Rabbits are becoming a very popular pet for both adults and children alike.
As we have increasingly busy lifestyles and increasingly small backyards, rabbits can be an excellent option for a companion animal.
They are small, quiet animals with gigantic personalities!
If you want further information on how to care for your rabbit or have any questions regarding your rabbit’s health, please call the clinic and we’ll be happy to book you in to see Dr. Louise Pierce.
If you own, or are considering introducing a rabbit into you life here are some important things to be aware of that will ensure your bunny has the happiest, healthiest life possible.
There is often a misconception that rabbits will do fine living in very small hutches in the backyard. In fact, much the opposite is true! Rabbits should have the biggest possible space available to them and may be housed indoors, outdoors or a combination of both.
Your rabbit will be able to live a wonderful life as an indoor pet, however there are a few considerations associated with this lifestyle that you should be aware of.
- Rabbits can be litter trained similarly to a cat
- Indoor rabbits should have their own special area where they can be confined during times of illness, when they are unable to be supervised or when you are having guests
- Rabbits are big chewers and hence owners should be aware of precious furniture and electrical wires.
- Beware of other pets in the household
Rabbits can be housed outdoors, however only if they are provided with plenty of interaction and stimulation. Similar to indoor housing, there are a number of considerations associated with this lifestyle that you should be aware of.
- Predators have more easy access to our outdoor rabbits
- Mosquito transmitted diseases such as Calicivirus and Myxomatosis are more likely to be contracted if your bunnies live outdoors
- Outdoor rabbits are less likely to receive the adequate attention their indoor friends may receive
- You must always think about hot weather, cold weather, rain etc. when housing your rabbits outside
- These bunnies are also more likely to be affected by extremes of temperature
- You can get creative! An old kids cubby house can be converted into a wonderful rabbit palace…
Vaccinations are important for any pet you may have.
In Australia, we are able to vaccinate your rabbits against Calicivirus. Calicivirus has been introduced to our beloved domestic bunnies via wild rabbits. It is a deadly virus that can damage internal organs such as the liver and gut, this awful virus can also cause serious hemorrhaging a bleeding. Your rabbit should be vaccinated every 6 months (twice yearly) for calicivirus. As part of this appointment, we can also perform a health examination of your rabbit; checking their body condition, weight and importantly their teeth! To make sure your rabbit is always in brilliant health, any other worries or questions you may have can be covered in these checkups as well.
You might be surprised to know that most rabbits can be litter trained successfully, meaning it is easier to clean out their area and keep them as acceptable indoor pets.
Rabbits like to ‘poo and chew’. Therefore, providing your rabbit with a simple cat litter tray (or underbed storage tub) full of good quality oaten hay is the best way to encourage your rabbit to use their tray.
Your rabbit may have already picked a location to toilet in. If so, it is wise to place a litter tray in their chosen spot; rabbits are stubborn and it is difficult to change their minds! For extra absorption, you may find placing some newspaper and/or recycled paper cat litter below the hay can be useful and may help make your cleaning tasks easier.
rabbit, care, Dr Louise Pierce, housing, melbourne
Grooming requirements will vary depending on the breed, age and housing arrangements of your rabbit.
Angora and cashmere rabbits will require daily brushing to keep their coats matt free and may require clipping over the warmer months.
Shorter haired breeds will require grooming less often.
All rabbits will need regular nail trims to keep their feet in good condition.
Older rabbits may require assistance in cleaning themselves, in particular their ears and bottoms as their mobility is reduced.