среда, 18. април 2012.

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Depression in Bunnies: Is Your Pet Bunny Depressed?

What Is Actually Depression in Bunnies?

Is it true bunnies can be depressed? Is depression in bunnies serious condition?

Just like other mammals, bunnies can too fall into depression. It is a sort of psychiatric disorder, in which one is not interested for anything, and the one blames himself for everything bad that happens. Lethargy, loss of appetite, insomnia (lack of sleeping) and deep pathological sadness are the most common symptoms in this disease. 
Depression depressed bunny
Depression in Bunnies: Gary having bad day!

Why Is My Bunny Depressed?

There are various reasons for your bunny being in bad mood, or even depressed. All animals, and bunnies suffer from changing seasons (from Winter to Spring, and from Summer to Autumn). This is called seasonal depression and it is not severe condition. Reason for this condition is lack of light. Mammals need light to stay active, and that is why most of mammals sleep trough the winter. 

The light we are exposed to during Winter time is 600 to 1000 lux, and the light we are exposed to during Spring and Summer goes from 5000 to 100000 lux. Our brain needs more light in order to preserve activity. That is why we are depressed when it is raining for more than 2 days. Same thing happens with bunnies. 

Lack of toys can lead to this condition in rabbits too. 
Bunnies that are held closed in the cages for too long, or being ignored by household are probably going to become sad and depressed.
Changing the place of living is huge stress for your pet. In some cases all the toys can't ease the stress in bunny when he finds himself in new environment. 
Never hit your pet, and don't yell at him all the time, even if they bite everything around. This can show them they are not loved, and they can feel rejected in such situations. 

Depression can be the first sign of sickness. If you bunny is sick, he will withdraw to his safe place and wait until the pain is gone. You will rarely see bunnies making noises when in pain. Instead they will just withdraw and avoid any contact with you, or other animals. The most common cause of pain is urinary tract infection. read about it in the post: Bunnies in pain: Urinary Tract Infection in Bunnies

How Can I Tell If My Pet Bunny Is Depressed? 

How to recognize depression in bunnies?

You should notice your bunny is sad, dejected and not in the mood to play with. He would spend time in some corner, or under the chair, avoiding household. If depressed, your pet has probably lost the appetite and thus he is rejecting any food. He doesn't seem to be in pain, but simply not motivated and dejected. His eyes would be almost closed, and even sounds wouldn't affect his activity. 
These were some of the major sign of this condition in rabbits, and you can find some other too, and also not all of those are found in every case of depression. 

How Can I Help My Bunny?

It is really wrong to think that depression in bunnies is always result of the actions of violent and ignorant owners. But often, this is what pushes them into this condition. Be caring, loving owner to your pets. Be as often there to play with them as you can. Bunnies are playful animals, and they love to be cuddled, and played with. Have this in mind.
Sometimes it is not our fault for them being dejected. It is just the weather, or season in the year, or it is just something we couldn't have changed (moving to new home, death of the family member...). In such cases, it is the best thing not to insist on playing with them. Give them space, but spend time with them in the same room. Be there, let them know you are there, but at the same time provide space and give them a time to reach you when they are ready. It will happen. 

Time heals everything, they say. ;)

Make sure, your pet has his favorite food on menu, treat him with new and interesting toys. Offer some old toys he enjoyed to play with. You try to look and feel happy, for the very reason bunnies are empathic animals. They feel what you feel. You need to be there with them, and to be their best friend in order to help them go trough depression. Bunnies love company!

недеља, 01. април 2012.

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Hay and Vegetables to Feed Your Bunny

Go back to What king of food to feed your bunny with?

Here I will talk about hay and vegetables. Lets first write few lines about hay.

Hay is basic food to feed your bunny with

Hay can be offered to bunny without any limits. But keep in mind that not every hay is good hay.

Hay is must-have diet component for your bunny. You have to insure presence of limitless amounts of hay for your bunny. But not all sorts of hay are good for your loved ones. Lets see what sorts of hay you can find out there on market.

There are two groups of hay: grass hay ans legume hay. Grass hay is perfectly harmless, and bunny should have limitless access to it. It provides lots of nutrients, and little calories. Legume hay, on the other hand, is rich in calories, and should be limited. It is mostly used for feeding rabbits for food market (we are not talking about those rabbits). Besides calories, legume hay is rich in calcium, which is not good thing either.

hay too feed your bunnyhay too feed your bunny

You may find few types of grass hay: Timothy hay and meadow hay (made of all different sorts of grass).

Also there are few types of legume hay: alfalfa, beans, peanuts, clover hay. (if you feed your bunny with pellets, it is better not to feed them with legume too).

It is important to provide 90% of daily intake by offering them hay. Rabbits will find fruits, legume, pellets more attractive than hay. If you try to give more other food, and less these grassy components, bunnies will start rejecting hay at some point. Don't let them choose what to eat. Becouse of their lack of judgment when it is about food quality, and their well being, it is your responsibility to take care of their diet.

Many owners prefer to give less hay to prevent contaminating the house with it. It is truth bunnies like to spread hay around the place, but there are ways to reduce that problem. When you offer too much hay, bunnies will eat the best of it, and leave the rest not to be eaten. That hay will soon be around the house. But if you try offering them 3 times a day lesser quantity of hay, they will eat more, and leave less of it not eaten. Also, putting   hay in litter box, or some other box should do nice job too. But be careful then. Bunnies pee and poop in the places where they eat. Having the food in box, it will get contaminated easily. So, try to change hay once a day.

In this what kind of food to feed your bunny to post, I will now write few lines about vegetables.

Vegetables are an other great source fiber for your pets. 

When you imagine rabbits, what sort of vegetables do you link them to? When I think of rabbits, I always think of carrot too. :) Well, aside of cartoons, in reality it is a bit different. Eating carrots, your bunnies take lots of sugar in. So, it is not good for abdominal flora, and the blood sugar levels. Instead of feeding your bunny with carrot root, you should give them carrot tops, and 1-2 slices of carrot root a day.

Lets start with a list of acceptable vegetables:

  • Basil
  • Beet greens (tops)
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli (mostly leaves/stems)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrot tops
  • Celery
  • Cilantro
  • Clover
  • Collard greens
  • Dandelion greens (NO pesticides)
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Green peppers
  • Kale
  • Mint
  • Mustard greens
  • Parsley
  • Pea pods (the flat edible kind)
  • Peppermint leaves
  • Radicchio
  • Radish tops
  • Raspberry leaves
  • Romaine lettuce (NO iceberg or light
  • colored leaf lettuce)
  • Spinach
  • Watercress
  • Wheat grass

Mmmmmm... :)
Kale, mustard greens, and spinach are rich in oxalate, which can accumulate in the system and cause toxicity over the time.

Vegetables are important for improving chewing habits of your bunnies. Give them every day a different vegetable to chew to make them use different chewing motions, helping that way teeth grinding.

Some authors recommend giving wet vegetables to your bunny. Some others say it can softer their feces. one thing is sure, you have to wash vegetables up well, so no pesticides remain on it. 

Vegetables will provide lots of vitamin, fiber, nutritients and water for you bunny. It is health and low in calories, which is good. If you ask me, the best to feed them with is a salad and carot tops.