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|How Do I? ||Online Services |
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|Rabbit Care Information |
Rabbits may be easy to love, but they're not quite as easy to care for.
These inquisitive, intelligent, lovable, social animals are wonderful companions for people who take the time to learn about their needs.
Though providing care for these adorable creatures isn't difficult, rabbits have a long lifespan—more than 10 years—and many specific care requirements. Anyone considering adding a rabbit to their family should carefully research books and web sites on rabbit care before making a decision.
Rabbits and Children
Our culture is so filled with images of children and rabbits together (the Easter Bunny, Peter Rabbit, etc.) that many parents see rabbits as low-maintenance starter pets for kids. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rabbits are physically delicate and fragile, and require specialized veterinary care. Children are naturally energetic and loving. But “loving” to a small child means holding, cuddling, or carrying an animal around precisely the things that frighten most rabbits. Rabbits can’t cry out when distressed. Instead they may start to scratch or bite to protect themselves from well-meaning children. Thousands are abandoned to animal shelters for this reason. Many rabbits are also dropped accidentally by children, resulting in broken legs and backs. While rabbits may be appropriate family companions, an adult should be the primary caretaker.
Handling and General Care
Pick up your rabbit by supporting his forequarters with one hand and his hindquarters with the other—failure to do so can result in spinal injuries to the rabbit. Never pick up a rabbit by his ears; this can cause very serious injury.
Brush your rabbit regularly with a soft brush to remove excess hair and keep his coat in good condition. Ask your veterinarian how to clip your rabbit’s nails.
Rabbits should be spayed or neutered by a veterinarian experienced with rabbit surgeries. Spaying or neutering prevents breeding, spraying (males) and uterine cancer (females). To find a qualified rabbit veterinarian, search the House Rabbit Society web page at http://www.rabbit.org./
Rabbits should not be housed with other rabbits unless all are spayed/neutered and they are introduced in neutral territory under careful supervision. Introductions are often difficult and injuries can result.
If your rabbit stops eating or moving his bowels for 12 hours or longer or has watery diarrhea, seek expert veterinary care immediately.
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