Thursday, February 21, 2013

Weekly spotlight Question: "Rabbit and other Pets."

Note: This question was summarized from various question websites since this is the first time. This week you can ask your question on Ask Us and instead of answering right away, it could be published on a weekly post and answered by Critter Corner!

           "My rabbit lives in a multi-pet household. He is a sweet curious bunny and really wants to play with our other pets(two dogs, cat, dwarf hamster), but we are worried they could hurt him or vice versa. Sadly, he has to be kept in the bedroom ever since we got the dogs. He used to be in the kitchen but we are unsure if he can now. The types of dogs we own are not hunting breeds. We were wondering if there was some way they could play. What kinds of animals are there that rabbits can interact with?"

        Your rabbit seems very friendly and he doesn't seem like he would be afraid of a dog or cat, but they could hurt him. Dogs are less likely to hurt a rabbit, but a cat is usually the one who will swipe a paw and kill him. First step, you should keep the dog on a leash. The rabbit should be in a crate or pen. Let the dog sniff the rabbit gently, and let the rabbit do the same. If he growls, bites, or barks, take the crate away immediately. If he is friendly and gentle, you can keep doing this every day for practice. Golden retrievers, Great Danes, Labs, and other "gentle giants" usually love rabbits and are least likely to bark or lash out. Small dogs, "aggressive-prone" dogs, and hunting dogs bred to kill animals are not the best at this. If this friendly manner continues within the amount of four to five weeks, it might be time to step up a level. Start by choosing a neutral territory, like a bedroom or another place where neither of the animals feel like they have to protect their possessions/territory.Put the rabbit on a secure harness. Have another person hold the leashed dog. Let the rabbit loose, and hold a loose grip on the dog's leash. If all goes wrong, grab the dog's leash to pull him back, and scoop up the rabbit. If all is well, you can keep practicing this for another four to five weeks until the dog seems normal with the rabbit playing and being around every day.

P.S: Here's a quick tip: When introducing rabbits to one another, remember that if one rabbit has lived there longer, he will feel very distressed if you let the young rabbit sniff the cage while the older rabbit is inside.   Always let the dominant older rabbit explore the cage while the younger rabbit is inside. Then you can branch off from there.

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