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Posted on 02-17-2017

Domesticated rabbits make great pets. But before you hop into adding a fluffy family member, check out a few basic rabbit care tips from Dr. Ryan at the Animal Medical Center of Mid-America.

Diet
A good diet consists of high-quality pellets, fresh timothy hay or grass, oat hay, fresh vegetables, and clean water. When it comes to veggies, mix it up – offer different kinds of leafy vegetables and root vegetables. Fruits can be fed, but only in small amounts. You don’t want to feed more than one teaspoon of fruit per two pounds of body weight each day.

Spay & Neuter

Just like our dogs and cats, domesticated rabbits are healthier when they are spayed and neutered. They live longer, they are more loving, they tend to get along with other spayed and neutered rabbits in the home, and they won’t contribute to the overpopulation of domesticated rabbits. Females can be spayed at four months old, and males can be neutered around 3 ½ months old.

Grooming

Be prepared, rabbits shed. A lot. But incorporating grooming in your routine will help your rabbit be happy and healthy, and the time you spend together will create a wonderful bond between you and your rabbit. Because rabbits lick their fur, they are in danger of getting hairballs. Unlike cats, rabbits can’t vomit. If hairballs form, they can block the stomach, causing the rabbit to starve to death even though it looks like he appears to be overweight. You will want to brush your rabbit at least once a week.

Teeth and Nails

Because rabbits’ teeth continue to grow, they must be checked regularly. If your rabbit has crooked teeth, they will need to be trimmed with special clippers. A veterinarian can show you how to do this. Nails grow long and sharp, but are usually easy to trim. They should be trimmed at least every six to eight weeks.

Fleas

Rabbits are susceptible to getting fleas and mites. And, if your rabbit ingests a flea, it could cause your rabbit to get intestinal parasites (worms). Your veterinarian will prescribe preventative to keep your rabbit flea-free.

Symptoms of Illness

You will need to watch your rabbit closely for any signs of illness. If you suspect anything, contact your veterinarian right away. Some things to look out for include:

Not eating
Runny Nose
Watery Eyes
Straining to Urinate
Temperature over 104F or under 101.3F
Head Tilt
Diarrhea

Rescue A Rabbit

Did you know that the Humane Society of Missouri often has wonderful rabbits in need of forever homes? Click here to see them!

The Animal Medical Center of Mid-America has veterinarians at all three locations that can answer questions you have about your rabbit or schedule your rabbit’s spay/neuter surgery. Call 314-951-1534 or click here to request an appointment online.

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