Rabbit sitting is a temporary arrangement for the care of domesticated rabbits while the owner is absent for any period. Petsitting for rabbits is increasingly in demand as the rabbit is growing in popularity as a domestic pet.
Rabbit Sitting – Notes
Rabbits are herbivores, meaning that it is anatomically designed towards eating plant material.
And for any rabbit sitter there are particular points of care that should be noted, including and most importantly the need for regular and constant feeding and provision of fresh water.
When pet sitting for rabbits, sitters need to remember that food is a big part of life especially for small mammals such as a rabbit. this also applies to Guinea pigs, and other small furry animals.
In the short term, if they don’t have enough of the correct food (or no food at all) their guts can stop working and this can lead to problems like bloat, gut stasis, and eventually, death. With rabbit care we need to watch for a few key signs.
House sitters who care for rabbits in their own home are prompted to stay informed as much of the behaviours of the rabbits in their charge, as the possible symptoms of ill health that afflict rabbits in particular. At HouseSitMatch.com we ask house sitters to show their experience with rabbits in their profile so pet owners can be selective. We try our best to match pet owners with pet sitters.
Vet’s Top Tips for Rabbit sitting
Vet Matthew Bayliss shares some of his top tips for rabbit sitting in one of our popular HouseSitMatch blogs.
- The importance of high fibre foods – In his blog he explains that rabbits and other small furry creatures are herbivores, and belong to a sub-group which we will call fibrevores. Meaning that their diet should consist mostly of high-fibre foods – as mentioned above, things like hay and grass.
- Water must always be available – In addition to this, they should always have fresh water accessible and on tap
- Nugget food – rabbits can have a small amount of nugget type food
- Avoid muesli – it is best to avoid muesli-type food (if possible), as they pick out the tastiest bits, and leave the less tasty (and usually more beneficial!) bits. They need to maintain a balanced diet to optimise their digestion.
- Special note on rabbit behaviour – Rabbit care is more of a challenge than you might imagine, being prey species, tend to hide things like illness very well; which is why its important to get to know them (and their owners!) before house-sitting – a bunny could be quiet because they’re just a laid back bunny; or they could be quiet because their mouth is painful due to ulcers, they have snuffles (or another disease, like Myxomatosis), they have diarrhoea and are dehydrated, or one of any number of things.
Rabbit symptoms and signs of ill health
While each rabbit is unique it is worth making note of any unusual behaviour and checking any symptoms you might detect against this check list provided by the House rabbit society:
- Tooth grinding: Loud tooth grinding is a sign of pain. Note: This tooth grinding is different from the less-loud “tooth purring” you may hear when you snuggle and kiss Bun’s face!
- Body heat: Rabbits regulate body temperature by their ears. Very cold or hot ears could indicate a fever or a drop in body temperature. This, coupled with other warning signs, could warrant a trip to the vet.
- Runny eyes or nose, labored breathing or chronic sneezing: These could indicate allergies, upper respiratory infection, a blocked tear duct or other problems. See your vet.
- Wet chin or drooling: Usually a sign of tooth problems, or malocclusion. You may also notice a decrease in appetite and ability to eat hard foods such as whole carrot. See your vet. Left untreated, tooth problems can lead to infection of the jaw bone, which is very difficult to treat. Depending on the severity of the misalignment, your rabbit’s teeth may need to be trimmed regularly. In severe cases, teeth can be pulled.
- Loss of balance or a head tilt: This is often called wry neck (or wry-neck), typically an inner ear infection. This can come on suddenly. Although treatment can be lengthy, a head tilt can usually be cured if treatment is begun quickly.
- In one end, out the other: Your rabbit’s litterbox contains a wealth of information. A healthy digestive tract will produce large, round fecal pellets. Increasingly smaller, irregularly shaped droppings or droppings strung together with fur (or carpet) may indicate a problem. Proper grooming by you, especially during a molt, and plenty of fresh hay will help produce optimum digestive tract health, along with appealing to the rabbit’s urge to chew.
- Loss of appetite or lethargy: Even a rabbit can have a “bad hare day.” But if your rabbit refuses his usual fresh food or any of his special treats for more than a day, and seems particularly lethargic, you should call the vet.
Rabbit sitting services
Professional pet sitting for rabbits in the owner’s home, and also in the sitter’s home is one of the rabbit sitting services available.
Rabbit boarding is another service that is available, though it is not as widely available as one might imagine, given the popularity of the rabbit as a domestic pet.
Having house sitters with experience of rabbit care is increasingly popular, with the checked live-in sitter moving into the rabbit’s home in order to keep a close eye on the pet and the property.
Rabbits are generally kept in a cage or hutch, though sometimes they are allowed to roam freely with someone present to supervise. For this reason, pet sitting in the owner’s home is an ideal solution as the rabbit can have this same degree of freedom and be relaxed in his own home.
These sitters are usually pet lovers, and may also care for pet dogs or pet cats at the home at the same time. HouseSitMatch.com has registered sitters listed who do not charge for their services, they offer their time and experience in exchange for free accommodation.
While rabbits are quite independent and don’t necessarily need constant attention in any of the rabbit sitting services available, depending on the age of the rabbit and if they have company in their hutch they may or may not need some degree of attention. The sitter can pop in to your home for 30-45 minutes a day to take care of your pet rabbit, but this should be discussed with the sitter.
Rabbit minding is an alternative term to express the pet care arrangement for rabbit housesitting. A temporary service rabbit minding offers care for pet rabbits usually in their own home. Young and mature rabbits in particular can benefit from this arrangement which minimises disruption to their feeding and sleeping routines when owner’s travel away from home.
Petsitting for rabbits
Caring for family pets including rabbits can mean a host of duties related to the hutch or cage where the rabbit lives. When petsitting for rabbits expect some duties related to keeping their living environment clean and sanitary. The owner should specify how often the old soiled hay and hutch need to be cleaned out, and fresh hay and possibly lining paper added.
Rabbit housesitting provides care for the house in the owner’s absence and the pet rabbits in their own home minimising any stress or anxiety the rabbit might experience in a change of circumstances.
The added advantage for the petowner is that a live-in checked housesitter offer rabbit housesitting can care for the pet rabbits at the same time as caring for the owner’s home and property.
This arrangement serves the dual purpose of minding the pet rabbits keeping them safe, and keeping the home occupied and secure against opportunistic burglars and prowlers.
What our clients say about us on Trustpilot
Fantastic result….fixed up in a flash! Lovely, responsive pet sitters almost on our doorstep…would never have known had it not been for Housesit Match. Lamia and team very helpful when we had problems sorting out the website. 5 STARS for keeping in good contact! Will certainly spread the word, it’s a fabulous idea!
Thank you! – – Sonia Longman
To find a checked live-in house sitter to care for your pet cat join HouseSitMatch today as a homeowner it takes just five minutes, and if you need a little extra help with the technology CONTACT US and we can support you in real time. We’re here to help you!