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Luckily these days more people are aware that rabbits should not be kept in small cages and that they need lots of space to move around in so they can display their natural behaviour. However, there are more reports of overweight rabbits around than ever before which could be due to many things including them being fed an incorrect diet.
One other reason for rabbits to gain too much weight is lack of exercise which can really be damaging to their overall health and well-being. There are lots of dangers associated with a lack of exercise and just as in humans, our long-eared companions can develop all sorts of health issues, some of which could prove fatal.
A bunny that does not get enough exercise or play time, is more at risk of developing a condition called GI Statis. They would be more prone to suffering from gastro-intestinal issues too. Other health concerns associated with a rabbit being overweight include the following:
Indoor rabbits get to move around as much as they like and normally when they like if they are allowed the run of a house all of the time. However, bunnies kept in cages and which not allowed out into a run regularly need to be taken out of their cages every day and ideally this should be several times a day, so they can run freely around and stretch their legs. However, you would need to make sure your pet is supervised at all times when they are out and about having fun. Rabbits should never be left alone or unattended because they could get into a bit of trouble or get attacked by predators!
If you have a secure shed or a garage that is not used to keep a car in, these make ideal places for bunnies to run around. There's no problems with electric wires or other things which your rabbit might chew on and which could injure them. However, if you don't have a shed or a garage, think about using a room in your house to let bunny run around in, making sure there is nothing that might be dangerous to your pet in the room. With this said, you need to bear in mind that rabbits love to dig which means your carpets could take a bit of a beating!
Naturally, when the weather is fine and the sun is out, there is nothing nicer than letting your bunny run around in the garden. However, this can present a few challenges because a garden needs to be very secure with no holes in the fencing that bunny could squeeze through or which predators could get through.
Then of course, there are many toxic plants commonly found in a garden which your pet might inadvertently nibble on and which could make them very sick or worse still kill them. Before letting a rabbit run freely around a back garden, you would need to check all the fencing and make sure there are no poisonous plants growing in your borders which could harm your bunny. The other thing is that you should never leave your pet out in a garden on their own, you would need to be out there with them keeping a close eye on what is going on while they are out there.
On a lovely summer's day, you could have a barbecue in the garden and let your rabbit join in the fun because there would be lots of people around to keep an eye on them. If the weather is very hot, however, you should avoid taking your rabbit outside because they are very susceptible to heatstroke. Instead, you should set up a secure run in a shaded part of your garden making sure there is wire on the floor to prevent your pet from digging their way out.
To make an outside run more fun for your bunny, consider placing lots of toys in there with them. These don't have to be expensive things that you need to buy because you'll find that your little long-eared friend would be just as happy with an empty cardboard box or a couple of large PVC tubes that make brilliant tunnels for them to run through and hide in.
Getting enough exercise is essential to your rabbits overall health and well-being. Indoor pets are less at risk of becoming overweight because they usually get to run around a lot more than a bunny that's kept in a hutch. If you are thinking about getting a rabbit as a family pet, you would need to set up an area for them to run freely and safely around, whether it's a shed, an unused garage, a room in your house or a specially made and secure rabbit run in your garden which you could let them run around in as often as you can so your bunny gets all the exercise they need to stay happy and healthy.
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