Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Rabbit Care Items I Could Not Live Without

It's Sunday! This generally means longer posts since it's the weekend and I have more time....but I like to save all the fun stuff for when people have time to read it. Like now!

Here are the tools of the trade, the things you need, the secrets of my rabbit's care....and all that. 

Prepare yourselves.

These are not the run of the mill items, like food, water, and a nice cozy cage.
These are rather strange objects, things you will find weird yet helpful in your bunny's life. So yeah.


1: Newspaper
After reading my post on rabbits and newspaper, (which can be found here: http://naturegirlscrittercorner.blogspot.com/2013/11/pet-rabbits-and-many-uses-for-newspaper.html) you probably already know I use newspaper a lot in my rabbit's pen - for freshening up the pen and for the rabbit to tear it up for fun.
It's really good to have this on hand, and I strongly advise you keep this where you store your pet's items so you'll have it handy. It's an easy fix for bunny boredom and can be put down where your rabbit rests or around his litter box. A thick lining of newspaper provides a foot guard if your rabbit has a cage with wire bottoms, along with a piece of cardboard for extra protection.

2: Petroleum Jelly
Rabbits have very sensitive feet like how I discussed above. Our one rabbit gets sore hocks more often because she has a cage with a hard bottom. We apply petroleum jelly to the feet when the sore hocks shows up on the feet to cover it up and avoid infection or more pain. We cannot use bandages on bunny feet, of course, so petroleum jelly works to keep sore hocks at bay. I recommend putting together a rabbit first aid kit because these guys can get small injuries from time to time and you will be prepared.

3: Boxes
These we save and reuse after the rabbits play with them, create castles for more exciting rabbit playtime, and leave them in the bunny pen frequently for more playtime. If you want to create a bunny castle, you'll need several boxes to work with.
 The ideal box is large enough for your rabbit to move around in, but short enough that he/she can jump onto the top to play as well. Remove any excess tape from the box as it can get caught in your rabbit's fur. To create the most simple castle use your scissors or utility knife to cut two or more openings in the box. The openings should be appropriately sized for your rabbit.

4: Nail Clippers
Rabbits who live in the wild don't need pedicures because their nails are kept short by normal means. However, because she lives indoors, your rabbit's toenails can grow very long and sharp. If they are not trimmed regularly, they can become uncomfortable for both you and your pet. If left untrimmed, her nails can curve too far inward, which can cause them to break, a painful experience for your pet. Trimming her nails may not be one of the more exciting grooming tasks for either you or your rabbit. I can certainly agree, due to my bunny's persistence and stubborn attitude. 

But, with some patience and care, you can do it. You may want to have your vet or an experienced groomer show you the technique the first time. 

Trimming your rabbit's nails can present a bit of a challenge for another reason - your rabbit won't like being restrained, which is part of the process. Enlist a helper if you can. You can wrap your rabbit in a towel with her feet sticking out and trim the nails while your helper holds her. The main thing you want to be cautious about is cutting into the quick of the nail. If your rabbit has light colored nails, the quick (the portion of the nail containing the blood) will be highly visible, making them very easy to trim. All you have to do is clip the nail below the quick. If your rabbit has dark colored nails, it will be more difficult to see the quick, so you should cut the nails a little at a time. Remember your objective is to trim the sharp points. It's not necessary to cut off a large part of the nail, particularly if you trim them on a regular basis. Scissors or a guillotine type nail clipper for pets is the best tool to use. 

If you should cut into the quick by mistake and bleeding occurs, you can stop it by using one of the following methods:
  • Apply pressure to the nail with a cotton ball
  • Use a coagulating agent such as "Quick Stop"
One way to cut down on the frequency of nail trimming is to place some rough stones or bricks in her cage. This will provide an abrasive surface that will help keep her nails worn down naturally. 

If you don't want to attempt clipping your rabbit's nails yourself, your veterinarian can do the job. Nails should be checked every four to six weeks. Never declaw a rabbit! It is unsafe, inhumane and is not recommended.

My bunny's nail clippers are specifically for rabbits, and yours should be as well. Dog nail clippers are thick and can bend the rabbits nail.

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