Show Your Bunny Pride for Independence Day

Everyone loves a parade, but have you noticed how rabbits are under-represented in most parades? Everyone’s out there with their dogs, but where are the bunnies?

This year let’s show everyone that rabbits are beloved family pets, too!

Sign-up to march with your bunny stroller in Oceanside’s Independence Day Parade. HRS Volunteers and Supporters who have bunny strollers are invited to march to represent San Diego HRS. If you don’t want to bring your rabbit, or do not have a stroller, we also need volunteers to carry the banner and hand out HRS informational brochures.

What: Independence Day Parade

Where: Oceanside

Meet-up Location: The home of Stephan & Denice Flores (contact Stephen for address)

When: 8:00 a.m., SATURDAY, July 3rd

Marchers will receive red, white & blue “bunting” to decorate their strollers, and a parade t-shirt provided by Stephen Flores.

Please contact STEPHAN FLORES at director@director.cts.com to get more information about participating in this event.

How Does Your Garden Grow? Safely for your Bunnies!

Safe Gardens for Pets

Summer days mean tending our gardens every day, and spending more time outdoors. While gardens and yards are lovely for relaxing, they can also prove dangerous for our animal companions. Make sure your garden is bunny-safe, with these guidelines:

Poisonous Plants

Many popular outdoor landscaping plants—including sago palm, rhododendron, and azalea—are toxic to cats and dogs. We should include bunnies, just to be safe. Sago palm as well as mushrooms can cause liver failure, while rhododendron, azalea, lily of the valley, oleander, rosebay, foxglove, and kalanchoe all affect the heart. The ASPCA has a full list (http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/) with pictures of toxic and non-toxic plants. Familiarize yourself with this and put their poison control hotline number (888) 426-4435 someplace where you can see it in an emergency.

Fertilizer

Fertilizer can wreak havoc on the digestive tracts of our furry friends. Ingesting large amounts of fertilizer can give your pet a good case of stomach upset and may result in life-threatening gastrointestinal obstruction. Be sure to follow application instructions carefully and observe the appropriate waiting period before letting your pet run wild outside. Go organic if you can. Rabbit droppings are rich in nitrogen and great for rose beds!

Cocoa Mulch

Cocoa bean shells have become popular in landscaping, but they also attract animals with the sweet smell, and like chocolate, it can pose problems for our animal companions. Ingestion of cocoa mulch can cause a range of clinical signs, from vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle tremors to elevated heart rate, hyperactivity, and even seizures. Consider using a less toxic alternative, such as shredded pine or cedar bark, but always supervise curious rabbits in yards where mulch is spread.

Insecticides

If you can avoid using insecticides altogether, your garden will be a safer place for your furry friends. But from time to time you may need to treat an infestation, and then you need to use caution. The most dangerous pesticides include snail bait with metaldehyde, fly bait with methomyl, systemic insecticides with the ingredients disyston or disulfoton, mole or gopher bait with zinc phosphide and most forms of rat poisons. Always store pesticides in inaccessible areas—and read the manufacturer’s label carefully for proper usage and storage.

Compost

Composting is great for your garden and the earth, but make sure that any coffee grounds, moldy food, and certain types of fruit and vegetables that are toxic to rabbits (potatoes, rhubarb, beans, avocado) are totally inaccessible to your rabbit when they’re out being curious.

Garden Tools

I bet you never considered garden tools as a hazard, but rakes, tillers, hoes, and trowels can be hazardous to small bunnies and cause trauma to paws, noses, or other parts of a curious pet’s body. Rusty, sharp tools caked in dirt may also pose a risk for tetanus if they puncture skin. Store all unused tools in a safe area, not haphazardly strewn on the ground.

Warning About Flea Medication

A Warning About Flea Medications

Fleas! The very word can make you want to start scratching. Summertime means warmer and more humid weather, which is great for letting your rabbit enjoy the outdoors. Unfortunately, fleas love it, too. It can also mean increased risk of ticks and mites. Even indoor rabbits can attract fleas, and they can be a real nuisance.

As a rabbit rescue, we’ve heard too many sad stories about rabbits who have died after being given a flea treatment with an unsafe product. Be certain you know what you are giving your rabbit, and only under the supervision of your vet.

We’d like to remind our readers that there are some safe flea and mite treatments out there, and there are also some very unsafe, even fatal, treatments that you should avoid:

SAFE Flea Treatments:

  • Use a flea comb (available at the San Diego HRS store and at pet supply stores) to search and destroy!
  • Comb herbal powders of rosemary, sage or bay leaves through your rabbit’s coat. The aromatic oils in these herbs are meant to deter insects.
  • You may need to temporarily separate your treated rabbits from other bunnies and pets to avoid any licking and grooming off of the product.

If these methods don’t resolve the fleas, it’s time to phone your vet and have a safe medication prescribed.

SAFE medications:

  • Available by prescription only through your vet, who can specify a safe dosage.
  • Advantage, Revolution or Capstar

UNSAFE treatments to AVOID:

  • Beware of products marketed toward other animals such as cats and dogs; they can be lethal to rabbits.
  • Brands such as Hartz, Frontline and other over the counter products. Frontline in particular has caused the deaths of several rabbits, and has never been recommended by the manufacturer for use on rabbits.
  • Avoid anything containing the herb pennyroyal, which contains pyrethrin and is toxic to buns.
  • Never, ever “flea dip” or flea-shampoo a rabbit, as the chemicals can kill them.

Bunnification, Part I

On Friday morning I found myself in the middle of Tuesday Morning.  

No, this was not time travel. 

It was better.  

I was on a bargain hunting mission.

As part of my efforts to spruce up my home’s entry area, I decided that an asparagus fern and assorted, colorful annuals were not quiet enough.

My entry area needed some bunnification.

I hopped into the BunMobile (i.e. my hay and fur filled Subaru Outback) and checked out Pier 1 Imports, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx and Tuesday Morning.    

I found one “Angelic garden lop” statue (below, left) remaining on Pier 1 Import’s clearance rack. 

At $22.95 it wasn’t exactly a bargain (orig. price $29.95), but I decided that I had to have it as a reminder that not all mini-lops are as crafty and diabolical as one of the mini-lops I’m currently fostering.

Discount Bunnification

My next stops were more wallet-friendly. I bought a 16-inch tall bunny statue at TJ Maxx (above, center) for $7.99. I also found a Stone Bunny statue (above, right) at Marshall’s for $9.99, which looks good hiding among my petunias. 

By the way, did you know that TJ Maxx and Marshall’s both have “pet” sections? 

In addition to unearthing the occasional tacky outfit for my Chihuahua, Lucy (she has a full length, faux fur coat from TJ Maxx), I’ve also found leashes/harnesses, brushes and toys.    

However, what I like best are the ceramic crocks. 

Prices range from $3.99 – $5.99 and most are heavy enough to withstand the most determined rabbit’s attempts to topple over full bowls of water and/or pellets:

8-inch diameter food/water crock, $4.99

The last stop on my Bargain Bunnification Tour was Tuesday Morning, where I found two Easter items hiding in the back of a clearance rack.

The bunny candy dish (below, left) was $5.99 (original price $29.95).

The carrot-shaped plates (below, right) were $1.49 each. 

Future Bunny Slave Gifts

These items will eventually become gifts for bunny slave friends who are hopefully not reading this post.

What are some of your favorite bunny-themed items? Do you collect specific things like bunny posters, folk art, jewelry, tiles, mugs, plates, photos, or just plain kitsch?  

Do you have favorite places to shop for these items?

Please let us know and we’ll publish your answers in a future post.

Playing Games with Your Bunny

Do you watch those fun You Tube videos of bunnies playing games such as bowling, cards, or fun tricks? Ever wonder how to get your bunny to play those games with you?  HRS volunteer, Alison Giese, has some very talented bunnies who have learned tricks and games they play with her. And, in some cases, they’ve taught her a trick or two!

Rabbits are highly intelligent and love to play. Come learn how to keep their minds stimulated and your friends amused in the next part of our Speaker Series:

Playing Games with Your Bunny
presented by San Diego HRS volunteer Alison Giese

Saturday, June 18

4 to 6 p.m.
4805 Mercury Street, Suite C (on the Ronson Road side of the complex)
Corner of Mercury & Ronson Road
See a map to our location
$5 Donation at door (to cover refreshments)

Come learn tips from Alison for teaching your bunnies to play interactive games with you and with each other.

When Temperatures Soar

When Temperatures Soar

When temperatures soar above 80°F, your rabbit is better off being a couch potato. If the forecast is for a scorcher, plan your excursions early in the morning or in the evenings when it’s slightly cooler. Make sure your bunny always has a shady spot to retreat to, and plenty of water to drink.

What to do if your rabbit is overheated:

Rabbits cannot sweat to cool down the way other animals can, so if they get overheated it’s an emergency.

  • Call your vet immediately.
  • Get your bunny to a cool spot as soon as possible. Drape wet towels over his cage or carrier and circulate the air with a fan.
  • Always keep a few frozen plastic bottles of water around for hot days.

Mosquitoes proliferate in the warm, humid summer weather. Not just annoying, mosquitoes can also spread the deadly myxomatosis virus and there have been reported cases in San Diego County. Fleas can be a problem, too, and if pesky enough can cause anemia. Give your rabbit a thorough combing before heading back in the house, or treat them with a mild herbal flea powder.

Never use Frontline on rabbits, as it has proven fatal.

Playing outdoors can be very healthy for your rabbit. They need Vitamin D from the sunshine, a chance to exercise, and plenty of stimulation for their curiosity. With a little planning, your bun can be cool as a cucumber this summer.

What’s at the Farmer’s Market?

Farmer's Market, San Diego

Early summer brings a bounty of fresh vegetables to farmers’ markets, so load up your basket with a yummy variety of fresh foods for your rabbits (oh, and yourself, too!). Vegetables that are in season now, June and July, and that rabbits enjoy, include:

  • Basil
  • Beet Greens
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard Greens
  • Peaches (as a treat—no pits or stones!)
  • Spinach

Warning about avocados!

This is also a good time to remind everyone that avocados are known to be toxic to rabbits and have caused too many deaths already. The green fruit contains persin, a fungicidal toxin, which can be fatal for animals such as rabbits, birds, mice, cows, goats, sheep, and horses. Symptoms to watch for include a pet suffering stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or breathing difficulties. If owners are worried they should visit their vet immediately.

Enjoy summer’s bounty, but pass on the avocados for the buns.

Want to be the coolest person at the Farmer’s Market? Get our great shopping bag, which already has your bunny’s veggie list printed on it! Order by e-mailing sdbunny13@aol.com. Follow with a check to the address below. Please make checks payable to “SDHRS.”

SDHRS
P.O. Box 261553
San Diego, CA 92196-1553

Bags are $6 ea or 2 for $10 (tax is included).

Shipping is $5 for up to 3 bags.

News Update: Bunny Your Google

From www.cnet.com

Fourteen hours into a 24-hour experiment with background imagery, Google’s home page is once again stark white.

Design guru Marissa Mayer confirmed that Google was ending the experiment early due to what she called a “bug,” which erased a link underneath the search bar on google.com that explained why Google’s famously spartan home page had taken on a colorful look. Apparently many searchers on Google.com Thursday morning missed the company’s blog post Wednesday night, and were confused and annoyed at the change, turning “remove google background” into the seventh-most-popular search on Google Thursday.

Last week Google announced that it would begin providing its users with the option of setting their own background image behind the home page, but last night it forced an image to appear for all users signed into a Google account to highlight the feature. That didn’t sit well with many grown used to Google’s clean white design, especially when Google’s explanation of why it was forcing this look vanished from the home page.

It also gave fans of Microsoft’s Bing search engine a chance to crow, given that one of Bing’s most noticeable features is a striking background image behind Bing.com that contains links to searches about the image.

Bunny Your Google

We’ve all Googled bunnies. Now you can bunny your Google.

Google.com has introduced a new feature that allows you to put the background image of your choice on Google.com in place of Google’s plain, white background.

Google wrote in a June 2nd blog post:

Today, we’re introducing a new feature that brings a whole new level of personalization to Google by letting you add a favorite photo or image to the background of the Google homepage. You can choose a photo from your computer, your own Picasa Web Album or a public gallery hosted by Picasa which includes a selection of beautiful photos.

Google has confirmed that customizing Google.com with a background image will not slow the search engine’s load time.

Add an image to your Google homepage by clicking “Add a background image and make Google your own” (under the search box).

Voila. Consider your Google bunnied!

At-Home Science Experiment

"Hey, can my friends and I stay a while?"

In the warmer months, many people brace themselves for an array of unwanted housepests.

In Southern California, that can even extend to houseguests, but we’ll save that for another post.

Some of my most unwelcome housepests include flie of the house, fruit and bot variety (more on bot flies in a future post!) 

With cats, a Chihuahua, and an army of rabbits it often feels like we live in the Kingdom of Poop.  On warm days, even overzealous use of my handy “Stool Tool” (for the dog), vigorous litter box cleaning (cats and rabbits) seems to make little difference to the flies that know our house is a virtual “All You Can Eat”Deluxe Buffet.

In warmer climates like Southern California fruit flies can be a problem throughout the year. Especially when bunnies leave bits of salad behind that they do not approve of, or pieces of veggies are dropped into litter boxes.

So what is a poor bunny slave to do?

Fly Be Gone fly trap

We have recently begun to experiment with fly traps outside and like a product called Fly Be Gone (See photo). The product description is:

Effective for up to 4 weeks with a range of 50 to 100 yards. That’s powerful. Strongly effective in decreasing the fly problem of an area, even pesticide resistant flies. NO toxins, NO poisons, NO insecticides. Catches up to 20,000 flies in each trap and up to ten times faster than other traps.a Maintenance free and completely disposable. Nothing to clean up. Highly effective even on fruit flies. Used extensively in the pest control industry. User friendly, environmentally friendly, ozone friendly. Costs only a fraction of insecticides and works far more effectively. Successful fly control since 1981. Used in 27 countries worldwide.

OK, I’m sold.

These traps typically cost less than $20. They’re stinky (they smell like rotting meat), so keeping them away from common areas is highly recommended. I can’t say that there are 20,000 flies in my trap yet, but a lot of flies have succumbed to that irresistible rotten-meat smell.

For those pesky little fruit flies, try a simple non-toxic recipe:

  • 1/4 cup of vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • Water

Mix vinegar and sugar in a jar. Add enough water to fill the jar to the halfway mark.

Punch a few small in the jar lid.

I save jars with screw-on lids from products such as salsa, jam, and baby food. I fill the jars with the “recipe” above and place the jars around rabbit pens.

It works! Try it. Just remember to keep those non-toxic fly traps about 30 feet away from common areas!