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Caring for a Dwarf Rabbit

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. November 10, 2016
Caring for a Dwarf Rabbit

The Netherland Dwarf is a very popular rabbit breed, notable for its small size. You only have to see a picture of these tiny rabbits to fall in love with them, which is why millions of people now have a sweet and small dwarf rabbit at home.

This kind of rabbit needs specific care to in order to grow properly and increase its lifespan; if you want to learn all about caring for a dwarf rabbit, focusing on the Netherland Dwarf breed, you have come to the right place. Here at AnimalWised we've compiled everything you need to know; do some research and take better care of your pet than ever before.

You may also be interested in: Top 10 Dwarf Rabbit Breeds - With Pictures

Veterinary care for dwarf rabbits

Just like cats and dogs, it is very important to go to the vet when adopting a dwarf rabbit. Your new pet will need a primary check-up and a regular monitoring program, which will allow you to make sure that its bodily functions are working correctly.

In this regular veterinary visit its faeces will be analysed to make sure that it doesn't have intestinal parasites. There will also be a physical examination to rule out any abnormalities.

Vaccines are also part of a dwarf rabbit's life: It should go to the vet every 6 months to prevent myxomatosis, a disease transmitted by fleas and mosquitoes. Here you can learn all about vaccinations for rabbits.

Remember that your rabbit can contract various diseases and conditions even if it doesn't leave home. The most common include:

  • Fleas
  • Dental overgrowth
  • Heatstroke
  • Coccidiosis
  • Pasteurella
  • Viral haemorrhagic disease
  • Common injuries
Caring for a Dwarf Rabbit - Veterinary care for dwarf rabbits

Nutritional care: What is the best diet for dwarf rabbits?

Dwarf rabbits should only eat hay up until adulthood. After reaching sexual maturity hay, alfalfa, domestic rabbit feed and oats can be combined. These foods should be introduced slowly and in small quantities. There are a few reasons why your rabbit won't eat hay; make sure everything's alright with its health.

It is also very important to offer mixed fruits and vegetables to your dwarf rabbit every day to ensure its proper development. These can include apples, pears, peaches or bananas, as well as cabbage, cucumbers, spinach or carrots. Try different foods and find out what your pet likes best.

Also, don't forget that a rabbit's teeth will never stop growing, which plays a large role in elaborating its diet. Items such as fruit tree branches should be included so that it can chew on them thoroughly. Finally, it is advised to add malt to its diet which reduces the risk of hairballs in the stomach.

Caring for a Dwarf Rabbit - Nutritional care: What is the best diet for dwarf rabbits?

Hygiene and coat care

Rabbits are very clean animals that continually clean themselves, and for this reason you shouldn't bathe your rabbit. If it is excessively dirty you can use a damp cloth.

Its coat should be brushed regularly, even on a daily basis if necessary. Some dwarf rabbit variants like the dwarf angora have a tendency to accumulate dead hair. Daily care will help prevent the formation of hairballs. To do this, use a brush with small bristles.

Caring for a Dwarf Rabbit - Hygiene and coat care

What is the best cage for a dwarf rabbit?

Despite the fact that it is small, you will soon discover that the dwarf rabbit needs to exercise and move around during the day. In addition to a large cage (100 x 70 x 50 cm, or 40 x 30 x 20), the animal also needs an area - fenced if you think it is appropriate - in which it can freely go in and out of when it needs to. Whether it is inside or outside the home will depend on your options.

The dwarf rabbit is an active breed that will certainly appreciate the chance to exercise regularly and develop its muscles. You should let your rabbit out of its cage for at least two hours a day.

Caring for a Dwarf Rabbit - What is the best cage for a dwarf rabbit?

Hygiene of its environment

You must never forget the importance of sanitizing its cage and accessories on a regular basis, including its feeders and its hutch. You can do this every 4 or 5 days. Regularly cleaning prevents your rabbit from developing infectious or bacterial diseases, so don't forget to do it.

Caring for a Dwarf Rabbit - Hygiene of its environment

Enriching a dwarf rabbit's life

In addition to everything mentioned above, enrichment is a fundamental part of dwarf rabbit care that needs to be highlighted. Rabbits may feel sad, lonely and isolated if they have nothing to do, or if you don't play with them or stimulate them. A properly stimulated rabbit will be happier and healthier.

In order to help your dwarf rabbit feel motivated and happy, you can go to a pet store and ask for toys for rabbits. Besides wood shavings, there are many other options for your rabbit to safely gnaw on. You can also give it soft toys that it can manipulate and move as it pleases.

Rabbits, as small herbivores, are prey animals: In the wild, they are hunted by other animals. For this reason, providing it with a structure with pipes or tunnels can be a great way for them to feel comfortable and safe, as it reminds them of a burrow. You can create it yourself if you think you can do it.

Finally, it is recommended to use food-dispensing toys to entertain it and stimulate its sense of smell. These types of toys are highly recommended as it also helps to develop its intelligence.

Caring for a Dwarf Rabbit - Enriching a dwarf rabbit's life

If you want to read similar articles to Caring for a Dwarf Rabbit, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

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