Call us on
Help identifying signs of pain in older pets that are often mistaken for old age, take our quizzes or watch the video to see if your pet is suffering from mobility related pain.
As cats and dogs get older there are many visible signs of them aging, such as greying around the muzzle, sleeping more and exercising less. There are also more subtle signs that are commonly mistaken for signs of aging, that are actually signs of pain, including behavioural changes as well as alterations to your pet’s physical activities.
If you have a pet over the age of 7 please take a couple of minutes to complete one of our quizzes which can help you identify some common signs of joint pain or watch the video below.
Call 01733 893990
48 Hargate Way,
Try to buy the biggest crate you can, either a ‘large’ or ‘giant’. The run can be constructed from puppy panels. The panels are attached to the crate with cable ties with the door to the run kept permanently open. The tray in the crate is made of correx, this stops bedding been kicked over the side. Correx can be bought from sign makers.
Free ranging means no crate, cage or hutch. You could even have a room dedicated to your rabbit
Or you could just allow your rabbit access when you are able to supervise them and allow them access to a secure crate and run when unsupervised. You will have to ensure the area is bunny proofed. This means moving everything that you wouldn’t want chewed! Cable tidies will protect cables that can’t be hidden away. Most house plants are toxic to rabbits so should be removed. Ensure your rabbit has access to a safe area to sleep and rest in. Rabbits are generally clean animals and can be litter trained.
Rabbits will often tolerate living with other pets in the household.
Rabbits can also be allowed to free range in the garden. They should only free range in the garden when supervised and housed in a shed or hutch with a run attached when unsupervised.
Before allowing your rabbit to free range in the garden ensure there are no gaps in the fence they can fit through and watch out for them digging. Also check for poisonous plants and weeds.
There are many toys that you can buy to keep rabbits entertained. Favourites are balls made out of materials such as willow or seagrass.
Toys can also be homemade – fill toilet roll tubes with hay, put hay inside a cardboard egg box and close it up or even just scrunch a few sheets of newspaper into a ball! Rabbits also enjoy chewing and fruit tree prunings are ideal and keep their teeth trim.
Rabbits also love to dig so try filling a sturdy box or even a plant pot with earth. Tunnels recreate a rabbit’s natural environment and they enjoy running through them and lying down inside them.
Two Rabbits Are Better Than One
Rabbits naturally live in large groups and are much happier with their own kind. Rabbits shouldn’t be kept with guinea pigs as they have different dietary requirements and rabbits’ strong back legs can injure a guinea pig if they kick out. The best combination is a neutered male (buck) and neutered female (doe).
When introducing two rabbits make sure it is on neutral territory. Clean everything with dilute bleach or white vinegar. Start off introducing them in a small space of 4 to 6 foot by 2 foot. Gradually increase the space over a few weeks until you reach the accommodation size you want. If getting another rabbit from a rescue a lot of rescues will offer a bonding service for you. This means you will leave your rabbit with them for about a week and take them home once the bond is complete.
Rabbits should eat hay, hay and more hay! Their diet should be at least 70% hay. Hay helps to keep their teeth worn down and prevents dental problems.
The greener and sweeter smelling the hay the better. Alfalfa hay should only be given as a treat as it is high in calcium. Rabbits should only be fed a small amount of dried pellets (about an egg cup full) a day. Avoid cereal mix food as this encourages selective eating. Rabbits enjoy eating herbs such as parsley, dill and basil and leafy greens such as spring greens. Carrot should only be fed in small amounts. Avoid commercial treats as they are high in sugar; instead feed a small slice of banana or a different type of hay. You can even forage food for your rabbit such as dandelion and hawthorn leaves.
Rabbits should be vaccinated against Myxomatosis and VHD. Myxomatosis should be given every 6 months and VHD annually.
You should give your rabbit a regular health check.
Fur checked for signs of dandruff
Nose and eyes checked for discharge
Tail and bottom checked for soiling. A soiled bottom area can encourage flies to lay eggs and maggots to hatch. This is known as ‘fly strike’. A very serious condition requiring immediate attention from a vet
Teeth continuously grow. If your rabbit is dribbling, losing weight and having trouble eating this could be caused by its teeth. A vet will need to examine the rabbit
Check feet for redness and broken skin. The Rex breed are pre disposed to sore hocks so regular checking and deep comfy bedding is essential.
Nails need to be clipped regularly, a nurse can do this for you or you can trim them yourself at home.
If you notice your rabbit isn’t eating and is sitting in a hunched uncomfortable position and grinding their teeth they could have gut stasis and require immediate veterinary attention.
Useful Links Top
Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund
HAPPY BUNNY OWNERSHIP!
Have fun with your rabbits, they make great members of the family and will provide you with hours of entertainment. Although hard work at times it is worth it when you see your rabbit asleep and content or racing around the living room causing mayhem!
Kirsty Baker, RVN, Veterinary Nurse