In my article, 7 Ways Rabbits are Eco-Friendly Pets, I point out ways in which rabbits are innately eco-friendly, like their naturally vegan diet and their compostable poop. You can even ramp up your rabbit’s eco-friendliness by growing your own rabbit food and buying hay direct from a local farmer.
If these ideas appeal to you, you can delve further into the topic with a new book out now by journalist and animal advocate Darcy Matheson called Greening Your Pet Care: Reduce Your Animal’s Carbon Paw Print.
Early on in the book, Matheson provides a compelling argument about why we should consider and address our pets’ environmental impact:
The carbon footprint of our family pets is poised to grow exponentially in coming years. The number of household pets has more than doubled in the US since the 1970s, says the Humane Society, and tens of millions of North Americans now share their homes — and lives — with animals.
Covering ideas such as shopping locally, buying in bulk, and making your own household (and pet-safe) cleaners, Matheson starts off with eco-friendly actions that can be applied to any pet care situation. In subsequent chapters, she dives into specifics for dogs, cats, rabbits, small animals, mini pigs, birds, reptiles & amphibians, and fish. The rabbit chapter has expert advice from rabbit rescue founders, rabbit-savvy vets, and, if you take a gander at the gardening and composting sections, you might see a quote or two from yours truly.
Greening your pet care may seem like a difficult challenge at first. But Matheson breaks down the different steps in a very intuitive and encouraging manner. If you would like to learn more or purchase the book, see:
And now for some exciting news! Self-Counsel Press is giving away a copy of Greening Your Pet Care to one lucky My House Rabbit fan. Enter the contest using the Rafflecopter widget below:
The contest ends on Sunday, May 22, 11:59pm EST and is open to residents of the continental United States and Canada only.
We want to hear from you! What do you think about eco-friendly pet care? Is it something you would consider? Have you already taken steps to reduce your pet’s carbon paw print? Tell us in the comments below!
It may be tempting when you see that adorable baby bunny for sale at the pet shop or on Craigslist. But before you buy a rabbit for Easter, consider these facts.
Rabbits are not low-maintenance pets
Although rabbits can be wonderful house pets, they aren’t for everyone. Not only do they live 10 years or longer, they have very specific requirements for care. This includes providing unlimited hay and fresh greens, bunny-proofing your house, and providing exercise space, social interaction and enrichment. Read more >
Rabbits are not good pets for young children
When you bring a pet rabbit into your home, keep in mind the primary caregiver should always be an adult. An adult must ensure the well-being and safety of the pet. Although rabbits appear cuddly, they generally do not like being picked up, held or chased. This is usually disappointing news to children. Read more >
Rabbits can be expensive pets
Perhaps you can get a great deal buying a rabbit from a breeder or pet shop (or maybe you can even get one for free), but throughout their lifetime, rabbits can certainly rack up the bills. Expenses include veterinary bills (from a rabbit-savvy, exotics vet), food and other supplies, and bunny-proofing/household repair costs. Read more >
There are many wonderful alternatives to buying a live rabbit for Easter, including plush bunnies, chocolate bunnies, bunny Peeps, and picture books about bunnies. The folks over at Make Mine Chocolate share alternative offerings and events that benefit rabbit rescue groups (who are flooded with unwanted bunnies just days after Easter every year).
If you’ve already bought a rabbit for Easter, read through our resources on properly caring for your the newest member of your family. Here are a few resources to get you started:
- You can give a bunny a second chance. Through no fault of their own, some rabbits are surrendered to shelters or abandoned. When you adopt a rabbit (or pair of rabbits) from a shelter, you can ensure from that point on, that animal will lead a happy and healthy life.
- You can find a good match. Volunteers at rabbit rescues come to know each one of their rabbits’ personalities. You can find a good match for you and your family (and your other rabbit if you’re looking to adopt a bond mate), when you adopt from a rescue.
- You can walk away with a litter-trained bunny. Rabbits at rescues are often litter-trained by volunteers.
- You save yourself money. Rescue rabbits are spayed/neutered at the appropriate age while at the shelter or in foster homes. Sometimes they are microchipped. So adopting from a rescue will save you money on costly veterinary expenses.
If you want to learn more, see our article, “Benefits of Adopting a Pet Rabbit.”
Moo is a two-year-old black and white bunny. His owners, Ashley Chui and Arthur Chow, thought he might be lonely while they were at work. So they enlisted the help of Amy Odum, a longtime volunteer of Animal Care Centers of NYC and a bunny matchmaker.
She places Moo in a small room and brings in a few potential roommates. He is met with a range of reactions: rebuffs, disinterest, mounting, and sniffing– everything a bunny owner should expect when introducing potential bond mates.
To read the full delightful account of Moo’s speed dating session, see the New York Times article, “Speed Dating Rabbits.”
You can also learn about the process of bonding bunnies in our article, Bonding Your Pet Bunnies.
If you’ve got a single bun, bunny speed dating might be something to consider. Your bunny may enjoy the companionship of another rabbit. With February being Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month, why not schedule a speed dating session at your local rabbit rescue or shelter?
The mission of the New Jersey House Rabbit Society, based in Monroe Township, is to promote the well-being of domestic rabbits and to secure their place as a companion animal in society and in our homes.
Their focus is on educating the public on the proper care of companion house rabbits and providing a low-cost spay/neuter program. You can find a wealth of information about caring for house rabbits at their website, njhrs.com, or at their Facebook page.
Although they are not taking in rabbits at this time, they do list non-NJHRS rabbits who need homes–whether from private homes or from a Good Samaritan who found a stray– on their website and/or Facebook page. NJHRS also lists adoptable house rabbits from both shelters and rescue groups in NJ, NY, PA, DE, and MD each week on their Facebook page for those who may be interested.
View rabbits looking for forever homes here.
New Jersey HRS depends on donations to fund their work. Support the NJHRS here.
One complaint I often hear from people about their rabbit’s litter box is that it smells. When I press further, I find out they are using newspapers to line the litter box. Unfortunately, sheets of newspaper just don’t absorb the strong smell of rabbit urine.
Using a newspaper pellet litter like Yesterday’s News will solve the problem. Even though it’s made of newspaper, the compressed pellets somehow neutralize the odor much more effectively than sheets of newspaper.
Note: When choosing a litter or bedding for your rabbit, you should not use clay-based litter or cedar shavings because they are detrimental to rabbits’ respiratory systems. Always use a non-dusty litter/bedding made from recycled paper.
Learn more about litter training your rabbit at our article, Litter Training Your Pet Rabbit.
Here are a few tips about using a recycled paper pellet litter:
- Just put a very shallow layer of the litter in the litter box — enough so that the bottom is covered. It does not have to be deep because rabbits do not bury their droppings like cats. Furthermore, you will be discarding ALL of the litter every time you clean it, so you want to use the least amount possible to make it last and save money.
- You can buy large bags of Yesterday’s News that are marketed for cats. You don’t have to get ones marketed for rabbits. Just be sure to buy the unscented version.
- Put hay on top of the thin layer of litter. Rabbits like to eat and poop at the same time. So this encourages them to use the litter box. Just be sure your rabbit has access to clean, fresh hay at all times.
As a result of this unseasonably warm weather here in Connecticut, we still have some greenery in our gardens – some still clinging to life from the past season and other plants confused and currently sprouting.
Coco and Cosette were the lucky recipients of some tiny (but fresh!) January carrots that I plucked from one of our raised beds.
Watch a video of Cosette enjoying her winter treat below:
Anyone else still harvesting from their gardens?