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How to take care of a rabbit

Nutritious diet

Proper diet is essential to keep the rabbits free from digestive disorders. The digestive system of a rabbit

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is complex and hence it is important to understand their physiology before offering that food that can cause them health problems. The right supplement of nutrients in a safe environment can keep your bunny happy. Crude Protein (CP) is included in most rabbit pellets that are available in the market, this is high recommended. Rabbit pellets can be offered daily but in limited quantities to protect the pet from obesity, heart disease, diarrhea, kidney problem due to the high calcium content in the pellets. You can also buy pellets that have high fiber content and refrigerated it to prevent rotting.

Adult rabbits of body weight between 2-4lb need to be fed with ¼ cup daily, body weight between 5-7lb can be given ½ cup daily, body weight of 8-10lb can feed on ¾ cup daily and those that are between 11-15lb need 1 cup everyday.

Hay or grass also forms a suitable diet for your pet rabbits. Use only loose strands of hay and not pressed cubes. The fiber content in the hay promotes normal digestion. Hay also contains protein that is essential for growth of your pet.

Fresh treats are also suggested to give the rabbit a change from their usual food habits. A controlled amount of treats can ensure that the rabbit is free from digestive disorders. Stick to the diet routine and do not keep changing the diet often as it can lead to health disorders.

Dark green leafy vegetables can be given daily to maintain the right nutritional balance. Lettuces, dandelion greens, turnips, mustard greens, carrots are some of the vegetables that can be included in the rabbit diet. Fruits like sliced apples, banana or sunflower seeds can be added.

Do not give them cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, beet, potatoes, onions, bamboo, grains tomatoes or spinach. Never feed a rabbit with chocolates, candy or most man-made food.

Access to clean and fresh water can keep your pet away from dehydration. During summer it is important to refill the water bowl of the rabbits regularly to avoid heat strokes. Your pet uses water to regulate their body temperature.

Health tips

There is no need to vaccinate the rabbits like you do your dogs. These are typically low maintenance pets that come with no vaccination procedures at all. Many veterinarians are not experts in treating rabbit, therefore it is advised as responsible pet owners to look out for common ailments and treatment for your pets. Look out for symptoms and then consult the veterinarian for medication and dosage levels. Some of the diseases that might need a close watch include; coccoidiosis, wry neck, upper respiratory diseases, pasteurella, enteritis, worms, abscesses, etc. Rabbits need the right amount of dosage else it can turn out to be toxic for your pet. Under dosing can lead to no treatment. Some of the administration methods include, oral, intravenous, intramuscular and subcutaneous.

Females are prone to cancer of the uterus that is medically called adenocarcinoma. It is a malignant disease that can spread to other parts of the body quickly. The best remedy is to spay them between 6 months to 2 years of age.

Males tend to get aggressive once they reach maturity, this can promote behavioral problems that can lead to attacks on other rabbits. The best way to curtail this behavioral habit is castration. This can be done after 5 months.

Rabbits have overgrown incisors that are a congenital defect. Rabbit teeth grow continuously and if it is not in line it can lead to mouth infection and ulcerations. This can also cause inability to pick the food easily. Cutting down the teeth periodically can prevent overgrowths. This can be administered under anesthesia if the rabbit is very skittish. Removal of overgrown incisors can enable the rabbit to eat properly.

Over a period of time rabbits tend to collect hairballs in their stomach. This can happen due to constant licking themselves. Unlike cats and dogs, rabbits do not vomit and hence they cannot bring the hairballs out of their system. These remain inside the system collecting into hairballs. The rabbit will stop eating and producing stools. This can be a serious problem so consult your veterinarian immediately. Force feeding or hairball laxative produces are suggested that can remove the hairball from the system. In serious cases a surgery is recommended. To protect your pet from hairballs reaching the stomach, brush them regularly and provide fiber rich diet.

Next Page: Socialization tips and handling your pet

Mir Ali
Mir Ali
Mir Ali is a pet lover who is an important contributor to A to Z Pet Care. He is more of a cat person and loves feeding strays when out for a walk in the city. . He takes care of the technical stuff of the site and ensures its up and running smoothly and also contributes informative articles.

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