It’s Rabbit Awareness Week from 2nd - 10th June 2018 and we want to use this opportunity to dispel any myths you might have heard about owning rabbits.
Rabbits are wonderful creatures who make excellent pets with the right care and attention. So, if you have a pet rabbit, or are thinking about taking one on, read on and you’ll be on your way to becoming the most responsible rabbit owner!
- Female rabbits don’t need spaying. This is a common misconception and the truth is that unneutered female rabbits are at high risk of uterine cancer and less commonly, pyometra and mammary tumours. They are also more likely to be aggressive and suffer false pregnancies. For these reasons we would recommend getting your female rabbit neutered when they reach sexual maturity.
- Rabbits are low maintenance. We bet a lot of rabbit owners are shaking their heads at this one! Rabbits require regular cleaning, daily monitoring, regular vet examinations and vaccinations to keep them healthy. No pets should be considered low maintenance – they all need proper care and attention.
- They don’t live very long. Again, this is untrue. Rabbits have a lifespan of 8-12 years, so deciding to take one on as a pet is a long commitment. You should always do plenty of research before buying any kind of pet and consider the likes of cost and your lifestyle when deciding if it’s is right for you.
- Rabbits enjoy being picked up. Sadly, this one is believed be many people, however, most rabbits do not enjoy being handled in this way. They may fear the person picking them up is a predator who wished to harm them. If you do need to pick up your rabbit, you should do so by holding them gently but firmly, ensuring one hand supports their back and hindquarters at all time. You can also help them feel secure by holding all four feet against your body.
- Rabbits like being put in a trance. You may have heard of rabbits going in a trance-like state, this is known as tonic immobility which is the result of placing rabbits on their back to induce a paralysis. This action in fact usually terrifies rabbits and they freeze in fear as a result. Please never do this to any rabbit!
- Hay is for bedding and rabbits just eat pellets. At least 80% of a rabbit’s diet should be hay and very few pellets if any at all. Fibre from feeding hay and fresh grass is important for the likes of dental health – rabbits’ teeth continually grow and chewing good quality hay will help wear them down. It also helps with digestive health as fibre keeps a rabbit’s gut moving reducing the risk of gut stasis and bloat.
- Rabbits live on carrots like Bugs Bunny. Again, this is very much a myth. Although carrots can be offered as an occasional treat, they are high in sugar and should not be given as the main source of a rabbit’s diet.
To celebrate Rabbit Awareness Week (2nd -10th June) all Inglis Veterinary Centres are offering free nurse health checks for rabbits. If you book in, you’ll also be entered into a prize draw to win an amazing hamper for your rabbit! Book in now by calling your local branch!