Keeping your rabbit safe outdoors1st September 2017
To keep your rabbit fit and healthy, outdoor exercise is highly recommended – but it’s wise to raise your awareness of hazards in the garden.
Your garden may look safe but some plants can be poisonous to small animals. There may also be weak spots where predators could gain access or perhaps your rabbit could wander off into the great unknown. There are also invisible dangers such as some life-threatening viral diseases.
Priorities for your pet
Too many rabbits are kept cooped up inside a small enclosure. Moving around and eating grass keeps them fit, encourages healthy digestion and bladder function and importantly keeps their teeth the right length.
Before you let your rabbit roam around the garden, check that your pet is vaccinated and these are up-to-date for both Myxomatosis and Rabbit haemorrhagic disease (VHD & VHD2).
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Making your garden safe
You can take some simple precautions to secure your garden.
- Barriers - make sure your fence is at least four feet high
- Prevent digging - put wire mesh underneath fences to a depth of 30cm
- Safe area - consider setting aside a specific area of the garden for your rabbit as it’ll be easier to monitor
- Perimeter - check regularly for escape holes
- Shelter - don’t leave your rabbit outside without protection from the wind, rain and sun
- Avoid chemicals - don’t use weed killers, pesticides, insecticides, particle fertilisers or slug pellets anywhere near your rabbit’s grazing area
Is your garden poisonous?
Sadly, some of the prettiest plants are the most damaging if eaten by a rabbit. If you suspect your pet has eaten a poisonous plant, contact us at Bollington Veterinary Centre immediately.
Examples of some dangerous plants for rabbits include:
- Bulb plants (including daffodils)
- Yew tree
- Deadly nightshade
Some safe plants
Fortunately, there are also plenty of safe plants, such as camellia, fuschia, lavender, pansy, nasturtium, rose, snapdragon, sunflower and grasses. Common plants and weeds are usually also safe, such as daisies, dandelions and herbs.
If you’re unsure about identifying a risky plant, take a photo and let us help.
Protect your rabbit with vaccinations
Don’t forget to keep on top of essential vaccinations too. If you’re unsure whether your rabbit is vaccinated already or need to ask advice, please speak to our reception or nursing team.