Follow Friday – Quality of Life Scale

Veterinary Practice News Quality of Life ScaleI wish that no one ever had to make the hard decision that it is time to let a beloved pet go.  However, the Quality of Life Scale can help in making a compassionate assessment whether to consider / continue pawspice care (pet hospice).  We had Tigger and Shadow in pawspice for a number of months before everything became too much for them.

PDF version of the Quality of Life Scale.

Next week I plan to begin to look back at the wonderful lives of our rabbits and tell their stories starting with Tigger.

Rabbits As House Pets

Cute Trio of Baby Rabbits
There are more and more places where people are seeing baby rabbits available to bring home as a pet.  Babies can be irresistably cute. If you haven’t had a rabbit as a house pet before, is it a good choice for you?

It depends on how much you know about rabbits.  Unfortunately, many baby bunnies are taken home during Easter season and are given up just a few months later because new owner’s weren’t prepared for what they got.

Size Does Matter.  There are dozens of recognized rabbit breeds.  Of course there are innumerable combinations if breeds mix and well bunnies do mix and mingle and multiply freely when allowed to. The size of a full-grown rabbit can range from 2 or 3 pounds to over 20 pounds.  You could get a lot more bunny than you bargained for if the baby rabbit turns out to be one of the giant breeds! 

Whoa, They Live How Long?  Many think a bunny will be like guinea pigs or hamsters and live just a couple of years.  Well cared for house rabbits can live for ten years or more.  Bringing home a bunny is a long-term committment. 

The Importance Of Being Altered:  Like cats and dogs, rabbits make the best house pets when they have been spayed or neutered.  Rabbits become “teenagers” at four to six months of age and have raging hormones making them harder to handle.  Since rabbits are social animals, it is good to get pairs, but if those pairs turn out to be boy and girl, you could end up with way more bunnies than planned.  Baby bunnies can easily hide their true gender even from experienced vets.      

To be successful with a pet rabbit, you need to be aware of the importance of a good diet and just how well a bunny can hide being ill.  It is good to have knowledge of common rabbit diseases and illnesses and the early signs that say bunny needs a rabbit savvy vet. Vets for rabbits are usually exotic veterinarians and their fees can run higher than those for cats and dogs.

For good health, rabbits need a minimum of 30 hours of free runtime a week.  If they are in the mood they will run top speed around rooms, up and down stairs, and bounce on and off furniture.  They hit speeds up to 25 miles an hour.  Bunny lovers call it the Bunny 500 and just sit back and enjoy the show. 

Where Is The Bunny And What Is He Doing?  For your sanity and the rabbit’s safety, you need to learn how to bunnyproof your home.  Rabbits can wiggle into unbelievably small places and like to chew everything in sight.  They are very curious and sometimes very stubborn. 

Okay, We Are Rabbit Crazy:  Once people learn these things about rabbits, they can’t understand why we actually have multiple rabbits.  It’s because rabbits are unbelievably fun as a pet.  See yesterday’s post for all the playful things they like to do. They can be litter box trained and can learn their names and understand many words and commands.  However like cats, whether they respond to a command depends a great deal on whether they are in the mood.  

To Mystery:  We read an article once that said rabbits are the pet of choice for people who love mysteries, because you just don’t know what they will do next.  We have always been well entertained by them.  It is hard to stay in a bad mood when a bunny decides to play the clown or hops up beside you on the sofa and flops down to be petted.

Surfing Time:  Rabbits are not for everyone.  If you are thinking of one as a pet, do some Internet surfing to get a good handle on whether a bunny is your pet of choice.  A good site to start with is the House Rabbit Society.  They have loads of information and also local chapters in many areas where you can check into adopting a rescue bunny.

Follow Friday – Oxbow Hay Company

Tigger in Oxbow Hay Bin

Now this is getting into your food. Tigger is in a bin full of Oxbow hay.

Both Tigger and Shadow have been on Oxbow Hay Company products since they were babies.  These products were recommended by the first vet we took Tigger to and we have used them ever since.  For a number of years we had to order straight from Oxbow. 

A lot has changed in 10 years.  They discontinued their own online store as they became available from a number of sellers online as well as more local vets and retail stores.  Here is their Find Products page.

What we noticed right away when we would get shipments of their products is how wonderful the box smelled when you opened it up.  It was like opening a walk in sunny field.  The hays look good, nice colors and texture.  I would be interested if I was a bunny. 

There is variety to choose from which is a good thing since the bunnies do have preferences about the hay.   As babies, they were on the alfalfa hay and pellets and when they reached adult weight, we switched them over to the less fattening timothy based pellets and hay.  We tried the Bunny Brome, Meadow Grass and Oat hays.  Our bunnies voted paws down on the Bunny Brome and Meadow Grass, but like the Oat hay for variety with their Timothy hay. 

We get the Oxbow Papaya tablets.  There are mixed reviews whether that helps rabbit digestion or not.  Ours like the taste as a treat, so they get a serving a day.

Oxbow also has a Critical Care Formula that is available through vets.  This is a formula that is mixed with water to force feed to rabbits who have stopped eating on their own, usually due to stasis.  Being able to get something like this from the vet can really help to nurse a rabbit through a crisis.  We used this when Tigger experienced stasis last summer.

This is a company who has helped us to feed our rabbits well and keep them nutritionally healthy for 10 years.  We would recommend them to others. If you aren’t familiar with the company they have foods for lots of small animals: guinea pigs, chinchillas, rats, hamsters / gerbils / mice and reptiles. 

Just as so many on Twitter suggest others on Follow Friday, here in the blog on Fridays, I intend to share things I would recommend to others.  Sometimes it will be things for or about bunnies or lovely rabbit themed items and art.  Other times, I will share non bunny things.  After all the rabbits do hop off to their own pursuits too.

Later today I have a rabbit video to share.

Is a Real Rabbit For You?

Four Rabbits


Do you love mysteries?  A few years after Tigger and Shadow hopped into our lives, I read an article that said rabbits were a good pet for lovers of mystery.  The reason they gave is that rabbits aren’t very predictable.  You can expect them to do the unexpected.

I do love mysteries and rabbits.  The article was right on in saying rabbits aren’t an open book.  The photo here says it all for me.  Somebunny always has to be different and do the opposite of what is wanted or expected.  That can add a lot of fun and joy to your life as they go from comedy, to drama, to athletics, to romance, to all out bunny daredevil stunts. 

If you think about rabbits as a prey animal, the mystery of them makes a lot of sense.  If a potential attacker can figure out their next move, they will be lunch.

So when considering a rabbit as a pet, it is important to recognize they like to hide things.  That includes issues with their health.  A rabbit owner needs to like solving mysteries and playing detective.  To catch rabbit illnesses early on, you have to be aware of and catch sometimes slight changes in their mood, behavior, appetite or energy levels.

Rabbits are a lot of fun, but keeping them in peak form does require really getting to know them well when they are healthy and happy.  Then you can more easily recognize when your little friend is trying to hide a problem from you and help them before it is too late.