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Caring For Your New Rabbit
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Review: Rabbits are fairly easy to care for because they have inexpensive upkeep as far as food cost and you can clean their cage at least once per week. They are pretty hardy requiring minimal visits to the vet. They are timid creatures and may on occasion bite. Rabbits are easily litter box trained and do show some owner recognition. Rabbits can be mildly active requiring outside cage activity daily. Rabbits have a lifespan of about 10 years. Visit our Advanced Small Animal care and FAQ's for more information on rabbits.
Essential Care Items:
Rabbits are cuddly and cute additions to any family. They are popular pets because of their small size and are easy to care for. Welcome to the world of rabbits.
Rabbits should be fed a base diet of rabbit pellets usually made from alfalfa. Supplement your rabbit's pellets with as much Timothy Hay as they want. Fiber is very important in a rabbit's diet. By providing access to loose hay, your rabbit can graze as needed. As a treat you can provide alfalfa cubes. Rabbits are nibblers and should have access to food all day. Your rabbit also enjoys fresh fruit and vegetables such as; carrots, apples (no seeds), broccoli and bananas. Do not feed rabbits iceberg lettuce which causes diarrhea. Fresh clean water should always be available via a water bottle to prevent spillage. For added health benefits, add water soluable vitamins to the water bottle. A salt and mineral spool is also necessary for your rabbit's good health. This can be hung on the side of the cage for easy access. Since a rabbit's teeth continually grow throughout its life, rabbits naturally chew to keep the teeth from becoming overgrown. Therefore, it is important to provide gnaw stones such as a lava stone and wood chew blocks for optimum teeth health. We have lots of Pet Tips for ideas on toys and treats.
Your rabbit's cage should be at least 4 times the size of an adult rabbit. At least half of the cage should be solid flooring to prevent sores from developing on your rabbit's feet. Try to find a cage that provides a tray for the litter for easy cleaning and so that your rabbit does not have access to eating the bedding. Your cage should be placed away from any heat source. Rabbits are easily overheated. This means no direct sunlight and the cage should have adequate ventilation. Aquariums are not a good choice for a rabbit cage. This cage should be cleaned with soap and warm water once per week. To clean any smell and the build-up of urine crystals, you can use white vinegar.
We recommend Carefresh bedding which is made of recycled paper and seems to stay fresh the longest. Kiln-dried pine is also an acceptable bedding material (the drying process removes dangerous oils and kills mites). Your bedding should be in a tray under the cage to prevent your rabbit from eating the bedding. Rabbits are easily trained to a litter box. Place a litter box in the corner of the cage and one outside near a play area. Most rabbits, like cats, will use the litter box instinctively. Stay away from clumping and crystal litters.
Rabbits need exercise daily and can roam around the house or a fenced yard with supervision. Be sure that they are not able to reach any electrical cords.
Rabbits are avid chewers. Therefore, be sure to provide lots of chew toys such as chew hooves and gnaw stones. These toys will help control the growth of your rabbit's teeth. If the teeth become overgrown, your rabbit will have trouble eating and may become malnourished.
Grooming is a great way to increase contact with your rabbit. Use a grooming glove to gently brush your rabbit's coat. Rabbits shed their undercoat twice yearly. It is important to brush them daily during this time to reduce hair balls. To prevent hair balls, you can give your rabbit a hair ball remedy found in most pet stores. Rabbits are clean animals and groom themselves regularly. If your rabbit requires bathing, bathe it indoors and keep warm until completely dry.
When picking your new rabbit be sure that it has clear bright eyes (no discharge). Your rabbits coat should be clean and fluffy. Do not pick animals that have matted fur, appear dirty or have missing fur. Check your rabbit for overgrown teeth which can lead to nutritional problems.
Do not pick your rabbit up by the ears. Instead place one hand under the chest and one under the bottom and gently lift.
Never hit your rabbit. They are timid and fragile creatures. Use a sharp, loud no, which is sufficient to stop any bad behavior.
Enjoy your new rabbit and give it lots of love and attention!
Check out the website below for great information on rabbits: