Every June we celebrate Rabbit Awareness Week, where we spend time raising the profile of rabbits and helping owners do the very best for their bunnies!
There's a different theme every year, and 2021’s Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) is about ‘Hopping through the Years’. It’s all about supporting rabbits throughout the different stages of their life, from their first years to the golden oldies!
To celebrate 15 years of rabbit awareness week, we’ve put together our top tips for ensuring your rabbit has a long and healthy life.
Feed them a healthy diet
Hay is the ultimate rabbit food. It makes up the bulk of a rabbit's diet (around 85 - 90%) for their entire life, and good quality hay should be readily available throughout the day for your rabbits to graze on.
Fruits and vegetables are surprisingly high in sugar and can lead to weight gain in rabbits. Foods such as carrots and apple slices are nice occasional treats, but avoid feeding them to your rabbits on a regular basis. If your bunny eats too many unhealthy foods, they can develop digestion problems and gain weight.
Because a rabbit’s teeth never stop growing, they should always have something to graze on. Regularly chewing helps to wear down their teeth, keeping them at a manageable and healthy length. This helps to keep them safe from dental problems, which commonly occur because of overgrown teeth.
Make sure they’ve got a friend for company
Rabbits are social creatures that are used to living and working together in groups. If you keep a rabbit by themselves without another bunny for company, they can become stressed and lonely.
To combat this, we recommend getting at least 2 rabbits. If they are neutered and are introduced to each other when they are a similar age and size, they’ll quickly become best friends.
Create a spacious living environment with room to roam
Making sure your rabbits have enough space is crucial to keeping them happy and healthy. Curious by nature, bunnies love to explore. If you’ve chosen to keep them outside, make sure they’ve got a warm, waterproof hutch with access to a large grassy space.
Keep their hutch somewhere safe and make sure it's secure from potential predators. Line their hutch with clean, dry bedding and change it regularly. This will help to keep your bunnies in tip top condition.
Keep them safe with regular check ups
To stay safe from nasty diseases such as Myxomatosis and E. Cuniculi, rabbits will need yearly vaccinations.
A daily health check can help you identify any lumps, bumps & scratches, it also presents a great chance to bond with your bunny as they get used to being handled.
Flystrike is a serious condition that can be fatal to our rabbits. It happens when flies lay their eggs on a rabbit’s fur, when the fur is dirty or damp. It’s usually the fur around the rabbit’s bottom that is affected. The eggs hatch into maggots and these maggots eat away at the rabbit’s skin, which can lead to severe infection and in some cases, death.
Obesity, dental problems and other illnesses can put your rabbits off grooming themselves. Alongside your daily check, regular check-ups with the vet will help you spot health problems before it’s too late. Preventative topical medications to prevent flystrike are also available. To further reduce the chances of developing flystrike, feed your bunnies a fibrous hay-based diet and ensure their hutch stays clean and dry.
Need more info?
For expert advice on choosing and caring for small animal pets, contact us for more advice.