How to Look after a Pet Rabbit
Rabbits are an increasingly popular pet, they are animals that provide companionship, they're docile, are easy to look after and don't take up too much space, etc. In many cases, and particularly for people living in an apartment or a small house, having a rabbit as a domestic pet is a better option than having a cat or a dog. Depending on the space you have available, your rabbit can live in a cage or in an area specially created for them, as long as you take the necessary precautions into consideration. There is also a wide variety of rabbit breeds to choose from, meaning that you can select the type of rabbit in terms of size, fur type, habitat etc., that best fits your requirements. In this OneHowTo.com article we'll tell you how to look after a pet rabbit, so that your rabbit can live like a king.
First of all, when you buy a rabbit you should take it to a veterinarian who will give your animal a check-up. It is particularly important to carry out a stool sample to check that your rabbit doesn't have any intestinal parasites.
One of the main characteristics of these animals is the fact that their teeth grow continually, so they have to chew a lot in order to wear them down, otherwise they'll grow too long and cause them problems. For that reason, hay should form part of your rabbit's diet, and you can also give them some wood, cardboard, tree branches to gnaw on. Take a look at our article on how to care for my rabbit's teeth for more information on the subject.
You should also brush the fur of your rabbit several times a week or even daily if it is a long-haired breed. This will help to prevent hairballs forming in their stomach, which can be fatal for rabbits. Feeding them malt is also a good way to prevent hairballs from forming.
On the other hand, you should not bathe rabbits because they spend a lot of time cleaning themselves. However, on very hot summer days when your rabbit seems very uncomfortable, you can help to cool it down by lightly wetting their ears and neck. If strictly necessary, for example if your rabbit has become very dirty, you can give your rabbit a dry bath.
Rabbits are animals that need exercise, so if you keep yours in a cage you should make sure it has plenty of room, and you should also let it out of the cage for a few hours a day so that it can run freely on a terrace, balcony or around the house if you don't have a garden. You may need to move things or put certain things out of the reach of your rabbit, as it could chew or damage them. Plus, certain things could also be dangerous for your rabbit to chew.
You must vaccinate your pet rabbit against myxomatosis, a disease transmitted by fleas and mosquitoes. It is advisable to inoculate your rabbit every 6 months, in spring and autumn. In addition, it is also good practice to vaccinate your rabbit against viral haemorrhagic disease, especially if you have more than one rabbit living together. You should also find out what are the most common diseases in domestic rabbits and how to prevent them.
It is also advisable to spay or neuter domestic rabbits. In the case of female rabbits, this will also help to prevent tumours of the uterus and mammary glands as well as other infections. In male rabbits, it will help to eliminate the aggressive behaviours they exhibit during the mating season.
Nutrition is also a key factor for ensuring that your pet rabbit is well cared for and leads a healthy life. The basic diet for pet rabbits should include: hay, vegetables and rabbit feed, but you can find out more in this article: how to feed a pet rabbit.
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- You should know what your rabbit needs if you're going to look after it properly.