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Error-Free Rabbit Raising

by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS/P

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Leaving is NOT the END of the World!

Most of us need to work and that means leaving our Pets at home by themselves for a while each day. Giving your rabbit a schedule and routine will help them during your time apart.

Make sure your Pet has plenty of fresh food and water available at all times while you are away. Provide something comfortable for them to sleep on and keep toys available in their cage. Chewing blocks and toys are an excellent way to keep your bunny from being bored. Make sure your rabbit's pen is in a secure location and your rabbit feels safe. Do you have a cat or dog that is interested in your bunny? A dog or cat poking around your rabbit's pen can cause fear in your rabbit while they are alone so make sure your rabbit has a place he can truly call his own while you are gone.

An independent rabbit is a happy rabbit!

Avoid smothering your rabbit with love and attention the entire time you are home. The more time you spend with your rabbit, the more time they will expect, and you will end up with a bunny that is very sad in your absence. Encourage your bunny to be happy on his own by providing stimulating mental and physical activities both while you spend time with him and when you are away.

Does my rabbit need behavioral medications?

Behavior medication are not typically used in rabbits. That being said, for extreme cases of thumping or separation/fear related behavior, please speak to your veterinarian. Veterinary medicine is advancing each and every day so your best bet is to always check with your veterinarian to find out the newest recommendations for small mammals. NEVER attempt to medicate your bunny on your own.

Vacation Time!

There comes a time during the life of all Pets in which we need to be away from them. Whether we are off on a business trip, extended vacation, or emergency that takes us away from home we must consider the Pet we have to leave behind. The biggest question we have to answer is whether or not we should use a Pet sitter or a boarding facility. Let's look at the pros and cons of both so you can decide the best option for you!

Pet Sitters A Pet sitter will come to your home while you are away to check on and take care of your Pet.

  • Not only will a Pet sitter check on your Pet and provide the necessities, they are also able to make your home look "lived-in" by getting the mail, bringing the newspaper in, and turning lights on and off.
  • Your Pet remains in their home environment which reduces stress.
  • You provide the food and treats which will help your Pet avoid gastrointestinal discomfort by eating things not typical in their diet.
  • A friend or family member will already have met your rabbit so your rabbit will not feel as frightened compared to staying with a stranger.
  • No opportunity to acquire an illness from another Pet.
  • Finding someone you trust can be difficult. Opening your home to a stranger can leave you open to liability.
Boarding Facility A business set up to take care of your Pet outside of the home.

  • No one is coming to your home which decreases liability concerns.
  • Trained staff is caring for your Pet while you're away.
  • They are typically better equipped to handle emergencies.
  • Your Pet will have people around more often than a Pet sitter. Usually, boarding facilities have employees working all day long which may ultimately provide more attention to your rabbit.
  • Convenience- the #1 reason boarding facilities are used. You drop off your Pet at your convenience and pick up when you are ready.
  • All boarding facilities are not created equal. Do your research and make sure they are well equipped to take care of your Pet. Is your rabbit in a room away from the other boarding dogs and cats? Do they seem caring? Do they enjoy what they are doing? Ask questions and be observant before leaving your Pet in their care.
  • Many rabbits are more stressed in a new environment. How does your rabbit handle stress and new situations? Keep this in mind when choosing between a Pet sitter and boarding facility.
  • Your Pet may be introduced to infections or diseases which other Pets being boarded may have. Ask what methods they use for sanitation. Does the facility appear to be clean and well kept?
Ultimately, the choice belongs to you. Review references and keep in mind the best outcome for your situation. If anything seems amiss with either a boarding facility or a potential Pet sitter, go with your gut and look elsewhere.

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