Dana is turning 8 this year and if you convert that to human years, she is close to 60! But our lady is beautiful and confident, healthy and alert! As rabbit owners, we have to be mindful that despite their youthful attitude, their body is aging. We have to ensure they receive the additional care they need.
Like humans, rabbits require different levels of nutrients in different life stages. As they age, we do have to ensure their diet remains high in fiber and low in sugar to not stress their digestive tract. We may have to cut down on vegetables for rabbits with sensitive tummies or add supplements for rabbits with poorer joints or skin. This is a great conversation with a rabbit-savvy vet (not just ‘ask the petshop’!) to ensure their diet remains balance.
With the poorer genetics of our rabbits due to overbreeding, they are becoming more susceptible to illnesses. These problems can worsen if left untreated. A key prevention is to sterilize your rabbit follow by regular health check with a rabbit-savvy vet. Such checks should be done annually and increase to bi-annually when they turn 5. A comprehensive check includes physical as well as a blood test to ensure thorough understanding.
An older rabbit may have weaker joints, poorer sight and thinner skin. It is important for us to be attentive to prevent further degradation. Ergonomic improvements such as lower litterbox, non-slip mats and more hideout will help them to remain comfortable without overworking. A senior rabbit doesn’t crave for much excitement so a rabbit friend or a loving human will fit right in to help the rabbit to feel companied and loved.
We hope with the above tips, rabbit owners will help their aging pets stay happy and healthy throughout their twilight years. To prospective rabbit owners, we hope you realize that caring for a rabbit is like caring for a child. It’s a 10 year commitment that requires dedication and care. They are definitely not starter pets or just for fun!