Safeguarding your rabbit against poisoning is easy. Just imagine you have a toddler in the house who is old enough to walk and explore. Read the labels on containers and household items. If you wouldn't want a child to play with it, keep it out of reach from your curious rabbit.
Never give your rabbit medication developed for humans or other animals without the specific recommendation of your veterinarian. Animals metabolize chemicals and nutrients differently. The consequences can be deadly.
Be careful when you take your own medications. Make sure pills and capsules don't spill. Close lids and caps and always store in latched cabinets or drawers out of reach.
Warnings apply to all medications, including prescription and over-the-counter, as well as items not strictly medicinal that are often left on bathroom and vanity counters or discarded in floor-level waste containers.
Your rabbit's sharp teeth and heightened sense of smell make it possible as well as probable for her to find and bite through tubes and thin plastic containers. Topically applied salves, creams and ointments may be toxic if ingested.
Poisoning may also occur if your rabbit ingests or digests excessive amounts of a medication that is safe in smaller doses. Here is a partial list of common household medications that must be kept out of reach: acetaminophen, antibiotics, aspirin, cold and allergy remedies, diet pills, ibuprofen, laxatives, sleeping pills and stimulants.
All chemicals used to treat animals or kill or deter pests as well as household substances manufactured for other purposes must be stored in sealed containers out of your rabbit's reach and access.
Cedar and Pine
Bedding containing cedar and pine gives off aromatic hydrocarbons that can induce respiratory and liver damage.
Flea Treatments and Other Pesticides
Only use recommended dosages for infestation treatment. Be especially careful when applying directly to your rabbit or when using in an enclosed area where inhaling these chemicals can be a problem.
Mouse and rat, ant and roach traps and/or bait must be placed out of reach. Better still, do not allow your rabbit into a baited room. Record the date, brand and place the traps are used in case you need to report information in an emergency.
Do not let rabbits onto surfaces sprayed for infestation until the area is completely dry.
Keep in mind that your rough-tongued rabbit cannot spit out what she licks and laps into her mouth.
Warnings apply even to rabbits confined to a hutch or other secured area of your property.
Garden And Lawn Care Products
Read all labels thoroughly before using these products anywhere near your rabbit, who can actually inhale the fumes from quite some distance away. To avoid contamination to fur, paws and hindquarters, keep your rabbit off of areas treated with insecticides or weed killers. Keep your rabbit from any area treated with bait for slug, snail, rodent or insect infestation.
Be vigilant when any rabbit, leashed or loose, is on a paved surface used for gasoline-powered vehicles such as cars, lawn equipment, boats and motorcycles. Even pets who do not deliberately lick or eat toxic substances may walk through them and ingest poisons while grooming.
Do not clean or repair your vehicle with your rabbit present. Driveways and carport or garage floors often contain the remains of toxic substances from your vehicle, such as motor oil and gasoline, anti-freeze and windshield wiper fluid.
Do not expose your rabbit to cleaning compounds.
Interior and Exterior Construction, Repair, Remodeling Supplies
Read all labels thoroughly before use. Rabbits will chew, so keep yours away from any area freshly treated with paint, varnish, stains or oils until completely dry. If your pet comes in contact with these finishes, do not use paint thinners or removers to clean her. Contact your Animal Poison Control Center or your veterinarian for instructions.
Petroleum Products, Acids and Alkalis (Caustic)
Alkali means any one of a group of compounds that form soap when mixed with fat. If the substance has a picture of a skeleton hand on it, KEEP IT AWAY FROM YOUR RABBIT. These chemicals are caustic. They will burn the throat and mouth of your pet on the way down as well as on the way up. DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING.
Symptoms of Poisoning
Toxic distress can manifest itself in many ways. You are the best judge of your rabbit's normal habits and routines. Poisoning or an allergic reaction should be considered whenever there is a noticeable change.
Check the labels on the products you use. Anything that says "Keep out of reach of children" is best kept out the reach of your rabbit. Any items that seem suspect must be stored in a rabbit-proof area.
When using any toxic substances for cleaning, repairing, crafting, etc., cage your rabbit. Be sure to check for any spills. Your pet will be sure to investigate, and even if she doesn't taste anything, the toxin can wind up on her paws or fur and still be ingested.
Rabbits are extremely sensitive to toxins in their systems. Your pet can be poisoned from lapping water on the top of a paint can to cleaning a toxic substance off her fur. Humans live with hundreds of chemicals in their homes and nearly all of them cause violent effects in your rabbit.
Dangerous Household Chemicals
Under normal conditions, healthy rabbits in all stages of life receive the proper amount of nutrients from their food and water. You should give your pet high-quality rabbit food containing a minimum of 12 to 16% protein, 2% fat and a maximum of 20% fiber. Provide a constant supply of timothy hay and small amounts of fruits and vegetables. Treats should not exceed 10% of total food intake.
Do not feed chocolate, alcohol or caffeine, as they are very dangerous to your pet. Ensure your rabbit has clean, fresh, de-chlorinated, filtered water every day. Read and familiarize yourself with labeling information on the feed package. If you are considering supplementing your rabbit's diet, your veterinarian is the best source for advice. Excessive doses of vitamins and minerals can be as harmful as too little.
Keep in mind that nutritional requirements and tolerance vary from animal to animal, which is why feed for one species is often not recommended for another.