allergic-reaction

Allergic to Your Rabbit? How to Keep Your Home Allergen-Free

It’s a new pet owners worst nightmare: you get your rabbit home, place it in its wonderful new living environment with a feast of fresh hay…only to suddenly start itching and sneezing. If this has happened to you, you’re probably allergic to your rabbit.

While being allergic to your pet might be a shock, it’s actually not uncommon. It’s estimated that 15% of people have some sort of allergies to animals. Whether you do or not is largely dependent on whether your parents were also allergic.

So what causes an allergy? Contrary to what most people think, allergies are not caused by rabbit hair. Instead, they are actually a reaction to dander from the rabbit’s skin or even its saliva. While you might thing your reactions get worse after your rabbit grooms, this is because it is spreading the saliva over its body, which is then more likely to come into contact with your eyes and nose after you stroke him/her.

The good news is that you don’t need to give your rabbit up (unless your extremely allergic). In most cases, by following a few simple steps you can reduce the effect it has on your life.

How to Reduce Rabbit Allergy Symptoms

  1. Buy a cordless vacuum cleaner and clean EVERYWHERE in your home. The reason I recommend a cordless vacuum is because many come with handheld detachments. These can be used to get rid of pet dander that might settle on of bookcases or other furniture. Just make sure you buy a cordless vacuum with plenty of battery life, otherwise you’ll constantly need to recharge it. It’s also a good idea to buy a cordless vacuum with a pet hair attachment, as dander can sometimes stick to the hair.
  2. Groom your rabbit on a regular basis. I recommend at least five minutes each day. If possible, get someone in the household to groom the rabbit if you’re allergic. This will reduce the amount of dander escaping into your home.
  3. Make sure your bedroom is a rabbit-free zone. There’s nothing worse than feeling you constantly have a cold when trying to sleep.
  4. After you’ve handled your rabbit, wash your hands thoroughly immediately after, making sure you don’t touch your eyes. Also avoid holding the rabbit close to your face.

A rabbit allergy can be an annoying problem, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to get rid of your pet. With some common sense and a bit of extra work, you can greatly reduce how bad your reactions are.

You might also be wondering whether being allergic to a rabbit means you’ll react the same to all animals. This isn’t usually the case, as allergic reactions are caused by your immune system which can vary depending on the animal. So just because you’re allergic to rabbits doesn’t mean you’ll start sneezing around dogs or cats (although you might).

How to Choose a Lawn mower

How to Choose a Lawnmower (if Your Rabbit isn’t Up to the Job!)

Rabbits make great lawnmowers – but unless you have a horde of them they probably won’t get the entire job done evenly! I’ve had several requests for a post about how to choose a lawnmower, so I thought it was about time I got around to it.

Please note: it can be bad for rabbits to eat freshly cut grass, as the clippings are affected by the blades in a way that isn’t good for their digestive system.

Choose a Power Type

Lawnmowers can be classed in several different ways:

  • Rotary lawnmowers are the most versatile, as they can cut grass on uneven surfaces. They are probably the best for the average family home.
  • Cordless lawnmowers, such as this Bosch battery lawn mower, are becoming more and more popular as battery technology improves. They can also be powered by petrol if you need a stronger engine.
  • Cylinder lawnmowers are a great choice if your lawn is kept short and on an even surface.
  • However lawnmowers move just above your grass, which makes them easier to push and better for people with disabilities.

Your Garden Size

It’s probably not a surprise to hear that the size of your garden is probably the biggest factor when choosing a lawnmower. Small gardens can be well-serviced by battery models. But for medium or large options, you’ll at least want to consider getting a more powerful petrol model.

Other Tips

  • Many lawnmowers need to be pushed. More expensive options, however, may be self-propelled. While this probably isn’t necessary for small gardens, it can be a relief to not be required to push your lawnmower around a large area of grass.
  • Do you like the striped effect you see on football pitches and ornamental lawns? For this, you’ll need a roller on the back of the machine to flatten the grass in the direction you’re moving.
  • The capacity of the mower is also important. If it’s too small, you’ll need to stop an empty it which can be annoying.

So there you have it – a brief guide to choosing a lawn mower. If you have any questions, just ask!

Rabbit with easter eggs

Why You Should Adopt a Rabbit Instead of Buy

Rabbits make fantastic, loving pets – which is part of the reason why it’s so heartbreaking to see them treated cruelly on farms (just to clarify though, I definitely don’t believe only “cute and fluffy” animals deserve to be protected). But the UK is overrun with abandoned rabbits, so it doesn’t make sense to buy from a shop. Instead, look for local shelters and save a bunny from almost certainly being put down.

Why Adopt?

One of the reasons people are put off buying a rescue rabbit is that they think they’ll have less choice. This might be true with dogs, where many rescue dogs are pitbull-type breeds, but fortunately isn’t the case with rabbits. Shelters have a range of breeds, ages and sizes, so you’ll almost always be able a pet that suits your requirements.

Another great thing about a rescue shelter is that many have previous experience living in a home environment. While you should always expect a settling in period, adopting a pet that’s already used to interacting with humans can make things a lot easier. You shouldn’t assume that shelter rabbits have personality problems either – it’s very common for people to give away a rabbit simply because they don’t want it anymore.

Additionally, most shelters will provide aftercare and advice. It’s great to be able to talk to a knowledgeable person about your new rabbit, which many pet shops don’t provide. You may also be able to find rabbits in pairs that have already become closely bonded, which can make the first few weeks easier.

What’s Wrong with Breeders and Pet Shops?

There’s nothing inherently wrong with breeders, but there are a lot of unethical ones out there. These breeders keep rabbits in poor-quality conditions and won’t hesitate to get a rabbit continously pregnant just to make more money.

It’s true that there are some excellent breeders out there. The problem is that the UK already has far too many rabbits as it is – and they are only adding to the population.

Pet shops rarely breed rabbits themselves, but instead buy from breeders. So buying from shops is just perpetuating the same problems. Shops also tend to sell very poor quality equipment, with hutches that are too small for a rabbit to live in comfortably. For this reason, make sure you talk to an expert at a shelter before you invest in a hutch.

Save a Life

But in my opinion the best reason for adopting a rabbit is that you’re almost certainly saving its life. It is estimated by SaveaFluff.co.uk that there are over 30,000 rabbits currently in shelter. The majority of rabbits will never be re-homed, at least as long as breeders (both ethical and not) keep churning out new rabbit babies, which means most will need to be put down. With so many wonderful rabbits available that need a home, there really is no reason to buy from a pet shop.

If you want more information about why so many rabbits end up in shelters, check out the video below. It’s from the US, but much of the information still applies:

Angora Rabbit

Angora Rabbit Fur – What’s the Big Deal?

“Don’t close your eyes. Don’t look away.”

I believe the above quote has never been more true than when talking about rabbit fur. Especially Angora fur, which until a few years ago (and possibly still today) were routinely having their fur ripped from them while they were still alive.

There have been some truly shocking videos released by PETA over the years, but the following is definitely not one to watch if you’re faint hearted. It shows a rabbit screaming in pain as its fur is ripped from its skin, leaving huge bald patches and almost immeasurable pain.

All this, just so people can have a nice soft coat without spending too much? It really is shocking. At the time of the video being released, plenty of retailers including Boden, Primark and Topshop stopped ordering from the company – but THEY were directly responsible in the first place. If they weren’t so focused on squeezing every penny out of their clothing ranges, they never would have bought the fur from China in the first place.

Back in 2013, the Guardian asked “is it possible to farm these rabbits commercially and be kind to them?”

It’s an interesting question. There are certainly ways to keep the rabbits better. Just giving them more space and treating them like the living, breathing, pain-feeling animals they are would be a good start!

But a better question is “should rabbits be farmed for fur at all?”

The Guardian points out that Angora rabbits need to have fur removed to avoid getting too hot. This is true – and on a small scale, it could be possible to produce fur commercially without causing pain or suffering.

I’m talking about responsible owners who remove fur out of necessity and sell it though. These people brush the wool free from the rabbit, so it comes out naturally without pain. Scissors or clippers are other options, although I don’t know how much rabbits would like the sound of a shaver.

But is this really practical? In my opinion: no.

There is no way Primark is going to spend the money to buy ethically farmed fur from pet owners. It’s simply not possible to get the quantity they need at a reasonable amount.

And as the rabbits get older they produce less fur – and we all know what happens to most animals on farms when they are no longer useful.