Halloween means pumpkin!!

When I was a child Halloween was all about carving the pumpkin and putting it outside to scare the goblins away.  As I got older it became more about carving the pumpkin and roasting the seeds.  And, oh yes, handing out candy to the kids.

Then I adopted bunnies.  Now Halloween is about roasting the seeds (for me) and giving the pumpkin to the bunnies.

Rabbits LOVE pumpkin and it’s a food that is actually good for them!  Pumpkin has loads of fiber and not too much sugar that, in moderation, won’t upset your bunny’s good gut bacteria.

I always have either a can of pure pumpkin purée or baby food pumpkin on hand for when one of my bunnies needs some incentive to eat.   But the best is always fresh.  So I buy a pumpkin, put it on the floor and let the buns go to town.  Once they get past the rind and into the flesh, I keep an eye out to make sure that they don’t eat it all up at once!

Since I love pumpkin seeds, I always get a pumpkin for myself.  After scooping out the seeds, I carve the pumpkin into pieces freezing some of it into small pieces for later use.  The rest I roast.  Once cooled, I mash it up and distribute it into ice-cube trays.  Freeze the trays and then empty the contents into plastic bags.  Now you have pumpkin treats for your bunny for any time of the year!

bunny sniffing pumpkin
Smells pretty good!
You can carve it and then let Bunny take nibbles
You can carve it and then let Bunny take nibbles
bunnies eating pumpkin
Yummmmm!!

Alternative Therapies in Rabbit Care

5AGS_altcare

Holistic or homeopathic treatments, also known as alternative therapies, can be safe options to incorporate into your rabbit’s nursing care plan, in addition to medications your veterinarian may recommend. They can also be a good alternative to harmful chemicals or medications with potential or known negative side effects.

Read more: San Diego Pets Magazine – Alternative

Your Healthy Happy Bunny

HRS_Truman_April2013_2
Little Truman is a happy, active boy, available for adoption through San Diego House Rabbit Society.

Here’s a great article on rabbit care and diet from a couple years ago.

http://sandiegopetsmagazine.com/view/full_story/12473358/article-Your-Healthy–Happy-Bunny?

Indiana Rex Rabbits

The Indiana Rescue: Hard Work, Lots of Cooperation, But More Work Still Needed!

~ July 16, 3013, by National HRS

In June 2013, Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, responding to a complaint about their care and treatment, confiscated 375 rex and min-rex rabbits from a breeder in the city of Indianapolis. The breeder later signed all but 15 of the rabbits, many of whom were pregnant, over to Animal Control (but once he realized that he could not breed those 15, he left them behind as well), leaving the shelter in a very tight situation.

Indiana Rabbits

Read about it here and here.

How would the shelter care for, much less place, all of these rabbits?
Indiana House Rabbit Society stepped into action. Their volunteers immediately got involved, going to the shelter those first few days, sexing and separating the rabbits, providing immediate care and medical attention, along with assisting veterinarians, and providing hay and food, medicating sick rabbits twice a day, and otherwise providing for all their needs.

Thankful RexIndiana HRS volunteers worked tirelessly, day after day, feeding and caring for the rabbits at the shelter, even as the rabbits grew from the original 375 to over 400, as some of those females gave birth. They also marshaled the help of veterinarians from near and far who began spaying and neutering the rabbits, and started the hard work of calling in the assistance of rescue groups and House Rabbit Society chapters from as far away as Maine and California who stepped up and offered their assistance in adopting those rabbits.

As of Sunday, July 14, all 400 rabbits were out of the shelter, thanks to the groups and individuals named below.        

A very grateful bunny says thank you!

But the work is not over yet.

Through Indiana House Rabbit Society and Exotic Animal Rescue and Pet Sanctuary, there are still 170 rabbits in foster care. These rabbits still desperately need homes, either locally in Indiana, or can be transported to adopters or rescuers in other areas of the country. Indiana HRS’s work is not over by a long shot, so if you can help at all, please contact info@indianahrs.org to offer your assistance.
Indiana House Rabbit Society would like to thank the following groups and individuals for their help in this joint effort:

Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, for giving these rabbits these rabbits a chance to become cherished indoor family companions.

The following groups for taking the “Indiana 400:”

• NM HRS (NM)
• GA HRS (GA)
• EARPS (IN)
• Chicago HRS (IL)
• Buckeye HRS (OH)
• Cleveland APL (OH)
• Empty Cages Collective (NYC)
• Red Door Animal Shelter (IL)
• The Cat Nap (IL)
• BunnyFeathers Rabbit Rescue (WV)
• For Bunny Sake Rabbit Rescue (NJ)
• Angel Paws (IL)
• NYS HRS (NY)
• MO HRS (MO)
• House Rabbit Network (MA)
• San Diego HRS (CA)
• Dane County Humane Society (WI)
• Too Many Bunnies Rabbit Rescue (CA)
• CO HRS (CO)
• Animal Humane Society (MN)
• Brambley Hedge Rabbit Rescue (AZ)
• Friends of Rabbits (Baltimore/DC)
• NC HRS (NC)
• Lollypop Farm (NY)
• Humane Society of Greater Rochester (NY)
• Save Animals Today (SD, CA)
• Hops and Lops (TN)
• IndyClaw (IN)
• Save the Animals Today (CA)
The following groups and individuals for sending in funds, supplies, or providing assistance with transport:

• National House Rabbit Society
• Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control
• New Mexico HRS
• Buckeye HRS
• Arkansas HRS
• Red Door Animal Shelter
• Oxbow
• PetCo Foundation
• PetSmart Charities
• Specks Pet Supply
• Dupage County Animal Shelter
• Chicago HRS
• San Diego HRS
• Stephen Van Linge and Trina Beatson
Veterinary Clinics for providing spay/neuter support:

• Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic, Indianapolis IN (Angela Lennox, DVM; Heather Goldstein, DVM; Amber Lee, DVM and support staff)
• Bargersville Veterinary Wellness Center, Franklin IN (Cindy Baker O’Dell, DVM)
• Deck Veterinary Clinic, Louisville KY (Tara Gunn, DVM)
• Rosehaven Exotic Animal Veterinary Services, Batavia, IL (Susan Brown, DVM; and Richard Nye, DVM; Macy Cooke; Sarah Dehn, RVT)
• Tippecanoe County Animal Clinic, Lafayette IN (Julia Becker, DVM)

Without the above groups, these rabbits would not have gotten the new lives they now have. If you’d like to help the remaining 170, please contact info@indianahrs.org.

How Friendly Are “Pet Friendly” cleaners?

By Gabrielle Jonas
http://www.petfinder.com

How Friendly Are ‘Pet-Friendly’ Cleaners? Pet owners’ confusion about the safety of traditional mainstream cleaning products vs. that of “natural” products has prevailed ever since “pet friendly” cleaners hit the market some years ago.

According to Nature’s Source, a pet-friendly cleaner division of SC Johnson Co., ingredients are “natural” if they are derived from plant or microbial sources made with processing that does not change the substance chemically — such as cold pressing or steam distillation.

Sometimes it’s the very sound of the non-natural ingredients in traditional mainstream cleaners that can start a firestorm of concern. Years ago, an e-mail campaign that claimed that an ingredient in Swiffer Wet Jet — propylene glycol n-butol/propyl ether — caused liver failure in a dog.

The claim was debunked on snopes.com, a rumor-monitoring site that pointed out the ingredient in question differed significantly from ethylene glycol, the potentially toxic ingredient present in most antifreeze products.

Safe according to the ASPCA

“Not all information sent via e-mail or posted on the Internet is necessarily accurate,” the site said. “It’s always a good idea to verify any information regarding pet health concerns with a veterinary professional.”

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stepped in and had its own Animal Poison Control Center veterinarian toxicologists staff test the product. The ASPCA declared the product to be safe for pet-owner use.

The ASPCA also defends Febreze against similar Internet-spread accusations. Claims that the fabric freshener caused serious illness or death in pets were unfounded, the non-profit determined.

Veterinary toxicology experts at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also ascertained that Febreze fabric freshener products were safe for use in households with pets.

Muddying the waters, however is the fact that the ASPCA partnered with Swiffer and Febreze in raising money for its work with homeless pets. Procter & Gamble, which makes those products, donated money to the ASPCA for every $10 of certain P& G products sold.

Second Chance for Pets

Did you know that thousands of companion animals are surrendered to shelters and euthanized each year simply because their human caregivers died or became too ill to care for them? These animals became homeless because their caregivers made no plans for their continued care.

We all know that providing care for our pets is a lifelong commitment, but have you taken the time to plan for your pet’s future, in case you are no longer there to honor that commitment? Having a plan in place will you give you peace of mind knowing your companion animals will always be cared for.

An organization called “2nd Chance 4 Pets” is a non-profit group of volunteers educating pet caregivers about lifetime care options. You can write to them and request their “Guide to Planning for the Lifetime Care of Your Pets” and you’ll get a subscription to their newsletter.

2nd Chance 4 Pets outlines three simple steps to ensure that your pets receive the best care possible should they outlive you:

  • Step 1: Identify Caregivers

Identify people who would be willing to care for your pets in the hours, days, or weeks after an emergency, such as friends, relatives, or neighbors.

  • Step 2: Prepare Written Instructions

Outline how your pets should be cared for, whether in another household or sanctuary, and whether animals should be kept together.

  • Step 3: Set Up a Fund

Set aside funds to cover temporary or permanent care of your pets.

They have lots of resources and good advice on their webpage:

www.2ndchance4pets.org

Or write them at:

2nd Chance 4 Pets

1484 Pollard Road, No. 444

Los Gatos, CA 95032

More resources for pet trusts and estate planning for pets:

PetGuardian Pet Trust Plans provides a comprehensive pet trust plan and is affiliated with Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

www.petguardian.com

Websites for estate planning for pets:

www.hoytbryan.com

www.professorbeyer.com/articles/animals.htm

Angora Grooming 101

It’s a long way from San Diego, but a recent rescue of over 100 angora rabbits in eastern Canada from a private home reminds us of the special care this breed requires. Looking after just one angora rabbit takes more effort to look after their beautiful, long coat, but according to those who live with angoras, it is so worth it.

Did you know there are six varieties of angora rabbits? The English, French, Satin, German/Giant, American Fuzzy Lop, and Jersey Wooly. English angoras are covered all over with fur, even the bottoms of their feet! French angoras have short fur on their face, ears, and legs. Satin angoras look like French but are very satiny with a lovely glow. German/Giant are big bunnies; they can be up to 11 pounds!

It is thought that angora rabbits originated in Ankara, Turkey, but there is no proof of this. It may have originated as early as during the time of the ancient Babylonians because they worshiped a long-haired, benevolent rabbit god. Merchants of the Middle Ages brought back goods to Europe made of the wool of the “silk rabbit” or angora. The rabbit itself was brought to Europe by sailors who found them in the marketplace of Constantinople.

The angora rabbit produces over two pounds of wool per year, which is three to four times more hair than a typical rabbit. Regular, daily brushing is an absolute must with an angora rabbit. Digestive failure due to ingesting fur is a danger with all rabbits, but with angoras, especially so. Angoras also need extra protein to sustain that growth. Our volunteers recommend feeding alfalfa rather than timothy pellets for angoras. Hay is also very important to prevent “wool block” which becomes more prevalent when the bun is close to shedding.

Angora rabbits shed every three to four months. It’s important to comb the fur so the old fur doesn’t get tangled up with the new fur, which causes mats. Many people give their angoras a “puppy” cut during the summer so they don’t get overheated.  One can clip with scissors or pluck fur that has already released from the hair follicle.

What do you do with all that fur after brushing it off? If you are lucky enough to have an angora as a house rabbit, you can spin the wool for weaving into clothes. Rabbit angora is the lightest and warmest of all the animal fibers. Angora wool is two and a half times warmer than sheep’s wool and makes excellent sweaters and scarves when spun into yarn. Angora fur was a very important material during World War II, used to make clothing to keep troops warm during the harsh winters in Europe & Russia.

Okay, so maybe we don’t need that much insulation in San Diego, but angoras are still cool rabbits and make wonderful companions.

Want to learn all about angoras? Come to our Angora Grooming Class!

Angora Grooming Class

Saturday, September 18
4 to 6 p.m.
$5 donation at door
SDHRS Adoption Center
4805 Mercury Street, Suite C, Kearny Mesa

Bring your own bunny.

The House Rabbit Society has more good tips on grooming angoras, here:

http://www.rabbit.org/care/angora.html

You can read about how to help the angoras rescued in Canada, here:

http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/front/article/1044378

Pros and Cons with Pet Sitting

You may be used to leaving your cat for the weekend, but it’s never a good idea to leave rabbits at home alone while you’re out of town. A rabbit’s instinct is to hide illness and they could become seriously ill while you’re gone. They may get stressed by the change in routine and go into GI Stasis, or suffer symptoms from the parasite E Cuniculi, which must be treated immediately to have good success at recovery.

Whether you’re planning on having someone visit your home, boarding your rabbits at a bunny sitter’s home, or using a veterinarian’s office or kennel, bear in mind a few pros and cons and plan to make your rabbit’s holiday as stress-free as possible.

Boarding in Someone’s Home

Pros

  • If the person you choose is familiar with rabbits, symptoms of illness may be more quickly recognized.
  • Your rabbit may get more attention than from a visiting sitter.
  • A caged rabbit may get more exercise time than if left at home.

Cons

  • Your rabbit will be in unfamiliar surroundings.
  • Other rabbits and pets may stress your rabbit.
  • You may need to pack your rabbit’s cage and supplies.

Leaving Rabbit at Home

Pros

  • Your rabbit will be in familiar surroundings.
  • Feeding routine will be closer to usual routine.
  • It will be quiet.
  • A veterinary technician or someone familiar with rabbits is more likely to notice symptoms of illness.
  • Pet sitters can be more cost effective than boarding if you have more than one animal.
  • Your rabbit is not exposed to unfamiliar animals as in a boarding situation.

Cons

  • Your rabbit may get lonely, especially if she’s the only animal in the house.
  • She may not get out of her cage.
  • Having a sitter or neighbor visit only once a day leaves a lot of time for symptoms of illness to go unnoticed and also makes it harder to maintain the rabbit’s routines.
  • If you have other pets such as dogs or cats, you need to make sure they do not bother the rabbit.

Boarding at Vet Office or Kennel

Pros

  • An experienced rabbit vet can treat your rabbit should he fall ill or have a chronic health problem.

Cons

  • Can be difficult to find a vet/kennel with space separate from dogs and cats.
  • Kennel staff is not always familiar with rabbits, especially house rabbits.
  • Unfamiliar surroundings and noise from upset animals may be stressful to your rabbit.
  • Your rabbit most likely will not get out of his cage.
  • Kennel staff probably won’t give much personal attention other than feeding and cleaning.
  • Can be expensive, especially if you are boarding other pets, too.