Good foods for dental health: advice for rabbit owners in East Renfrewshire

Did you know that your pet rabbit’s teeth will continually grow for their entire life? To maintain your furry friend’s oral health, it is essential that you provide them with the correct nutrition that supports natural wear and tear. In this article, Vet Richard Black explores the foods that Rouken Glen Vets recommends to help keep your rabbit’s teeth healthy and strong.

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Foods that are good for rabbit oral health

Vet Richard Black wants to help rabbit owners in East Renfrewshire understand exactly which foods, and things you can probably find in your garden, will really help to maintain your rabbit’s dental health.

The importance of hay

According to Richard, hay is the cornerstone of a rabbit’s diet and plays a vital role in maintaining dental health. The fibre in hay encourages constant chewing, which naturally grinds down your rabbit’s teeth. Richard recommends offering a variety of hays like timothy, meadow, or orchard grass to keep their diet interesting and ensure they receive essential nutrients.

Fresh leafy greens

Leafy greens like kale, spinach, and romaine lettuce are not only packed with vitamins and minerals but also provide the necessary crunch to help wear down your rabbit’s teeth. These greens should be a daily part of your pet’s diet. You should avoid ice-berg lettuce as these can make rabbits feel unwell.

Fresh herbs

Richard wants rabbit owners to get excited about herbs like parsley, coriander, and dill, as these serve as tasty additions to your rabbit’s diet while promoting healthy teeth. The act of nibbling on herbs encourages natural dental maintenance.

Twigs and branches

These might not seem the obvious choice, but Richard recommends incorporating safe twigs and branches from fruit-bearing trees like apple, willow, or pear into your rabbit’s environment. These act as natural toothbrushes, providing both dental and enrichment benefits.

Rabbit pellets

High-quality rabbit pellets can be part of your rabbit’s diet, but they should not be the primary focus. Choose pellets that are rich in fibre and low in calcium, as an excess of calcium can lead to urinary tract issues.

Fresh vegetables

Fresh vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers, and celery can be given in moderation as occasional treats. They offer both dental exercise and nutritional value.

Richard wants rabbit owners in East Renfrewshire to be aware: whilst some calcium is essential for rabbits, an excess can lead to urinary problems and kidney stones. Therefore, it’s important to avoid high-calcium foods like alfalfa hay (sometimes called Lucerne hay), which is suitable for young rabbits but not for adults. Also, remember that fresh, clean water is essential for all aspects of your rabbit’s health.

Maintaining your rabbit’s dental health is not just about providing the right foods; it’s also about ensuring a well-balanced diet. Contact our rabbit vets at Rouken Glen Vets to discuss your rabbit’s nutritional needs and don’t hesitate to contact us on 0141 620 2580 to book a dental exam for them.

Book a dental exam for your rabbit

How to tell if your rabbits are too cold this winter

Vet Richard Black has prepared the following advice for rabbit owners in East Renfrewshire on how to keep their hopping house mates happy this winter, including tips for keeping them warm and comfortable.

Share this advice with other rabbit owners by sharing our article on your socials. Don’t hesitate to call us on 0141 620 2580 if you would like some individual advice tailored to your rabbit from our team.

Contact our team for personalised winter rabbit advice

7 signs your rabbit is feeling the cold

  1. Shivering: If you notice your rabbit shivering or trembling, it’s a clear sign they are feeling cold. Shivering is a natural response to cold temperatures as the body tries to generate heat.
  2. Huddling: Rabbits will huddle together or curl up into a ball to conserve body heat when they’re cold. If you see your rabbit doing this frequently, it’s a sign they are trying to stay warm.
  3. Cold ears and feet: Richard recommends touching your rabbit’s ears and feet – if they feel cold to the touch, it’s a sign your rabbit is too cold. Cold extremities can indicate poor circulation and discomfort.
  4. Reduced activity: Cold temperatures can make rabbits lethargic. If your rabbit becomes less active or seems sluggish, it may be because they are cold.
  5. Seeking warmth: If your rabbit is actively seeking warm spots in their enclosure, such as cuddling next to a heated water bottle or seeking shelter, it’s a clear indication they are trying to stay warm.
  6. Hunched posture: Rabbits tend to adopt a hunched posture with their body close to the ground when they are feeling cold, advises Richard. This is another way to minimise heat loss.
  7. Change in eating and drinking habbits: When rabbits are too cold, they may eat and drink less because their body is conserving energy to stay warm. Richard stresses that it’s very important to monitor your rabbit’s food and water consumption; eating less or not at all can quickly become a rabbit emergency and dehydration can also affect their digestion. Call us on 0141 620 2580 if you are concerned.

How to keep your rabbit warm this winter

Richard advises that there are several ways you can help your rabbit cope with the cold weather including:

  • Move your rabbit’s hutch or cage inside your home if possible, or perhaps into a garage or shed to avoid the coldest of the weather in East Renfrewshire.
  • Ensure their enclosure is well insulated, especially their sleeping area. You can also wrap your rabbit’s home in blankets or a duvet, ensuring it’s remains well-ventilated.
  • Extra straw and hay will help to provide warmth and insulation in your rabbit’s enclosure.
  • Microwaveable heat pads and well-wrapped hot water bottles can be useful when the temperature really drops but caution should be taken when using these. You may want to place these on the outside of your rabbit’s housing to avoid them chewing through the casing.
  • Limit outdoor play during very cold weather and ensure your rabbit has access to sheltered areas during their limited playtime.
  • Your rabbit may need more calories during colder months to help them generate heat – our team can advise on this. Contact us on 0141 620 2580 to discuss your rabbit’s winter nutritional needs.

It is crucial to strike a healthy balance between providing warmth but also the necessary ventilation. Regularly monitoring your rabbits for signs of cold and making adjustments to their environment as needed will help to keep your rabbit healthy, happy and snuggly warm this winter.

Share this advice with other rabbit owners on your socials and let’s help bunnies across East Renfrewshire have a happy and healthy winter.

Contact our team for personalised advice

Essential 2024 transportation advice for small furry pets

Small furry pets do not often need to travel. However, for the rare occasions they might do, small furry pet owners can be left confused and unsure on how to safely get their pet from A to B.

Below, the experienced team at Rouken Glen Vets have summarised the reasons for travelling, and how best to travel with your small furry pet.

If you have any questions after reading this advice, contact us on 0141 620 2580 or pop over to our Facebook page to ask.

To help you understand how to travel safely with your small pet, whether that’s in a car or on public transport, you can download our helpful guide here.

Download our small furry travel tick list

When would my small furry pet need to travel?

Visiting us at Rouken Glen Vets

Our vets in Giffnock recommend vaccinating your rabbits against myxomatosis and VHD1/VHD2. This needs to be completed at our clinic so knowing how to safely travel with your pet is essential. Other small furry pets may also need veterinary attention from time to time, so practicing safe travel is necessary in keeping their stress-levels down during their outings.

Contact us to book a rabbit vaccination or small pet check-up

Moving to a new home

You may have no plans to move yet, but as our pets are part of our family for a few years, it is worth planning for the long term when it comes to desensitising them to pet travel.

Grooming appointments

Certain long-haired breeds may need regular appointments to be groomed. This will benefit their overall health and wellbeing. Travelling to these appointments can be practiced, ensuring your pet is used to their pet carrier – learn about the best type of carrier and how to travel safely in our guide.

Pet sitting

If you are planning a holiday, you will have thought about pet care. Sometimes, you can get pet sitters to attend to your small furry pet in your home. However, you may need to transport your pet to somebody else’s house if you are using a family member or a friend.

Transporting your pet

There are some essentials to follow when travelling with your small furry pet. The team at Rouken Glen Vets have summarised this into a handy PDF for you to download – great to keep on your phone in case you or a friend need to transport your small furry pet quickly.

The team at Rouken Glen Vets understand that every small furry pet is unique. Try to be observant of their behaviour and needs during travel. If they become extremely stressed then call us on 0141 620 2580 for guidance on how to reduce your pet’s anxiety during travel.

We hope our advice proves helpful for you and your small furry pet and before you go, remember to…

Download our small furry travel tick list

Small furries – should you buy new or spruce up their home for Christmas?

Attention small furry pet owners! We have the perfect idea for a Christmas present for your pets – why not treat them to a fun new enclosure? Our team at Rouken Glen Vets have put together their top tips for either buying new or repurposing their old enclosure.

Download our cage cleaning tips to go alongside your pet’s new cage. Why not share them with other owners to make sure more small furry pets’ cages are clean and comfortable this Christmas?

Download our top Habitat Cleaning Tips

Should I buy new or recycle?

Making the decision to buy your pet a new cage vs. recycling their current cage needs to be based on a number of different factors:

Pet’s size and space needed

Has your pet outgrown their current enclosure? Do they need more room to exercise? Does your type of pet need hiding spots, tunnels, various levels? Can you include plenty of enrichment options in their current setup?

Hygiene

Does your pet’s old enclosure smell despite cleaning? Is it difficult to keep clean?

Your pet’s safety

Does your pet’s current enclosure have sharp edges or loose bars? Is their outdoor home still watertight? Is the wood starting to rot? All of these are hazards to your pet.

You also need to consider your budget. New enclosures can be costly, along with the accessories that you need to go with them. Research your pet’s needs and what options are available. Our nursing team will be able to advise – why not get in touch with any questions you have, or ask us on our Facebook page: roukenglenvets/

Reusing my pet’s old enclosure

If after considering the advice above, you determine that your pet’s current enclosure can be reused, then brilliant! Below are the top tips from Richard when it comes to preparing your pet’s “new” home.

  • Cleaning: first things first, get some rubber gloves. Then, download our Habitat Cleaning Guide and use the monthly advice for a big one-off clean.
  • Make repairs: once cleaned, it’s time to make any repairs you need to your pet’s enclosure. Double check latches, platforms and their supports and loose bars.
  • Decorating: If you are planning on painting your pet’s enclosure, make sure you opt for a paint that is animal friendly and non-toxic. You will need to allow plenty of time for the paint to dry and air out.
  • Bedding: Pad out the bottom of the enclosure with a suitable bedding material for your pet, before adding nesting boxes or nesting materials.
  • Enrichment: Once you’ve sorted the layout of your pet’s sleeping area, it’s time to start setting up the enrichment toys for your pet. New toys, tunnels, platforms and hiding spots can help keep your pet entertained and fight off boredom.
  • Food and water: Make sure your new chosen feed bowls and water bottles are working correctly and are placed at the right height for your pet.
  • Hygiene: Regularly cleaning to remove odours and prevent bacterial growth is essential to keep your pet healthy – our Habitat Cleaning Guide offers advice for daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning tasks.

Ultimately, the decision between buying a new cage and sprucing up the old one depends on your pet’s needs, your budget, and the condition of the current cage. Prioritising your pet’s safety, comfort, and wellbeing when making your choice is essential.

Get in touch with the team at Rouken Glen Vets, or you can help other owners of small furry pets by asking us questions on our Facebook page.

Before you go,

Download our Habitat Cleaning Tips

Heart problems in rabbits – can they be avoided?

If your bunny’s heart is not functioning as it should, then the rest of their body will become affected. Our Veterinary Surgeon Richard Black has put together information on the most common heart conditions that can affect rabbits and also tips on how you can improve their heart health below.

We’re hoping to raise awareness amongst East Renfrewshire rabbit owners, so please do share our article on your social media pages.

Book a rabbit check-up

Our vets have also put together a factsheet to help you Spot Rabbit Heart Problems at Home

Common heart conditions in rabbits

Rouken Glen Vets wants to spread awareness of what conditions can potentially affect your rabbit. Have a read of the points below and if you have concerns about your own pet, book an appointment with our experienced team of rabbit loving vets at our Giffnock surgery.

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a type of heart disease that can lead to impaired heart function. It more commonly affects larger rabbit breeds, but all are susceptible. Richard advises that early diagnosis and treatment is key to keeping your rabbit’s quality of life – book a rabbit health check now.

Congestive heart failure

Congestive heart failure in rabbits occurs when the left ventricle of the heart is malfunctioning. This means the heart is then unable to pump blood effectively, leading to a build-up in fluid.

Hypertension

Hypertension is when your rabbit’s blood pressure becomes elevated which then puts stress on their organs. According to Richard, stress is the major contributing factor which is why at Rouken Glen Vets we treat all our rabbit patients in quiet and calm consultation rooms.

Symptoms of heart conditions in rabbits

Symptoms of heart problems can be difficult to spot in rabbits, especially as they hide signs of pain and illness or purpose – a natural instinct to protect themselves from predators in the wild. You may be able to spot some signs at home. Take a look at our Rabbit Heart Symptoms Fact Sheet.

If you notice any of the symptoms in our fact sheet in your pet, contact us immediately on 0141 620 2580 as your rabbit may need emergency treatment.

How you can help to keep your rabbit healthy

Regular check-ups at Rouken Glen Vets

Routine examinations with our rabbit vets will help to provide early diagnosis for many heart conditions.

Proper hydration and a balanced diet

It is essential your rabbit has access to clean, fresh water constantly. They also need a constant diet of good quality hay and fresh vegetables. Rabbit pellets and fruit should be limited in your rabbit’s diet and avoid excessive treats which could lead to obesity.

Exercise and weight control

To prevent obesity, alongside a balanced diet you need to ensure you rabbit has plenty of space and opportunities to exercise. As naturally active mammals, physical activity will get their blood pumping and keep their heart healthy. You also need to provide enrichment – use toys and play tunnels to stimulate your bunny’s brain.

A healthy living environment

Keep their living space as stress-free as possible to reduce the risk of hypertension. Also, reduce their exposure to air pollutants and avoid smoking around your rabbit.

Social interaction

Rabbits thrive in companionship. They are naturally social animals so a bonded companion will help promote their overall wellbeing.

Monitoring your rabbit for any changes in their health is essential in ensuring they receive prompt treatment if they do become unwell. Breathing rates and behaviour will help indicate if they need to see Rouken Glen Vets’ team of experienced rabbit vets. Contact us on 0141 620 2580 and remember to share this article with other rabbit owners in East Renfrewshire.

Before you go, download our:

Heart Disease Symptoms Fact Sheet

Is a new baby bunny on the way? Here’s everything you’ll need!

As exciting as it is to be bringing home a new baby bunny, it is essential as an owner that you research and start to undertake some care tasks prior to their arrival. Remember to register your baby rabbit with Rouken Glen Vets and book their very first health check so our team can help you give them the best start in life.

Book your rabbit’s first check-up

What to do before bringing a rabbit home

Once your bunny arrives you will need to ensure you provide them with a nutritious diet, accessible fresh water, rabbit enrichment activities, exercise and veterinary care to keep them in tip top condition. Below is a list of things to start doing before your rabbit joins your family.

1) Research rabbit care

Early research can help you make informed decisions on their basic needs. These are housing, diet, enrichment and veterinary care. Our vets and nurses are highly experienced when it comes to rabbit care so make sure to register your new pet with our Giffnock practice straight away.

2) Making introductions

Deciding early on with your family how you will introduce your new baby bunny will help to reduce stress when the moment actually arrives. As bunnies can be easily overwhelmed, make sure all introductions are slow and calm. As a responsible owner, it is imperative you monitor children when handling your new family pet – rough handling can cause stress and harm to your bunny, plus they might nip someone out of fear.

It’s also wise to plan ahead when it comes to introducing a new bunny to an existing pet rabbit. It is best to let your new addition get settled in first and then introduce them slowly (so long as one of them is neutered) to the ‘OB’ (original bunny). You’ll need to do this through a barrier so that they can’t fight and let them get used to each other over time. You shouldn’t force them to be friends as not all rabbits will get along.

For advice on when is best to neuter a baby rabbit, contact Rouken Glen Vets’ friendly team on 0141 620 2580.

3) Create a safe living space for them

Your new baby bunny will need a safe space away from potential hazards. These include (but are not limited to) wiring, toxic plants and other pets. Their housing must also be large enough for water and food dishes, toys, plenty of bedding, a litter box, and room to hop around and explore.

4) Plan their diet

A full and nutritious diet must be followed to ensure your baby bunny consumes all the minerals and vitamins they need. This should be made up of good quality grass hay and a quality junior rabbit food (pellets) with a concentration of approximately 16% protein.

Fresh foods must be introduced slowly; try to stick to similar fresh fruit and vegetables to what your baby bunny’s mother was fed if you can find this out? Once you have registered with Rouken Glen Vets, you can ask our nursing team endless questions on the best rabbit diet!

Register your new rabbit online now so you can book their first vet check.

Once your bunny is home

It is essential to spend time with your baby bunny as soon as they arrive home. This is a big part of building a strong, healthy relationship with your new pet. Provide plenty of opportunities for regular, gentle handling, playtime and cuddles.

Also ensuring they receive their vaccinations and health checks will help to keep them in top condition as they mature. To chat to our rabbit-loving team about your bunny’s first veterinary appointment, contact us on 0141 620 2580.

Following Rouken Glen Vets’ above advice will ensure your new arrival will thrive in their new family. Our experienced team of vets and nurses are always here to answer any questions you may have about rabbit ownership so contact us today.

Book your rabbit’s first appointment

Rouken Glen Vets’ top tips for rabbit owners

Creating a calm environment for your indoor rabbit at home will help them to thrive. Take a look at Rouken Glen Vets’ tips for reducing stress and providing a healthy home for your rabbits below – this is especially important with firework season starting in a few weeks…

Why not share this article with other rabbit owners?

Contact us about your rabbit

1. Provide a quiet space

Rabbits can be easily startled – loud noises and sudden movements can make them feel overwhelmed so it’s important to provide them with a quiet space where they can retreat to. This can be a whole designated room, or a section of a room that tends to be calmer and is not somewhere with high traffic, such as a walkway or noisy kitchen. Remember, during firework season they will need hiding spaces to retreat to so build these into their home design.

2. Control the temperature

According to our nursing team, rabbits are sensitive to temperature changes, so it’s important to maintain a consistent temperature in their living space. The ideal temperature range for a rabbit is between 15 and 21 degrees Celsius.

3. Make it comfortable

A comfortable living space is essential for your rabbit’s wellbeing. Make sure they have plenty of space to get physical, stretch and play with their toys. By providing them with soft bedding, it will encourage them to rest regularly.

4. Clean often

Rouken Glen Vets’ nurses also advise that a clean-living space is important for your rabbit’s health and wellbeing. Regularly cleaning their living area, litter box, food and water bowls will help to prevent the build-up of bacteria. Also, remember to keep an eye on your rabbit’s hind end for signs of flystrike. Even indoor rabbits are at risk and if you encourage your rabbit to have time in the garden, it’s essential you monitor them for signs of flystrike. Contact us immediately on 0141 620 2580 if you suspect your pet may need vet assistance from Rouken Glen Vets.

5. Avoid stressful situations where possible

Make sure you are not exposing your rabbit to loud noises, sudden movements and interactions with aggressive animals. These situations can cause anxiety and fear in rabbits, which can lead to poor health issues. Firework season will be undoubtedly stressful for your rabbit so drawing the curtains early to hide light flashes, shutting all the windows to reduce the noise and talking to them in a soothing tone will help to keep them calm. You may want to get them used to soothing music ahead of time so that this will help on ‘firework days’.

6. Provide enrichment

Rabbits are intelligent animals that require mental stimulation. Provide them with toys, tunnels, and obstacles to play with and explore. This will help keep them stimulated and prevent boredom. Hay and treats can also be used as a good distraction during firework season.

Remember, your rabbits have incredibly sensitive hearing so firework season may prove to be a stressful time of year. Share this article with other rabbit owners so Rouken Glen Vets’ advice can help as many rabbits in East Renfrewshire as possible.

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Symptoms and warning signs your small furry pet could be expecting!

As with all pets, pregnancy brings new care requirements. Along with a growing body, your small furry may also need extra nutrition and adjustments to their usual care routine. Rouken Glen Vets’ nursing team have pulled together some signs to look out for if you suspect your small furry pet could be pregnant. Don’t hesitate to contact our team if you think you may have a pregnant pet.

Contact us for more advice

Signs of pregnancy

Head Nurse Karen explains that both guinea pigs and rabbits can reach sexual maturity at a young age, something which many small furry owners are unaware of. It is worth having your pets’ gender checked by Rouken Glen Vets’ experienced vets if you are unsure to save unwanted litters.

Unplanned breeding can lead to health issues for the mother and her offspring, especially in guinea pigs over 6 months of age. We therefore recommend that if you have both male and female guinea pigs or rabbits living together, they should be separated or neutered to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

You might also unknowingly purchase/take ownership of a guinea or rabbit when they are already pregnant. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the signs.

Small furry pet pregnancy signs to look out for are:

  1. Increased appetite: Pregnant guinea pigs and rabbits may eat more than usual as their body requires more nutrients to support their growing foetuses.
  2. Weight gain: Weight will increase as the pregnancy progresses.
  3. Nesting behaviour: Pregnant guinea pigs and rabbits may start to exhibit nesting behaviour, such as gathering materials to create a nest or burrow.
  4. Enlarged abdomen: As the foetuses grow, the abdomen of the guinea pig or rabbit will become visibly enlarged.
  5. Behavioural changes: Pregnant guinea pigs and rabbits may become more lethargic or irritable as the pregnancy progresses.

If you suspect that your guinea pig or rabbit is pregnant, it is important to book them in with our team at Rouken Glen Vets. Our vets will be able to confirm the pregnancy through a physical examination and then provide advice on proper care during your pet’s pregnancy.

Contact us for more advice

How to find the right rabbit holiday sitter

Rabbits are adorable, intelligent pets that require proper care and attention. If you’re a rabbit owner or know of one and are planning to go on holiday soon, then finding the right holiday sitter is crucial. In this article prepared by our Head Nurse Karen, we go over essential tips to find the perfect holiday sitter for your rabbit.

Share this advice with your friends by using the share button on this article. If you need further guidance, Rouken Glen Vets’ nursing team will be happy to help.

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Finding the right rabbit sitter

Ask for recommendations

Start by asking for recommendations from other rabbit owners, friends, or family members who have had experience with rabbit sitters. You can also check with local rabbit rescue organisations, as they may have a list of reputable pet sitters. Our team at Rouken Glen Vets know of several local pet sitters who have helped pets in the East Renfrewshire area so don’t hesitate to contact us.

Look for a pet sitter with rabbit experience

When searching for a holiday sitter for your rabbit, look for someone who has experience with rabbits. Rabbits have unique needs and require specialist care, so it’s essential to find a pet sitter who has experience handling them. This will ensure that your rabbit receives the proper care and attention they need while you’re away.

Meet the sitter in person

Before hiring a pet sitter, Karen believes that it’s essential to meet them in person to discuss your rabbit’s care needs and ensure that they’re a good fit. This will also give you a chance to observe how they interact with your rabbit and address any concerns you may have.

Ask for references

Ask the pet sitter for references from previous clients in East Renfrewshire. This will give you an idea of their experience and the quality of care they provide. Be sure to follow up with these references and ask about their experience with the sitter.

Consider the cost

The cost of pet sitting can vary depending on location, experience, and the services provided. Consider your budget when choosing a holiday sitter for your rabbit. However, keep in mind that cheaper isn’t always better. You want to ensure that your rabbit is receiving proper care and attention, even if it means paying a little more.

Check for insurance

Ensure that the pet sitter you choose is insured. This will protect you in the event of any accidents or damages that may occur whilst your pet is under their care.

In conclusion, finding the right holiday sitter for your rabbit requires careful consideration and research. With these tips, you’ll be able to find the perfect sitter for your beloved pet and enjoy your holiday worry-free. Contact our nursing team if you have any further questions on choosing the perfect rabbit sitter in East Renfrewshire.

Contact our nursing team

Rouken Glen Vets’ nurses explain signs of stress in small furry pets

Guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, otherwise known as ‘small furries’ are common pets in many UK homes. These cute little creatures can be bundles of fun and soon become a loved part of the family, but did you know that your small furry can suffer from anxiety just like a dog or cat? The signs may not always be obvious, but as a responsible pet owner it helps to know what to look out for.

This month includes Pet Anxiety Week so the nursing team at Rouken Glen Vets in East Renfrewshire want to give you the lowdown on how signs of anxiety present in small furries and the best course of action to take if you notice them.

Tell-tale signs of anxiety in small furries

The most common signs of anxiety appear in similar ways across most types of small furry pet, including guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils and rabbits, and tend to be behavioural or body language changes. According to Rouken Glen Vets’ Head Nurse Karen, these include:

  • Repetitive behaviour such as circling
  • Biting at the cage bars
  • Overgrooming
  • Baring teeth and excessive vocalisation
  • Sitting hunched
  • Biting owners when being handled – not all small furries like to be picked up
  • Looking nervous/tense/jumpy with bulging eyes (guinea pigs and rabbits)
  • Frequent yawning and tossing of head (guinea pigs)
  • Freezing/not moving/shaking/vibrating (guinea pigs and rabbits)
  • Aggression and irritation towards other rabbits or guinea pigs
  • Thumping their feet (rabbits)

The following signs below can also indicate anxiety but can in some cases also be caused by a medical problem. If you notice these signs, we advise you to call us to make an appointment at our Rouken Glen Road, East Lodge, Glasgow, G46 7JZ practice on 0141 620 2580 to get your pet checked. These are:

  • Spending more time sleeping and/or hiding
  • Hair loss and bald patches
  • Changes in eating/drinking habits including loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

Contact us if you spot these signs

What to do if you spot signs of anxiety

1. Update their living space

In many cases you can help your small furry feel less anxious by making some environmental changes to their living space. Our Giffnock vet nurses recommend that you ensure your pet has enough space to explore and move around freely, plenty of layers, levels and toys to investigate, and opportunities to express their natural behaviours like nest making for example, so they have somewhere safe to hide.

2. Keep larger pets away

Small furries are prey animals, so it is important you keep them out of sight and reach of other larger pets you may have at home such as cats and dogs, as this can make them fearful and anxious.

3. Gentle handling

Handling your hamster or guinea pig or rabbit is an important part of bonding with your pet, and although most don’t mind being picked up, constant or rough handling may be detrimental to their wellbeing so it is important to bear this in mind. Our nurses will be happy to show you how to handle your pet correctly, a skill which can be especially helpful for children – get in touch if you’d like help with this.

4. Get them a companion

Loneliness can induce sadness and anxiety in sociable animals like rabbits and guinea pigs who naturally form groups, so it is not recommended that these species are housed alone. However, in some social groups another rabbit or guinea pig can become aggressive and bully another, so it is important to find a suitable companion, have them neutered if recommended, and introduce them slowly. Hamsters on the other hand tend to prefer to live on their own (depending on the breed) so they may not cope well with a cage mate. Karen advises that you should research your type of hamster and provide more stimuli in their cage.

If you have tried to reduce stress by making changes such as enriching your small furry pet’s environment or finding them a companion, and they are still showing any of the signs listed above, please get in touch for more advice as your pet may need a health check.

Contact us to book a hamster health check

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