Alternative Therapies in Rabbit Care


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


From Phyllis O’Beollain, Dayton Small Pets Examiner

Many of us with disabled pets worry about them when we are not at home. My rabbit is severely mobility-impaired, but still she manages to scoot around her sheepskin-covered living area. The problem is, if she turns too sharply to the right, she rolls onto her “good” side and is unable to right herself.

My disabled darling BJ with his best friend Maya (cat)

I am blessed with a neighbor who faithfully checks on Oreo when I am at work, to ensure that Oreo is not stranded for hours without access to food and water. What about those not so fortunate as I?

While not an inexpensive option (approximately $300 for the system), the Vue personal video network enables pet owners to look in on their companions from a browser or iPhone or other flash-enabled device.

The Vue works by utilizing small wireless cameras – up to fifty for each gateway – that can be positioned anywhere inside the home. These cameras are the size of a package of Tic Tacs, wireless, and can be moved about depending upon where your pet tends to roam. These cameras are also easily relocatable.

You plug the gateway into your Internet router and the cameras sync up instantly. You then log onto a secure website to check in on your pets from virtually any location. You can view, record, playback and share video clips and snapshots from your browser or iPhone.

There is no software to load or storage space required on your hardware. The service plan for your account includes 2gb of storage for $19.95 per year – first year free. Your secure VueZone account gives you.

  • A watch page: lets you view and record live remote video from all active cameras and gateways
  • A playback page: where you play recorded/stored video and snapshots
  • A share page: lets you easily share live video or recorded content with family, friends and favorite sites
  • All the tools you need to set up and use your network – you can even schedule automatic viewing/recording

Vue comes with a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee when purchased directly from, and the first years’ service plan is free.

And now, a word for the nerds:

VueZone FrameMesh technology was developed for the defense department (how cool is that?) and enables streaming live video using wireless video transmission technology and battery-powered cameras. FrameMesh is a redundant, packet self-correction networking protocol. It forms the foundation of a secure, ultra-low-power wireless video camera network that installs easily and can be extended without sophisticated technical requirements.

And no, sadly, the Vue people did not send me a free sample of the system to try out, I just think this sounds like a great idea AND my TekkieFriend Alex says this is a very good value for all that you are getting. It could have so many applications: checking on elderly parents, home security, and spying on your teenagers to name a few.

You can only order the Vue online.

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:

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.

Websites for estate planning for pets:

Pumpkin for Dogs (and rabbits, too!)

Here’s a new product from Nummy Tum Tum’s that rabbit people may be interested in:

Although the label says it’s “Pure Pumpkin for Dogs”, it’s definitely for rabbits, too. Pure Pumpkin is just that–100% pumpkin, with nothing else added. It’s also USDA certified organic and it’s made in Corvallis, Oregon.

Canned pumpkin is a useful item to keep on hand for bunnies. It can be mashed with medicines to make them more palatable, or provide palatable nutrition and fiber when your rabbit isn’t eating and needs to get back onto solid foods.

These cans keep up to three years in the pantry, but should be refrigerated after opening. Or you could always raid them to make a pumpkin pie!

A 15-ounce can of Nummy TumTum’s will run you about $4.00, and is available from Leith Petwerks.

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:

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

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


  • 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.


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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


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


  • 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.

Have You Booked Your Petsitter for the Holidays?

I know it seems like summer hasn’t even officially ended, but it’s already time to start thinking about where to board your bunnies if you plan on traveling for the winter holidays. A quick phone around to a few local bunny boarding services revealed that some of them already completely booked for Thanksgiving with just a few spots left for Christmas, so the time to start your planning is NOW.

How to Find a Pet Sitter

Several San Diego HRS volunteers offer pet-sitting services in their homes. A few of our tried and true favorites are:

Bunnies R Us


Show Me the Bunny


Bessie Bunny’s Bed & Breakfast


Sweet Dreams Bunny Lodge


Fees vary by pet sitter according to the number of bunnies being boarded, the size of their enclosure, and other factors. In San Diego County, pet sitting fees for a single bunny can range from $10 per day to $25 per day. Many pet sitters will also offer grooming, nail trimming, photography, and other services for additional fees.

Most bunny boarding houses are limited on space, especially around the holidays, and they will fill up fast. Don’t delay. If you already know your holiday plans, get your bunnies booked in now!

If you cannot afford the cost of bunny sitting, offer to trade services with another bunny family.  Join San Diego HRS’ “fan” page on Facebook, to meet other local rabbit lovers and you are very likely to find someone who is willing to exchange bunny sitting services with you.  Who knows – it may turn out that someone who lives right down the block from you has a rabbit, too, and is willing to make trades with you.

Disapproving rabbits free iPhone app :-)

Nope, I do not, allow me to take over your phone.


 Posted at MediaBistro  

For those of you who do not have enough disapproval in your lives, I’m happy to report that you can now feel the buzz of judgemental vibes emanating gently from your phone.  

Disapproving Rabbits 1.0 (iTunes App Store)  

If anyone downloads this app and uses it, please send in a review.  

I’d like to know if it works, and if it is fun.

Is Pet Insurance Worth the Cost?

Is pet insurance worth the price? Not really, according to Consumer Reports. Their findings suggest that pet owners may save some money if they run into major health issues, but for the average pet, most vet visits will be for minor issues, many not covered by the insurance.

While living in the UK, we used Pet Plan, the only pet insurance company that covered rabbits. Our monthly premium was approximately 10.00 GBP per month, per rabbit (we had four rabbits). But over a couple of years we found that for every vet visit, we also had to meet a separate deductible (per health ‘incident’, and per rabbit), and pay an administrative fee for our vet to process our claims forms. In the end, we decided we weren’t really saving any money and canceled our policy altogether.

However, other households have benefited from having pet insurance coverage. Vet bills can add up quickly when you have multiple pets, disabled rabbits, or pets with chronic illnesses. But be sure to read the fine print before signing up for any policy, and be clear about what is and isn’t covered.

In the USA, Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) is the only company currently issuing policies to rabbits under their “Avian & Exotic” plan. The premium is about $10 per month (less if you register multiple pets), and includes lab fees, treatments, prescriptions, x-rays, surgery, hospitalization, emergency care, and even cancer treatment. You can continue to use the rabbit-savvy veterinarian of your choice, too.

Read the entire Consumer Reports article here, consider your own situation, and decide for yourself if pet insurance is worth the cost for your household.

Take the Leap to Cruelty-Free Products

Look out for the bunny! Not the one running around your feet, but the one on your shampoo bottle, or dish detergent, or your favorite lipstick. The rabbit who looks like he’s flying free through the wind is a guarantee that your product is 100% cruelty-free.

If a product states it is “cruelty-free”, it doesn’t necessarily mean  it hasn’t been tested on animals. Designation as “cruelty-free” or “not tested on animals,” or even the image of a bunny (other than the official Leaping Bunny logo) on a label may only refer to the finished product, when in fact, most animal testing occurs at the ingredient level.

To make matters more complicated, while a company may claim, “We do not test on animals,” it could still contract other companies to do the testing. The only way to be 100% certain a company is cruelty-free is to buy products from companies that have been certified by the Leaping Bunny Program, which requires that no new animal testing be used in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories, or ingredient suppliers.

The Leaping Bunny Program began in the mid-1990s after cruelty-free shopping had become popular, but no industry standards yet existed. Companies designed their own bunny logos, abiding by their own definition of ‘cruelty-free’ or ‘animal friendly’ without the participation of animal protection groups.

In response to this confusing labeling, eight national animal protection groups banded together to form the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics. They promote a single comprehensive standard and the internationally recognized Leaping Bunny logo to make shopping for animal-friendly products easier and more trustworthy.

Buying products with the Leaping Bunny logo takes the guesswork out of shopping. Use your dollars to send a strong message that animal testing is outdated and unnecessary! When you purchase a product, you send this message to the manufacturer: “I support your products and your policies!”

The Leaping Bunny logo is your guarantee. But please keep in mind, even though some companies fulfill the standard of the Leaping Bunny program, they may not choose to pay the necessary license fee to display it on the label of the product. However, these companies as well as the companies who have paid the fee, are indicated on the program’s  shopping guide, which includes cosmetics, personal care products, household products, and animal care products.

Visit the Leaping Bunny website and download a copy of their shopping guide, or order the pocket-sized version. iPhone carriers can even download the shopping guide as an application.