Rabbit Diet

Grass Hay

Grass hay is an important part of a rabbit's diet and should always be available.  It is good to give a variety of grass hay, as each type of hay provides a slightly different texture and fiber content.

  • Timothy Hay WebAlfalfa Hay - Only give to pregnant, nursing, or young rabbits under 6 months of age.  Alfalfa hay is too rich for adult rabbits, and in excess can lead to health problems.
  • Botanical Hay - This hay has a great variety of grass and dry flowers, which offers different flavors for rabbits to enjoy.
  • Oat Hay - This is a good hay to throw in some variety as it is thicker and harder and helps keep teeth ground down a little.
  • Orchard Grass - This hay has a softer texture, which is nice for bedding as well as food.
  • Timothy Hay -This grass hay is the most common hay available for rabbits.

 

 

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Turn Outdoor Cat Into Indoor For Winter

Introducing a friendly stray or an indoor/outdoor cat to the joys of inside living can be done with some training and planning. Here’s how to do it:

Litter Boxes

  • For a former indoor/outdoor cat, a two-box system filled with fine-grain, clumping litter is ideal. Put one box where you want the litter box to permanently be, and the second at the door the cat once used to exit the house. After that habit is set up, slowly move the second box closer to the permanent box, until you can eliminate it completely.
  • If a cat has never been litter boxed trained, a cattery cage or similar confinement method is the best move. Supply the cattery with a litter box, resting space, food, water and toys. When the cat is consistently using the litter box, he or she can be moved to a small room. If that works well, keep increasing the space. If the cat has an accident, return him or her to the last space he/she kept clean. Don’t forget to visit the cat often and let it out for supervised playtime and socialization during the confinement period.
  • Cover your potted plants with aluminum foil. Otherwise the cat may use them as a litter box.

Making It Fun

  • Consider putting in a window perch or an indoor planter. The cat can nibble at feline-friendly plants such as catnip and wheat grass.
  • Stock the house with plenty of toys. Pick interactive playthings. Rotate toys every week or two to keep the cat’s interest.
  • Offer several kinds of scratching posts. Include one that’s sturdy enough to climb.

Making the Outdoors Less Fun

  • Make sure screens fit snugly in windows. You don't want kitty to push them out. 
  • Draw your cat away from the doorways when you enter and exit the home. Consider using tossing a toy in another direction to avert the animal’s interest.
  • Try a practice run. Leave the door ajar and if kitty makes a break for it, spray him or her with a water bottle or use some canned air. If kitty associates the outdoors with negative actions, he or she will be less likely to make a run for it.

Source: Information adapted from Jacque Lynn Schultz, CPDT

Stop Jumping Behavior

Jumping problems are most often found with adolescents (dogs 6 to 18 months old). Toy, terrier and sporting breeds such as Italian Greyhounds, Poodles, Jack Russells, and Labrador Retrievers are notorious jumpers. Dogs jump up because they want to get closer to someone’s face.

For most, peak jumping behavior is observed around mealtime, when you come home, walk time, out on the walk itself and when friends/relatives come over to visit. This problem can be solved by training. The proper amount of exercise for your dog’s breed type is of great help, too! Lack of exercise results in out-of-control whirlwinds who lack the ability to focus.

What to do:

  • When you see your dog rev up to leap, say “No, off!” and turn away from the dog. Removing your attention (a reward to the dog) is a gentle, effective way to correct the dog. As soon as he has settled either with four feet on the floor or in a sit/down-stay, turn back around, drop to your knees and quietly praise the dog.
  • Give the jumping behavior a name so you can turn it on and off (“leapin’ lizards,” “paws up,” or “feet up”). Teach your dog how to jump on command, then add “no” as in “no paws up” to let the dog know when you don’t want him to jump.
  • Give the dog something else to do. Obedience training is a strong plus when trying to get a jumping problem under control. A dog holding a sit or down-stay is not a jumping dog. When attempting the sit down or down-stay, avoid pushing, shoving, flapping your arms or other fast, excitable movements. Use a lure-reward method rather than physically manipulating the dog. Avoid raising your vocal tone or whining. All extra movements and excited vocalization will incite the dog.
  • To aid the dog in holding his sit or down when visitors arrive, put him on a leash before opening the door.
  • For an unfocused bouncing maniac, give him just enough leash to do a sit or down-stay and step on the rest. When the dog attempts to move, he will correct himself. (This may not work for a 100-pound person with a 200-pound dog, but it works well for most handlers.)
  • Be consistent. Never let the dog jump up without being directed to do so. A dog cannot distinguish between dirty, old blue jeans and a designer suit. He cannot tell which days is it OK to jump on you by what you are wearing or what the weather is like.
  • Be consistent with strangers, too. Don’t let someone confuse your dog by stopping you in mid-correction by saying, “It’s OK, I just loooooove dogs” while stroking him and rewarding him for his misbehavior. There is nothing wrong with not allowing people to pet your dog unless he is on a stay command. Guests to your home are no exception. Warn them beforehand (“I’m training my dog not to jump up unless commanded. I could really use your help. Please don’t pet him or even acknowledge him unless he’s holding his stay.”)
  • For the slow learner, jumping setups are in order. On a weekend or vacation day, arrange for a friend, neighbor or relative to ring your doorbells every 10 to 15 minutes for a couple of hours. Each time, put your dog on a leash, command him to down or sit-stay and open the door and greet your visitor. Sometimes giving the dog a distinct place such as a small foyer rug helps him to focus on his job (go to your place and lie down). Your visitor can give your pup a treat or a tickle if he is behaving, but should ignore him if he is not. Once the dog is under control, the visitor leaves, only to return again in another 10 to 15 minutes. This goes on until Rover understands his job is to stay put until he is told to do otherwise.

What not to do:

  • Remember that your dog is your friend and companion. There is no need to knee him in the chest, hit him on the head, squeeze his front paws or step on his back feet. By teaching him the acceptable behavior and rewarding him for carrying it out, you become the fair, humane leader every dog needs.

Source: Jacque Lynn Schultz, CPDT

Rabbit Care

 

Rabbits may be easy to love, but they are not quite as easy to care for.  Rabbits are social creatures and wonderful companions to people who take the time to learn about their needs.  Below is an outline of how to care for these adorable creatures.

 

Read more: Rabbit Care

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