Senior HealthCare Plan

Is your pet really old?
Did you know most dogs and cats are

New Patients

Read here and learn all you need to know about our clinic before registering, we are waiting to hear from you and your pets!


Rabbits & Chinchillas Home > Pet Info > Rabbits & Chinchillas

Rabbits are clean, gentle creatures which are full of personality, easy to look after and make endearing pets. It is important to look after them properly as most of the diseases they suffer are caused by poor nutrition or living conditions. Care in these areas will help them live long, happy and healthy lives. Young rabbits can become very affectionate.

  • Cages must be big enough for each rabbit to lie down flat and sit up straight without touching the walls or roof.
  • The nesting box is a place to sleep or escape and hide in. This can be a box on its side or a piece of plastic tubing or drainpipe.
  • Flooring. Provide a flat smooth surface with deep bedding Wires, plastic or metal grids should not be used as they can cause pressure sores on the hind legs. Small rabbits can trap and break their legs in grids or wires.
  • Bedding. Line the floor with deep soft bedding. Clean straw or hay is perfect but towels or paper pellets may work. Wood chips or shavings may have toxic residues and are not ideal. Paper or other non – toxic cat litter pellets can be use. Do not use clay litter as some rabbits will eat it!
  • Litter trays. Rabbits are clean and will use a litter tray in the cage. Clean the tray daily.

Rabbits need exercise. Rabbits kept in a cage all the time develop behavior problems, and stress- related diseases. Ideally a rabbit should get out of the cage for four hours or more every day. Be careful when your rabbit is out of the cage because they have can chew electrical wires with tragic results.


Rabbits can be kept singly or in groups. Male/female pairs may bond closely and form a permanent couple. Desex them as they breed rapidly and often! Keeping rabbits of the same gender together is usually no problem though they do seem to develop individual likes and dislikes. Two male rabbits may fight and injure each other. Neutering males greatly reduces fighting. If you are introducing a new rabbit, let them get used to each other under supervision as the new arrival may be attacked.


Rabbits evolved to live off grass and poor quality plant material. They need a high fibre diet. Feeding food that is too low in fibre or has a high sugar content will cause severe digestive and dental problems.

Hay (Dry Grass): Give adult rabbits free access to a good quality grass hay such as Timothy at all times. We recommend ‘Oxbow’ products. Hays like alfalfa are fed to young rabbits but are too rich in nutrients, too high in calcium and too soft to allow good tooth wear in adults.

Fresh Vegetables: Adults should also have fresh dark green leafy vegetables daily. These should be washed or soaked. Fruit and vegetables like cucumber, tomato, lettuce, apples and pears should be fed only in small amounts or not at all to as the fibre level is too low and sugar level too high.

Commercial pellet foods should be restricted to 1-2 Chinese soup spoons a day depending on the size of the rabbit – They can be too rich or too low in fibre, and may encourage development of dental problems. Feed a uniform pellet food not a mixed muesli -like food as these will encourage selection and picking of foods and be unbalanced.

Treats: Avoid! There are many different snacks or treats available in pet shops such as yogurt drops and strawberry treats but these are not normal foods for rabbits and may cause problems. Do not feed cakes, biscuits or bread!

In summary feed your rabbit
  • ad lib timothy hay,
  • daily fresh dark green leafy vegetables and
  • 1-2 teaspoons of pellets a day.
  • Always offer free access to fresh clean water.

As rabbits rely on the bacterial population of the gut to digest their food any dietary changes must be made slowly to allow the bacteria to adapt.

Health Care

Vaccinations. Pet rabbits in Hong Kong do not need routine vaccinations. Rabbits living in countries where they may be in contact with wild rabbits do need vaccinations.

Desexing. Neuter rabbits when they are between 6 and 12 months of age. This will reduce fighting and territory marking with males. Female rabbits can be very prone to uterus problems including cancer of the uterus. Desexing is a routine procedure so you can book the surgery appointment with us by phone. You bring your pet to us in the morning and return the same evening. A complete examination is carried out before the operation to ensure your pet is healthy before we proceed with the anaesthesia. Afterwards it is important to ensure your rabbit is eating and passing droppings.

Rabbits' teeth grow continually and they are prone to dental disease. This is often related to their diet Some breeds, especially the dwarf breeds, are prone to dental disease even when on a good diet. It is worth having rabbits’ mouths examined once a year at the clinic, or if you see any signs of pain or discomfort around the mouth or when the rabbit is eating.

If a rabbit stops eating this may reflect serious disease of the digestive system or stress, pain or discomfort. An inappetant rabbit gets very sick very quickly so if food intake decreases book an appointment with us immediately.

Check the droppings: Become familiar with the character of your pets droppings and notice any change in shape, size or quantity. Rabbits pass firm round ‘high fibre’ droppings during the day and softer droppings at night which are eaten again as part of the normal diet to allow full digestion. You may never see the ‘night’ stool but in long haired breeds it can become matted in the fur at the tail so pick your rabbit up once daily and inspect it.

Skin and body care: When a rabbit is picked up it is really important to support the back end to avoid spinal injury. Weigh your rabbit once or twice a month to ensure that body condition is being maintained. Rabbits may sometimes get mite or fungal infections from their bedding or food. If you see excessive scratching, hair loss or redness of the skin call us for an appointment.


Rabbits make special pets and are simple, clean and inexpensive to keep with proper care and attention to housing, nutrition and basic health care.

More Info
HK Rabbit Society
HK Rabbit Society blog
Rabbit Welfare Association
British Rabbit Council
Oxbow Pet Products
Back to Rabbits and Chinchillas