Newsletter • April 2012

A publication brought to you by Purina Mills, LLC


Rabbit Tips:
Getting a Handle on Your Rabbit
(& Interacting with Guests)

Rabbits like companionship, so be sure to give them attention, like a daily grooming, to get them used to being handled.

When handling your rabbit it is important to support its forequarters with one hand and its hindquarters with the other. If you do not support your rabbit in this way it can result in spinal injuries to the rabbit. Never pick up your rabbit by its ears!

Here are some guidelines when socializing and introducing your rabbit to new animals and people.

Socializing with Other Rabbits
Rabbits are sociable animals but just like humans, rabbits are picky about who they interact with. Before introducing your rabbit to another there are several considerations to keep in mind.
  • Consider the reproductive status of your rabbits. It is more likely that two unspayed rabbits will become aggressive with each other.
  • Age matters. Rabbits prefer their friends to be closer to their age. This is natural since rabbits of different ages have different temperaments.
  • Introduce the rabbits on neutral territory. Set aside a space in your home where your rabbit has never spent time, making sure there are no objects in that space behind which the rabbits can hide from each other.
  • Place the rabbits in this area at the same time. If they are in separate rabbit carriers, let them come out of them on their own accord. If you force them out, they may become agitated.
  • As the rabbits begin to get to know each other one will begin to assert its dominance over the other by chasing it around your designated pen area and mounting it. Newly introduced rabbits should not spend more than 20 minutes together but you can repeat this introduction for the next couple of days or even weeks until you notice the rabbits warming up to each other.
  • Signs that the rabbits are warming up to each other include grooming each other, licking, snuggling and chasing each other playfully.
  • Remember to stay calm and patient because this can be a long and stressful process.
However, you may find that even when both rabbits are neutered and of the same age, they may still have different temperaments and may not be friendly towards each other.

Socializing with Other Pets
When your rabbit has become comfortable at home and you feel it is time to introduce it to the other family pets, use the following guidelines for smoother interactions.
  • When introducing a rabbit to your dog, keep your dog on a leash and your rabbit in its cage.
  • Allow the rabbit and dog to sniff each other.
  • Your dog should be able to respond to commands such as 'No,' 'Stay' and 'Down' in case it becomes too excited and begins to charge the rabbit cage. Make sure if your dog does this to discipline it with 'No' and back it away from the rabbit cage. Praise the dog when it follows your commands and calms down, so it will begin to learn that it needs to be calm to be around the rabbit.
  • The rabbit and dog should never be left alone or unrestrained.
  • If your family has a cat, make sure the rabbit has a place to run and hide in its cage from the cat.
  • Your rabbit and cat need to get used to each other's smells and sounds so they don't interpret each other's movements or sounds as a signal of an attack.
  • If you decide to let your rabbit out of its cage where the cat may have access to it, always supervise!
Socializing with Children
When introducing a baby or child to a rabbit you'll need specific rules. It is important to have boundaries between children and rabbits so they can interact safely and appropriately with one another.
  • Provide a hiding place for your rabbit so if it feels overwhelmed by a child's high energy level it has a place to retreat to.
  • Limit your rabbit's time with strangers, as it may become frightened or agitated.
  • Teach children to treat the rabbit gently, sitting quietly next to the rabbit and gently stroking its fur.
  • Depending on a child's age and maturity and for the safety of the rabbit and the child it may be best to keep the rabbit in its cage while the child is present.
  • Always supervise your child and rabbit's interactions!
  • Make sure your rabbit has toys of its own, so it does not decide to chew on your child's toys.
Always follow your intuition when introducing a rabbit and child because you know your rabbit and/or your children better than anyone, so it is up to you to make sure there is a safe and comfortable environment where the two may coexist.

*Information gathered from http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/small-pet-care/general-rabbit-care.aspx and http://www.petco.com/Content/ArticleList/Article/32/21/892/Socializing-Your-Rabbit.aspx.

Product Spotlight:
Get to Know Purina® Rabbit Chow™
Fibre3® Formula Natural AdvantEdge®

Purina® Rabbit Chow™ Fibre3® Formula Natural AdvantEdge® is a natural*, corn-free rabbit feed that provides superior nutrition for rabbits of all ages. It helps younger rabbits get a great start and helps older rabbits maintain ideal body weight. Free of all fillers, preservatives and artificial colors, Fibre3® Formula Natural AdvantEdge® Rabbit Feed provides complete nutrition, giving your rabbits the feed they need for growth, health and longevity.
  • The Natural AdvantEdge®—superior, consistent, natural* nutrition FREE from all fillers, preservatives and artificial colors
  • High fiber—for normal digestive tract function and overall health
  • Corn-free—created especially for the unique needs of rabbits
  • Great for rabbits of all ages—high fiber content is ideal for both young bunnies to help them get a good start, and to help older rabbits maintain ideal body weight
  • Added lactobacillus, yeast and yucca shidigera—supports digestive health and aids in odor control
  • Complete, natural* nutrition—no additional supplements necessary. Great for rabbits of all ages and perfect to maintain a healthy body weight
  • High-quality plant proteins—loaded with natural nutrients found only in plants that optimize vitality and support immune function
  • Highly palatable—for proper intake and growth
  • Purina® FeedGuard® Nutrition System—stringent quality standards help ensure many of the industry's highest quality ingredients available are used. It ensures greater nutritional consistency bag after bag and considers all key nutrients and their interactions with each other to better support overall rabbit health
As always, when changing your rabbits from one feeding program to another, make the change gradually, over a five- to seven-day period. Mix the new feed with the old, gradually increasing the amount of the new feed (it's always important to allow time for the rabbits' intestinal flora to adjust to any new feed.) Continue to feed at the same time each day. Clean the feeding dish daily so uneaten food does not become stale and moldy. And always provide plenty of clean, fresh, cool water to rabbits at all times.

*with added vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients

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