Hoppy Easter… it’s time to start thinking about those rascally rabbits! Spring is a wonderful time to bring home a baby bunny (Not a wild one!). But before you do…take some time to do a little research about all of their needs. They make great small pets, but there are a few requirements every new pet owner should know. You will want your new rabbit examined by a veterinarian who is familiar with the care of bunnies. To ensure your pet is parasite free, have a fresh stool sample checked at your office visit. You will need to decide if your new family member will be staying outside in a hutch or inside in a wire cage. Bunnies housed outside are often forgotten, can become prey for other animals and are exposed to the elements as well as parasites such as fleas, ticks, mosquitoes etc. They are better off housed indoors, but need supervised time out of their cage to play, run, hop and stretch those powerful rear legs. They love to chew, so monitoring them while out of their cage is crucial. They are smart little creatures and most can be litter box trained. Bunnies can live up to 10 years or more, so you have to be committed to caring for them for that length of time or longer. Your vet will discuss the risks vs. benefits of having your bunny spayed or neutered. Bunnies normally wear their teeth from everyday gnawing and chewing, but if the teeth are not aligned properly, they may require frequent teeth trimmings. They should have yearly exams, but do not require any vaccines. Most bunnies enjoy pellet and fresh vegetables plus unlimited grass hay is essential to the health of their teeth and intestines.
Teeth trimming in bunnies can be a challenge. The front teeth are easy to access in a cooperative bunny, but manipulating a tool in a bunny’s mouth to trim the teeth may be more than most bunnies will tolerate from their owner. We have a beautiful brown and white Holland Lop bunny who visits us about every 3-4 weeks for front teeth trimmings. He requires us to be creative since the same hold may not always work from one appointment to the next . We’ve tried holding him like a baby, right side up and upside down. Each visit is different, but so far we have been able to complete the job without injury to him (or us) and without anesthesia. However, if a bunny’s molars (the teeth in the back of the mouth) are overgrown, they will require anesthesia so we can properly access the rear teeth and trim them back appropriately. Some signs that your bunny may need his rear teeth trimmed are drooling, weight loss and decreased hay intake.
For more information about rabbit care, check out the following link: Rabbit Healthcare
Bunnies can be entertaining family members, but they are not toys, so if you are not prepared to provide this level of care and commitment, maybe a chocolate bunny would be better for you this Spring!