About Us!


Welcome to our page! We do our best to provide to-be and current bunny owners up-to-date info on the best care for their house rabbits. When we adopted our first bunny in 2005, there was almost nothing on the internet to tell us how to care for him. Just in the past few years, information has exploded online, and now it can be confusing! We try to simplify it by posting weekly articles on current issues, daily care, concerns, proper feeding, and other info so you can enjoy your house-bun! If you are just finding us, feel free to look through the older posts also. Please email us if you have any questions! Happy bunnies make happy hearts!
Email: thebunnyhut101@yahoo.com

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Determining a Rabbit's sex

Viewing a Male Rabbit

Male rabbits have testicles that descend between 9-20 weeks of age. If your rabbit has not been fixed, the easiest thing to look for is the testicles. They are near the genital opening and flesh colored. Fur often hides the testicles, so you will need to feel with your fingers pushing fur out of the way.
If your rabbit is young or has been neutered, you will need to examine the genitals. Gently place a finger to each side and lightly apply pressure down. Examine what pops up. Sometimes the penis pops right out. 
Other times, the penis does not appear, but you see a tube with a small opening at the top. Even though this is a round opening, this is a boy!


Just because something pops up does not mean you have a boy. Girls pop out too. Please view their pictures to see the differences. 


Here is how to determine if your rabbit is a girl or to see where the or a genitals are located.


                 Viewing a Female Rabbit
Once again you will need to place two fingers to each side of the genitals and gently apply pressure. Girls can best be characterized as having a slit. It is a opening that starts at the high point and ends where the genitals meet the body, near the anus.


Sometimes the area appears to have some dark red coloring, and other times it is pink.



What sometimes confuses people is that "something"- the vulva, pops out and there can be some height. Here are two side views, where you can see the height of the vulva. These are "girl" pictures. Don't let the height confuse you. You need to examine the opening.


From the side, the vulva can appear to be shaped like a pyramid.

Here is how to determine if your rabbit is a boy or to see where the or a genitals are located.


video




 footnote:
 http://www.rabbitnetwork.org/articles/sexingboys.shtml
http://www.rabbitnetwork.org/articles/sexinggirls.shtml
Copyright 2004 House Rabbit Network

Benefits of Bunny Massage

video



Animal massage is emerging as an effective complement to Veterinary Healthcare. Along with regular Veterinary, Acupuncture, and Chiropractic care, massage offers many benefits for your companion animals, including stress relief, stimulation of the digestive, circulatory and nervous systems, increased flexibility, and strengthening of the human-animal bond.

No animal is more suited for massage than your house rabbit. Bunnies are prone to stress related illness and can be difficult to handle during grooming sessions and Veterinary visits.Their innate fear of being lifted and confined can be lessened with regular massages. Here are some quiet-time touch tips to help you turn a devilishly grumpy Thumper into Thumper the purring lil' Angel.

First consider your bunnies' natural activity schedule. Most rabbits are more alert and thus more receptive to massage advances in the morning or evening hours. Wait at least 30 minutes after your rabbit's main meal and, because rabbits are very sensitive to smells, thoroughly wash your hands with fragrance free soap. Experiment until you find the most comforting place for the massage session. I find that for the unaccustomed bunny a tabletop with a towel placed over a non-slip mat works best. You may prefer a rug on the floor. More than likely, "Bunny with Rabbitude" will choose the spot for you. Tune into your rabbit's unique body language. Relax your arms and shoulders, calm your mind, and breathe! Massage should be fun for both of you. Mutual trust develops slowly. Your bunny WILL notice the difference between intentioned touch and simple petting. Start with a few minutes and work up to longer massages.

Have everything you need handy, perhaps a cushion for you to sit on and classical music playing. Keep an absorbent hand towel nearby as the massage may stimulate your rabbit's bladder. Fill a small spritz bottle with water for the end of the massage.

Begin by pointing bunny's face away from you and sweep your hands down bunny's entire body, face to rump. Sweep 3-4 times. Note any sensitive areas. Always stroke the fur in the direction of hair growth and try to keep one hand on bunny at all times. Rabbits need to feel grounded, so resting a hand on the shoulder area will settle bunny and make her feel secure.


Next, stroke gently between the nose, around the eyes and down the back of the head. Softly stroke the ears from the base to the tips holding the ear very lightly between your thumb and index finger. Spend some time on the face and ears. There are many acupressure points located here and you will be doing a preventative health exam at the same time. Notice any swelling, dampness or crusting. Make notes for your Vet.

Once bunny has settled in, begin making dime-sized circles down the left side of the spine. Use your thumb to create clockwise circles in the soft area just beside the spine. Work gradually from shoulder to hip being careful to use light pressure only. Never massage directly on the spinal bones. After you complete the left side continue down the right side. This may be enough massage for the first few sessions. Close each massage with 3-4 full hand sweeps, again from face to rump.

If Bun-Bun is enjoying your touch time, progress to light stroking around and down the legs, across each side of the chest, and farther back on the hip area. Once your bunny becomes addicted to short massages you can venture into the trustworthiest areas, including stroking between the toes, around and down the tail and finally, soft side to side sweeps under the lower belly. Many rabbits also enjoy the rock n' roll rhythm of both your hands on their shoulders as you alternate rolling the skin from left to right.

The ultimate goal is for bunny to accept your gentle hands creating large clockwise circles over her entire belly area. Massage the belly with bunny in a "cat stretch" standing position or cradled "baby style" in your arms. You and your Veterinarian may be thankful for this technique when Thumper has a bout with Gastrointestinal Stasis, or gut slowdown. Digestive disorders in rabbits often cause pain from gas buildup and a light tummy massage may relieve this pain until a Vet can administer relief with fluids etc. Words of caution- NEVER massage a rabbit's stomach if it is distended and hard! SEE YOUR VET A.S.A.P. WHENEVER YOU SUSPECT G.I.STASIS.

End the massage with a mist of water to your hands, then a complete sweep over Bun-Bun's loosened fur from head to rump. Your damp hands will remove the halo of hair left behind from the massage. Rub your hands together and Voila; the fur is contained. You don't want Bun-Bun ingesting this hair! As much as the little furball loves you, it is his fastidious nature to groom obsessively until he smells like a respectable lagomorph. Finally, hydration is very important. Always offer dampened fresh greens to your rabbit following a massage.

Explore the world of purposeful touch with your animal companions. You will benefit in so many ways by finding increased awareness of your rabbit's health and body condition, better ease in handling Thumper at the Vet's office, and stress-free grooming sessions. Most importantly, you will create a closer bond with your house rabbit through a sense of love, trust and well-being.


Footnote:
http://www.catsandrabbitsandmore.com/massage_for_rabbits 

Recommended Reading:

THE RELAXED RABBIT, Chandra Moira Beal
ACU-CAT, Nancy Zidonis and Amy Snow
THE TELLINGTON TOUCH, Linda Tellington-Jones

How To Clean Bunny's Scent Glands

Clean Your Rabbit's Scent Glands
http://brighteyessanctuary.org/educ/rabbit-info-scent-glands.html

Don't Overlook this Essential Part of Grooming
 

Here are some photos of rabbit scent glands that are plugged up with the waxy substance rabbits store in them. They need to be cleaned about as often as your rabbit needs nail trims. Some rabbits produce more scent musk than others and some may never really need a cleaning. Rabbits who produce a lot of this substance may be more dominant and they may not be. It's an individual thing.

The dark brown substance is a wax with a very pungent smell. It is the same substance that is squirted by the skunk to warn his enemies but the skunk's is in liquid form. The rabbit also has scent glands under their chin which is why you see them rubbing their chin on things to say 'I was here! This is my turf!'
Their scent glands can get clogged and need to be unplugged. The photo with the cotton swabs shows the "plugs" removed from this rabbit's scent glands. The scent gland in these photos belongs to Puff, a 5 year old Netherland dwarf. The dark plugs I removed from little Puff's scent glands are very odiferous. Personally, I love that smell but it's just one of my idiosyncrasies, I love Pepe Le Pew too!

The scent gland that produces this substance is located under the tail. There is one photo showing the little butt for reference. The glands are on either side of their little anus and are kind of hidden, tucked away. You have to spread the skin on either side to see them clearly.
We have one bun here at the Sanctuary, Bugsy Malone, who when he runs, flares his rear scent glands. It is so funny to see him doing that because it is like nostrils flaring but he's flaring the scent glands on his butt. He is quite a character. (note: 7/11 - Bugsy has been diagnosed with bone cancer, we will miss him. He is quite a guy.)



How to video:

video






To find the scent glands, start with looking under their tail. Here you can see some 'stuff'
stuck on the rabbit's fur which might be from plugged up scent glands or slight overproduction
of cecals. In this rabbit's case, it is the latter because he gets a few too many pellets as
his mate is much older than him and needs them in her diet.


So now we've found his little anus, which is right next to his little genitalia. In this photo, his tail is in the top of the photo. We have found a scent gland, clearly plugged up, and the folds of the skin are stuck together because of the sticky wax the gland secretes. In this area, as anywhere on the rabbit, the skin is tissue thin, transparent even.
To clean this gland, there is one on each side of the anus,
we gently pull the skin apart to open the gland and explose the gland.
Then, we'll carefully use some cotton tips with petroleum jelly
generously dabbed on the end to loosen and scoop out the wax plug.
Then, we'll repeat this for the gland on the other side.
Here are the two plugs we scooped out of each gland.
There some broken pieces too which we carefully
removed being ever so cautious not to tear the skin.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

"The Bunny Basics Care"

The Bunny Basics Care section is for those who are thinking about adopting a rabbit or just looking for more information on caring for your bunny. Rabbits are wonderful, loving, social animals that deserve to be a part of the family. Rabbits are very intelligent creatures who need interaction and affection. We hope you find this section helpful in fulfilling your bunny's every wish.

Holding Your Rabbit
Rabbits are very delicate creatures. You must support your rabbit's back legs and hold it against your chest. Never pick-up your rabbit by the ears or the scruff of the neck. Young children should not be allowed to pick up a rabbit as the rabbit has powerful back legs and can scratch very deeply, also a rabbit can break it’s own back by struggling if it is held incorrectly. Have children sit on the couch or floor and let the bunny come to them. Always supervise!

http://www.thebunnyhut101.com/2013/03/how-to-pick-up-handle-your-bunny.html
Your Bunny's Housing
Rabbits should always live inside your house with you, as part of the family. Rabbits should never be kept in an outdoor hutch, and most cages are too small for a rabbit to live in. Rabbits need just as much exercise as a cat or dog and must have room to run around. Some rabbits live free in the house. The house must be rabbit proofed meaning all cords covered or out of reach, no poisonous plants, no animals or children that can harm them and no way to get out. Some live in a rabbit proofed room, and some live in an exercise pen and let out for exercise in a rabbit proofed room or house. Small rabbits need just as much room to run around as large rabbits do. Puppy type exercise pens make a great "home base" for your bunny instead of a cage. The pens give your bunny plenty of room to stretch out and leaves enough room for all the items mentioned below. Your bunny still will need lots of exercise time out of the pen. Your bunny's home should include the following: Food Bowl, Water Bowl, Hay, Litter Box, Toys, something for them to hide/rest in like a bunny tent or cardboard box.

http://www.thebunnyhut101.com/2013/10/indoor-rabbit-cages-good-bad-and-ugly.html
Litter Box Training
Rabbits are easily litter boxed trained. Just provide a large litter box with rabbit safe litter, such as Carefresh or Yesterday's news and pile hay on top. You can also use a hay rack placed above the litter box instead of placing the hay in the litter box. It is important to use a bunny safe litter. Clay or clumping litters for cats can be dangerous to bunnies. Pine, cedar or other aromatic wood shavings may also be harmful to your bunny's health. Use a simple paper based, recyclable litter provides your bunny with a
 
safe litter. Rabbits like to graze and poop at the same time so keeping hay in the litter box gets them to use it and to eat more hay. Rabbits may also choose a corner they prefer to use. When starting training you can place a few litter boxes in the area and see which they prefer. If a few poops end-up outside the litter box place them in the box to help your bunny. Change bunny's box every day, to ensure a clean, fresh box. This will prevent bunny from heading to cleaner places to eliminate. Younger bunnies may take longer to litter train than older bunnies.
http://www.thebunnyhut101.com/2013/11/litter-training-thank-goodness-video.html
Toys
Rabbit's teeth continually grow. It is very important you provide safe toys for your rabbit to chew. Make sure whatever you provide for your rabbit to chew on is rabbit safe. Chew blocks, untreated willow baskets, willow balls, willow wreaths and untreated apple twigs all make great chews. Rabbits are also very curious and playful. They need toys to stimulate them mentally. Some favorite rabbit toys are balls with a bell inside, baby keys, rattles and the chew toys mentioned above. Rabbits like to have a hiding place to lie in or under such as a willow tent, bunny condo or hideaway or even a cardboard box with multiple holes cut into it.
http://www.thebunnyhut101.com/2013/11/rabbit-toys.html

Proper Diet
A proper diet is of utmost important to the life and well-being of your bunny. A proper diet should include unlimited fresh hay, a limited amount of pellets and fresh greens. Hay must be available at all times. Pellets and fresh greens can be split, one in the morning, one in the evening. Rabbits can have treats, but only in a very limited number and they must be healthy. Most store bought rabbit treats are not good for rabbits.
http://www.thebunnyhut101.com/2014/04/quality-hay-pellets-for-bunny.html

Hay
Hay is one of the most important parts of your bunny's diet. Fresh hay should be provided at all times. Hay is rich in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, proteins and provides “food” for the micro-organisms that make up the cecotropes. Hay provides indigestible fiber that promotes healthy motility (movement of contents) of the intestinal tract. Hay also provides healthy chewing activity to promote proper wear of the teeth (the teeth of a rabbit grow continuously throughout their life) and chewing also provides healthy mental activity which decreases destruction of inappropriate objects and provides a “full feeling” in the stomach which is satisfying. Grass hays are best and from timothy, meadow, oat, rye, barley or Bermuda grasses. The healthiest choice is Timothy Hay. Alfalfa Hay should not be fed to adult rabbits. Hay should be stored in a cool, dry, dark location. It is very important to make sure your hay does not get damp or wet, as this could cause mold to grow, which is life threatening to rabbits and other small animals. Hay should not be stored in an airtight container, as it needs air to circulate. You may want to store it in a large cardboard box. If your hay is in a plastic bag, do not seal the bag; leave the top open. Your bunny should always have fresh hay, day and night.
http://www.thebunnyhut101.com/2011/11/hay-to-you-and-your-bunny.html

Pellets
Adult rabbits should be fed a good quality, high fiber (20% or more) Timothy pellet. Feed only ¼ of a cup a day for a 5lb rabbit. Rabbits that are free fed pellets tend to become overweight, will not eat as much hay and can become very ill. Never feed pellets that have nuts, seeds or cereal looking items added in, these are high in sugar and carbohydrates.
http://www.thebunnyhut101.com/2014/12/where-do-i-buy-hay-and-pellets.html

Fresh Greens
Fresh greens are equally as important as hay in the rabbit’s diet. Remember we said that rabbits are designed to eat grasses and leaves, so green foods represent the “leaf” part of the diet. Fresh greens provide all the same benefits that we listed for hay. They also contain a wider variety of micronutrients and importantly provide water in the diet. Feeding fresh greens also forces the rabbit to take in liquid and thus helps promote healthy GI function as well as kidney and bladder function. Greens are appropriate for any age of rabbit. If a weaned rabbit is eating hay, he can eat greens right away. Start out slowly when adding a new green to your rabbit's diet. When selecting and using green foods follow these guidelines:
*  Buy (or grow) organic if possible

  • Wash any green foods first
  • Feed a variety of green foods daily – a minimum would be three varieties – variety provides a wider range of micronutrients as well as mental stimulation for your pet
  • Feed a minimum of 1 packed cup of green foods per 2 pounds of body weight at least once a day Here is a list of some of foods you might consider:

    Vegetables:
    Radish & clover sprouts
    Basil
    Beet greens (tops)
    Carrot & carrot tops*
    Cilantro
    Clover
    Collard greens* (sparingly, contain high calcium)
    Dandelion greens and flowers (no pesticides)*
    Endive*
    Escarole
    Green peppers
    Kale*
    Mint
    Mustard greens*(sparingly)
    Parsley(Italian flat leaf is preferred)*
    Pea pods (the flat edible kind)*
    Peppermint leaves
    Radish tops
    Raspberry leaves
    Red or Green Leaf lettuce Romaine lettuce (no iceberg or light colored leaf)*
    Spinach*(sparingly, contains high calcium)
    Watercress*
    Wheat grass

    (*) A variety is necessary in order to obtain the necessary nutrients, with one each day that contains Vitamin A, indicated by an *.
    Fruits can be fed as a treat in very limited quantities. Limit fruits to 1-2 tablespoons per 5 lbs. of body weight (none if dieting) from the list below of high fiber fruits. Sugary fruits such as bananas and grapes should be used only sparingly, as occasional treats. Bunnies have a sweet tooth and if left to their own devices will devour sugary foods to the exclusion of healthful ones. Below please find a list of acceptable fruits.
    Fruits:
    Apple
    Blueberries
    Melon
    Orange (remove the peel)
    Papaya
    Peach
    Pear
    Pineapple
    Plums
    Raspberries
    Strawberries
    Absolutely NO chocolate (poisonous!), cookies, crackers, breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, yogurt drops, or other "human treats." There is research to suggest these items may contribute to fatal cases of enterotoxemia, a toxic overgrowth of "bad" bacteria in the intestinal tract.

    Water
    Fresh water should be available at all times, in a clean, large, heavy crock. Rinse the water crock
    out every day and give it a good cleaning about three times a week to prevent algae build up.










    Vitamins/Lactobacillus/Enzymes

    Vitamins are NOT necessary for the healthy rabbit. Rabbits will obtain all the vitamins they need from their cecotropes, grass hay and green foods. The misuse of vitamins can cause serious disease. If your pet becomes ill, particularly if he/she is unable to eat the cecotropes, then your veterinarian may prescribe vitamin therapy. Please do not use supplemental vitamins in a healthy pet. In addition, rabbits on a healthy diet do not need a salt or mineral block.
    http://www.thebunnyhut101.com/2014/06/normal-abnormal-bunny-poop-what-to-look.html


    Spay and Neuter
    The neutering/spaying of rabbits is of utmost importance. Altered rabbits are healthier and live longer than unaltered rabbits. The risk of reproductive cancers (ovarian, uterine, mammarian) for an unspayed female rabbit is virtually eliminated by spaying your female rabbit. Your neutered male rabbit will live longer as well, given that he won't be tempted to fight with other animals (rabbits, cats, etc.) due to his sexual aggression. Uterine adenocarcinoma is a malignant cancer that can affect female rabbits over two years of age. The best prevention for this disease is to remove the reproductive organs (ovaries and uterus) in a surgical procedure commonly called a spay. The procedure can be performed in females over four months of age. Spaying a rabbit also prevents pregnancy and can help control some aggressive behavior. Male rabbits can also develop disease of the reproductive organs (the testicles) but with much less frequency than females. However, some male rabbits have a tendency to become aggressive in their “adolescent” years (8-18 months of age) and can also start spraying urine outside the toilet area to mark their territory. Surgical removal of the testicles, called castration, can control these behaviors if it is done before the behavior occurs or shortly thereafter.http://www.thebunnyhut101.com/2013/06/spaying-and-neutering-bunnies.html

    Ears
    It is important to check inside your rabbits ears for wax, debris build up or infection. Smell inside the ear to make sure there is not a yeasty or bad smell. Look inside the ear to make sure it is nice and clean. http://www.thebunnyhut101.com/2014/05/ear-mites-in-rabbits-contains-pictures.html

    Feet
    Check the bottom of your rabbit's feet for sore hocks. These are patches of skin where the fur has worn away, often from being on a wire bottom cage or a hard surface. They can be come very sore, swollen and infected, and must be treated right away.
    http://www.thebunnyhut101.com/2013/06/bunnies-with-sore-hocks-pododermatitis.html


    Fur and Skin
    Check the fur and skin for white flakes or tiny black dots. If you notice either of these your rabbit probably has mites (white flakes) or fleas (black dots).http://www.thebunnyhut101.com/2013/05/3-types-of-fur-mites-in-rabbits-how-do.html

    Teeth
    Rabbit's teeth continually grow. The front teeth must be lined up correctly in order for them to be kept trim. The cheek teeth must also be lined up; sometimes rabbits can grow molar spurs or have other teeth problems such as impaction and abscesses. If you ever notice your rabbit drooling, having trouble eating, or having a runny eye this could be a sign of a tooth problem and the rabbit must be seen by a rabbit vet. Some rabbits have malocclusion where the teeth don't line up. In most cases the teeth will have to be trimmed or filed, in some cases they have to be removed. It is VERY important that you find an expert in this field who has a lot of experience with rabbit teeth.http://www.thebunnyhut101.com/2014/04/rabbits-and-their-teeth-they-need.html

    Body
    Run your hands over your rabbit's whole body, including head and jaw area to check for any unusual lumps or bumps. Rabbits can often get abscesses which need to be treated right away. The sooner you notice a problem and get it treated the better the chance you have for a good recovery. http://www.thebunnyhut101.com/2013/10/benefits-of-bunny-massage.html

    Nails
    Rabbit's nails grow continuously so they will need to be trimmed about every four to six weeks. It is important to know how to trim a rabbit's nails correctly. If you cut them down to short you may cut into the quick which will be very painful and will bleed. This can also lead to infection. A rabbit vet can show you how to trim nails. We also do free nail trimming on adoption days.http://www.thebunnyhut101.com/2014/09/nail-trimming-tips-videos.html

    Scent Glands
    Male and female rabbits have two scent glands on either side of the genitals. These are two small pockets which need to be cleaned about every three months or so. When cleaning the scent glands it is important to be gentle. We suggest using a q-tip dipped in warm water and gently wipe out the debris. http://www.thebunnyhut101.com/#uds-search-results

    Shedding
    Rabbits shed every 3 months. Every alternate time they'll have a light shedding that may not be very noticeable. Next they'll have a heavy shedding that you will not be able to escape. Rabbits are fastidious groomers. They insist on being clean & tidy and will lick themselves like cats, and like cats, they can get hairballs if they ingest too much hair. Unlike cats however, rabbits cannot vomit. If hairballs are allowed to form they can become gigantic masses of tangled hair & food and will block the stomach exit, causing the rabbit to starve to death while his stomach appears to be very fat. Rabbits need to be brushed at least weekly. In addition to removing any loose hair, this weekly brushing session helps prepare them for the multiple daily brushings that they must undergo when their heavy shedding begins. Rabbits will shed in different ways. Some rabbits will take a couple of weeks or more to loose their old coat of fur. Other rabbits will be ready to get rid of their old coats all in one day and these rabbits are the ones that cannot be neglected once they start shedding. You can often remove a very large percentage of hair by just pulling it out with your hand. But, however you remove it, remove it as soon as possible or your rabbit will do it during grooming.http://www.thebunnyhut101.com/2014/04/grooming-pet-rabbits-regular-brushing.html

    Baths
    NEVER, unless your veterinarian advises it to bring down a fever-should you give a sick rabbit a bath. Because seemingly healthy rabbits can have undiagnosed problems, it's best not to subject them to the stress of a bath. If your rabbit is very badly infested with fleas, there's a good chance that he is already compromised and may go into shock when bathed. Also, a thoroughly wet rabbit takes a very long time to dry, so spot cleaning the dirty area is better than an over-all bath. Normal rabbit body temperature is 102. Since they are subject to heat stress, use a warm dryer, not hot, to dry areas that have been spot cleaned. http://rabbit.org/the-dangers-of-giving-a-rabbit-a-bath/


  •  http://www.thebunnybasics.com/BB_Care.html
  • Tuesday, October 27, 2015

    Benefits of Bunny Massage




    Animal massage is emerging as an effective complement to Veterinary Healthcare. Along with regular Veterinary, Acupuncture, and Chiropractic care, massage offers many benefits for your companion animals, including stress relief, stimulation of the digestive, circulatory and nervous systems, increased flexibility, and strengthening of the human-animal bond.

    No animal is more suited for massage than your house rabbit. Bunnies are prone to stress related illness and can be difficult to handle during grooming sessions and Veterinary visits.Their innate fear of being lifted and confined can be lessened with regular massages. Here are some quiet-time touch tips to help you turn a devilishly grumpy Thumper into Thumper the purring lil' Angel.

    First consider your bunnies' natural activity schedule. Most rabbits are more alert and thus more receptive to massage advances in the morning or evening hours. Wait at least 30 minutes after your rabbit's main meal and, because rabbits are very sensitive to smells, thoroughly wash your hands with fragrance free soap. Experiment until you find the most comforting place for the massage session. I find that for the unaccustomed bunny a tabletop with a towel placed over a non-slip mat works best. You may prefer a rug on the floor. More than likely, "Bunny with Rabbitude" will choose the spot for you. Tune into your rabbit's unique body language. Relax your arms and shoulders, calm your mind, and breathe! Massage should be fun for both of you. Mutual trust develops slowly. Your bunny WILL notice the difference between intentioned touch and simple petting. Start with a few minutes and work up to longer massages.

    Have everything you need handy, perhaps a cushion for you to sit on and classical music playing. Keep an absorbent hand towel nearby as the massage may stimulate your rabbit's bladder. Fill a small spritz bottle with water for the end of the massage.

    Begin by pointing bunny's face away from you and sweep your hands down bunny's entire body, face to rump. Sweep 3-4 times. Note any sensitive areas. Always stroke the fur in the direction of hair growth and try to keep one hand on bunny at all times. Rabbits need to feel grounded, so resting a hand on the shoulder area will settle bunny and make her feel secure.


    Next, stroke gently between the nose, around the eyes and down the back of the head. Softly stroke the ears from the base to the tips holding the ear very lightly between your thumb and index finger. Spend some time on the face and ears. There are many acupressure points located here and you will be doing a preventative health exam at the same time. Notice any swelling, dampness or crusting. Make notes for your Vet.

    Once bunny has settled in, begin making dime-sized circles down the left side of the spine. Use your thumb to create clockwise circles in the soft area just beside the spine. Work gradually from shoulder to hip being careful to use light pressure only. Never massage directly on the spinal bones. After you complete the left side continue down the right side. This may be enough massage for the first few sessions. Close each massage with 3-4 full hand sweeps, again from face to rump.

    If Bun-Bun is enjoying your touch time, progress to light stroking around and down the legs, across each side of the chest, and farther back on the hip area. Once your bunny becomes addicted to short massages you can venture into the trustworthiest areas, including stroking between the toes, around and down the tail and finally, soft side to side sweeps under the lower belly. Many rabbits also enjoy the rock n' roll rhythm of both your hands on their shoulders as you alternate rolling the skin from left to right.

    The ultimate goal is for bunny to accept your gentle hands creating large clockwise circles over her entire belly area. Massage the belly with bunny in a "cat stretch" standing position or cradled "baby style" in your arms. You and your Veterinarian may be thankful for this technique when Thumper has a bout with Gastrointestinal Stasis, or gut slowdown. Digestive disorders in rabbits often cause pain from gas buildup and a light tummy massage may relieve this pain until a Vet can administer relief with fluids etc. Words of caution- NEVER massage a rabbit's stomach if it is distended and hard! SEE YOUR VET A.S.A.P. WHENEVER YOU SUSPECT G.I.STASIS.

    End the massage with a mist of water to your hands, then a complete sweep over Bun-Bun's loosened fur from head to rump. Your damp hands will remove the halo of hair left behind from the massage. Rub your hands together and Voila; the fur is contained. You don't want Bun-Bun ingesting this hair! As much as the little furball loves you, it is his fastidious nature to groom obsessively until he smells like a respectable lagomorph. Finally, hydration is very important. Always offer dampened fresh greens to your rabbit following a massage.

    Explore the world of purposeful touch with your animal companions. You will benefit in so many ways by finding increased awareness of your rabbit's health and body condition, better ease in handling Thumper at the Vet's office, and stress-free grooming sessions. Most importantly, you will create a closer bond with your house rabbit through a sense of love, trust and well-being.


    Footnote:
    http://www.catsandrabbitsandmore.com/massage_for_rabbits 

    Recommended Reading:

    THE RELAXED RABBIT, Chandra Moira Beal
    ACU-CAT, Nancy Zidonis and Amy Snow
    THE TELLINGTON TOUCH, Linda Tellington-Jones

    Tuesday, October 20, 2015

    Indoor Rabbit Cages: The Good the Bad and the Ugly


    Why Indoor is Better For Bunny:
    http://www.thebunnyhut101.com/2013/11/why-indoor-is-better-for-bunny.html




     So you have a house rabbit and now want to know the best way to contain your bunny.  Many people allow their bunnies to run free range around the house 24/7.  But for some rabbit owners this is not practical for many reasons.
    Below we will look at several different "cage" ideas and what is the best choice for you and your bunny.  Just remember, whatever cage you choose, you bunny MUST have several hours of exercise and social time everyday!



    Custom House Rabbit Enclosure

    A custom enclosure makes a fine option for your pet rabbit.  You can find separate wire storage cubes at most big box stores and build the enclosure yourself, often for less than the cost of a cage or puppy pen .  Stacking the cubes creates levels and using metal or wood slats between the levels creates a floor for your pet.  The levels offer your pet the opportunity to get a bit of exercise and relieve boredom.

    Be careful not to leave unintended gaps in the slats as your rabbit could get stuck and suffer an injury.  Make sure the slats are secured for the same reason.  Don’t ever attempt to make your own enclosure using chicken wire.  The wire is easy for a rabbit to chew through.

    Building a condo video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bLUDLbZYr4


    Several building ideas if you decide to build on your own:
    https://www.google.com/search?q=NIC+rabbit+cage+ideas&client=firefox-a&hs=UOl&sa=X&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&ei=CrOGUZ7XPIvY9QTimIDYBQ&ved=0CDwQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=610



    Click here to get these cubes on Amazon now.
    These are also available at Target in the closet section and at Wal Mart.


     Click here to get the full kits from Ebay:
    http://www.ebay.com/sch/bunnycondos7/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p3686

     

     

    Puppy Play Pens for Your Bunny


    Puppy pens provide an excellent environment for your house rabbit, especially if you plan to eventually allow your pet to roam about the room.  A large puppy pen provides enough space for food and litter, is movable, and helps your bunny become accustomed to an area of the room as his or her own space.
    Puppy pens come without a top enclosure, so make sure you get one that’s high enough to prevent escape.  Also, protect your floor by lining the bottom of the pen with a piece of vinyl, wood or a rug.  Just make sure your bunny doesn’t tear up and ingest the material as this could be harmful.


    Click Here to Buy a Rabbit Play Pen on Amazon
    These are also available at local pet stores, although typically have higher prices.
    *We recommend 36" or taller as many rabbits learn to jump or climb out of the shorter pens.

     

    Open Room

    If you have an available room that has been bunny-proofed,  consider letting your house rabbit roam free about that area.  Your pet will enjoy the freedom of being able to hop, run or investigate his or her surroundings at leisure.  Place litter, food, water and a box with fresh hay in an area of the room designated for your bunny.   Your pet needs a specific place to call his own when need be.







    Outdoor Rabbit Hutches

    Outdoor rabbit hutches are not recommended.  For one reason, you’ll want to keep your house rabbit protected from both the elements and predators.  For another, your pet is social and so are you.  Take the time to invest in a relationship with your house rabbit and you won’t be disappointed!
    However, hutches can be good to give your bunny a bit of time outside on a mild day OR use the hutch in your home!  Many hutches these days are very attractive and would make great indoor enclosures.
    A word of caution:  There are several rabbit hutches on the market today that have pens on the bottom for your bunny to munch on grass.  However these pens do not have bottoms!  That means your bun can easily dig out without constant supervision!
    Check out some of the cool hutch designs on Amazon here





    Store Bought Starter Rabbit Cages

    We typically discourage this type of cage simply because it doesn't give the bunny a fair chance of staying out of his own waste, and could loose any potty training skills that were already learned. Also, if the family becomes busy for any reason, there is not enough room for them to be left in the cage to have any sort of exercise.



    We typically use the bases of these cages for large littler boxes where hay doesn't get scattered out of the box easily.





    Cages, while not the optimum choice for housing your pet, can be used judiciously.   As long as you are faithful about making sure your house rabbit gets plenty of exercise, interaction, and time to play, a large cage could be appropriate.  

    Make sure there’s lots of room for your pet to move around.  Also, there needs to be room for your bunny’s food, water, litter box and toys.
    Remember the wire bottom of a cage can be tough on bunny’s tender paw pads and grids can trap your pet‘s foot.  Provide wood or tile to line the bottom so your pet doesn’t get injured.  If you allow your pet to roam free within the room where the cage is located, make sure your cage has a pet-door.  Never confine your pet rabbit in a glass aquarium.


    OUTSIDE PLAYTIME
    Despite what many think, house rabbits don't have to have outside time because they
    are bunnies to be happy. Many actually are frightened by the sounds we cannot hear.
    They may be new to them or cause them to remember sounds from a traumatic past
    if they came from a bad situation. So many rather sit indoors and bask in the sunlight
    from the kitchen windows!

    If you have one of those rare bunnies that are interested in exploring and show no signs
    of fear of the outdoors, you can try it and see.
    ALWAYS UNDER CONSTANT SUPERVISION! 
    Things always seems to happen when the humans step inside for that second.

    The easiest solution for bunny outside time without having to practically build a fort to keep the bunny from escaping or being picked up by a hawk during playtime is a pen as shown.
    These are typical available in a pet store, or the larger versions ordered online through their sites.





    REMEMBER:
    Despite what you know about your bunny, make sure you get a play pen with a top of some kind
    or make one from a sheet and clothespins AT LEAST!! They WILL monkey climb out if they are scared enough in any situation. If that were to ever happen, they listen to their instinct, not the human.







    Footnotes:
     http://ilovemyhouserabbit.com/indoor-rabbit-cages-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/

    Saturday, October 17, 2015

    Emergency Kits For Rabbits

    If your rabbit hasn't eaten or pooped in 12-24 hours, 
    call a vet immediately!


    Emergencies can happen at any time and you want to make sure that you are 
    prepared to avoid potentially life-threatening situations for your rabbit.
    Many of the items that you should include in your Rabbit First Aid Kit can
    be found around the house. You’ll also want to have a container for all of the
    items and to place it in an easy to find spot in case of an emergency.

     You should include the following items in your 
    Rabbit First Aid Kit:




    Baby Food
    - Use when your rabbit refuses to eat; it's easy to get baby food or canned
    pumpkin into a feeding syringe. 




     •Chlorhexidine Solution
    – Use to flush wounds. 




    Critical Care by Oxbow
    - You can also use this when your rabbit refuses to eat.
    Available through your vet's office or at Petsmart.



    Eyedropper
    - to administer the saline and Critical Care




    Styptic Powder (or flour)
     - If you trim your rabbit's nails a little too short and theybegin to bleed,
    dip the paw into the flour.



    Gas Medication(Simethicone) 
    - Use in case of a gas emergency. Various brands for babies are acceptable, including 
    Gerber’s Gas Relief Drops.



    Gauze and Cotton Balls
    - Use to clean and care for wounds.



    Hairball Remedy (always consult with rabbit savy vet during this time!)
    - Offer this to your rabbit weekly to prevent the build-up of hair in the digestive tract. 
    Rabbits cannot cough up hairballs as cats do. During a molt (shedding), offer it daily. 
    Hartz Hairball Remedy can be found in most grocery stores. Make sure to get the malt 
    flavored kind and follow the directions. Do NOT give if your rabbit has stopped eating 
    and is not producing fecal pellets—consult with your vet. 


    Hydrogen Peroxide
    —Use initially on wounds. Thereafter use the chlorhexidine solution (see above)
    as hydrogen peroxide inhibits the tissue’s healing.

     













    Mineral Oil (See vet for Ivermectin injection to kill mites quickly and completely)
    – For the treatment of ear mites and skin irritations.
    .


    Nail Clippers












    Neosporin (non-pain relief) 
    - You can use this if your bunny has a minor cut or wound.



    Probios
    - Administer to rabbits who are not eating. Helps to restore balance in an
    upset stomach.  BeneBac is another widely available brand.



    Rubbing Alcohol
    -for sterilizing scissors, tweezers and other tools.

    Saline
    - for gentle wash around the eye area in case of irritation.

    Scissors
    - Use to trim the fur surrounding a bunny wound. Be careful!
    Rabbit skin is extremelyelastic and is difficult to see through the fur.
    Be certain that the skin remains clear of the scissors.




    Tweezers
     
    *Digital infant thermometer 
    -to take temperature (apply lubricant and insert gently into rectum;
    normal rabbit temperature is 101-103 degrees Fahrenheit);
    ask your vet to show you how.
    *Heart Rate (pulse): 130-325 beats per minute
    *Respiratory Rate: 32-60 breaths per minute


    **How-To info and video on taking temps!!
    http://www.houserabbitga.com/?page_id=2105


    *Petroleum jelly or KY jelly
    -a lubricant to use with the thermometer




     References:
    http://riseandshinerabbitry.com/2012/03/27/first-aid-kit-for-the-rabbitry/
     http://www.heartlandrabbitrescue.org/documents/Rabbit%20First%20Aid%20Kit.pdf
     http://mnhouserabbit.org/rabbit/care/health/firstaidkit.html
    http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Safety-Kit-for-Your-Rabbit