Swan Veterinary Hospital

PH: (08) 9274 1845

Rabbit Care

Rabbits are great pets that have character, are extremely sociable, enjoy the company of humans, and are a great way of introducing young children to pet ownership. They are quiet, clean, and also easily toilet trained.

  While rabbits love company, they can be left alone during the day and are therefore
  suitable for people who work or are away from home. A predator-proof enclosure to ensure
  their safety is essential. An appropriate enclosure is a hutch that is divided into two
  connecting compartments; one, a wire mesh to allow access to natural light and fresh
  
air, and the other, an enclosed area to provide protection against weather as well as a
  secure sleeping place. The floor of your rabbit's hutch should be covered with newspaper,
  and include a layer of bedding material like straw, grass, hay or shredded paper for
  warmth, comfort, and to prevent pressure sores on your bunny’s feet.

  Consider extreme weather conditions and ventilation when choosing a location for your
  hutch. Rabbits are extremely sensitive to the hot summer temperatures we experience in
                                                                             Australia and may die of heat stroke if their hutch is not in a cool, shaded location.

Rabbits should have at least two hours outside of the hutch for exercising each day. Handling them will also be of benefit to keep them tame.

Using a firm brush to remove dead hairs, tangles, and pieces of garden matter should form part of your daily routine. Grass seeds often become stuck in their eyes, ears, and nose, causing irritation and sometimes even infection. Check your rabbit’s rear end daily to make sure it is clean and dry. If your bunny's rear end becomes soiled, it is very prone to fly strike.

Feeding and proper nutrition are the most important factors in making sure your rabbit stays healthy. Many commercial rabbit foods do not contain enough fibre (18 - 20% is required) and are too high in fats and sugars. Rabbits are herbivores so their diet should consist almost entirely of vegetable matter. Pellets and mixes should not form a main part of the diet. Grass or hay is an essential dietary component to ensure your rabbit remains healthy. Apart from providing a high-fibre diet, chewing hay wears down their teeth (which are continuously growing!) and also keeps them occupied, preventing boredom.

Ideally, feed your bunny 85% hay and 15% veggies such as Asian greens or endive (lettuce and cabbage can cause diarrhoea). Treats such as fruits, root veggies (e.g. carrots), capsicum, and pellets should only be offered in small amounts (1 - 2 tablespoons per day, per rabbit). Fresh water should always be available via a drip-feed bottle and/or a heavy bowl that they cannot tip over.

Routine veterinary care for rabbits includes vaccination (against calicivirus) and desexing (females can become quite aggressive when mature and are very prone to reproductive cancers). Like all animals, rabbits should have regular veterinary checks, especially to check those constantly-growing teeth and claws!

We welcome you to come in and see us or give us a call on 9274 1845 to discuss how to keep your rabbit in optimal health.

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