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Buying a rabbit - welcome home to the new member of your family!


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Author Topic: Buying a rabbit - welcome home to the new member of your family!  (Read 2212 times)
Zeynab
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« on: October 09, 2007, 12:55:18 pm »

A brief and comprehensive guide on caring for your pet rabbit

Some real precious information for all rabbit lovers!


Congratulations! You have adopted a rabbit into your family. Rabbits are intelligent social animals who require caring, attentive and affectionate keepers. Their average life span, depending on size and breed, is generally between 7 to 12 years. They are exceptionally clean animals that can easily be house trained and nurtured to become affectionate companions.

Spaying & Neutering

Each year, the BC SPCA receives hundreds of unwanted rabbits that are either surrendered or found stray. When resources are available, BC SPCA shelters and adoption centres will spay or neuter rabbits prior to adoption. Spaying and neutering are surgeries that will prevent rabbits from being able to reproduce. If you adopt a rabbit that has not had the surgery done, please have your rabbit spayed or neutered. The procedure can be done as young as 4½ months of age. Consult your veterinarian if your rabbit is 5 years or older. Having the surgery done will not only prevent unwanted litters but spaying or neutering will also:

-  Prevent your rabbit from spraying urine to mark territory;
-  Decrease aggressive behaviours such as biting, lunging, circling and growling;
-  Make litter box training easier;
-  Prevent cancers from developing – almost 80% of unspayed females will develop uterine cancer.

Housing

The BC SPCA recommends that like all pets, rabbits should be kept indoors where they can be cared for, played with, and become part of the family. The exact amount of space your rabbit will need depends on the size and breed of your rabbit — the more space the better. For the average Netherland Dwarf rabbit, your cage should be not less than 3.5 feet long by 2 feet wide by 2 feet high. In general, your rabbit’s cage should be big enough to fit a hide-away (covered area for resting and hiding), food and water bowls, a litter box and still allow your rabbit to take three hops from end to end. Consider a cage that is made of a non-chewable material (e.g., metal or hard plastic) with a door that opens from the side rather than the top, that way, when getting her exercise, your rabbit can run (or be herded) into her own cage and not always be forced into her "prison cell." The floor of the cage or hutch should be solid as wire mesh can hurt rabbit feet. Enrich the cage with toys (e.g., paper bags, cat toys or hard plastic baby toys) and things to chew (e.g., mats, baskets or b@lls made of untreated maise, seagrass or willow). Provide fresh hay or wood shavings (such as aspen) for bedding. You can also use a blanket as bedding.

Be sure to clean out bedding as it becomes soiled or damp. Clean out your rabbits cage and litter box weekly. White vinegar is an excellent agent in getting the smell and stains from urine out of the cage and litter box.

Food & Water

Rabbits are herbivores, meaning they eat only grasses, vegetables and fruit. Their daily diet should include:

-  Unlimited amounts of fresh Timothy Hay
-  ¼ cup of pelleted rabbit food
-  Vegetables & legumes (2 cups a day)
-  Treats (e.g., fresh or dried fruits – give sparingly, 1 tablespoon daily)
-  Fresh alfalfa can also be added to your rabbit’s basic diet if she is younger than 7 months.
[alfalfa is a plant widely used as animal feed and it contains certain enzymes that help digestion]

Recommended vegetables (add one new vegetable to your rabbit’s diet at a time):

-  Celery (strings removed)
-  Alfalfa sprouts
-  Carrots and carrot tops
-  Herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro, mint)
-  Bok choy
-  Dandelion flowers and leaves (untreated)
-  Kale
-  Radish tops and sprouts
-  Broccoli (mostly stems and leaves)

[Bok choy is a vegetable with thick white stems, long narrow leaves and a mild flavor.  Can be used in raw salad.  It's an Asian member of the cabbage family].

[Kale is a kind of Flavourful, curly-leafed green cabbage with plenty of nutritional value and very little calories].

Recommended fruits (dried or fresh)

- Pears
- Blueberries
- Grapes (no seeds)
- Raisins
- Banana
- Apple (no core and seeds)
- Plums
- Raspberries
- Strawberries

Foods not to feed your rabbit:

- Green beans
- Potatoes
- Beets
- Avocado
- Cabbage
- Sweet potato
- Corn
- Onion
- Rhubarb
- Cereals
- Crackers

Avoid making any sudden dietary changes. Always introduce new foods in small amounts.

Water

Plastic sipper bottles are best for water. Be sure the tip is low enough for your rabbit to reach. Monitor your rabbit to make sure she is drinking. Not all rabbits know how to use a sipper bottle. Shallow, ceramic water dishes may also be used, but require daily cleaning.

Food and water should be changed daily and containers cleaned and disinfected once a week.

Handling

Remember to never pick up a rabbit by her ears or the scruff of her neck. Pick up a rabbit with one hand under her rib cage and the other under her rump. Make sure she feels secure and that her feet are well supported — a rabbit can break her back if she kicks too hard. If your rabbit seems scared, gently cover her eyes with your hand. This creates a dark environment in which rabbits can feel safe. Hold your rabbit against you or on your lap. It’s best to handle your rabbit while you’re sitting down to avoid falls. Never hold a rabbit upside down, too tight around her stomach or any other way that causes her to experience pain or distress. Some rabbits are shier than others and will take some time to get used to regular human handling. It is very important to handle and socialize with your rabbit every day especially if they are younger so they feel comfortable around people. To calm your rabbit, mimic how they groom each other by petting your rabbit over the tip of her nose, eyes, ears, top of the head and down her back.

For the safety of your child and rabbit, supervise child-pet interactions at all times.

Grooming/Nail Trimming

An average shorthair rabbit does not require a lot of grooming, just some brushing with a soft brush during heavy shedding periods. Longhaired breeds should be brushed regularly with a soft brush. Rabbits do not require bathes as they are meticulous groomers. Dirty patches that they cannot reach or clean themselves can be spot cleaned with mild soapy water and a soft towel.

Your rabbit’s nails need to be trimmed about every six weeks or as necessary. Consult a vet or rabbit expert for instructions if hesitant. Care must be taken to avoid cutting the blood vessel in the centre of the nail called the quick. In good light this vessel is clearly visible — if the nail is not black. Have styptic powder or a product such as "Quick Stop" nearby to stop the bleeding just in case the quick is cut.

Exercise

Your rabbit requires daily exercise (minimum of 2 to 4 hours) outside of her cage. Exercise periods can be inside your home or outside in optimal weather conditions. Remember to supervise your rabbit at all times. Rabbits love to chew and dig so rabbit proof your home and yard. Cover electrical and phone cords with spiral cable wrap — available at home centres, hardware or computer stores. Move household plants out of reach. Arrange furniture to avoid your rabbit hiding in small, dark spaces. When outside, your rabbit will enjoy munching on fresh grass — make sure your lawn has not been treated. Temporary enclosures can be made or purchased at a pet supply store that will confine your rabbit to a small area of your home or lawn.

Medical Concerns

Rabbits are generally healthy creatures as long as their habitat is kept clean and their food and water fresh. Find a veterinarian in your community that specializes in rabbit care. Rabbits are prey animals and it is their nature to hide sickness and injury to avoid being left behind by their group. Therefore, they may not show signs of illness or disease until the very late stages. If you notice any abnormal symptoms or have medical concerns, it is important that you consult your vet right away. Some symptoms include: diarrhea; breathing difficulties; excessive hair loss; lack of appetite; abdominal gurgling; head tilt; incontinence (urine-soaked rear legs); and lumps. For more information about rabbit health, speak with your veterinarian.

Website

www.rabbit.org - House Rabbit Society.

Source of this information: Animal Care & Education - BC SPCA - Speaking for animals


TO LEARN HOW TO CARE FOR OTHER PETS LIKE DOGS, CATS, BIRDS AND RODENTS - VISIT THE
GENERAL ANIMAL CARE INFORMATION SITE OF BC SPCA


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"Say: Though the sea became ink for the Words of my Rab, verily the sea would be used up before the words of my Rab were exhausted, even though We brought the like thereof to help."  (18:109) Al-Kahf

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Ruhi_Rose
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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2007, 04:23:32 am »

Great information and what a lovely pic of the rabbit.  Looks very much like your sweet little Wabby  Smiley   Thanks sis.  Unfortunately I'm not in a position of keep a rabbit now.  But I too love rabbits as u do.  Some day, InshAllah, when my husband and I do decide to bring one or two, this information will be of great help.
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2011, 03:45:09 am »

And here's picture of an indoor barn. 




Sorry, this indoor barn pic isn't available any longer as I had uploaded from the main site. I guess they moved it.  InshAllah, I'll put up another one.
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"Say: Though the sea became ink for the Words of my Rab, verily the sea would be used up before the words of my Rab were exhausted, even though We brought the like thereof to help."  (18:109) Al-Kahf
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2011, 11:11:24 am »

O my dearest Allah!  isn't this little rabbit pic cute?!

And what a gorgeous indoor barn.  Love it.

InshAllah, some day we too will get a rabbit.  It can be about the sweetest of pets.  The only drawback is that they have a short life span Sad

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Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.  Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.  Just walk beside me and be a friend.

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