Care of the rabbit
Many people have rabbits as pets, but while it is common to own them, it is important to know that this animal needs more specific care as opposed to another type of animal. You should know the rabbit as a wild animal to be able to provide everything you deserve and need, so you should properly know what the rabbit’s care is in this Expert’s article.
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The rabbit as a pet
In most cases, and out of ignorance, many rabbit owners believe that it is a rodent like any other, which needs a cage, food and little else. The rabbit is a species of the order lagomorphand has some physical differences and behavior that make you need special care unlike hamsters or guinea pigs.
In addition to some obvious differences, we must take into account that the rabbit is an animal that when it is in the free state runs throughout the day, digs and enjoys the smell of plants and flowers. In addition, it is a very intelligent animal that recognizes its owner as well as his name and learns to perform several exercises in exchange for small pieces of fruit or vegetables.
The rabbit is also a social animal that needs attention and face on the part of its owners. If you take care of him and give him enough time, you’ll have an incredible friend with long ears and soft at his side.
To begin with the care of the rabbit , it is necessary to mention that all are equally important and that dedicating time to our pet will increase their life expectancy, quality of life and happiness. Thinking of adopting a rabbit as a pet ?
The rabbit cage
The cage will be the nest of your rabbit, where it will sleep and spend most of the time. So we recommend that it be as spacious as possible so you can move around the better. The size is directly related to your quality of life and for this reason we advise that it has a dimension of 70 x 50 x 50 at least. Always located in an environment without currents nor direct sun.
The truth is that you will find even smaller cages for sale, but we do not recommend that you have such small space because it could cause anxiety in it. There are people who even dedicate entire rooms to their genetic needs for space.
Rabbits are sociable animals and if you plan to have a couple of friends you will need a space of at least 4 square meters (as recommended by animal associations).
Inside the cage you should have:
- Tray so you can make your needs and maintain a clean and hygienic environment. You should never use cat’s sand or the like (it can cause infections), so you should purchase special rabbit sand available at any pet store. Daily cleansing should be done with a mild soap.
- Drinking tank of at least 1/2 liter. We can also use a water cooler that is a small bowl of water, although it is less recommendable as it will get dirty and we should clean it frequently. You should always have plenty of water.
- Dispenser or bowl to give you the ration, hay and daily rations of fruit and vegetables.
- Bedding, cotton towel or cloth are some of the elements where the rabbit will rest at night, although many do not understand the function of these elements and end up doing their needs there.
- Wood for gnawing . They should never be treated as they could break down and create a serious problem in the rabbit’s intestines. We can choose wood from fruit trees such as apple, orange, etc., or I acquired pine wood without being treated.
The feeding of the rabbit is specific for each stage of its life, because it does not always have the same need of nutrients, so in general we will always find these elements :
In the case of young rabbits (between 2 months and 7 months) they will have at their disposal unlimited and abundant all the previous elements, with the exception of fruit and vegetables, which will be rationed in small daily portions. It is a stage of fundamental growth for their development, and in addition is when they will begin to experience the fruits.
The adult rabbits will have a very similar diet to the young rabbit. You will have unlimited hay at your disposal and you will receive rations of fruit and vegetables. The only difference is that we will also ration the ration and we should reduce 30 grams (per pound of rabbit weight) to avoid problems such as obesity.
Food that the rabbit can eat :
- Fruits (always without seeds) such as apple, pear, peach, banana, melon, grape, orange … Give them small pieces, so start to investigate which are the ones that draw the most attention.
- Vegetables such as tomato, endive, cabbage, cucumber, spinach, carrots, green beans, broccoli or alfalfa. Try out which ones you like but each rabbit is different.
Food that the rabbit should never eat :
- Seeds : Must avoid of any kind, including dried fruits, vegetables and cereals.
- Vegetables : You should avoid lettuce, cauliflower and parsley.
- Food for cat or dog, cooked, meat, cheese, dairy, preserved fruit or syrup, including salt, sugar or barley.
Poisonous Foods for the Rabbit:
- Potato, onion, garlic, avocado, chocolate, tomato leaves, vegetables, tea leaves, bamboo.
Poisonous plants for the rabbit:
- Poinsettias, belladonna, fungi, ferns, cacti, carnations, geraniums, oak, aloe vera, violet, juniper, mistletoe, stalks, oak.
Rabbits are very clean mammals that clean themselves. It is not advisable to give them baths unless they become excessively dirty , otherwise they may lose the layer of natural protection of the skin. You can bathe the animal at most once or twice a year. You can remove any dirt that appears with wet baby wipes.
If in an exceptional case our rabbit gets very dirty, then follow the following steps:
- Look for a quiet place to wash your rabbit, remember they are very sensitive.
- Never put it upside down, it causes them stress.
- Fill a container with warm water , which is pleasant for him.
- Use only water to wash it, in case the dirt does not come out you can use a shampoo with neutral pH.
- Rinse and dry.
Also, remember to brush your rabbit regularly to eliminate dead hair and avoid swallowing. It is also important that you use a specific nail clippers if you see that the nails have grown in excess, always with care.
Rabbit physical activity
As we have already mentioned, the rabbit is a mammal with a high physical activity when it is domesticated.
For this reason, it is very important to let your rabbit out of the cage at least twice a day , always under your supervision as it may gnaw at cables or objects dangerous to it. You can also create paths with items you purchase at the pet store or you can do it yourself. Toys of all kinds are allowed. It is also important that you spend time with him and give him care and attention. Remember that the rabbit is an intelligent animal that can learn tricks and orders if you devote time and patience.
In addition, you will find more and more pet stores with collars for sale to take you to stroll through a forest or on the beach. All this is important for him to smell and enjoy the wild environment without getting lost.
Regarding this subject, in addition to daily hygiene should know that your rabbit should consult the veterinarian periodically when he tells you. They also need vaccination .
Here we explain the 6 most common diseases of rabbits :
- Colds : Like people, rabbits also suffer from colds and can catch each other. The symptoms are the same as in the case of humans (they secrete fluid through the nose and sneeze). Although a cold is of little seriousness, since you will not need veterinary assistance, it is important to take care of it especially during the time you are sick.
- Fungi : Fungi are a serious problem that can be transmitted from one rabbit to another. Take it to the vet as soon as possible before a fungus is present. It usually appears in young copies and is detected by the loss of hair.
- Coccidiosis : Appears when the rabbit licks dirty hair, drinks or feeds on poor water. To avoid the onset of this disease, be careful with the hygiene of the cage and the utensils. It is a very serious case that can lead to death of the rabbit. The symptoms are sudden hair loss and diarrhea. Take him to the vet urgently.
- Heat stroke : It is very common especially in times of heat. If you observe that the rabbit breathes deeply continuously this is the symptom that will indicate an insolation. Do not take it to the vet unless it improves. Take it to a cool and quiet space, apply a few drops of the head and armpits, little by little you will see how it will improve.
- Red urine : If you see red urine but are not blood, do not be alarmed, it must be because you are feeding it with excess green greenery. It should give you plenty of water and vary the type. If after 12 hours the problem does not improve, go with him to the veterinarian. You should not confuse this problem with blood-filled urine, a more serious problem that needs urgent and immediate treatment.
- Scabies : These are small red insects that inhabit the ears of rabbits. These are mites. It is also common for them to appear on the paws or on the skin. The most common is the one that appears in the ears and in advanced cases already appears outside the ears. Consult the veterinarian to advise you on the most appropriate treatment to combat them. Also, clean the whole cage and utensils with boiling or chlorine water and leave in the sun for at least one day.
In addition, we recommend the sterilization of the rabbit to avoid tumors when reaching adulthood avoiding also suffering from an unwanted pregnancy.
We end up with the most common rabbit diseases. After reading them you already know how to prevent them and how to act. Consult a veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Have not eaten or defecated in at least 12 hours.
- Do not urinate for at least 24 hours.
- Do not move and it seems very apathetic.
- Teeth grew in excess.
- You may notice mucus in the stool.
- Great difficulty breathing or mucus.
- He fell and did not move.
- He tilts his head uncontrollably.
- Faced with any kind of seizures.
- See important crusts inside the ears.
Curiosities of the rabbit
- Your body temperature is usually between 38ºC and 40ºC.
- They usually suffer from heat stroke in the summer if we are not careful.
- The ambient temperature should be around 18ºC and 21ºC.
- They like to live with other members of their species.
- They can live between 6 and 10 years. There are cases of rabbits that have come to live longer than this.
- They like the night.
- They reach sexual maturity between 3 and 5 months.
- The rabbit’s teeth never stop growing, so it’s important they can wear them biting wood untreated.
- They need exercise.
- Like cats and dogs, you should take them to the veterinarian from time to time.
- Observe it and weigh it weekly so that everything is okay.
- Do not give them a shower.
- Rabbits make two types of feces, one resembling a chocangibre and a few more moles in the shape of a bunch. The rabbit usually eats the latter. If you see them in the cage this can be an indicator of overfeeding.
- We must brush them often, especially in the moulting season.
- Pineapple and papaya avoid hairballs in the stomach .