The holidays are behind us and life is returning to normal. Many of us find ourselves re-evaluating our goals and priorities at this time of year and making resolutions to better ourselves! But what about our pets?
Here are some great resolutions to implement in to your rabbit’s life!
Diet & Exercise
The holiday season can be an incredibly chaotic time of year and it can be easy to forget some of the most basic essentials our rabbit’s need to maintain a healthy and happy life. Hay and water should always be available in unlimited amounts while pellets should only make up about 5% of your rabbit’s daily diet. The general rule of thumb is approximately 1/4 cup of pellets per every 5lbs of rabbit. You can find more information on a rabbit’s diet here.
Your rabbit should also be getting a minimum of 3 hours of daily free range floor time to stretch their legs, explore and have some fun! Regular
exercise will keep them happy, prevent physical problems like poor muscle tone and weight gain as well as prevent behavioural problems.
Play With Your Pet
Winter is the perfect time to teach a new trick, try clicker training and make some fun and exciting toys for your rabbit. You can get some great ideas from our DIY Toy section here. Spending more quality time with your rabbit will help improve your bond and beat those January blahs!
When it’s busy this can be an easy one to forget, but a weekly health check is an essential preventative measure to catch health problems early! It’s also a great way to spend some quality time with your rabbit. During lap time give a gentle bunny massage and feel your rabbit’s body head to toe to make sure there aren’t any lumps and bumps you may have missed. This is also a great time to examine eyes, ears, nose and genital area to ensure everything looks fresh and clean. Don’t forget to check those nails and clip as needed.
Weekly weigh-ins are also a key indicator of early health issues. Being prey animals, rabbits can hide their illnesses well and sometimes we don’t catch on until it’s too late. Weight loss is often one of the first signs of illness so weighing your rabbit weekly will give you a base weight to then judge each additional weight off of in the future.
Schedule A Vet Trip
Annual checks aren’t mandatory in North America so this one often gets overlooked. Even if your rabbit appears to be in good health it is always a good idea to schedule an annual wellness check at your rabbit savvy vet. For more on finding the right vet for you click here. Your vet will check things that you may not be able to at home and may notice underlying health problems you have missed. This also keeps your rabbit’s chart updated, making it easier for them to diagnose any health problems or concerns that may pop up in the future. This is especially important if you have senior rabbits (5+ years old) because health problems and age tend to coincide. And if anything it will give you peace of mind that your pet is in perfect condition for it’s age.
The snow is whipping around outside, it’s freezing cold and most of us are hibernating in our homes until Spring arrives! It’s the perfect time for a great indoor project like building your rabbit a new home! Remember your rabbit should be housed in nothing smaller than a pen measuring 12 square feet. They need to be able to comfortably hop at least three times from one end to the other, sit up on their hind legs and periscope around. Additional levels to the enclosure will help keep those back legs nice and strong. If your rabbit’s cage does not meet these requirements then consider building them a new home this winter! To learn more about building your own rabbit condo click here.
This is also a great time to get down on your hands and knees and double check your rabbit’s play area. Make sure any loose cords are tucked away or covered in cord protectors, unused outlets have baby locks on them and that household cleaners or any leftover holiday decorations are up and out of the way. You may be surprised to find that your rabbit went to town on the baseboards behind your couch and that you will need to block that off for future play time or that your bun has been digging a hole in your carpet. Before these cause damage to your rabbit, block them off. You can find more on bunny proofing here.
This may also be a good time to inspect your rabbit’s cage for any wear and tear and fix or patch up areas of concern.
Adopt Your Next Rabbit
February is just around the corner which means it’s almost Adopt A Rescued Rabbit month! If you have been considering welcoming a bunny in to your home why not make the resolution to adopt?! Rabbits are the third most abandoned animals in shelters and one of the most neglected and misunderstood pets out there! I promise your rescued rabbit will thank you for it!
This is a personal resolution for me! We all want our rabbits to live a long and healthy life and I certainly hope that they do! But the fact is we don’t know how long we will have with our beloved furbabies. Cherish every moment you have with them and capture as many memories as you can. With digital technology it costs us nothing to snap away and some times those candid shots will end up being the ones you treasure most.
Hopefully this gave you some fun and beneficial ideas to better your rabbit’s life and strengthen your bond!
Wishing You All A Healthy And Hoppy 2015!