How to Care for your Bunny
How to Care for your Bunny
a small primer. Bunnies need a balanced diet of hay, veggies, and pellets (in that order). They also need fresh water daily. You should supply them with a place to use the restroom. They need at least three to four hours of time out of their cage daily, the more the better.
It’s important to watch your rabbit closely for changes in personality. Bunnies are prey animals and try to hide the fact that they are ill to keep predators away. If your bunny has diarrhea or has stopped going altogether, get to the vet immediately. Lack of poop can indicate stasis which is a common cause of death. I’m not qualified to answer health questions, but this page provides many great resources for medical situations. Always remember that if your bunny seems ill you should visit your bunny-knowledgeable vet.
Brushing on a regular basis is a good idea, and more when they are shedding. Bunnies groom themselves like cats do, and are very clean animals. They will almost NEVER need a bath. In fact, you can do more harm than good to your rabbit by stressing it out. However, the occasional butt bath might be necessary. My suggestion would be to get in the bath with the rabbit and close the curtain with the liner on the inside of the tub. Put a towel down so they have traction, and rinse of their bum with a gentle shampoo or soap. Dry their butt well with a new towel and make sure they are completely dry before you leave the house. They will most likely spend the rest of the day sulking and “re-cleaning” the area.
Bunnies require regular nail trimming, about one time every couple of months. It’s simple enough when you have a cooperative bunny, but some tend to struggle. Eames has kicked his back legs at me a couple of times when he is not in the mood. First tip for nail trimming would be to sit on the floor, that way they don’t hurt themselves if they struggle and get away. I like to swaddle Eames a bit and sit him in my lap on his back. My husband holds the feet I’m not trimming. Be sure not to cut too close to the quick, and give them their favorite treat after you’re done. If you don’t feel like this is something you can do, veterinarians provide the service for a fee.
This section should really be called training. Discipling your rabbit physically will only ruin the relationship you have with it. Physical discipline simply does not play a part in their world of communal behavior (BunnyProof). Bunnies respond well to verbal and sound cues. When Eames was little and doing something inappropriate like chewing on a baseboard, I would clap twice and say, “No-No” in a stern voice. He would immediately stop what he was doing. In the beginning he would usually go back to chewing, and I would repeat. Eventually he got the idea, and stopped the behavior. Sometimes he needs a gentle reminder, but he is generally very well behaved. I’ve also heard of people using spray bottles, like when training cats. I can see this working, however, I would try commands first.
Boredom leads to destruction. Toys keep bunnies from getting bored. They really don’t need expensive things to keep them occupied. Toilet paper rolls, phone books, and cardboard boxes are all great options. You can mix it up by hiding treats in the rolls. I recently read this great post on Bunny Approved about logic toys. They are a great way to provide enrichment and stimulation for your bun.