Common mistakes that rabbit owners make!

White and beige blue-eyed rabbit washing a paw
06 February 2021 Pets4Company

Know the most common mistakes made by rabbit owners and learn how to avoid them!

Rabbits are among the most common pets surpassed only by dogs and cats. However, there are still many mistakes made by less experienced and poorly informed owners. Know the most common mistakes made by rabbit owners and learn how to avoid them!

  • Too many carrots and fruits. Carrots and fruits should be offered in moderate quantities. Its high sugar and water content and low fiber content can cause digestive problems. So, however much your little ear seems to like these foods, try to limit your consumption by offering occasionally as a treat.
  • Wrong diet. A rabbit's diet should not be limited to pellets. We agree that it is more practical to place a bowl of pellets at the disposal of your rabbit. However, pellets make up a small portion of their diet. Rabbits should always have an unlimited amount of hay and some fresh vegetables available (in a proportion of about 15%). When choosing the feed it is important to pay attention to the labels and check all the ingredients since the feeds are not all the same and may not respect your rabbit nutritional needs and even contain inappropriate foods. The fact that a feed contains the image of a rabbit in its packaging does not automatically make it suitable and safe. Have you noticed that many packages contain the image of different animals? One must also take into account the stage of life of our big eared buddy, since different ages require different diets!
  • A too small litter box. Most of the littler boxes sold for rabbits in petshops are not in the right size or shape. The rabbit should be able to enter the litter box without any problems as well as move and turn around at will. How to solve this issue? Simple! A cat litter box (open box) will be the right size even for larger rabbit species. The litter to be considered for the box must be suitable for rabbits since cat litter has too much dust which can cause serious respiratory problems.
  • Hight temperatures. Rabbits do not have sweat glands, depending on the ears to cool down on hot days. High temperatures can easily cause heat strokes with fatal consequences.
  • Give the rabbit a bath. Rabbits are clean animals, capable of washing themselves. Like cats, rabbits devote a good part of the day to their hygiene. A rabbit that appears to be unable to groom itself will likely need to see a veterinarian urgently. Bathing can be harmful as it is too stressful and can generate panic situations. Furthermore, rabbits' hair takes a long time to dry, which prevents them from maintaining adequate body temperature resulting in hypothermia. Finally, your sensitive skin will be left without the protection of its natural oil and may develop irritations and fungal infections.

white and brown rabbit in its cage eating a green leaf

  • No making the house “rabbit proof!”. Rabbits have a natural tendency to gnaw. Thus, it is essential to remove everything that could be harmful, cause an accident or bring damage to your own home. It is recommended to cover electrical wires, block access to tight spaces and protect furniture and remove any ornamental plants from reach since many of them are toxic to small animals.
  • Lack of socialization. Rabbits are sociable animals that require interaction by the owner or others of the same species. In the wild rabbits move in pairs or small groups, feeling safer and more peaceful. In the impossibility of having a pair, you should try to dedicate some time daily to your rabbit since the lack of stimulation can lead to stress and depression.
  • Limit the available water to a drinking bottle. Some rabbits have difficulty using a drinking bottle preferring to drink from a bowl as it is a more natural way to consume water. It must be changed daily so that it does not become stagnant. Difficulty using a drinking bottle can lead to problems resulting from dehydration.
  • Keep the rabbit outside. Regardless of where we are, there are always natural predators: stray dogs or cats may be tempted, given their hunting instinct, to try to catch the rabbit. Even if it has access to a closed rabbit hutch, the stress of having a predator nearby can be too much for their little heart.
  • Small cages. Rabbits are extremely active and curious animals needing space so they can move around at will. Thus, the cage should be large, even recommending that they live in an adapted and “rabbit proof” room. The space where the food and water is located must be kept separate from the toilet, which is not possible in a cage of inadequate dimensions.
  • Lack of affectiona an attention. The lack of affection and  attention is not only harmful to the rabbit's mental health. By not paying due attention to their routines and behaviors, we can miss out on signs that their physical health is compromised. A change in diet, hygiene, urine and feces or even more aggressive behavior can be signs that it is time for an appointment with your vet!