The old cliché about prevention being better than cure applies to many things in life, including the health of your pet rabbit. We all want to ensure that our furry and fluffy little friends are always in the best shape possible, but it’s often not until they experience a health setback that we actually start to think about what we can do to protect them against a wide range of problems.
But there are a few simple steps you can take to help your pet rabbit stay as fit as a fiddle all year long, greatly reducing the chance of any potential health problem now and in the years to come. A rabbit that is well cared for and has all their health needs attended to can live for up to 10 years, so let’s take a look at five simple preventative health care tips for rabbits.
Top 5 tips for a healthy rabbit
- Regular vet check-ups. You should never underestimate the importance of an annual veterinary check-up for your furry friend. This is the perfect opportunity for your vet to give your pet rabbit a thorough examination and see if there are any potential health issues, allowing you to get on top of any problems before they arise. If your rabbit isn’t eating the best diet, your vet can give you advice on what you should feed. If your pet is displaying some strange behaviour, your vet will help you pinpoint whether there are any underlying health issues affecting your rabbit, while your vet can also ensure that your pet is vaccinated each and every year against calicivirus. In short, an annual vet check-up will help your beautiful bunny stay in tip-top shape.
- The right diet. Just like us people, rabbits need the right diet to grow, to be able to live each day to its fullest, and to be able to tackle any health problems that may develop. But there’s a whole lot more to feeding your rabbit than just giving them a carrot now and then. Fresh hay, green leafy vegetables and a good-quality commercial rabbit food are all essentials in your rabbit’s diet. We’ve posted more detailed information about the best food and diet for pet rabbits previously, so feel free to take a look at that article and ask your vet for help and advice.
- Grooming for greatness. If there’s one thing nearly every rabbit is passionate about it would have to be grooming. Rabbits are meticulous groomers and are extremely adept at ensuring they look their best, but if you don’t brush your pet regularly she can make herself quite ill by swallowing too much hair — unlike cats, rabbits can’t vomit up furballs, so a stomach full of hair can cause serious problems.
- Exercise and enrichment. When you bring your pet rabbit home, don’t assume that you can sit him in his hutch and forget about him for a few days at a time. Rabbits need opportunities to run, jump, dig and play each and every day. If you can safely let your rabbit out of his hutch into a secure grassy area that he can explore without running away, doing this every day will greatly improve your pet’s quality of life. Another option is to housetrain your rabbit — yes, it can be done! — so he can safely run around indoors and get all the exercise and mental stimulation he needs.
- Keep it clean. Finally, it’s also vital to remember to always clean up after your pet. Regularly clean your rabbit’s hutch, and give it a thorough clean once a week to prevent the spread of any diseases. Regularly replacing soiled bedding material is another important responsibility for any rabbit owner and is a great way to protect your fluffy pet against a wide range of health problems.
If you’re proactive with your rabbit’s health rather than waiting for an issue to develop before you take action, you can ward off many health issues before they develop. Not only can this save you a whole lot of money in vet bills, but it will also ensure that your beautiful pet is always as fit, healthy and full of life as possible.