As Easter draws near, it is important to spread the word that live rabbits should not be given as Easter gifts. While rabbits make excellent companions for some families, they have a unique set of needs that not everyone can meet.
Here are a few:
You will need to bunny-proof your home or else your rabbit will wreak havok.
Rabbits need plenty of space to exercise. They are social, curious, and intelligent animals. But they also have an incessant urge to chew. Everything from wooden chair legs to electrical wires to remote control buttons to mouldings are fair game to rabbits. Rabbit owners will need to take the time to properly protect and stow away personal belongings.
Rabbits need access to fresh hay at all times.
If you have grass allergies, a rabbit probably isn’t for you. Hay provides the primary sustenance for a rabbits to maintain digestive and dental health. You can’t just give them pellets.
Rabbits generally don’t like being held.
Although rabbits can be affectionate, they’re not as “huggable” as people imagine. Children and adults alike may be disappointed when Bunnikins won’t sit contentedly in their arms or laps. Most rabbits prefer to stay on the floor and have you sit on the floor with them (quietly).
For more information, read our article, Easter and Rabbits.
House Rabbit Society Educatior Mary E. Cotter and Amy Sedaris teamed up to create 49 instructional videos about rabbit care.
Here is one about toys:
And here’s one about rabbit proofing your home:
All of the videos give great insight into living with a house rabbit.
It’s Rabbit Awareness Week! People in the UK can find free rabbit vet clinics in their area to get their rabbits a full health check.
This week also coincides with a new study about rabbit food conducted at Edinburgh University. Researchers have confirmed that muesli-style rabbit food cause major dental and digestive health issues in rabbits. The study provides a compelling argument that pet stores should stop carrying muesli-style products. According to Professor Anna Meredith, who conducted the study, “Vets have suspected for a number of years that feeding muesli-style foods could lead to health issues in rabbits, and now we have the proof.”
What should you feed your rabbit? The main staple in a rabbit’s diet is hay. Learn more about a proper pet rabbit diet in our article, What to Feed Your House Rabbit. You can get more tips on providing a happy and healthy home for your bunny in our Rabbit Care, Bunny Behavior, Rabbit Health, and New to Rabbits sections.
Learn more about Rabbit Awareness Week and the muesli food study here:
Every year, International Rabbit Day is held on the fourth Saturday or Sunday of September. This year, that weekend falls on September 22-23.
International Rabbit Day is a day to consider the welfare of all rabbits — to promote the proper care of pet bunnies so they can live happy and healthy lives. We’d also like to call attention to the joy and enrichment that well-cared-for rabbits can bring to the lives of their human companions.
Below are a few articles from My House Rabbit that fit the spirit of the day:
What is the mainstay of a rabbit’s diet? Carrots? Nope! Rabbit pellets? Wrong! The right answer is hay. The RSPCA is spreading the word with a new campaign called Hay Fever!, which educates the public on the right foods to give to their pet rabbits.
According to the RSPCA:
In fact hay and grass are the key components [of a bunny's diet], and a new study commissioned by the RSPCA shows a lack of hay and grass in rabbits’ diets is one of the most important welfare issues affecting them today. Indeed, in a recent poll only 8% of rabbit owners knew hay and grass are the most important parts of a rabbit’s diet.
It is vital that rabbits are given a hay-based diet to provide fiber for good digestive health and roughage for good dental health. A hay-based diet helps prevent potentially deadly conditions such as GI stasis, in which the digestive system comes to a halt, or poopy butt, which can lead to fly strike.
For more information about the Hay Fever! campaign, see the RSPCA website.
You can also read about the importance of a hay-based diet in our articles:
Today’s theme for Rabbit Adoptathon week will be about litter training. We get a lot of emails from people who are frustrated by stubborn, “outside-the-box” bunnies. Here are our best tips:
- Rabbits tend to poop while they eat hay. So it is always a good idea to place ample amounts of hay either in the litterbox or in a hayfeeder right next to the litterbox (so the bunny is forced to sit in the litterbox if he wants to munch on hay).
- Mop up urine with a paper towel and pick up stray poop and place both in the litterbox. This helps get the message across that the litterbox is the place that they should do their business.
- Be patient and persistent. Litter training takes time, especially if your rabbit has learned bad habits. It takes a while to retrain them. If you can see they’re about to go to the bathroom outside their litterbox (they may lift their tail or sometimes they sort of shimmy down in a seated position right before they go), try to pick them up and put them in the litterbox or corral them in. This is oftentimes easier said than done of course.
- Limit their space. If your bunny is free reign, you may want to limit their space initially using a puppy pen until your rabbit is consistently practicing good litterbox habits. Then, very gradually increase the space, ensure those good habits remain intact. Eventually, you will be able to take away the puppy pen completely.
- If your bunny is insistent on going in one corner of the room, sometimes it’s easier to give in to their stubbornness, and place a litterbox in that corner. Sometimes when rabbits consistently choose another place to go, they are trying to tell you that that’s where they want to go.
- If your rabbit is pooping/spraying pee everywhere, this is probably due to your rabbit marking his territory. It’s a good idea to get your rabbit spayed/neutered in order to ease territorial feelings.
- Sometimes rabbits deliberately pee on your couch or bed because they’re showing you who’s Top Bunny in the house. You should correct their misconception immediately. See our blog post, “Being Top Bunny” and the House Rabbit Society’s article, “FAQ: Training” for more information.
More litter training information:
If you have any other great litter training tips or tricks, please share them!
To promote rabbit care and adoption, AfFURmation and Bunny’s Blog are co-hosting a Rabbit Adoptathon Hop starting Sunday, May 13th at 6pm ET and ending at 6pm ET on Saturday May 19th.
Here’s what you do to get involved in spreading awareness:
If you have a blog, create a post anytime during this week about rabbit care or share information about adoptable bunnies. Add in the Rabbit Adoptathon badge (code below) so others can do the same on their blogs.
If you’re on Facebook, you can share an adoptable bunny’s information by using the Facebook Share button located on each animal’s profile page on Petfinder.com.
(Copy the code above and paste it into your blog if you want to get involved.)
When Easter is around the corner, many people consider buying a pet rabbit, sometimes on a whim or as a gift for small children. While rabbits do make wonderful indoor companions (who can be litter-trained, just like cats), people should take the time to learn the reality of pet rabbit ownership.
Read the full article »
The University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Sciences is conducting a study of how rabbits are cared for in the UK.
According to Dr. Emily Blackwell, a member of the research team: “We are keen to hear from rabbit owners about all aspects of their rabbit’s life as very little is currently known about the way pet rabbits are kept in the UK. We want to know where rabbits live, how they behave, what they eat and how healthy they are, as well as how they interact with their owners.”
If you live in the UK and own a rabbit, go to www.survey.bris.ac.uk/awb/rabbitsurvey to complete the survey. Everyone who fills it out will have the opportunity to win 100 pounds.