By Michelle Muprhy
Did you know rabbits are the third most popular pet in the UK?
Rabbits can live for 8-12 years so let’s find out how to keep your rabbits healthy and happy.
Rabbits need each other. They are very sociable and should be kept with at least one other friendly neutered rabbit. Rabbits should not be housed with guinea pigs due to the risk of injury and potential spread of infection.They need a large shelter to protect them from bad weather, extremes of temperature and predators.
They love space to be able to exercise, graze, to run, jump, hop, dig and search for food every day. Places to hide if they feel scared or want to be alone. Lots of safe toys to play with and not forgetting attention from their owners. Rabbits can be easily scared so you must be quiet and gentle with them. They can be litter trained and kept indoors as long as your house is rabbit proofed- they LOVE to chew!!
Feeding the correct diet is vital for your rabbit. Fresh water to drink should be available 24/7. Lots of good quality hay and grass fed ad-lib with a very small portion ( 2 egg cups) of dry pellet food. A hand full of greens- cabbage/kale/broccoli- and the occasional apple/carrot but avoid other treats. The risks of poor diet are dental disease, obesity and gut motility issues.
Check your rabbit for signs of pain, illness, injury or changes in appetite/behaviour every day. Talk to us immediately if you suspect any problems- rabbits are very good at hiding illness. Always come and see our Veterinary Surgeons for a yearly vet check-up and vaccinate against- Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD.) These diseases are usually fatal and all pet rabbits are at risk, whether they are housed inside or out.
Check your rabbits bottom/tail area to make sure they are clean- especially important during the summer months as flystrike can occur. Blowflies lay eggs on dirty fur which develop into maggots that eat the flesh. This causes serious pain and can be fatal. Speak to your vet about a product to prevent this.
NEUTER - The main advantage of neutering is that two rabbits can be kept together without the hop hop of tiny feet! Castrated males are usually more relaxed, show less aggression and urine marking. For females, spaying is very important as up to 60% of unneutered female rabbits will develop uterine cancer by the age of three. Spaying also prevents false pregnancies and infection of the uterus as well as reducing aggression.
For Further information ask a member of our team!