September 2, 2010

Rabbits as Pets

Filed under: rabbit as pets — Dr. Amber Reed @ 8:57 am

Rabbits are cute and fluffy and make lovely pets; yet, many people make the mistake of choosing a rabbit as a pet because they expect the animal to be like a cat or dog.  Understanding rabbits as pets and their requirements for care will help you to decide if a pet rabbit is right for you and your family.  You can build a close bond with a pet rabbit, but you have to have certain expectations going in.

Fortunately, rabbits are social animals and they enjoy playing with their owners.  They are gentle and tame and can even be litter trained.  In fact, it is even possible to train a pet rabbit to do simple tricks, like you would expect from a pet dog.  One thing to keep in mind about rabbits is that they actually have quite a long life span.  In most breeds, the life expectancy of rabbits is between 5 and 15 years.

In order to build a close relationship with your rabbit, you should plan to spend a lot of time interacting with her.  Indeed, rabbits are very social beings and they need to have lots of social interaction to be happy.  Moreover, regular exercise outside their cage is very important for your rabbit’s health.  Some rabbit owners think that rabbits are low maintenance pets, but this is not true.

Rabbits need a large cage, preferably indoors so they can have more social interaction with the family and even other pets.   Your rabbit will generally eat rabbit pellets but will also require hay and a range of fresh vegetables to supplement their diet.

Finally, most rabbit breeders do not recommend rabbits as pets for small children.  Younger children tend to be a bit rough with small animals as they do not understand their own strength.  This kind of play can be stressful for the rabbit.  In fact, while rabbits enjoy being around their family, they usually don’t even like to be held.

September 1, 2010

Is Your Dog Suffering from Separation Anxiety?

Filed under: separation anxiety — Dr. Amber Reed @ 8:55 am

Separation anxiety is a relatively common condition that affects dogs when they are separated from their owners.  In most cases, the anxiety that your dog feels leads him to partake in inappropriate and even destructive behaviors making separation anxiety a serious concern for dog owners.  If you regularly come home and find household objects destroyed, your garbage in tatters, or receive constant complaints from neighbors about barking and howling, there is a good chance your dog is suffering from separation anxiety.

As pack animals, dogs have evolved to live in groups and they do not like to be alone.  Most of the time, dogs will feel some separation anxiety, but we only become aware of a problem in extreme cases.  Indeed, all dogs will be happy to see you when you return home.  They greet you at the door with a wagging tail and possibly a few licks to the hand.  While you were gone however, your dog probably felt lonely, which is basically a form of mild separation anxiety.  Still, in more serious cases your dog will start to panic.  He will cry and bark in an attempt to get you to return but when this fails he will turn to problem behaviors.  Chewing books, shoes, and pillows or defecating in the house are all signs that your dog has severe separation anxiety.

Treating separation anxiety focuses on giving your dog the confidence to be alone.  He needs to know that he is safe even when you are not home.  Most veterinarians recommend careful training using behavioral modification techniques.  You may even want to give your dog things to do when you’re not home.  Interactive toys are a great way to keep your dog occupied when he’s alone so he won’t destroy the house.  Nevertheless, if you suspect your dog has separation anxiety, speak to your veterinarian about a program to treat the problem.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.