Rabbits at risk in Claygate gardens this spring

March 21, 2023

With gardens across Claygate and the wider Surrey area coming alive this spring, you might be wondering if now is a good time to let your rabbits explore outdoors.

Most rabbits will love to roam free in the garden and outdoor exercise is highly recommended to keep them healthy – but be aware of possible hazards, as our team at Claygate Vets explain below.

Before we dig in, as the seasons change in Surrey, it’s a good idea to get your pets checked over by a vet to make sure they are fit and healthy and so potential health problems can be caught early. Book a rabbit check-up today.

Book a rabbit check-up

Rabbit risks in your garden

According to our Head Vet and the rest of the vets at our Claygate surgery, there could be risks to your rabbits in all corners of your garden. For example, some plants can be poisonous to rabbits – we have listed some common ones below. There may also be spots where predators could enter, or your rabbit could wander off into the great unknown.

And, of course, there are invisible dangers like life-threatening viral diseases that can be caught from fleas and other biting insects – have your heard of Myxomatosis and Rabbit Viral Haemorrhage Disease (R-VHD)? This is why it’s so important to keep your rabbits’ vaccinations up to date – book a rabbit vaccination now.

10 actions to reduce risks in your garden for your rabbits

Before you let your rabbits hop out of their hutch, check out our garden safety tips below, and if you have any more questions feel free to ask our team.

Taking some simple precautions can make your garden safer and keep predators like foxes, cats, and dogs at a safe distance. You also want to make sure your rabbits can’t run off, of course!

  1. Set aside a specific area of the garden for your rabbits; it’ll be easier to monitor them
  2. Make sure your fence is at least four feet high.
  3. Put wire mesh underneath fences and bushes to a depth of 30cm (to prevent digging).
  4. Check regularly for escape holes.
  5. Never use weed killers, pesticides, insecticides, particle fertilisers, or slug pellets anywhere near your rabbits’ grazing area.
  6. Never leave your rabbits unsheltered from the weather. If their hutch is outdoors, make sure it’s not in direct sunlight which can get hot, even in spring.
  7. Never leave your rabbits unattended whilst outdoors.
  8. If you feel there could still be dangers after implementing the above, we recommend creating a large, enclosed outdoor run so your rabbits can enjoy some freedom outdoors, whilst you have peace of mind they’re protected.
  9. Remove any plants from your rabbits’ grazing area that are toxic to them – see below.
  10. Groom your rabbit when they come indoors to check for fleas, flies, and anything else of concern.

Plants that are poisonous for rabbits

Sadly, some of the prettiest plants found in gardens across Surrey are the most damaging if eaten by a rabbit. If you suspect your pet has eaten a poisonous plant, contact us immediately for advice.

Common plants that are toxic to rabbits include:

  • Azalea
  • Buttercups
  • Deadly nightshade
  • Foxglove
  • Geranium
  • Horsetail
  • Ivy
  • Most bulb plants (including daffodils)
  • Poppies
  • Yew tree
  • Rhubarb and tomato plants

There are many apps for identifying plants and plenty of resources online to find out if they are problematic – search for ‘plants that are toxic to rabbits’. If you need any help with this or have concerns, contact us and our Claygate team will be happy to help.

We hope you found our article on garden safety for rabbits helpful. Remember to get your pets checked over, vaccinated, and ready for the warmer months ahead.

Book a rabbit check-up or vaccination

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