these tips something that you found out on your own or that someone showed you when you first got rabbits?
Top Photo Credit: Jeff Clow
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