The Australian Veterinary Association is urging rabbit owners to take care of their bunnies this Easter, offering 5 top tips for rabbit owners.
Whilst a pet rabbit may seem like a great alternative to chocolate treats, parents need to consider the repercussions of giving a pet as a present.
'Rabbits make great companions, but they shouldn't be seen as a starter pet,' says Matthew Retchford, President of the Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association, a special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA). 'Smaller animals like chickens and rabbits often require as much care as dogs or cats,' warns Retchford.
The Australian Veterinary Association offers five tips to help pet owners look after their bunnies this Easter:
1. Develop a strong relationship with your vet. Vets play a vital role in ensuring that your pet makes it through the crucial first weeks and stays healthy throughout its life.
2. Acknowledge that a pet is not a toy, but a serious responsibility. Ensure that your child plays a proactive role in feeding and cleaning up after their rabbit. Too often pets become the responsibility of mum or dad once the novelty wears off.
3. Take your rabbit to the vet for regular check-ups. Rabbits can live up to 10 years and they'll need proper health care for their whole life.
4. One of the most common problems vets see in rabbits is that their diet is heavy on high protein, high carbohydrate processed food that can be bad for their health. Make sure you ask your vet about the best things to feed your rabbit.
5. Choose a rabbit with the right temperament for your child - spend some time with the pet before you buy it to check it's friendly and safe to handle.
'There is a lot of evidence to show that developing a relationship with an animal at a young age is highly beneficial to their emotional and social development,' claims Matthew Retchford.