Then vs. Now: My Past Mistakes as a Bunny Owner

Let me explain…

When I got my first rabbit, Pup, I didn’t know much about how to take care of a rabbit. This is [unfortunately] the case for many pet owners. I have had Pup for 5 years and along the way, I have made some mistakes. I am not perfect! The point of this blog post is to inform others that it is OK to make mistakes (not often, of course), as long as you learn from them going forward.

Here is a list of things that I have done wrong and the right things I have learned to do instead:

Never bathe rabbits!

I will repeat it–never ever bathe a rabbit. I remember bathing Pup 3 or 4 times and I cringe whenever I think back to those moments. The poor thing ran beneath my bed and was grooming himself for hours after that. Bum baths are OK if your rabbit has a messy bottom but a person should never submerge a rabbit into water. 

Pup after a bath I had given him back when he was only 1-year-old.

“But mine likes it and doesn’t seem stressed at all!” some people insist. Well I am sorry, but you are wrong. Rabbits are animals of prey and hide stress and illnesses very well. Last year there was a viral video clip going around of a Dutch rabbit laying beneath a sink faucet. Many people thought this was so cute and funny (and a lot of my family members and friends shared this link on my Facebook wall thinking I would find it amusing) but the reality of it all is this: that rabbit was very scared and its body language showed.

Rabbit.org, a very reputable and informational source, states that baths can be very traumatic for rabbits and can put them into shock. Rabbits are self-grooming creatures and are just fine with bathing themselves.

Cover ALL of your wires/cords!

Rabbit teeth never stop growing. They are constantly chewing on things to naturally shave down those chompers. Good ways for them to do this are buying them wooden toys, making cardboard houses, and providing an endless supply of hay. Unfortunately, rabbit owners will find their most expensive wires bitten in half due to their pesky rabbits. Many a time have I found my Macbook charger or iPhone charger were completely ruined because I left it out. 

Not only is this bad for us humans, but it can be bad for our bunnies. They can get shocked from biting something electrically charged! This blog post of mine (that I so gently titled, “Pop Goes the Rabbit”) explains my first experience of a ruined cord Pup bit. He got zapped and luckily didn’t get harmed. It was a close call. Rabbit owners can order cord protectors from Amazon or find them at their local home improvement store. They are inexpensive and worth it–for your rabbit and your wallet!

Get that bunny off its back!

This is called “trancing.” Please don’t do it. This can cause death. It is called, Tonic Immobility” and it temporarily paralyzes your rabbit. Before I even knew what trancing was, I did it often! This piece by Hopper Home states all of the dangers of TI.

pup-tranced
Pup in a trance state.

You may read articles that say it is OK to do if you want to clip your rabbit’s nails but it is not. There are many articles out there that instruct “how to put your rabbit in a trance” and since anyone can post virtually anything on the internet, that is why they exist. A rabbit’s hindlegs are so strong, they can kick very hard and ultimately break their back. While this may sound dramatic, it is true. Use your best judgement!

Do not feed them pellets with seeds, nuts, or dried fruit.

Many stores sell pellets with unhealthy additions in them. I used to feed Pup a certain brand of pellets that had all of the works–sunflower seeds, dried fruit, some nuts, and even blue, green, and red crunchy pieces (which I have no idea what they were thinking back). All of this is very unhealthy. It caused Pup to go into GI Stasis, a potentially deadly illness rabbits get when their GI tract slows/stops.

Low quality (from the Blackberry days) photo of Pup and his unhealthy pellets that I fed him.

Eventually I weaned Pup off a pellet diet overall but in the meantime I fed him top-rated brands. This page tells you what the right types of pellets to feed a bunny.

 

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2 comments

  1. Great article but I would say that in general it is best not to bathe a rabbit there are some rabbits that actually enjoy it as I do know of some who actually get into shallow pools of water on their own,and my last rabbit liked the warm water from the shower head especially as he got old and arthritic he found it harder to clean himself and I would dry him off with a hair dryer on a very low heat which he also enjoyed.
    and There are wild rabbits in the US that swim from Islands to mainland during the flood,Rabbits are actually very good swimmers.My last bun fell in to the pond and swam to the edge and got out perfectly ok and did not go in to shock because he got fully wet.even Speedy has had a couple of baths because he had to and was very happy to be clean afterwards.Yes most buns don’t like getting wet or having baths but I think it is wrong to say that no bun should ever be bathed or that it can send them in to shock and possibley kill them,if it is done right and very gently when there is a need to bath then it is ok but obiviously it should only be done when there is a need and it is in the best interest of the bun or if the bun chooses to get into water on its own.every bun is different with different temperments and most owners know their buns well enough to know what they like and what they don’t like.
    I have had similar discussions over Speedy and his wearing of his harness and the use of a lead,My previous buns didn’t like it so I never bother with it,but Speedy is a different bun he looks to go out on his adventures and travels very well in a car.He isn’t afraid of anything so I let him enjoy the outdoors and socialise with those that meet him.when he doesn’t get out for his walks he gets very grumpy and unhappy.and for those that say about diseases from other rabbits Speedy is fully vaccinated and is regularly wormed for parasites too.As I said evey bun is different.and as long as you are careful and gentle with your bun you can do most things with out the need to scare or force a bun to do it.A bun may not like somethings but will let you if there is need as long as you are gentle and patient with them.

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