Home Blog Page 29

Adopting A Pet Rabbit (Facts, Steps How To & More)

0

Rabbits make delightful pets. They’re so cute and cuddly and fun to watch Of course, I suggest you learn everything you can before you choose a pet rabbit. In fact, people ask me regularly about adopting a pet rabbit. So, what’s important to know when adopting a pet rabbit? You should consider adopting your pet rabbit from a local shelter if possible. This is better than a pet store. These rabbits are usually well cared for and need a good home. Investigate the shelter environment as well as the pet rabbit’s health. Study rabbit breed characteristics to see which one best fits your family and lifestyle. There’s a financial investment for owning a pet rabbit, so consider what you’ll need to purchase so your rabbit can be healthy and happy. Don’t forget to choose a good vet who has experience caring for pet rabbits. Last of all, enjoy your new pet rabbit.

Should I Buy A Rabbit At The Pet Store?

It’s best not to purchase a pet rabbit from a pet store. Here’s a couple of reasons why:

  • Weaned too young-Dealers who sell rabbits to pet store usually sell rabbits as young as 4 weeks old. Healthy rabbits are weaned around 8 weeks. Weaning too soon can cause stress on the rabbit’s health and could make him more susceptible to digestive illnesses. 
  • Bunnies grow up-When you purchase a young, cute little bunny without understanding what he’ll look like as adult, you might be in for a huge surprise. Bunnies grow up to be big rabbits!  Be sure to do your homework when it comes to adopting a rabbit. Look up the breed. How big will he get? How many pounds will he be? What’s this breed’s typical temperament?

How Do I Adopt A Rabbit From A Shelter?

Animal shelters always have rabbits that are available to adopt. These rabbits are well cared for by the shelters and need a good home.  Here are the steps to finding a rabbit at the shelter:

Think local-Check out your local animal shelter first to find a pet rabbit. Most local shelters have a website where you can see their available rabbits. Their websites usually explain the cost and process for adopting a pet from their shelter.

Do your homework- Look at the available rabbits. Spring is usually the time when there’s a lot of rabbits for sale. Once you see the rabbits you’re interested in, do a little homework on how big they’ll get, or their temperment. Usually the shelter’s website provides information about the age and personality of the rabbit.

Visit the rabbit-Then go visit the rabbits you’re interested in. Ask the shelter folks questions about the rabbit.

  • Was he an indoor or outdoor rabbit?
  • How old is he or she?
  • What’s his personality like around kids?

Beware!– When you’re at the shelter not only are you checking out the rabbits, but also take a look around the shelter. Is the shelter clean? Does it smell bad?  Do the rabbits and other animals in the shelter have food and water and a clean cage? Do the rabbits seem ill? Are they playful? If the animals look ill or if the shelter isn’t clean, it’s best to find another shelter. Dirty shelters aren’t healthy places for animals. You don’t want to adopt an unhealthy rabbit.

Play-Take some time to play with the rabbit. Is he fearful or aggressive? Pet him and see if he warms up to you after awhile. See if you enjoy holding the rabbit. If you have children who will help care for your pet rabbit, take them along with you to see how the rabbit responds to them. Teach your kids how to pet him and hold him correctly.

Health check- Does the rabbit look healthy? Take a good look at:

  • Fur- Is his fur shiny and dirt free? Are there any cuts, bumps or open wounds on his skin?
  • Teeth-Are his teeth clean? Are they broken off? Is his chin wet? Is the fur around his mouth discolored or wet? This could indicate an overgrown teeth issues.
  • Discharges– Are there any discharges from the rabbit’s nose, mouth or ears?
  • Toenails-Are his nails trimmed down? Broken or loose?
  • Tail area– Look for signs of diarrhea under his tail. If it’s wet or discolored he could have digestive problems.
  • Spayed- Ask if the rabbit’s been neutered or spayed. Rabbits that have been altered are usually easier pets and less aggressive.

Adoption process-Usually this process involves filling out an application form and paying for your new pet. Most shelters frown on returning animals so be sure you’re making the right choice of pet before taking this step.If the rabbit hasn’t been altered, the shelter might require you to pay for this procedure for your new pet. They will send your new rabbit to a designated veterinarian to have this process completed then you’ll pick up your pet rabbit at the vet’s office in a few days. Usually the shelter will offer you some toys, straw, hay or toys for your new pet.

What Are Some Characteristics Of My Pet Rabbit Breed?

It’s important to understand the unique breed characteristics of your new pet rabbit.

Sussex rabbit- This breed is easy to care for with it’s meek, easy going personality. This breed is curious and fun to teach because they learn so quickly. Cons are that they tend to overeat so they can become fat is you’re not careful with the amount of food and treats you give them.

Californian rabbit- This breed is laid back. This breed is large, up to 12 pounds. Californian rabbits are friendly and affectionate pets.They need lots of social activity with people and other animals since they’re so affectionate. Also, they tend to get sore hocks easily if left too long in their cage.

Himalayan rabbit- This is one of the most popular rabbis to adopt. They’re curious, friendly and easygoing. They’re very playful so they need lots of stimulation and play to stay happy. They’re especially sensitive to coldness so they don’t do well living outdoors.

Dutch rabbits- This breed is calm, but often shy. They’re small, usually not more than 5 pounds as adults. They are prone to dental issues as adults because they have a small head and jaws.

Thrianta rabbits-This breed is gentle and friendly. Adults grow only to 5 or 6 pounds. They are prone to teeth issues and ear mites. They do well outdoors or indoors.

Chinchilla rabbits-They are long haired, calm and sweet natured breed of rabbit. They are a good rabbit for inside or outside. Prone to ear mites,need to check their ears every week. Also prone to teeth issues if not carefully looked after.

What Should I Buy For My Pet Rabbit?

Your newly adopted pet rabbit will need several things to live comfortably.

  • Cage or Hutch-If your new pet rabbit will live indoors, you should choose a nice sized cage for him.Choose a large enough cage for your rabbit to stand and turn around easily. He should be able to also lay down and stretch out comfortably. There should also be room for a sleeping areas, a litter box and food bowl. You will also want to add a hay rack to hang above the litter box. If your rabbit will live outdoors, he will need a hutch similar to the size of a cage. Be sure the hutch has a substantial roof, is well insulated, and has no cracks in the wood that rain can get into. Place the hutch under a shady tree, next to a building that will buffer the hutch from wind and harsh weather. If your rabbit is outside, you’ll want to be sure he gets lots of attention. Don’t stick him in the hutch and forget about him, he will be an unhappy pet.
  • Straw for bedding– Put straw in the bottom of your rabbit’s cage or hutch. This is the best bedding for a rabbit. Change out the straw every few days to keep your pet’s home clean and sweet smelling. Clean out the litter box daily.
  • Hay-Give your rabbit lots of hay for fiber. Your rabbit should eat his weight in hay every day. Too little hay isn’t healthy for your rabbit’s digestive system. If he doesn’t get enough hay every day, he can develop digestive problems. Plus, hay helps your rabbit’s teeth stay trimmed down since their teeth never stop growing.
  • Food –Your rabbit can eat leafy green veggies, herbs, fruits and leaves. Here’s a general list of what veggies, fruits and herbs are safe for your rabbit to eat.

Vegetables and herbs your rabbit can eat:

  • Asparagus
  • Beet greens
  • Bell peppers
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Grass-free cut, no fertilizer or pesticides
  • Basil
  • Broccoli
  • Bok choy
  • Celery
  • Cilantro
  • Clover
  • Dandelion greens
  • Peppermint leave
  • Parsley
  • Squash
  • Chinese pea pods

Fruits your rabbit can eat:

  • Apples
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Melon
  • Pineapple
  • Fresh water- Give your rabbit fresh,clean water every day. Choose a heavy water dish so your rabbit can’t flip it over or play with it. Water bottles are good for rabbits to drink from. Be sure to clean it out every week.
  • Toys-Your rabbit needs lots of stimulation to stay entertained. A bored rabbit will get into trouble. Give you rabbit paper towel tubes or empty cereal boxes for play. You can purchase cat toys, too. Anything that’s safe and fun for your rabbit to stay busy and happy will be a good toy.
  • Play area-Many rabbit owners create a play area outside for their rabbits. This should be large enough for your rabbit to hop around. A large gated area works well. Your pet rabbit can graze on grass or play with his toys in this area. Always supervise your rabbit when he’s outside, rabbits are good escape artists.

What Should I Look For In A Veterinarian For My Pet Rabbit?

Be sure to choose a veterinarian that has experience caring for rabbits. Ask questions about how often the vet cares for rabbits. Is it weekly? Or yearly? Many vets treat rabbits as livestock rather than pets, this determines the care they give. Most specialized vets who take care of rabbits will require your rabbit be checked annually. Don’t forget to ask your vet if he or she provides emergency care. Sometimes rabbits can get sick quickly, so you’ll need 24/7 care. You might consider purchasing health care for your pet rabbit. Different insurances provide different care, so do a little homework to figure out what is best for your pet.

 Like owning any pet, it’s important to consider the implications of adopting a pet rabbit. There’s a considerable amount of responsibility, time and energy involved, but the rewards are worth all the effort. Pet rabbits add fun and enjoyment to your family, so enjoy your new pet!

Do Wild Rabbits Eat Carrots?

0

Whether you grew up with the famous cartoon character Bugs Bunny or heard it some other way, you probably believe rabbits subsist on carrots, right? That’s how they’re always perceived in the media, after all. Is it true?

Wild rabbits don’t seek out carrots as part of their daily diet, although they can eat them. Carrots contain a lot more sugar than we realize, making them not the healthiest option for most rabbits. They can lead to tooth decay, weight gain, and digestion issues if consumed too often.

You’re probably surprised by this information, especially if you’ve bought into the myth that rabbits and carrots go together like peanut butter and jelly. That has you wondering, what can a wild rabbit eat? Can domesticated rabbits ever enjoy carrots? We’ll answer those questions and more in this article, so keep reading.

Do Wild Rabbits Eat Carrots?

Can wild rabbits eat carrots? Sure. Do they? No, not as their main food source. In fact, wild rabbits won’t gravitate towards any root fruits and vegetables. These all contain too much sugar. If the rabbit ate them but more than occasionally, they’d gain weight. That makes them even easier prey to faster predators that can outrace them.

Another reason to avoid giving wild rabbits carrots? These animals have sensitive digestive systems. Carrots and other root vegetables don’t digest easily because they have little cellulose and a lot of complex carbohydrates. Getting too many root vegetables like carrots in a rabbit’s diet could cause runny stools at best and internal issues at worst.

There’s yet a third reason to reconsider feeding wild rabbits any carrots. All that sugar could lead to tooth decay.

What Do They Eat?

If you have a wild rabbit on your property that you’re caring for, now you know that you shouldn’t offer them plates of carrots day after day. What can you give them instead? These animals will look for almost any green plants in sight, including conifer needles, buds, vegetable plants, flowers, clover, grasses, weeds, and wildflowers. They’re also impartial to tree bark and twigs, especially in the winter when a lot of greenery wilts or dies off.

Wild rabbits favor hay if they can eat it, but they mostly survive off the foods above.

What about Domesticated Rabbits? Do They Eat Carrots?

The difference between a wild and domesticated rabbit is the latter doesn’t choose for itself what it eats. They’re at the mercy of an owner, such as yourself. That means you have to learn about a domesticated rabbit’s diet, preferably before you bring the animal home.

For instance, domesticated bunnies need to eat hay and pellets to keep their teeth down to normal levels. Just like wild rabbits, they can eat carrots, but they shouldn’t often. If you’re feeding your pet bunny carrots every single day, then it’s only a matter of time before they balloon up in weight.

While domesticated rabbits don’t have predators to worry about, becoming overweight can shorten their lifespan. They’re also now at a higher risk of developing conditions like arthritis, sticky bottom syndrome, heart disease, hepatic lipidosis, and more.

Should You Ever Feed a Rabbit Carrots Then?

Whether wild or domesticated, is it ever okay to offer a rabbit some juicy carrots?

Yes, but do so selectively. Some rabbit experts advise feeding bunnies the orange veggie every second day, and only a sliver of the carrot at best. The carrot tops are a-okay anytime, as these don’t contain the sugars and carbs that the rest of the carrot does. A wild rabbit shouldn’t have trouble digesting these leaves, nor should a domesticated one.

What Other Foods Should Wild Rabbits Avoid?

Whether you have a wild or domesticated rabbit, you know to keep carrots off the daily feeding list. What other foods should you not give your rabbit if you want them to grow up happy and healthy? Here’s an overview.

Iceberg Lettuce

If it’s not carrots, many people believe rabbits can live off lettuce almost exclusively. That’s just not true. Certain types of lettuces, including iceberg, have what’s known as lactucarium. This fluid comes from some lettuce species via secretion. It has a milk-like appearance. The Lactuca virosa generates a lot of lactucarium.

The fluid can work as an analgesic and a sedative. It’s for those reasons lactucarium has earned itself the nickname the lettuce opium. If a rabbit gets too much lactucarium, it can have opium-like effects.

There’s no need to avoid all lettuces outright. Romaine, red leaf, and green leaf lettuce doesn’t contain lactucarium.

Cauliflower and Broccoli

Although they’re vegetables, rabbits shouldn’t chow down on cauliflower or broccoli. These veggies tend to cause gassiness. Too much gas affects a rabbit’s digestive tract, altering their pH levels there.

Rhubarb

Just like us people shouldn’t eat raw rhubarb, the same applies for rabbits. They could die if they got their chompers on this uncooked veggie.

Potatoes

Like carrots, potatoes are root vegetables. They can cause the same issues as carrots due to their high carbohydrate count.

Peanut Butter

As a general rule, don’t give rabbits people food. Remember, they have sensitive stomachs that can’t process all food very well. The fat, sugar, and nuttiness of peanut butter could make your rabbit sick.

Walnuts

On that note, you should keep most nuts away from rabbits. Walnuts don’t have any fiber but do contain lots of fat. That could leave your rabbit gassy.

Food for Other Animals

No, not all commercial pellets are the same. Whether it’s cat food, bird food, or hamster pellets, don’t feed these to your rabbit. Rabbits need herbs and hay, especially Timothy hay, as part of their main diet. This provides them the fiber their growing bodies require, not to mention it helps their teeth, as we talked about before. You might have pet food handy for other animals, but avoid giving it to a wild or domesticated rabbit.

Chard

Also known as silverbeet, chard seems like a safe bet for rabbits, right? It doesn’t contain enough fiber to warrant feeding, though. Worse, if you do, your rabbit could end up bloated and even develop colic. This condition causes intestinal obstructions and gassiness, both of which aren’t good for a rabbit.

Chard-like foods that a rabbit can eat include rosemary, alfalfa, and radishes.

Cereal

This seems like a no-brainer, but we should take a moment to talk about it anyway. You know to never give a rabbit the sugary cereal the kids like, but what about some plain Cheerios or muesli? Nope, avoid all cereal. You could upset their delicate stomachs with this food and give them teeth issues that can cause a lot of discomfort.

What Should a Wild Rabbit Eat Instead?

Besides hay, a wild rabbit (not a baby rabbit, as they have far more specific and less varied diets) can safely consume the following vegetables:

  • Wheatgrass
  • Watercress
  • Snow peas (pass on the sweet peas and dried peas of any variety)
  • Kale
  • Endive
  • Dandelion greens
  • Collard greens
  • Sweet red and sweet green bell peppers
  • Celery leaves
  • Carrot leaves
  • Mustard greens
  • Bok choy
  • Mint and basil
  • Spinach
  • Beet greens

What about fruit? Rabbits can eat:

  • Plums (pre-pitted, please)
  • Honeydew
  • Papaya
  • Bananas as a rare treat (since they’re so sugary)
  • Blackberries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries

Since most fruit has a lot of sugar in it, don’t overdo it.

Conclusion

While most of us probably always thought carrots are a rabbit’s dietary staple, they’re far from it. Carrots contain a lot of carbs and sugar that rabbits have a difficult time processing. Eating carrots too often can lead a rabbit to develop medical conditions and gain weight, both of which impede their survival.

The next time you think about giving any rabbit, wild or domesticated, a carrot, reconsider. There’s a lot of other foods a rabbit should eat instead.

What Do Pet Bunnies Like to Sleep On (Best Rabbit Bedding)

Bunnies need to sleep just like humans, so it stands to reason that they would also need a comfortable bed. Rabbit bedding can also be used throughout a cage to make the floor nice and soft, especially if the bottom of the cage is wire metal.

What kinds of bedding do pet bunnies sleep on? There are many options for bedding such as paper, cardboard, and wood in different forms. Your rabbit will probably have preferences, so you should try more than one.

Do Rabbits Need Bedding in Their Cage?

Rabbits don’t always need bedding in their cage, but it’s good to give them an area to hide away in. This area should be tucked away in a corner or some kind of shelter such as a hutch so that your rabbit feels safe and comfortable in this area. This helps them sleep and unwind when they are stressed. This space is especially important if you have a busy household with lots of activity and noise. You can fill this area with a variety of materials to keep your rabbit comfortable.

Rabbits may sometimes prefer to lay on cold surfaces such as hardwood or tile because they overheat easily and at low temperatures. You may find that your rabbit doesn’t use its bedding unless it is very cold and prefers to lay on the floor when it is hotter. Each rabbit has a different preference, and you should make both options available so that it has a choice.

How Much Does Rabbit Bedding Cost?

Rabbit bedding will cost more or less depending on the quality of the bedding and whether you choose to make your own or buy pre-made bedding. At a minimum, 30 liters of bedding (weight will vary with the type, so volume is a better measure) will run you around $10 for paper bedding, and premium beddings can cost as much as $50 for 30 liters. You should change bedding about once a week if your rabbits are using it. If you have 1-2 rabbits with their own or combined bedding areas, you will probably go through about half a bag to a bag of bedding a month, with larger bunnies obviously needing more. This can bring your monthly costs to anywhere from $5-50 a month depending on what you buy. While it may be tempting to get the cheapest option and save money, higher quality beddings and certain types of beddings are better for your bunny.

Where to Buy Rabbit Bedding

If you are buying paper or cardboard pellets as well as wood shavings or specialized rabbit bedding mixes, your best bet is to buy online. You can look through all your options and research each type of bedding easily when you’re shopping online rather than in a store, and you typically have more sizing options available as well.

If you are buying hay for bedding, it’s best to find a local, reputable farmer to sell you hay. You will get the hay cheaper this way than online, and you’ll be able to account for the quality of the hay and see it for yourself before paying. Most farmers are happy to sell their hay for both food and bedding for rabbits.

How Much Bedding Does a Rabbit Need?

The sleeping area filled with bedding should be big enough for the rabbit to lay down and a few inches in addition to that. You may even choose to cover the entire cage in bedding to allow your rabbit to pick any place to lay down. You should put about 2-3 inches of bedding down, and add more if your cage has a wire bottom that risks hurting bunny feet.

How Often Should I Change Rabbit Bedding?

This depends on how soiled the bedding gets. If your rabbit is fixed and is fairly clean and odor free, you can probably get away with changing bedding once a week to once every two weeks when you clean your rabbit’s cage. However, if your rabbit is not spayed or neutered, they will likely spray and urinate on the bedding more frequently, and you will need to change it out more often as a consequence. If you notice any unusual smells in your rabbit’s bedding, clean it out as soon as possible to make sure there are no contaminations.

What Do Wild Rabbits Sleep On?

Wild rabbits like to lay in cool places just like domestic rabbits and will dig burrows and lay in the dirt in their sleeping areas. Wild rabbits usually have designated sleeping areas that they may fill with hay or grass in the cold winter months when they want to keep warm.

Indoor Bedding for Rabbits

You can use any type of bedding indoors for rabbits including paper, cardboard, fleece, or hay. Indoor rabbits don’t need to worry about dirt, grass, or the weather when it comes to keeping bedding clean, so you can use absorbent materials without worrying about them picking up grime. You should still change bedding once every week or so to remove any waste from your rabbit. The amount of indoor bedding you use for your rabbit will depend on what kind of cage you have and how big it is. One thing to be careful of when putting down indoor bedding is that your bunny may confuse the bedding with their litter box and use the bathroom on the bedding rather than in the box. Keep an eye out for this and make sure the bedding is not soiled and that your rabbit is using the litter box normally after you put bedding down.

Outdoor Bedding for Rabbits

When putting in bedding for outdoors, it’s best to use hay over other more absorbent materials because hay can stand up to the weather more heartily. You can put the hay in a secluded spot to create a “bedroom” area, or spread it across the outdoor pen for your rabbit to pick up and arrange as it wants. Expect your bunny to eat plenty of this hay as well as nesting in it! You may find that your outdoor bunnies prefer to lay in the grass rather than in hay, especially when it’s hot, or they may dig into the dirt to give themselves places to lay. In the winter months, it’s very important to put hay out for your rabbits to burrow into and make nests out of due to the colder weather.

Dangerous Bedding for Rabbits

Certain types of bedding are very dangerous for rabbits and can cause serious health issues if used. Pine and cedar shavings are not good for rabbits due to the oils in the wood, which can cause liver problems, cancer, and potentially death. It’s important not to use uncured pine cat litter or wood shavings made from pine or cedar.

It’s easy to identify these litters because they have the distinct conifer smell. You may be tempted to use them as odor control to keep your rabbit’s cage smelling good, but this very smell is what can cause the health issues. Any presence of the oils or scents is dangerous to your rabbit.

If you get pine pellets that have been kiln dried to remove the oils, they are safe for your rabbit. Removing the oils and scents, as long as the wood is untreated with other chemicals, removes the risk. However, these pellets are better suited for litter rather than bedding, as they aren’t very soft or comfortable.

Unhealthy Bedding for Rabbits

Some types of beddings, while not outright dangerous, are better off avoided. They may have qualities that pose minor health risks or may be less beneficial or comfortable for your rabbit. For example, any type of bedding that is particularly dry or dusty may cause sneezing and respiratory issues in your rabbit. Paper bedding and hay can both have this problem, but by themselves they’re not necessarily bad options for bedding. It’s important to examine the bedding before using it for your rabbit to make sure that it’s safe and healthy for your rabbit. This means looking for dust, sharp edges, and debris in the bedding. Some lower quality cardboard beddings may not be shredded thoroughly and may contain rougher or harder edges. Low quality bedding is usually best avoided regardless of the type.

Rabbit Bedding for Odor Control

There are two ways to control odor in your rabbit cage. First, you can clean regularly with warm water and vinegar to remove calcified deposits from urine, which cause most if not all of the bad smells in rabbit cages. Rabbit bedding by itself typically won’t smell bad unless there is a health issue with the rabbit such as an infection, incontinence, or a plugged scent gland.

If you are having issues with bedding smelling bad, which may happen if your rabbit is not spayed or neutered, you can try using odor control bedding. There are many options out there for odor control bedding, but your best option is usually to find one with a minimal odor that gets rid of rather than covers up the odor.

Odor control bedding is typically more expensive than regular bedding, running at around $15 per 25 liters on average. It can also be used as litter to control urine odors, but it’s best not to use the same material for your rabbit’s bedding and litter box as this may confuse it and cause it to use the bathroom outside the litter box.

Aspen Bedding for Rabbits

If you are going to use wood shavings for your rabbit’s bedding, it’s best to use Aspen shavings as these are the safest type of wooden bedding. They have no oils or odors that will hurt your rabbit, and they are relatively soft. Aspen shavings are a little less expensive than paper shreds and can run around $15 for 50 liters of bedding, compared to $10 for 30L of bedding for paper. Nicer brands may cost more, just like with the paper bedding.

DIY Rabbit Bedding

If your rabbit will use it, it’s easy to make rabbit bedding at home. Rabbits can be very picky and may only like one brand of bedding, but if you introduce homemade bedding early, they may take a liking to it.

To make homemade bedding, take a sheet of newspaper or a phone book and shred it into small pieces, about half a centimeter in width and the length of a piece of hay. It’s important not to use any pages that have higher concentrations of ink in them, such as front pages with color pictures or full page advertisements. The ink in these parts of the paper can cause poisoning if eaten, and it’s very likely that your rabbit will eat at least some of its bedding.

Once you have shredded the paper, simply put it down where the bedding is or mix it with hay or other bedding. You can also put full sheets down flat at the bottom of litter boxes or on the bottom of the cage to catch droppings and urine for easy cleanup.

Hay Bedding for Rabbits

Hay is a great bedding for rabbits because it is all natural and it’s already a part of the rabbit’s daily life and diet. However, expect that if you use hay bedding, your rabbit will eat the bedding just like it would eat its normal hay. If you are using clean and healthy hay, this isn’t a problem, but you will need to replace the bedding more frequently (at least once every two or three days) so that it’s fresh for your rabbit to eat.

Fleece Bedding for Rabbits

Fleece can be a good option if you have a rabbit that is picky about the softness of the surfaces it lays on. Fleece is safer than normal fabric to use as in a rabbit cage because it doesn’t fray or come apart the way that normal cloth does. You can put fleece down flat and tie the edges down so that your rabbit can’t chew on it, or you can put down layers and monitor your rabbit to make sure it doesn’t chew.

Chewing and eating fabric can be very dangerous for rabbits. It’s not a good idea to shred the fleece like you would paper because a rabbit is more likely to eat the smaller pieces and potentially choke or get them stuck in its digestive system. Instead, use whole sheets of fleece and layer them to create a soft spot for your rabbit to dig in. If you notice your rabbit chewing on the fabric, you should remove it and consider other bedding options.

Paper Pulp Bedding for Rabbits

Paper pulp is great for indoor cages because it is extra absorbent and almost entirely free of dust. Paper pulp is usually recycled and is good for the environment as well as your bunny. If your rabbit has any accidents, paper pulp can absorb several times its weight in water, reducing the risk of flystrike if your rabbit has an accident and lays in or near it.

The quality of paper pulp bedding can vary greatly based on the type of paper it’s made from, and some companies that use recycled paper may even show quality differences from batch to batch. Be aware of the quality of the bedding before you buy it, and if possible buy recycled bedding in a store rather than online so that you can review it before buying. If your bunny isn’t picky and you’re not worried about the changes in texture or quality from batch to batch, buying online is still a good option.

Cloth Bedding for Rabbits

Regular cloth is not good to use as bedding for rabbits because it frays and the threads come apart if chewed on. Your rabbit could choke on the strings or get them stuck in its digestive system, similar to the way that hairballs develop. You shouldn’t use fabric scraps to make bedding for your rabbit, but if you have whole cloth, then it’s marginally safer to pin the cloth down so the edges aren’t reachable and us the cloth to cover an area such as a bedding area. However, keep a close eye on your rabbit to make sure it doesn’t chew on the fabric and get sick. You should use other bedding in addition to the pinned down cloth, as a single piece of fabric won’t be that comfortable for your rabbit.

Cardboard Bedding for Rabbits

Cardboard bedding is a good alternative to newspaper if you are making the bedding at home. You should shred the cardboard thoroughly and make sure all the pieces are soft and won’t hurt your rabbit due to unexpected sharp edges. Cardboard is very absorbent and makes for good insulation if your rabbit lives outside in the winter or if you keep your house particularly cold. Reusing the cardboard is also a good way to recycle, and once it’s time to throw out the bedding, it will be biodegradable. This makes cardboard a good option for the environmentally conscious, along with newspaper and other recycled materials.

Wood Pellet Bedding for Rabbits

Kiln fired wood pellets are an option for bedding and litter for rabbits. You should be careful what type of pellets you choose, as some are not suitable for rabbits. If you are purchasing wood stove pellets, make sure they don’t have any accelerants or chemicals in them as these could kill your rabbit. These types of wood pellets work fine even if they are made of pine because they are typically dried out completely to serve as better fuel, which removes the oils from the wood.

Another good option for wood pellets is to buy the type used for horse stalls at a pet store or tractor supply store. While these aren’t the most comfortable option in terms of bedding, they are great for litter boxes or rabbits who make messes frequently. The pellets are very absorbent and run about $20 for a 40lb bag of pellets.

Can You Use Wood Chips for Rabbit Bedding?

While certain wood pellets and wood shavings are fine for bedding, wood chips aren’t as good of an option. This is because they’re not as comfortable for your rabbit as the softer shavings or pellets. Wood chips often have sharp edges and splinters that may injure your rabbit if it lays in the wood chips or walks on them. Shavings are your best option for bedding because they are the softest, while pellets are a good option for litter boxes. Wood chips should typically be avoided as bedding or litter box filler due to these dangers.

Best Bedding for Rabbits

So what is the best bedding for rabbits? The answer is that it depends. Your rabbit will have a favorite type of bedding, or maybe even prefer no bedding at all. It’s just a matter of trying bedding types until you find the one that works for you. The important thing is making sure you have high quality bedding material that is free of dust and debris and that contains no added chemicals or oils that could harm your rabbit.

Related Questions

How much do rabbits sleep? Rabbits sleep for most of the day and night and are only active during dawn and dusk. They will mostly sleep but may also get up to eat or use the bathroom briefly during the day or night.

How do I know my rabbit is comfortable? Your rabbit may flop down on its side if it’s particularly comfortable in a certain spot, or if it’s happy it may grind its teeth together in a form of purring called “tooth purring.”

What is the best litter box filler for rabbits? Litter boxes can be filled with most of the same materials as bedding. Wood pellets, paper pulp, newspaper, or shredded cardboard can all fill in a litter box just fine. Avoid cat litter, especially the clumping kind.

Do Rabbits Hibernate?

0

Rabbits are active animals. They’re most active in the evening and early morning hours all year round, including the winter. I recommend that rabbit owners learn everything they can about what rabbits do during the winter. In fact, I get asked by people all the time if rabbits hibernate during the winter. So, do rabbits hibernate? Rabbits don’t hibernate, but in the wild, they do prepare for the cold by eating all summer and fall storing fat for the winter. Wild rabbits also grow thicker fur and burrow deep into the ground to stay safe and warm all winter. Pet rabbits obviously don’t hibernate, but if your rabbit is outside, there are special preparations you’ll need to do to get your pet ready for the cold. If you decide to move your outdoor rabbit inside, do it gradually to avoid physical shock for your rabbit. Last of all, be aware of what hypothermia is and what it looks like in a rabbit.

What Is Hibernation?

Hibernation is when an animal spends the winter in a dormant state. It’s the way animals survive the cold, dark winters without eating, foraging for food or migrating. Their metabolism and body temperature actually slows down to save energy. Their breathing and heart beat slows down, too. Usually animals that hibernate prepare for their hibernation by eating heavily in the summer and fall, storing fat to get them through the winter.Some animals that hibernate are:

  • Bats
  • Bears
  • Chipmunks
  • Hedgehogs
  • Garter snakes
  • Box turtles
  • Bumble bees
  • Skunks
  • Ground squirrels
  • Wood frogs

Do Rabbits Hibernate In The Winter?

Rabbits do not hibernate like many other small mammals. Rabbits are herbivores. In the spring and summer months, they eat plants, but in the winter, they will eat bark or twigs. They also eat their own cecotropes which are full of nutrients. Cecotropes are made in a section of a rabbit’s digestive tract called the cecum. The cecum contains a balance of bacteria and fungi needed to produce the cecotropes. The cecotropes look like soft, small greenish looking pellets clustered together like grapes. They are sometimes called “soft feces” because they’re moist and covered with mucus.

Where Do Rabbits Go In The Winter?

Rabbits don’t migrate, but usually stay in one place where they’ve found food. The will find a hiding place where they’re safe from predators. These hiding places are often underground dens they’ve dug themselves. Being underground keeps them safe from predators and the winter weather. Rabbits’ fur thickens in the winter and changes color to white or gray so they look more like their natural surroundings.

Can My Pet Rabbit Stay Outside All Winter?

Obviously your pet rabbit can’t dig a den to stay in all winter. If your rabbit lives outside during the warm months, you’ll need to winterize his hutch so he won’t get too cold during the winter. Your pet rabbit will be fine as long as he’s warm and protected from winter’s elements.  Here are a few tips so your rabbit will be safe and comfortable all winter long.

  • Move your rabbit’s hutch to a garage or shed for extra warmth. Be sure there’s no harmful fumes from stored chemicals in the shed. Don’t put your rabbit in the a garage where you store your car, carbon monoxide is deadly to your pet rabbit.
  • Sometimes, moving your rabbit’s hutch isn’t an option. In this case, check that the hutch is well insulated with holes in the roof or sides where rain could get in.
  • Check inside and out for rain damage. Paint the outside of the hutch to keep it from absorbing dampness from winter cold and weather.
  • Keep the hutch up against a building or sheltered area to stave off the cold and wind a bit.
  • Keep the hutch up off the ground so air can properly circulate all around the hutch to minimize dampness.
  • Purchase a specially made hutch cover for over the top of your rabbit’s hutch. They are usually plastic. You can also make your own out of  tarpaulin which is a waterproof cloth or plastic tarps. Some people use carpets nailed to the hutch to cover and insulate their pet rabbit’s hutch. Just be sure that if you cover the hutch, you allow lots of air to flow around the hutch so your rabbit is getting enough air.
  • Add a thick layer of newspapers to your rabbit’s hutch floor and to your rabbit’s sleeping area in the hutch. Also, add extra straw for your rabbit to feel comfortable and warm.

Should I Add Heat To My Pet Rabbits Hutch In The Winter?

Rabbits usually don’t need heat during the winter months. If your rabbit has been outside, his fur will naturally thicken as winter approaches. Some pet rabbit owners who live in especially cold climates recommend that if your winters do get really cold at night, you might add some pet safe heated sleep pads to your rabbit’s hutch. Never use plug in types of heating pads since your rabbit might chew on the cords.

What Is The Lowest Temperature A Rabbit Can Tolerate?

Surprisingly, rabbits do better in the cold weather than they do in the warmer weather. Many pet rabbit owners report that they’ve lost their rabbits in the hot summer heat, but that their rabbits did fine in below zero weather if they’ve got good shelter. Some say their rabbits do fine even with cold temperatures well below zero Here’s a list of other things to provide for your rabbit in the coldest months.

  • Water-Make sure your rabbit has lots of water during the winter. They get very thirsty in the cold. Check that their water bowls haven’t frozen over. Some rabbit owners say that a water bottle with a sock over it helps slow down the freezing of their pet rabbit’s water.  One rabbit owner recommends you put a spoonful for glycerine into your pet rabbit’s water and it won’t freeze.
  • Litter box-Keep your pet rabbit’s litter box clean. Their urine can freeze which will cause your pet rabbit to not want to use the litter box.
  • Bedding-Add fresh straw daily. Make sure old, damp straw is removed. If your rabbit sits on wet straw, it could make him sick.
  • Two is better-Many rabbit owners suggest having two pet rabbits helps them in the winter since they can snuggle together and keep warm.
  • Exercise- Make sure your pet rabbits get lots of exercise during the winter. Let them run around the garden on sunny days when it isn’t wet outside. If it’s wet outside, let him run around inside for just a short period of exercise.

Should I Pet Rabbit Come Inside During The Winter?

Rabbits don’t do well with change. If your rabbit has been outside all year then you decide to move him inside for the winter, you’ll need to consider a few things first. 

  • Sudden temperature changes can hurt your rabbit. Bring your rabbit inside, but keep them in a cooler room for a few days. Then gradually bringing up the temperature over time to where the rest of the house is. This way your rabbit won’t be shocked and possibly sick from the warmth of the house.
  • Once your rabbit is moved inside, don’t move him back outside. Your pet rabbit would have a hard time maintaining his body temperature.
  • Moving inside could be stressful for your rabbit. Once he’s been moved inside, give your pet rabbit some space. Don’t pet or pick him up.
  • Just leave him alone for two days. You can refill his hay, water and food as usual, but don’t change his litter box for a couple of days.
  • Over time he’ll start to get curious about his new surroundings. You should keep your doing your regular things around the house, near his cage. He’ll adapt to this new life inside.

Can My Outside Pet Rabbit Get Hypothermia?

A rabbit’s normal body temperature is 101.5 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hypothermia is the point when an animal’s body can’t regain or maintain its normal temperature. A rabbit can develop hypothermia is his body temperature drops below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Usually, at this point the rabbit will continue losing body heat and his normal body functions will slow down. Their breathing and heart rates slows down first. Also, the rabbit’s body won’t be able to keep him warm. Often his ears may freeze causing irreparable damage.

Symptoms of hypothermia:

  • Your rabbit may look like he’s in shock
  • No movement
  • Shivering
  • Lethargic
  • Cold ears, legs
  • Pale color
  • Stiff body
  • Glazed eyes

Treatment of hypothermia in rabbits. 

Mild hypothermia can be treated. You should take action right away if you think your pet rabbit has symptoms. The sooner you act, the better for his survival.

  • Move into your house or warmer place
  • Wrap the rabbit in a blanket and cuddle him close so your body heat will warm him.
  • Push fluids like warm water and electrolytes
  • Wrap bottle filled with warm water around blanket so your rabbit will warm up

Why Do Rabbits Poop Pellets, and What Does it Mean?

Rabbits poop pellets because the excess waste they do not need must be removed, which takes the form of a pellet. Rabbits are naturally herbivores, which means they feed on a diet of hay, greens, and other vegetation. They absorb the nutrients from these foods, then get rid of what their body does not need in the form of a pellet.

Why Do Rabbits Poop in the Form of Pellets, and What Does this Pellet Mean? Rabbits Have a Digestive System that is Different than a Dog or a Cat. While a Dog or a Cat May Eat, then Poop Once to Remove the Excess Waste, A Rabbit Has a More Complicated Digestive Process. The Majority of Pellets You See are Just Excess Waste that Must be Expelled from the Rabbit’s Body, However There is Another Kind of Pellet a Rabbit Produces. A Rabbit Also Produces What is Known as a “Cecal Pellet.” This Pellet is Re-ingested to Gain Necessary Bacteria Not Absorbed the First Time a Food Was Consumed.

When a rabbit eats hay, leafy greens, or the pellet food they are provided, their body takes the nutrients from these substances that it needs to survive. Once all the necessary nutrients are taken from the substances, the unnecessary waste is expelled in the form of poop, or a pellet. This type of pellet is large, round, and light-colored to signify healthy absorption of nutrients.

While this type of pellet is the equivalent to “poop” in most animals, a rabbit produces another type of pellet after eating known as the cecal pellet. This pellet can be characterized by a small shape. They will usually be located in clusters as well. While the rabbit does absorb nutrients the first time that they consume a food, their body digests so quickly that they may not receive all the bacteria they need the first time. This is why their body creates the cecal pellet. The cecal pellet contains excess materials not able to be digested the first time.

Rather than leaving the pellet inside of the cage to be cleaned out by their owner and waste precious materials, the rabbit will actually re-ingest their cecal pellets. Re-ingesting cecal pellets helps the rabbit to gain healthy bacteria back into their body which is essential to their health. These pellets are often called “night droppings” because rabbits are often not seen re-ingesting the pellets.

If these pellets are not being re-ingested and are being left at the bottom of the cage, this means their diet may be too rich. It may be time to consider cutting back on treats, hay that is high in fat, or sweet plants. If you have a rabbit who is at-risk of being overweight, there is a chance these pellets may become smeared on their backside, which is unsanitary and uncomfortable for them.

How Can You Tell if a Rabbit’s Poop Pellets are Healthy?

You Can Tell a Lot About Your Rabbit’s Health by Taking a Look in Their Cage or Litter Pan at Their Poop Pellets. By Examining the Shape, Consistency, and Texture of the Pellets Your Rabbit is Producing, You May be Able to Catch a Very Uncomfortable, or Even Dangerous Condition. Ideally, Rabbit Pellets Will Have A Round and Light Appearance. They Will Not be too Dry or too Moist Either. Any Abnormalities in the Pellets of Your Rabbit May Mean They Need a Change in Their Diet.

We discussed what a rabbit pellet looks like that is healthy, but what does unhealthy rabbit poop look like? If your rabbit has pellets that are hard, small, and dark in color, this may mean they are not getting enough hay in their diet. A proper action to take would be to offer more grass hay, such as Timothy hay to your rabbit, as well as increase the water available to your rabbit. In addition to this change, you may need to lower the amount of pellet food you are giving your rabbit.

If the droppings are strung together by what appears to be fur or hair, this means they ingested fur. This is often called “string of pearls,” but despite the silly name, this type of pellet can lead to a serious blockage. If fur is present in your rabbit’s poop means your rabbit is ingesting a lot of fur while they are feeding. This may happen during times of heavy shedding, or if a rabbit is not being properly groomed. Ways to prevent this is to stay on top of grooming your pet to ensure their fur is not in the way as they eat. As well as grooming, make sure to provide plenty of hay and water to rid the rabbit of the fur it has ingested.

Rabbit poop that is moist and soft can signify that a rabbit’s diet is too heavy in protein or sugar. This can be a result of being fed too many treats or sweets. If you are feeding your rabbit sweet vegetables like carrots, fruits, or nuts and seeds, refrain from doing so. Replace with an abundance of fresh grass hay and leafy greens. If evaluating your pet’s diet and making necessary changes still does not fix the problem, you may need to take them into your veterinarian’s office. This type of stool may be a sign of a parasitic infection.

What Foods Lead to Rabbits Pooping Healthy Pellets?

When Talking About a Rabbit’s Digestive Health, Food is Usually the First Factor We Evaluate. Everything the Rabbit Eats Affects What Type of Pellets They Produce Directly, So Ensuring Healthy Pellets Means Feeding the Right Foods to Your Rabbit. Feeding a Diet that is Heavy in Fresh Grass Hay, Leafy Greens, and Some Pellet Food is a Healthy, Well-Balanced Diet for an Adult Rabbit. When We Begin to Stray by Feeding too Many Treats and Foods With too Much Sugar or Fat, the Rabbit’s Digestive Health May Suffer.

A rabbit can eat some pellet food as long as it is in moderation, but it should most definitely not be eating pellets as the majority of its diet. Also, these pellets should be uniform in color and hay-based. Many companies have made pellets to fit this, however, some have not. Some pellets contain pieces of nuts, fruit, and seeds, all of which are not beneficial to your rabbit’s health. Pelleted diets were originally formed for the production of rabbits for meat as it led to mass growth and fur production. A heavy diet in pellets was not made for a healthy rabbit, it was designed for laboratory rabbits, or rabbits being specially raised for consumption. These rabbits were not meant to live out their full life span.

Pellets work great in these situations, however, when you want your pet to live a long, healthy life, a diet heavy in pellets is less than ideal. Too many pellets can lead to rabbit poop which is chronically soft, as well as anorexia in a rabbit, obesity, or bladder and kidney stones. While pellets can be supplemented for some nutrients in moderation, the pet rabbit’s diet should be heavier in hay and leafy greens.

The reason rabbits poop pellets is due to their need to rid their body of waste. They have two kinds of pellet; one that is solely waste, and one containing important bacteria to be re-ingested that passed too quickly originally. Paying attention to a rabbit’s poop and the structure of their pellets is very important to understanding their digestive health.