Rabbits are famous for their big ears, big feet, and big hearts. Not literally, of course, but these curious creatures are social and affectionate, making them wonderful pets. And, just like all pets, bunnies are prone to accidents and ailments, which you want to be prepared for.
After more than a decade of being a paw-rent of multiple rabbits, I’ve seen a lot, and I can honestly say that a first-aid kit is one of the most important things to have if your rabbit gets sick or hurt. Infections, whether from digestive problems or a small injury, can turn bad quickly, so it’s always important to provide first aid, even if it’s just cleaning up a scratch.
To keep you prepared for any bunny-mergency, here’s a list of items to keep in your rabbit’s first aid kit.
Table of Contents
Disinfection and wound Care
Unfortunately, your rabbit wasn’t born with thick skin, and can even sustain a nasty cut just from scratching too hard. These small wounds, like scrapes and cuts, are easy to treat right at home, but they must get treated to prevent infection. For wound care and disinfections, your first aid kit should include the following.
- A towel or blanket to restrain your rabbit because he or she will likely try to escape. It’s less stressful than using a harness.
- Rubbing alcohol for disinfecting any tools you’ll need. Always remember to disinfect your implements before and after you use them.
- Gloves will keep both you and your bun germ-free while treating any wounds or putting on any kind of topical medicines. If you don’t want to use gloves, hand sanitizer is recommended.
- Gauze and cotton pads for cleaning up scrapes and for applying topical treatments. Cotton swabs are handy to clean smaller areas, like around the eyes.
- Saline solution to wash out dirt and debris from the wound or scratch.
- Antibacterial wound spray to spray directly onto wounds. Vetericyn can be used on all of your pets, so it’s worth having around. For antibiotic creams and other ointments, please ask your veterinarian for advice on what the best selection is for your rabbit!
- Vet wrap to keep bacteria and dirt out of a wound. Get one that doesn’t stick, so you won’t have to cause your bun discomfort by removing it later on. You’ll also need a pair of safety scissors to cut any bandages or gauze you’ll use.
- Styptic powder or corn starch is the only stop any bleeding. For example, cutting your bun’s nails too close to the quick.
Treating digestive problems
Bunnies have very delicate digestive systems, and they need a balanced diet that will adjust as they get older. But, as unrelenting chewers, bunnies are quite famous for getting into things that can cause tummy troubles. Here are some things you can keep in a first aid kit to help their digestion.
- Probiotics like Bene-Bac need to be given 2 hours after antibiotics. This is to keep the digestive tract running better while antibiotics remove any kind of bacteria. Even without antibiotics, probiotics can be a good idea for older buns or long-haired breeds like Lionheads.
- Papaya tablets/supplements are a natural digestive to keep everything moving smoothly. These should be given if your bun becomes constipated or has more fiber in their diet than needed like longer haired breeds.
- Gas drops like infant-formula simethicone soothe gas build up in your rabbit’s sensitive digestive system. These should be used in the case of minor bloating. Ask your vet about the amount you can give to your pet.
- Paper towel in case there are any “accidents” or to clean up afterward.
- A digital scale to weigh your bunny for weight loss or weight gain. If you notice that your rabbit has lost a significant amount of weight, you should contact your vet as soon as possible.
Treating conditions like shock, dehydration, or fever
Of course, if your rabbit is suffering from any of these conditions, you’ll have to consult a vet before you start any treatment. Here are some things that your vet may suggest to help your rabbit in these situations before veterinary treatment.
- A thermometer to take your rabbit’s temperature. As uncomfortable as it may sound, it will have to be a rectal thermometer
- Oral syringes or eye dropper for giving medication or tube feeding.
- Organic baby food or Oxbow’s critical care, for when your bunny needs to be tube-fed.
- Molasses is a useful and natural sugar that when mixed with water, makes a great rehydration solution. Mix ½ tsp of molasses into your bunny’s water dish. You can even add in a mashed banana for extra potassium.
- A heating pad for times when you have to keep your bun warm, like when he’s in shock or suffering from hypothermia.
- Ice pack to cool your rabbit off when he’s too hot or if he’s caught a touch of heatstroke.
Getting rid of fleas and mites
When the weather’s nice, I like to give my bun an afternoon outdoors, in an exercise pen. As much as he enjoys it, it does leave him at risk for fleas, ticks, and mites. Here’s what to have in your first aid kit to keep your bun safe from creepy crawlies.
- Tweezers are extremely useful for various reasons. For example, they can be used for holding a patch of fur back to treat a wound or for removing a tick)
- A small flashlight to spot fleas or mites easier. (Because we all know it’s hard to keep a bun still in the right lighting)
- Mineral oil is an easy and natural way of getting rid of ear mites. You can wipe their ears clean with a cotton swab soaked in mineral oil.
- A flea comb is a really handy tool for holding back a patch of fur, or for the obvious reason of searching for fleas.
With all of these items collected, you’re officially prepared for everything! After applying first aid, make sure to contact your vet right away, to see if there are any follow-up treatments needed.
Before you go, here’s one important reminder: remain calm when treating your rabbit for any emergency. You see, rabbits are so sensitive, that your stress is felt by them as well, and let’s be honest, getting hurt or sick is stressful enough.