What You Need For Rabbits – Rabbits are becoming increasingly popular as pets. However, many people adopt new pet rabbits without first researching the proper way to care for them, and because of this, they end up with various health problems that could have been prevented. If you’re looking to bring a new rabbit into your home, here’s everything you need to know.
Rabbits are herbivores, meaning they eat plants. They are built for a diet consisting mainly of large amounts of grass and leaves and some flowers and fruits. Hay is the most important part of a rabbit’s diet. Examples of grasses include timothy grass, ryegrass, oats, rye, barley and Bermuda grass. Rabbits should always have hay. Rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins, it promotes proper tooth wear through healthy GI motility and chewing, as well as reducing inappropriate chewing of other substances. In addition, grass helps to create a feeling of fullness in the rabbit’s stomach, preventing overeating and obesity. It is suitable for all ages. It is recommended to feed two or more different types of grass in one row. Eating sun-dried hay is better than commercially dried hay because it retains more nutrients.
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Another type of hay available is leguminous grasses such as alfalfa and clover. Lentil grass is not recommended because it contains more calories, calcium and protein than the average rabbit needs and can lead to GI upset and obesity. Mixing grass hay and leguminous hay is not recommended, as the rabbit may choose only leguminous hay and become overloaded with calories. It is also important not to feed hay as it lacks nutrients and can cause severe nutritional deficiencies if it is a major part of their diet.
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Another important part of a rabbit’s diet is raw food. Green foods include dandelion greens, collard greens, kale, romaine lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, celery and parsley. Green forage has the same nutritional benefits as hay, but contains a wider range of nutrients and provides water in the diet. This is very important because rabbits don’t always drink enough. If you feed your rabbit lots of greens, it will naturally drink less water. Green foods are good for kidneys, bladder and gastrointestinal tract. The diet should not consist mainly of raw foods, as they do not contain enough calories to maintain the rabbit’s normal body weight. Green feed is suitable for rabbits of all ages. If possible, you should buy organic foods or grow your own vegetables and wash all greens first. It is recommended to eat at least 3 types of vegetables per day.
Include fruits and vegetables in your rabbit’s daily diet. They can also be used as a reward during training. Fruits and vegetables are much healthier and cheaper than commercial rabbit treats, which should be avoided because most are high in starch and fat and can cause serious health problems. Examples of natural treats you can give your rabbit include apples, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, cranberries, carrots, green or red bell peppers, mangoes, peaches, pineapples, and pumpkins. You can feed dried fruits, but since they are highly concentrated, they should be reduced to a third of the normal amount. Bananas and raisins are not recommended as rabbits can become obsessed with these foods and will not want to eat anything else.
Commercial pellets should only be fed as a small portion of the rabbit’s diet. It’s easy to overeat pellets because they don’t provide the satisfaction you get from eating grass, and the high calorie content can lead to obesity. Pellets do not promote normal tooth wear and lack of chewing can lead to behavioral problems. Dehydration can also cause urinary tract infections. Ideally, commercial pellets should only make up 10% of a rabbit’s diet.
Foods to absolutely avoid feeding rabbits include foods high in starch and fat such as beans, bread, cereals, chocolate, corn, nuts, oats, peas, refined sugar, seeds, wheat or other grains. A healthy rabbit does not need to be given vitamins or other supplements because they will get it in their diet if they are fed properly. Abuse of these supplements can lead to serious medical problems.
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Water should always be available to your rabbit and should be changed daily. A container with dirty water can be a breeding ground for bacteria. You can use a water bottle or a heavy bowl attached to the side of the cage.
A rabbit’s cage should allow it to stand on its hind legs without its head resting on top of the cage, have a litter box and resting area, be easy to clean, and be made of metal or other unbreakable material. Cages should be stored in a cool and well-ventilated place. It is not recommended to keep the rabbit’s cage in the basement, as it is usually very humid and can cause respiratory diseases. If the area is too hot, the rabbit can suffer fatal heat stroke.
Rabbits can be caged outside, although this is not ideal. If they must be outside, they will seek shelter from rain and extreme temperatures. They must be protected from predators such as dogs, coyotes, and raccoons. The cage should be kept clean so as not to attract parasites. In winter, straw beds can be used as insulation. The water bowl should be changed daily, especially in winter when it freezes.
Rabbits should never be caged. They need daily exercise to stay healthy and prevent physical or behavioral disorders. Rabbits should be let out in a large exercise area where they can run, jump and move for at least a few hours each day. If you don’t want to give your rabbit free access to the house, you can buy a pen or build one with dog fence panels, which are available at most pet stores. The length of the pencil should be at least 3 meters. This will keep the rabbit away from furniture, electrical cables and toxic materials around the house. You can set up a pen outside for rabbits to graze, but never leave them unattended.
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If the rabbit is allowed to roam freely around the house, first isolate the area from rabbits. Block all escape routes outside the home and cover or block all electrical wiring. Protect your furniture from teeth or claws. Remove all poisonous plants, rodents, pesticides and other toxins from your rabbit’s reach.
Rabbits can be trained very easily. Confine the rabbit in a small area and place a litter box in the corner, preferably where the rabbit has already chosen to go to the toilet. The sides should be low enough for the rabbit to get in and out easily. You can put some poop in the litter box to encourage the rabbit to use it, as well as some hay. Rabbits urinate while eating. You should bring one more litter box than the number of rabbits in the house.
The best bedding to use in the litter box is pelleted litter. It is not poisonous, it is digestible if eaten. It wicks moisture away from the surface and keeps the air dry. Do not use litter or litter for kittens, as it can cause dangerous intestinal obstruction if the rabbit ingests it.
Rabbits also need a resting/hiding area in their environment. A box filled with grass is sufficient for some rabbits, while others prefer to hide in a closed box. You can use a wicker or untreated straw basket, litter box, or cardboard box with the entry hole and bottom removed. If the cage has a wire floor, a stable area where they can rest should be provided with washable or disposable material. Do not use carpet squares because they are not absorbent, can be abrasive on their little feet and cannot be cleaned. They are also easy to eat and are the #1 cause of constipation in rabbits.
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Finally, they should be provided with plenty of toys for mental stimulation and brushing. Dry twigs from untreated trees, wooden chew toys for birds, and unfinished, unpainted wicker or straw baskets are perfect chew toys for rabbits. They also like things that move like toilet paper rolls, small empty cardboard boxes and small piles of shredded paper or inflatable balls. Treats can be hidden in their toys to encourage foraging behavior.
Your rabbit’s spine is fragile and can break very easily if the rabbit receives a hard blow, so back support is always important. Don’t hold a rabbit by the ears because it hurts them
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