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.
“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.
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.
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.