Rabbits are intelligent, social creatures and wonderful companions to people who take the time to learn about their needs.
SPAY, NEUTER AND BUNNY-PROOFING
Although most rabbits will use a litterbox, hormones may cause unneutered males and unspayed females to “mark territory.” Spaying or neutering your rabbit improves litterbox habits, lessens chewing behavior, and decreases territorial aggression.
Bunny-proofing your home is very critical for their safety. Rabbits may have free run of the home. Start with a space they can call their own, like an exercise pen, a bunny-proofed room, or a very large dog crate, cage or condo. Cages with wire flooring are hard on rabbits’ feet, which do not have protective pads like dogs and cats. Be sure to layer the cage floor with cardboard so the bunny has a comfortable place to hide, and respect the animal’s need for quiet time.
CHEW CHEW RABBIT
Chewing is part of a rabbit’s natural behavior, but it doesn’t have to be destructive. To keep rabbits active and amused, give her enough attention, safe chewables, and toys, so that she is distracted from chewing furniture and rugs. A cardboard box stuffed with hay makes an inexpensive play box. Bunnies also enjoy an occasional paper-towel or toilet-paper roll, and other chewable cardboard materials. Avoid plastic toys and objects with sharp edges, loose parts, or soft rubber that rabbits could
chew into pieces and swallow.
RABBITS IN THE BUNNY FARM
House rabbits and indoor cats can get along fine, as do rabbits and well-mannered dogs. Dogs should be trained to respond to commands before being trusted with a free-running rabbit, and supervision is needed to control a dog’s playful impulses (this is especially true for puppies).
Intestinal blockages: Because rabbits groom themselves constantly, they get hairballs just as cats do. Unlike cats, however, rabbits cannot vomit, and excessive
swallowed hair may cause a blockage. Rabbits can also develop a serious condition known as GI stasis, which can be fatal. Keep bunny brushed (less hair is swallowed);
provide exercise time/space; have fresh hay always available; add fresh vegetables to the diet.
Bacterial balance: If a rabbit’s digestion is upset by stale food or a sudden change in diet, harmful bacteria can take over the digestive track and kill the rabbit. Keep all rabbit food in a cool, dry place and make dietary changes slowly, giving a new food in small amounts. Many rabbit diseases are caused by bacteria, not viruses, and can be treated with antibiotics. Your veterinarian will know what antibiotics are safe to use in rabbits