Tag: bunny

Bunny Rabbits – Resist the Temptation!

Easter arrives this coming Sunday and with it all those things that signal spring is truly here to stay. From daffodils and blooming trees and shrubs to pastel colors and sun bathing. Something else that’s also prominent in the springtime are baby bunny rabbits! These little balls of cuddly fur with perfect little ears make their appearance every spring – especially around Easter.

While in some places the admiration of baby bunnies, and chicks, and ducks are part of the Easter festivities, they are also encountered in the wild too. Do you or your children really know how to handle bunny rabbits though? They are A LOT more complex than they seem. We wanted to hit on a couple high points as you encounter these lovely creatures this season.

Bunny Rabbits 101

  • Don’t take one home as a pet on a whim. We can’t stress this enough. They require so much consideration and specialized care and can live up to ten years or more. If you plan on getting a bunny rabbit as a pet, it is so important you do your research. They are not a cat or dog and have very different needs.
  • Don’t let your children pick them up without adult training and supervision. If a rabbit has been handled enough that you can pick it up, you must do so in a specific way. Many bunny rabbit deaths occur from improper handling that result in broken backs.
  • NEVER pick a rabbit up by it’s ears.
  • If you find a nest in the wild, leave it alone. The babies have not been abandoned. Rabbit mothers spend most of their time away from the nest to keep from attracting predators. Leave the babies be or the mother may reject them.
  • If you find a lost baby bunny rabbit outside the nest, or your cat or dog bring one in, it’s important that you know how hard it can be for them to thrive. If it still has the little white mark on its head, it is likely still far too young to survive without its mother. If it doesn’t have the star, call your local vet to ask if there is a wild animal rehabilitation center or similar organization you can hand it over to.

This season, we really can’t stress enough how important it is that wild bunnies be left to be wild bunnies and tame bunnies are well thought out and planned for before they come home with you!

photo credit: -Porsupah- Between worlds via photopin (license)

Rabbit Starter Kit – Tips For A Happy Bun!

Did you know that the rabbit population in animal shelters grows every year? Rabbits can be complicated, yet very rewarding pets if you know a few basics beforehand. Before you let that round little rump and those fuzzy paws entice you into an impulse purchase/adoption let us guide you through some of the basics of rabbit ownership!

Rabbits Aren’t Cats or Dogs

It’s important not to treat them as such. They are a very different creature and how you care for them and respect them can be vastly different. Here are a few of the key points you need to be aware of:

  • Rabbits are prey animals, unlike cats or dogs. Their instinct for survival kicks in each time they get spooked and its fairly easy to spook even a familiar rabbit.
  • It’s very important that you let them familiarize themselves with their environment in a quiet and respectful way. You can’t always be quick to scoop them up, or even approach them, if they aren’t used to regular human contact, or are shy.
  • Locate a vet that is trained specifically for rabbits. Cat and dog vets are not necessarily able to treat rabbits so be sure you have one picked out.
  • All pets have different personalities, but rabbits can vary widely. Some are laid back and up for anything, some are stand-offish, even at their best. If you’re adopting, spend time with your rabbit before you commit. Bunnies need forever homes to be truly comfortable, not temporary ones.

Rabbit Supplies

  • Cage/House – Even free-roaming (house tyrants, really) need to have an out-of-the-way bunny specific place that is off limits to you. It’s also important that you have a place you can confine them when doing house projects or when you go out. Rabbits can be dangerously curious and deceptively destructive!
  • Two Litter Boxes – Two are best, one for their cage, one for the house. You may place the litter box where you want, but rabbits frequently will pick their own location and it can be easier to just place the box in the spot they pick.
  • Bunny Litter – Wood chips are fine, but choose Aspen over Pine as pine can be unhealthy for them. Wood pellets and paper are also good choices – Cat litter is a big no-no!
  • Timothy Hay & Pellets – Rabbits should have unlimited access to this delicious hay. They should have a trough in their cage and have access to more while in their litter box. Rabbits are happiest snacking on it while doing their business. Food pellets are also necessary. Choose high quality pellets with lots of vitamins and minerals. Rabbits also love fresh greens like kale, cilantro, spinach, and, as a treat, banana!
  • Grooming supplies – A good, rabbit-specific brush is a must for the shedding season. Good nail clippers are also important.
  • Harness & leash – House bunnies love trips outside! Use a harness with their leash to better protect them and focus on leash training them in the home first, before you venture out. Make sure the space you walk them in is free from predators.
  • Food & Water Supplies – Food and water dishes must be secured. Bunnies are playful critters and anything not secured in their territory is going to get tossed about.

photo credit: Keithius morning chuck via photopin (license)

Ear Problems In Pets: What You Need To Hear

Ear problems in pets are unpleasantly common. From infections to ear mites most pet owners will deal with at least one ear issue during their pet’s lifetime. Know the signs and how to deal with them beforehand to save your pet the itching and pain!

Lend your pets an ear to their struggles with mites and infections!

Ear Mites and Infections

These are the three biggest sources of ear problems in pets. Mistaking one for the other and mistreating it can cause prolonged suffering on your pets behalf! As with any pet ailment, seek professional medical advice from your vet if symptoms persist but use this information to give you and your pet a head start!

  • Ear Mites – These hard to see little buggers are highly contagious but usually not too serious if treated quickly and properly. An infestation in most pets like dogs, cats, or rabbits is characterized by a speckled and sometimes crusty appearance inside the ear. Pets will frequently shake their heads and scratch which can lead to bleeding, scabbing, and bald patches. Large infestations often require a specialised ear wash used regularly for around a week. Small infestations can sometimes be treated by regularly swabbing olive or mineral oil on your pet’s ear with a cotton ball until symptoms disappear. Be careful not to get oil down in  your pet’s ear canal though! A light coat is all that is needed. Don’t forget to thoroughly clean pet bedding and any other place in which mites or their eggs may be.
  • Ear Infections – These can be notably more serious than mites and cause pain. While allergies of some variety are the most common cause of ear infections in pets, be sure to get a proper diagnosis from your vet. Even infections caused by allergies usually need proper medical attention to determine what the source of the allergy is so it can be removed. Signs of an infection can include redness and swelling around the ear, scabs, discharge, and itching. Help prevent infections by drying ears out after baths and swimming and being mindful of allergies your pet may have!

photo credit: Daisy loves her soccer balls and finds them quite chewy. via photopin (license)

Bath Time – What You Should Know About Bathing Your Pet

With all the extra summer romping around it’s not unusual for your pet to need a bath a little more often. Taking a bath may seem super straight forward to us but for pets things get a little more complicated. Does your pet have skin allergies that may make it sensitive to soap? Is a bath dangerous for my type of pet? If my pet cleans itself, do I ever need to give it a bath?

Bath time!

Bath Basics

Dogs need regular baths, it’s a simple fact. They don’t groom themselves and get up to (and in to) all sorts of unpleasant thing. Dog baths are pretty straight forward barring any specific skin allergies or water phobias. The basic steps to giving most pets a good bath are as follows:

  • Give them a good brush down to get rid of any loose fur or mats
  • Place them in an un-stopped up tub so the water drains freely and poor warm water over their coat.
  • Be sure the water is penetrating your pets coat of fur.
  • Lather them up with pet shampoo! Be sure to use appropriate shampoo for your pet. Do you need extra flea protection? Is your pet sensitive to fragrances or detergents?
  • Rinse with warm water
  • Towel off!

Some pet owners may add in a pet safe conditioning step or even rinse their pooch with a little vinegar to help shine the coat and nix any lingering scents.

What about other pets though?

    • Cats – Cats groom themselves but on occasion may require some extra help. Cats can get into some sticky and smelly situations too and it’s perfectly safe to give them a bath. In addition to following the steps above you may consider trimming their claws before hand and loosely tucking a couple cotton balls in their ears to keep water from getting in them.
    • Rabbits – It is often highly advised against giving a rabbit a bath. They are prone to hypothermia once water penetrates their fur to their skin. Rabbits can also die of fright and are more prone to injure themselves when frightened. If your bunny really gets into a mess that they just can’t handle themselves consider a good brushing followed by a thorough wiping down with a wet cloth.
    • Potbelly Pigs – Pigs may be associated with being dirty but they are actually very clean critters! Under normal circumstances there is no need to bathe your pig. Brush them and wipe them off like a bunny and you should be good to go!
    • Hedgehogs – Hedgehogs usually love baths! A sink with a small amount of water in it is often a great source of fun for them! Be sure the water is not too deep or warm and never leave them unattended. Dry thoroughly when done!

photo credit: The mascot pup after a bath 1943 via photopin (license)

 

Bonding With Your Pet – How To Build A Relationship

Bonding with a pet is an important move to make. One needed to ensure a long-lasting and happy relationship. While bonding may come naturally to many, others can struggle and don’t know where to begin. The process can be much easier when you get your pet as a baby. As they grow they adapt and become familiar with you and your habits. Bonding can be harder if you are adopting an adult shelter pet though. The saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, may not be entirely true but it does take some extra effort!

Bonding with your Pet

  • Leave them alone – If your new pet seems unsure of you, don’t force the situation. Let your new pet – be it a dog, cat, bunny, or guinea pig, be the first to initiate contact. Often times confining your pet to the same area as you while sitting quietly will entice them to investigate you. Don’t try to pet them until they’re comfortable being near you. Do they cower under things? We’ve heard that the best way to bond with something like a baby bunny is to sit in an empty bathtub with them, forcing them to be near you instead of cowering under the nearest piece of furniture!
  • Treats! – Don’t ever underestimate the power of a treat! The initial pet bonding time is all about making your animal have positive associations with you. Once they are comfortable being near you, start petting them, scratching behind the ears, and dole out a treat or two. Dog and cat treats are easy to come by, but for smaller pets like rabbits, try a little bit of banana! They can smell it a long way off!
  • Consistency – If you want to form a strong bond you have to be around your pet regularly. During the bonding process is not the time for vacations and pet sitters! Make yourself available to your pet regularly and be sure to try to work them into your daily routine. Consistency builds a stable and safe environment.

Remember that patience is key, especially if you have a shelter pet that has had a rough life. Try visiting the pet at the shelter a couple times before you take them home. Just like with any relationship trust and comfort must be established before any true affection can grow!

photo credit: OLAF via photopin (license)

Pet Rabbits – What You Need To Know Before The Commitment

The trend of pet rabbits has been growing across America for the last few years, following on the heals of the rabbit obsessed country of Japan. In Japan, bunnies are so popular they have rabbit cafes that allow both pet owners and their hoppy little friends to mingle while enjoying snacks. Their bright personalities and round fuzzy bodies make them hard to resist when it comes to cuteness. This is both a blessing and burden however… Many people, (especially around Easter) are quick to scoop up the fuzzy bundles and bring them home thinking they will be a great companion for their child. The truth is, however, that pet rabbits and children generally don’t mix well. Due to “pet shop impulses” tens of thousands of pet rabbits are abandoned each year. In fact, pet rabbits are now the most neglected pet in England. Rabbit ownership is not something to take lightly (really, no pet ownership is). Unlike dogs and cats, pet rabbits are prey animals which means owning them has to be approached differently. You can’t just scoop one up and expect it to love you, it’s terrified of you. In fact, it usually takes around a week, sometimes longer, for pet rabbits to bond with their humans. Even once bonded, you are still at the mercy of the rabbits wants and needs, not your own. Because of their peculiar (yet rewarding!) nature as pets, we’ve compiled a great list of what you should know about pet rabbits before you make the commitment. Furthermore, we’ve provided some great resource sites for those of you seeking more information about creating a happy loving home for your new pet!

Pet rabbits in the fall!

What To Know Before You Get A Pet Rabbit

  • Rabbits are territorial – they need to have their own space where you don’t go. Fully loving bunnies can turn aggressive should you invade their private space. Even a free roaming house bunny should have a cage or hutch where it can drink and eat and relax in private. Pet rabbits are happiest when they can escape!
  • Pet Rabbits are the easiest of the house pets to litter box train – There’s a catch though… they choose where it goes. Rabbits are creatures of habit so once they decide where their bathroom spot is going to be, all you have to do is place a litter box there! Don’t use kitty litter though, look for litter specific to pet rabbits, often made of recycled paper or wood chips.
  • You can not punish a rabbit – They are prey animals so they are always on the look out for aggression or signs of a threat. If your pet rabbit is doing something inappropriate, it is best to distract them from the task.
  • Because of the inability to punish  pet rabbits, rabbit proofing your home is a MUST – rabbits will get into everything! And they love to chew and dig! You must either hide all power cords, or run them through plastic tubes so that they are inaccessible to your bunny. Additionally, anything you care about must be kept out of a rabbits reach – record collection, books, house plants, shoes – ANYTHING.
  • Rabbits are very different from cats or dogs – they will likely never come when called, can be occasionally stand-offish, and rather demanding creatures. Some pet rabbits have been known to thump their back foot at their owner when they want petted or fed!
  • You can, however, train them with Pavlovian responses – It is advised that rabbit owners condition their pets to certain sounds. Like making a little ‘clicking’ noise when the rabbit is getting a treat. That way, in the future, you can make that sound when you need your rabbit to come to you, like when it’s time to get in their cage.
  • Rabbits can not be carried around like other pets – some bunnies are cooler about this than others. Some rabbits simply will not tolerate being picked up. First of all, you must know how to properly pick up a rabbit. The number one cause of pet rabbit deaths in the home are caused by broken spines from owners improperly handling their pet.

Rabbits can be an amazingly rewarding pet to that can live anywhere from 5-12 years with proper care. They make soft oinking noises and will circle your feet to tell you they love you. They will groom you occasionally as repayment for petting them. They are happy, playful creatures who will do special hops and dances to show you their joy. They are certainly a pet that it’s worthwhile getting to know how to care for! If you’d like to explore more about the world of pet rabbit ownership, check out our links below!

Great resource sites for pet rabbits

rabbit.org
Binkybunny.com
Bestfriends.org
MSPCA Angell

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