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Rabbits

How to Care for Rabbits

soft as a bunny

Rabbits may be easy to love, but they're not quite as easy to care for. Rabbits are social creatures and wonderful companions to people who take the time to learn about their needs. To learn about providing care for these adorable creatures, check out books and Web sites on rabbit care. This set of quick reminders will give you the basics.

1: Help Them Hop to It

Just because rabbits are little doesn't mean they don't need room to roam. A cage or a run for a six-pound rabbit should be at least 18 inches high, 24 inches wide, and 24 inches deep. Cages with wire flooring are hard on rabbits' feet, which do not have protective pads like those of dogs and cats. If you place your rabbit in a wire cage, be sure to layer the floor with cardboard or paper. Place a cardboard box in the cage so the bunny has a comfortable place to hide, and respect the animals' need for quiet time. (Rabbits usually sleep during the day and night, becoming playful at dawn and dusk.) Always house rabbits indoors and maintain comfortable room temperatures, as rabbits do not tolerate extreme temperatures

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2: Please Put Litter in Its Place

Rabbits can easily learn to use a litter box. Place a litter box in the cage to encourage this behavior. When creating a litter box or bedding, stay away from cedar or other wood shavings, which may cause liver damage or trigger allergic reactions in rabbits. Instead, stick with organic litters made of paper, oats, alfalfa, or citrus. Hay is another option for litter material, but it requires even more frequent changing because rabbits will nibble on it.

3: Give 'Em Hay

If there were a food pyramid chart created for rabbits, timothy grass hay would form the entire base. Rabbits should have access to a constant supply of this hay, which aids their digestive systems and provides the necessary fiber to help prevent health problems such as hair balls, diarrhea, and obesity. Alfalfa hay, on the other hand, should be given to adult rabbits in limited quantities because it's too high in protein, calcium, and calories.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States

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