Category Archives: Bunny Care Information

Rabbit_Heaven_by_bruisedlee

A Place to Grieve the Loss of your Pet Rabbit

Every person handles grief from a pet differently.  After the initial shock of the death of your pet rabbit, you may feel a sense of pain, loss and even guilt. Never let anyone convince you that you are “silly” to be grieving the loss of your pet rabbit. Any other dog, cat, or rabbit owner will understand and be able to empathize with you. I know I do. Losing a pet is many times like losing a family member. Sometimes it even feels worse, as you provided  care, love and affection every day. I know what I miss most of all is the way my bunny made me feel, the joy and laughter they brought me!

Feel free to share your favorite memories- or to express your sadness …. We’re all rabbit lovers here…

 

 

DSCN3417 - Copy

How to Bond Pet Rabbits

My bunny Meadow was bonded for years to Cinnabun. They were truly best friends. Then Cinnabun passed away. Later, we fell in love with Blackberry and thought we would try to bond the 2. It was short-lived and Blackberry did not seem like the type of bunny who actually liked other bunnies. Now, months later, with my engagement, a new bunny, Bobby Carats, came to be a member of our family. Knowing what we know about Meadow, how loving he is, and how he has bonded before, we thought we’d give it another try. AND IT WORKED!

Bonding your bunnies is a nice thing to do, if you can. While you are at work, they will have a friend to pass time with, cuddle with, share food with, play with. I mean, imagine living a life alone in a cage with no friends?! Sounds awful to me. Unfortunately, sometimes, like with Blackberry, one bunny does not have a temperament conducive to bonding.

There is no guarantee your bunnies will bond, but it  is worth a try. It has now worked for me twice. So here are some HELPFUL BONDING STEPS  that may help your rabbit bond with another buddy.

1. Make sure both bunnies are fixed. In both my cases, I had one bunny first, fixed, alone for a few months. Then I decided to get a second a few months later. Keeping them separate from the very start, I only introduced them weeks after the second had been fixed and was well recovered from surgery.

2. Introduce the bunnies in small doses of time, in a neutral space. Neutral space can be a room they have both never been in, or even a bathtub.

3. Do this for a few weeks. It will definitely take some patience, but it is important.

4. Keep the bunnies living quarters separate, but move them closer. Since Meadow lives in a hutch I put the hutch separator in and let the other bunny live on the other side. This way they get to know one another, and after a while, they long for the separator to be taken out, so they can finally lay together! If you don’t have a hutch with these capabilities, stick their cages right next to one another.

5. If things are looking good, try them together, supervised of course! Maybe put out a nice treat of parsley for them to sit and share, and see how this first, longer dinner meeting goes!

Trick:  A trick that works is to bond bunnies over a “scary event”. Put them in a carry case together and take them on a bumpy car ride, or run the vaccuum with them out. Sometimes it takes a scary event to bring humans together, so there is no reason this couldn’t work for rabbits.

Helpful Tip: Give bunnies separate poop stations. With both situations I have been in, the bunnies seemed to like to have separate places to do their business! It may keep the peace!

 

 

meadsfunnycar

Traveling with Your Pet Rabbit by Car

Traveling with your rabbit in a car can be easy …or very stressful! Trips to the vet that are just a 10 to 20 minute drive can easily wear on your rabbit.

Not a Head Rest but a Meads Rest! Meadow is not a rabbit who enjoys car travel. He gets very stressed by the ride to the vet and it takes him a good while and lots of rubs to relax again. I can see him panicking in the carrier, so when I am not driving, while good or bad, I let him ride on my lap. In one particular occassion, he decided he would quickly scramble up and smush himself behind my neck and the car seat. Funny enough, that spot seemed to do the trick to calm him down.

If your rabbit does not travel well, do not make him travel unnecessarily. If car travel cannot be avoided, make the drive as comfortable as possible for your bunny.

FEEDING AND GIVING WATER TO YOUR RABBIT WHILE TRAVELING LONG DISTANCE.

Bring your rabbits favorite treats to ease his worries, as long as any of his everyday hay. Pack some water bottles filled with the usual water you give your rabbit so they do not need to adapt. The water bottles may drip while en route, so stop and give your rabbit plenty of opportunities to eat and drink.

KEEP YOUR RABBIT OUT OF DIRECT SUNLIGHT, WITH GOOD VENTILATION.

It is important that while you are driving long-distance, your rabbit will remain out of direct sunlight. It can cause your rabbit to overheat.

Watch the temperature in the car. Make sure the carrier or box the rabbit is in is well-ventilated, but also make sure there are no cold drafts drifting in.

Another important factor may seem silly, but do not blast your music. This can cause stress to your rabbit and make his drive very unpeaceful.

COMPLETING A LONG CAR RIDE WITH YOUR RABBIT.

Upon completion of a long car trip with your bunny, spend lots of time keeping an eye on them, make sure if they seemed stressed at the time that within a half-hour they have begun to relax. Some extra love, maybe a good massage, may just do the trick!

Traveling with your Pet Rabbit by Airplane

DECIDING TO FLY WITH YOUR PET RABBIT.

When given the option to either subject my pet rabbit to a 24-hour drive or a 2.5-hour flight, I decided the flight was the “lesser of two evils”. My rabbit, Meadow does not do well in the car. Even on a 10 minute drive to the vet, he shakes and shutters as if he is having a mild heart-attack. So although I was nervous about the “unknowns” of how he would handle himself on a flight, I knew that he would never make the drive.

Obviously, if you do not have to take your rabbit on the trip with you, don’t. If you are going on a vacation, find a pet sitter. Have a friend stop by and visit and keep an eye on your bunny while you are away. If you are moving to a different city or state, then you will have to weigh your options. Some rabbits, particularly young ones, will do just fine in a car for a long drive. Make sure they have a comfortable bed (some towels will do fine) and plenty of hay. And since the water bottle will probably leak as the car bumps on the road, make sure you take plenty of breaks to let your rabbit have water.  Find a pet-friendly hotel for the night when you stop and never leave your rabbit unattended in the vehicle.

FEED YOUR RABBIT LAVENDER BOTANICAL HAY.

I learned an incredibly helpful tip, courtesy of The Brookdale Pet Center (Bloomfield, NJ)….BOTANICAL HAY. The night before the flight, feed your rabbit a meal of just botanical hay. The ingredients include lavender, and will relax and mellow your bunny and take away any of your rabbits’ pre-flight jitters.

CHOOSING AN AIRLINE THAT LETS YOUR RABBIT FLY IN-CABIN.

First matter of business when you decide to fly with your rabbit is to choose an airline that is going to let you take your bunny in the cabin. I traveled with Continental Airlines and they were wonderful. Although the rabbit’s “seat” cost around $200, they were very kind about letting me board and it seemed well worth the cost.  The other passengers were surprised to see a rabbit boarding the plane and were also very kind to this nervous Bunny Mom!
When you get to security let them walk the rabbit through with you. I got a ride on one of those carts to get to the gate as soon as possible. At the gate, I took him out and pet him until it was time to board. Thankfully, the lavender hay seemed to keep him nice and calm!

PURCHASE THE PROPER AIRLINE-SPECIFIC CAGE FOR YOUR RABBIT.

You have to get a carrier that will fit under the seat and the airline should have specific dimensions of the carrier.  A tip I learned about flying with rabbits is to get a cage that has a “sliding door” on top. I was able to reach down, albeit uncomfortably, and pet Meadow to let him know I was there and to check that  his breathing was normal and he was fine.

MAKING YOUR RABBIT COMFORTABLE ON HIS FLIGHT.

Make sure your rabbit is comfortable during the flight. The in-cabin air can sometimes be cold, and below the seat may be drafty, so make sure he has plenty of comfortable bedding. Because flights are bumpy, it’s a good idea to put a nice heavy blanket between the cage and the cabin floor, to lessen the impact of any turbulence. Also make sure your rabbit has plenty of hay and treats for the flight, and a water bottle on the cage if you are on a long flight, because you will not be able to take the rabbit from its cage.

Meadow flew from New Jersey to Florida successfully, and did really well. The car ride from the airport to our new home, now, that’s another story!

Grieving the Loss of Your Beloved Pet Rabbit

WHY DID MY PET RABBIT DIE?

Rabbits are very fragile creatures. Although they have a longer lifespan (up to 12 years), they can become sick or die suddenly. Rabbits are prone to heart attacks, from coming in contact with a dog or cat, being scared suddenly, or from stress due to uncomfortable car rides. A good owner will know that rabbits take a lot of care and work, as they have sensitive systems and need just the right amount and type of food and water, and attention. Perhaps your rabbit died of old age. Or maybe your rabbit died suddenly and for no apparent reason.

YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO GRIEVE THE LOSS OF YOUR PET RABBIT.

After the initial shock of the death of your pet rabbit, you may feel a sense of pain, loss and even guilt. First off, never let anyone convince you that you are “silly” to be grieving the loss of your pet rabbit. Any other dog, cat, or rabbit owner will understand and be able to empathize with you. Losing a pet is many times like losing a family member.You provided daily care, love and affection. You will miss cuddling up with them on the couch and petting them goodnight. Take your time to grieve.

Every person handles grief from a pet differently. Some like to talk about their pet to ease the pain, others may cry, others may be quiet. Tell a friend about any guilt you may feel – and then let it go.

The death of your pet rabbit may be a large blow to a child, who has rarely dealt with matters of death. It is important to let them grieve as well. And to encourage them to grieve in positive ways, such as writing a story or drawing a photo of the pet and the memorable things they used to do together.

OTHER PETS IN YOUR HOME MAY BE GRIEVING.

The other furry friends in your household may be grieving as well. Pay close attention to signs of any strange behavior or loss of appetite. And spend some extra time with those pets to reassure them that everything will be fine.

If one rabbit of a “bonded pair” is to die, please see my other article, which contains some important information on how to handle and care for the remaining rabbit, and deal with his struggles and sadness.

SAYING GOODBYE TO A BELOVED PET RABBIT.

It is never easy to say goodbye to a great friend. I still get teary-eyed when I think of my first bunny, Rabby. She was a wonderful rabbit and I still miss her everyday. I imagine how things would have been had she lived a longer life (she died in 1994?) and was there for me through middle and high school. But it never came to that. Now I grieve for my bunny Cinnabun, who I lost in 2010 and never got to make the move with us to Florida. I think about how sad Meadow is to have lost his absolute best pal. Grieving for Cinnabun opened up old wounds and made me miss Rabby again as well. Just remember that the rabbits who have left this world for Rabbit Heaven will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Many times, the best way to say goodbye is with a nice memorial service. Bury your pet in his or her favorite spot or under a nice tree where you can visit and remember them when you want. Write a story about something they used to do that made you smile. You can share this with others at the ceremony or keep it to yourself. Go ahead and cry and let your emotions out. Losing a pet is something most people understand and can sympathize with. Ask your friends and family members to share a story as well.

Frame a picture of your bunny and keep it somewhere in your house so you can remember their precious  furry face.

AFTER YOUR GRIEVING PERIOD,  GIVE LOVE TO A NEW PET RABBIT.

When your grieving period is absolutely over, do not hesitate to get a new pet rabbit, especially if you are a loving owner with lots of time and energy to give. You have so much love to give, and there is a bunny out there who would benefit from a loving home such as yours. Open your heart to a new companion. You know that this new rabbit will never replace the old, but you can get to know your new friend, love him in a different way,  and let him cheer you up!

If this was your only bunny, do good, save a life and visit a shelter. There are such wonderful bunnies in shelters who are looking for a new home and a chance at some real love!

If you are looking to find a new partner for the living half of a “bonded pair”, please see my article on bonded pairs, which will give you important information on selecting a possible new mate.

Bunny gets his nails cut!

Poor Meadow. He really does NOT like to get his nails cut. Even though he knows I will let him shove his big fluffy head into the container of oats afterwards – LOL!  Lots of grunting and kicking. Steve holds him nice and tight while I cut.

Here’s Steve, sad face on,  feeling bad for poor Mr. Meads, also pictured, looking absolutely grumpy and miserable!

Is it just me, or do they have similar expressions on? haha!

(Bunny owners, cutting a rabbits’ nails is a delicate science, so don’t try to do it yourself,  unless you’ve been taught by a pro)

I found a rabbit hit by a car. Now what?

Any rabbit hit by a car will 100% need to see a vet. In the meantime, keep the rabbit comfortable in a box, with some towels. Also put some grass or some type of lettuce (anything but iceberg) to nibble in there with her. Make sure the rabbit cannot jump out of the box. Bring it to a vet tomorrow and let them do a check-up. Also, now is a good time to start researching a rehab facility near you who may be able to care for the rabbit after the vet makes a diagnosis.

Regina LaCaruba featured in Marie Claire Magazine (February 2010)

And now for some very exciting news! I was interviewed by Marie Claire for my volunteer work in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation … and am featured in the February 2010 issue of the nationwide magazine!

I am really proud of the volunteer work I do, and feel blessed that I get to do it! There is no easier way to get out of bed than to know you are bettering the lives of some orphaned,  injured and wild friends!

A special thank you to Jihan at Marie Claire!

~Regina

What NOT to feed your rabbit….67 Things That are Poisonous to Bunnies

Especially important as the holiday season approaches, rabbit owners should be aware that the plants in their home may be poisonous. The following is a listing of plants normally thought to be poisonous. Unless otherwise stated, consider all parts of the plant poisonous. You should restrict your pets’ access to questionable plants.

Agave (leaves)
Amaryllis (bulbs)
Apple (seeds)
Azalea
Bird of Paradise (seeds)
Bloodroot
Buttercup (leaves)
Black Locust (seeds)
Boxwood (leaves/twigs)
Buckeye (seeds)
Buckthorn (berries)
Caladium
Calla (rhizome)
Castor Bean (seed)
Christmas Rose
Cone Flower

Crown of Thorns
Daffodil
Daphne
Delphinium
Dumbcane (Dieffenbachia)
Eggplant (plant)
Elderberry (unripe berries)
Elephant Ear
Flowering Tobacco
Foxglove
Holly (berries)
Horsechestnut (nuts)
Hyacinth
Iris
Ivy, Boston & English (berries)
Jack-in-the-Pulpit
Jerusalem Cherry
Jimson Weed
Jonquil
Lantana
Larkspur
Lily-of-the-Valley
Lupine
Mayapple
Mistletoe (berries)
Morning Glory (seeds)
Mustard (root)
Narcissus
Nicotiana
Nightshade
Oleander
Philodendron
Poison Hemlock
Poison Ivy
Potato (green)
Privet (berries)
Ranunculus
Rhododendron
Rhubarb (leaf blade)
Rosary Pea (seed)
Snow-on-the-Mountain
Sweet Pea (seeds)
Sweet Potato
Skunk Cabbage
Tansy

Tomato (leaves)
Tulip
Virginia Creeper (berries)
Water Hemlock
Wisteria (seeds/pods)
Yew (berries)

Never hesitate to seek medical aid if you think a person or animal has ingested a poisonous substance.

Compiled by the University of Illinois’ College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. Reprinted with permission. Copyright 1995 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.