Recommendations for rabbit care
Your rabbit needs exercise every day. Provide him with an exercise pen where he can move easily. You may also decide to let him wander around freely in your home. However, make sure that your rabbit is under constant supervision, as rabbits tend to enjoy chewing on electrical wires and eating indoor plants that may be toxic.
Use straw, aspen chips or litter made from recycled paper. Avoid cedar or pine chips, as they can be irritating to your rabbit’s airways and cause liver problems. Also, avoid cat litter (clay or clumping) because it represents a risk of gastrointestinal impaction.
It is important that your pet is not caged 24 hours a day. He needs a lot of exercise. The cage should be large enough to include a litter box as well as a clean resting place. Your rabbit must be able to stand up or lay comfortably in his cage. The cage should promote good ventilation and it should not have wire floors, as they can hurt your rabbit’s paws. Ideally, your rabbit’s cage should include shelters or hiding places.
Providing your rabbit with proper nutrition is essential in order for him to be able to live a healthy life. The majority of pet rabbits are overweight and much of this problem is related to inadequate feeding. Rabbits are extremely sensitive to dietary changes so should there be any dietary changes, be sure to introduce new foods progressively (a little at a time).
Your rabbit’s diet should consist largely of fiber. Hay is the most important element of the diet. You should choose a mature grass hay that includes the leaves and stem of the plant (cereal hays, timothy) and avoid alfalfa and clover hay. Change your rabbit’s hay daily. The amount of hay offered daily should be half the size of your rabbit. A proper amount of good quality hay will let your rabbit use his teeth more, which are continuously growing.
Your rabbit’s diet should include vegetables. Calculate 1 cup of vegetables per pound of weight per day.
You may offer your rabbit vegetables such as: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, celery, carrots, bell peppers, parsley, and snow peas. You may also offer your rabbit: romaine lettuce, kale and spinach but in small quantities only.
Your rabbit’s diet should also include fruit. Calculate 1 teaspoon per pound of weight per day.
Avoid commercial rabbit feed whenever possible. Its high protein content can cause obesity and other health problems. If you do administer this type of feed, discuss it with your veterinarian. The total amount of feed administered should never exceed 60-90 grams per day.
In order to enrich your rabbit’s environment you may provide wild plants (dandelion, raspberry leaves, cherry leaves, apple leaves and vines)
If your rabbit’s diet is adequate there will be no need to give him a supplement or treats.
It is imperative that your rabbit have access to fresh, clean water at all times. Water consumption varies from one individual to another according to his consumption of vegetables.