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Rabbits are one of the most popular pets in the UK, although they have not yet taken over the top two positions that are currently held by cats and dogs! However, because many people who are now grown up with children of their own have the frame of reference of rabbits kept in a hutch and not paid much attention when they kept them as pets in their own youth, a great many important elements of caring properly for pet rabbits are often overlooked.
Today, it is understood that rabbits will not thrive and be healthy with only a small hutch to move around in, being fed scraps and being kept alone or with a Guinea pig for company-and keeping rabbits as household pets or in large runs with lots of human interaction are now what is generally accepted as the appropriate care for such pets.
One common issue that modern pet rabbits face that historically wasn’t really much of an issue-or at least, not really paid much mind-is obesity, and keeping your pet rabbits at a healthy weight is really important in order to allow them to thrive and stay in good condition.
Obesity in rabbits can cause a whole wide range of problems for them, including loss of muscle tone, breathing problems, problems moving around and malnutrition; but in order to keep your rabbit at a healthy weight and generally well, you need to look at not only their diet, but their exercise levels too.
If your rabbit is overweight and you’re keen to get them back down to a healthy build, looking carefully at what you feed to them is a great place to start-but you should also work to get your rabbit fit and active too, and this is something that can be more challenging!
In this article, we will share ten great ideas on how to keep your pet rabbit fit. Read on to learn more.
First of all, in order to help your rabbit to get fit, it is important to feed them the right diet to help them to support their needs, and maintain a healthy weight. Concentrate on feeding your rabbit a good quality, complete food, supplemented with leafy greens and other healthy foods, and keep well clear of overfeeding, or giving too many high calorie treats!
Since house rabbits have become more and more popular over the last couple of decades, people have really come to appreciate how much fun they can be, and the range of skills that they can learn-such as using a litter tray for toileting, and even learning tricks!
Rabbits can be taught to do all sorts of things, from begging for a treat to jumping over low hurdles-so spend some time teaching them some tricks, and this will entertain both of you as well as helping your rabbit to get fit.
Boredom is never a good motivator, so ensure that you keep things interesting when it comes to keeping your rabbit moving-avoid too much repetition, work at your rabbit’s pace, and know when they have had enough.
Providing a range of appealing, interactive toys for your rabbit, as well as things that they can chew on, will help to keep them fit and give them something to do!
In the wild, rabbits dig out elaborate tunnels of burrows, which they live in and use to move around in. this is a natural expression of their normal behaviours, but usually inappropriate to allow them to dig up your garden and possibly, go off on their own!
However, you can provide a safe environment for your rabbit’s desire to burrow or dig by providing a box of sand or earth, and this will keep them entertained and motivate them to move around more too!
Being able to go outside onto fresh grass is often enough to make even the most jaded of rabbits perk up, and so providing them with an outside run and letting them use it on a regular basis will go a long way towards helping them to keep fit and lose the excess pounds.
Rabbits do not thrive when left alone without any company, and having a different species such as a Guinea pig is not considered sufficient for rabbits.
Keeping two or more rabbits together will help to keep all of them happy, entertained and fit, so encourage your pets to play together and motivate each other a little too!
Just spending half an hour a day playing with your rabbit-doing whatever you like really, and making it enjoyable for both of you-is a great way to encourage your rabbit to engage with you and move around more.
Rabbits that are used to having a large amount of free space such as the whole house or a huge run will sometimes pick one corner of it to flump about it, not really moving around much at all.
If this sounds like your rabbit, closing them into a smaller space at night can help to motivate them to make full use of their available space when they do get back outside, so try this, and you might find that your really lazy rabbit soon gets a new lease of life!
Finally, they do say that a change is as good as a rest, so to provide motivation for your pet, try moving their run around the garden regularly, and generally, doing what you can to keep things interesting.
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