Bunny Care Tips From A Powdersville, SC Veterinarian 

February is Adopt A Rescued Rabbit Month. we’re always happy to feature Floppy in our spotlight. Bunnies are cute, but they need a lot of attention and care. It’s important to do some research before adopting one. In this article, a local Powdersville, SC veterinarian shares some tips on how to bring a bunny into your home.

Rabbits Need A Lot Of Care

Let’s start with the basics. Like any other pet, bunnies need good food, clean water, and a comfortable habitat. Since Floppy will need to spend a lot of time outside her cage, you’ll have to either petproof your home or the areas where she will be allowed. Great veterinary care is also essential. You need to find a vet who is familiar with rabbits since not all vets do.

Bunnies Have Specific Dietary Needs

Your rabbit’s diet should mostly consist of grass hay, such as Timothy hay. You’ll need to make sure your rabbit always has plenty of fresh hay available. You can supplement this with commercial bunny food and safe herbs and vegetables. It’s okay to feed your pet some fruits, but you need to be careful not to go overboard here, as too much sugar can be dangerous.

Bunny owners must also be aware of what foods are unsafe for bunnies. That list includes some items that may seem harmless. Bread, biscuits, pasta, and bread, for example, are not poisonous but can lead to stomach discomfort in your furry friend.

Here are a few other foods to avoid:

  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Avocado
  • Tomato and potato leaves
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Oatmeal
  • Coconut
  • Chilis
  • Cookies
  • Candy
  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol (birch sugar)
  • Junk food
  • Alcohol
  • Foods with seeds or pips

There are also many things, such as chard and broccoli, that should only be given occasionally as they may cause gas. This is just a partial list, of course: ask your vet for more information.

A Good Bunny Habitat Is A Must

Many rabbit cages are actually too small for Floppy. Rabbits are very active animals, and they get quite unhappy if they’re cooped up in a small cage for long periods of time. Make sure your pet has enough room to jump, stand up, sit down, and play in her cage without touching the sides or top.

It’s also important to choose something with a solid floor. Mesh floors don’t hold bedding, and they can cause paw and leg injuries. Additionally, mesh floors are uncomfortable. You should avoid bedding made from hardwoods, such as pine or cedar, as the oils can cause respiratory problems in small animals. Spot-clean the cage every day, and follow it up with more thorough cleanings at regular intervals.

Your pet will also need toys, bedding, a hide box, and a water bottle. A litterbox and hayrack are optional, but helpful. For more information, contact your Powdersville, SC veterinarian.

Rabbits Are Very Social

These guys are often happiest with friends. You may want to consider getting a bonded pair. You’ll get to enjoy twice the cuteness!

Some Bunnies Like To Cuddle

Many of these cute balls of fur are quite affectionate. Some are a bit shy, and may prefer to hang out beside you, rather than curling up on your lap. Even if Floppy isn’t a lap bunny, she may show her affection in other ways, such as rubbing her chin on you. Attempted grooming is also a sign of affection.

Rabbits Are Often Dumped Or Rehomed

It is not uncommon for bunnies to be abandoned. People often adopt them without realizing their needs or how much care they require. While many are rehomed or surrendered to shelters, others are released into the wild. Pets aren’t equipped to fend for themselves, and often don’t survive long before succumbing to weather, predators, illness, or injury. Reach out to a local shelter or bunny rescue if you find an abandoned bunny.

Bonding With A Bunny Takes Time

Since rabbits are prey animals in the wild, they can be a bit timid. Floppy may not feel safe until several months have passed. Good TLC will go a long way here, but don’t rush things!

It may take time for your furry pal to warm up to you.

  • Never pick your rabbit up or hold her against her will. Doing so may scare her, which will end up doing more harm than good.
  • Offer yummy treats. Snacks are an excellent tool for bonding and training. Floppy’s sweet tooth often comes in handy here. Only offer things you know are safe, such as sliced apples, strawberries, dried bananas, and melons. Follow your vet’s advice.
  • Play with your pet. Bunnies are pretty playful, which is of course always adorable. You can try rolling a ball to your pet, or playing ‘tag’ with her.
  • Sit or lay down, so you’re at your pet’s level. If you think about it, you’re pretty much a giant to your furry friend!
  • Be calm and quiet, and avoid loud noises and sudden movements. Otherwise, you might inadvertently scare your furry buddy.
  • Take time to learn about bunny body language. Happy bunnies tend to be playful and curious. A really happy bunny might reward you with binkies, which are basically bunny happy dances.

Knowing the signs of anxiety is also important. The symptoms include freezing, sitting in a hunched position, acting aggressively, and flattening the ears.

Talk to your pet. It does not matter what you say: the tone of your voice is more important.

Rabbits Chew A Lot

Your furball may be cute, but she’s actually a little chewing machine! Floppy isn’t trying to be destructive: she’s just trying to keep her teeth healthy. Wild bunnies eat tough roots and fibers. Their teeth are built to withstand that sort of abuse: in fact, they never stop growing. The softer diets of pet rabbits won’t wear their choppers down, though. Floppy must chew to prevent their choppers from getting too long because they have a much softer diet.

You’ll need a pretty endless supply of chew toys. Many cardboard, wood, and wicker items are acceptable. You can also provide clean fruit tree branches.

Petproofing is also essential. That means keeping anything you don’t want Floppy nibbling on out of reach of those cute paws. You’ll also need to seal off openings behind and beneath furniture, and protect furniture legs, baseboards, and wires.

Bunnies Have Some Unique Ways Of Showing Illness

Floppy has different ways of signaling when she doesn’t feel well than cats and dogs do. It’s important to know what to look for.

Here are some warning signs:

  • Unusual Waste
  • Loss Of Appetite
  • Fever
  • Bloating
  • Unusual Vocalization
  • Teeth Grinding
  • Dirty Fur
  • Unusual Gait/Posture
  • Lethargy
  • Facial Swelling
  • drooling
  • dropping food
  • Reduced Appetite
  • Respiratory problems
  • Changes in Behavior

Contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice any of these.

You’ll Need To Visit Your Powdersville, SC Veterinary Clinic Regularly

Just like any other pet, rabbits need proper veterinary care. Please reach out anytime!

In conclusion: We’ve covered some of the basics of adopting a bunny in this blog, but there is much more to learn. Rabbits have some specific care needs, so it’s important to do plenty of research and make an informed decision before bringing Floppy home. Or, in other words, look before you leap.

Do you have any questions about bunny care? Contact us, your Powdersville, SC animal hospital, today! We are always ‘hoppy’ to help!

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