Rabbits are great pets. They have character, are extremely sociable and enjoy the company of humans. Rabbits are also a great way to introduce young children to pet ownership. They’re quiet, clean and are easily toilet trained.
While rabbits love company, they can be left alone during the day, so they’re suitable for people who work or are away from home.
A predator-proof enclosure to ensure your pet rabbit’s safety is essential. An ideal enclosure is a hutch divided into two connecting compartments – one with a wire mesh to allow access to natural light and fresh air; the other enclosed to provide protection against weather and a secure sleeping place. The floor of your rabbit’s hutch should be covered with newspaper, topped with a layer of bedding material like straw, grass, hay or shredded paper for warmth and comfort – and to prevent pressure sores on your bunny’s feet. Consider extreme weather conditions and ventilation when choosing a location for your hutch. Rabbits are extremely sensitive to the hot summer temperatures we experience in Australia and may die of heat stroke if their hutch is not in a cool, shady position.
Rabbits should have at least two hours daily outside of their hutch for exercise. Handling them will also help to keep them tame.
Using a firm brush to remove dead hairs, tangles and pieces of garden matter should form part of your rabbit’s daily routine. Grass seeds can commonly become stuck in their eyes, ears and nose, causing irritation or even infection. Check your rabbit’s rear end daily to make sure it’s clean and dry. If soiled it’s highly prone to fly strike (when flies lay eggs that then hatch and burrow into the flesh) – which can happen in a few hours.
Feeding and nutrition is the most important factor in making sure your rabbit stays healthy.
Many commercial rabbit foods don’t contain enough fibre (18–20% is required) and are too high in fats and sugars. Rabbits are herbivores so their diet should consist almost entirely of vegetable matter. Pellets and mixes should not form a main part of the diet. Grass or hay is an essential dietary component to ensure your rabbit’s health.
Apart from providing a high fibre diet, chewing hay wears down rabbits’ continuously growing teeth and keeps them occupied, preventing boredom. Ideally feed your bunny 85% hay and 15% veggies such as Asian greens or endive (lettuce and cabbage can cause diarrhoea). Treats such as fruits, root veggies (carrots), capsicum and pellets should be offered only in small amounts (1 to 2 tablespoons a day per rabbit).
Always keep fresh water available, both in a drip-feed bottle and an open container.
Routine veterinary care for rabbits includes vaccination against calicivirus that protects them against Viral Haemorrhagc disease.
Desexing rabbits is vital. Without neutering females can become aggressive when mature and are very prone to reproductive cancers. Rabbits can breed from very early ages, so we recommend separating male and female rabbits from 12 weeks of age. Desexing is often done from 4 months of age.
Like all animals, rabbits should have regular veterinary checks, especially to check their teeth and claws.
If you’re one of our many satisfied clients, please consider referring us.
Just ask your friend to mention your pet’s name when they book. As our client, you’ll receive a $25 voucher from us, to come off your pet’s next consultation or spend on products available in our reception – and so will your friend!