Stop family from feeding my bunny

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Hermelin

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I’m starting to worry about my indoor bunny for getting larger and going up in weight.

My bunny Odin weight:

6 months: 450 grams
1 year: 500 grams

Odin stayed steady at 500 grams with his hay, a small tablespoon pellets with little treats every week and veggies/leafy greens.

Moved back home when my bunny was 1 year old.

2 years: 700 grams and steadily going up.

Last time I weight him he had gone up 20 grams.

I’ve taken out pellets from his diet and he only get hay. Sometimes I give him a treat but only when it can be in stressful situation like people coming over, outdoors, clipping his claws and so on. But I give him treats that have low fat, a lot of fiber those are store bought for bunnies but I also give leafy greens as treats.

The problem it’s that my dad keep on feeding him everyday with carrots, hard bread, rice, pasta and so on. Even when I tell him not to feed, take away Odins treats and tell my dad how much he’s allowed to eat and have during a day. My dad still give my bunny more.

I even said that only leafy greens are allowed yet, I can run into my bunny eating rice...

Odins droppings are filled with hay and are big healthy droppings. At least he keep on eating his hay. But a steady weight rise it’s not healthy for him.

I’m even planning to make him and outdoor rabbit to just make sure he stay healthy. But Odin hates cold and wet weather. He love cuddling up under the blanket and always sleep next to the heating element. So I would feel really bad for him having to live outdoor.

I truly need help on how to stop my dad from giving food to Odin.

Because I start to worry for his health and I’m going to live at home for 2 more years until my studies are done.

I can’t move away from home before I’m done with my studies, because I can’t handle the stress with university and work so you can pay the rent. I already tried 1 year, ended up with always having stomachache, headache and being totally exhausted because of the stress that accumulated. Took 6 months to bounce back and to at least have the energy to study. But I still get periods when I physically and mentally collapse, struggling with not sleeping all day and having to stay awake.

So I truly need tips on how to stop my dad to not feed Odin. Until he get to a healthy weight again.

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Frankie9

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Odin is very sweet!

What breed of rabbit is he? I'm just curious because 700g seems extremely small and a very low weight for a rabbit. I took my rabbit to the vet yesterday for his annual vaccinations and he weighed 2740g. I even asked her is he overweight and she said no.

With regard to your family feeding your rabbit, is there a way that you could find and share with them a list of foods that Odin can and should not eat? I would imagine pasta and bread to be among foods that rabbits should not eat! I will try and find a list for you and post it here.

With regard to moving him outside, I wouldn't recommend that. Moving a rabbit outside when it has been an indoor bunny all its life can cause them to die! They simply cannot cope with the cold.
 

Hermelin

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Odin is very sweet!

What breed of rabbit is he? I'm just curious because 700g seems extremely small and a very low weight for a rabbit. I took my rabbit to the vet yesterday for his annual vaccinations and he weighed 2740g. I even asked her is he overweight and she said no.
Odin is a runt netherland dwarf, so he was tiny as a kit. Had him since he was 8 weeks old and always kept a close eye on his weight and how he feels.

At 3 months he weighed 240 grams so he was really tiny.

Myself have already told my parents what they can feed and what they can’t but they still feed him hard bread.
 

Niomi

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Very cute rabbit! Parents are hard to control when you live with them. You might try printing off information from the internet on feeding rabbits and how giving them the wrong foods can mess with their digestive system, and the problems of overweight pets. Maybe if you can provide them with printed facts that they can read themselves it might help. You could also try taking him to the vet and ask the vet to print out diet instructions. Have approved rabbit snacks ready so that your dad doesn't have an excuse to give him the wrong foods. You could also try teaching your rabbit an easy tricks like, sit up. Then have your dad make your rabbit do his tricks first, to make bonding with your rabbit more fun, and your dad can focus more on the trick than the food. My parents grew up in a time when people didn't buy food for pets, they fed them left overs from their meals. They believed that it was a shame to throw away food when it could be fed to an animal. Ask your dad why he does what he does. Understanding why he does it may help you know how to better approach the problem. Good luck.
 

Hermelin

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I’m taking all my bunnies to the veterinarian so they get all their vaccines and two of them are going to get chip.

But I’m not going to rabbit savy veterinarians. They are focusing on cats and not bunnies, so don’t know if they can truly see how much he should weight. Also for him being small many vets have judged him as a kit and not a fully grown netherland dwarf. Even a breeder of netherland dwarf that worked at the vet to take care of the vet though he was a kit less than 6 months old :/

My bunny know tricks but he have mastered begging, which makes my parents think he’s starving all the time.

Odin will often jump up on my dads foot and sit there while begging. While my mom will often pick him up and he will give her kisses. So Odin associate dad with food and mom it’s food and cuddles.

Odin get really clingy on my parents during meal time, but when I or my brother eat. He will sit in his litter box and eat hay. Because he will always eat something if you also are eating.

I will print out and make an okay for Odin and have a treat jar.

I’m planning to buy dried herbs/ leafy greens that my parents can give as treat to Odin during the day.
 

Niomi

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Maybe the vet can put on paper what his ideal weight should be so that your family can see that he is overweight. You could weigh him often and post his weight where they can see it. I use a baby scale to weigh my rabbits. Maybe you could make a new rule that your rabbit can't be around during meal times. You are concerned about your rabbits' health and ask your family to respect your feelings. I do know of someone who told me about a rabbit they used to have. They never bought food for him. He ate what they ate, hamburgers, ice cream etc. They talked as if their rabbit was just fine that way. Their rabbit died at 5 years old because the neighbors' dog killed it. I think it is possible that animals can do fine on the wrong food if they get can used to it, although I doubt that they live as long. Herbie is my netherland dwarf in my picture. I got him when he was 4 years old. He weighed 3 pounds and 15 ounces. His owner gave him to me because her children moved and he wasn't getting enough attention. His butt was covered in poop because he never ate his morning fecal. His poop was always mushy. She gave me yogurt drops and three other bags of treats. She said he loved to sit on her lap while she petted him. She said he would be happy to sit there all day as long as she gave him treats, and I believe she gave him plenty. I changed his diet and he now weights 3 pounds and 5 ounces, and he has a lot more energy than when I got him. I guess what I am trying to say is that there is a good chance that your rabbit will live through the situation he is in until you can be in a position to move out.
 

Hermelin

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Thanks for the replies, my dad recently bought a small kitchen scale just for Odin so I can weigh him.

I will have to see if he will lose weight and if my parents follow what I have told them.
 

Imbrium

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When an adorable animal begs, it can be SO hard to say no! You feel like you're showing them love by sharing a nibble of your food with them, you know? It took me a long time to train my husband to only give small amounts of table scraps to our cats and only foods that are safe and appropriate for them.

Odin is freaking TINY. I have trouble even wrapping my head around the idea of an adult rabbit who is overweight at 1.5 lbs... however, if 500g (1.1 lbs) is a healthy weight for him then he's extremely obese at his current weight. Since he should be fed fruits and non-leafy greens in amounts based on his ideal (rather than current) weight, that means 0.5 tsp fruit and 0.5 tbsp non-leafy greens a day - even cut into tiny pieces, that doesn't amount to many treat-feeding opportunities for your dad :(.

My suggestion? You said he gets 1 tbsp of pellets a day... put those pellets in a little zip-lock baggie, give it to your dad and tell him to keep the pellets in his pocket. Whenever Odin suckers your dad into coughing up a treat, your dad can hand feed him 1-2 pellets instead of people food. That would probably satisfy your dad's urge to show his love with food (and help them continue to bond) while still keeping Odin on a healthy diet and helping him to maintain a good weight.
 

Niomi

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I fostered a netherland dwarf that was 1 pound 7 ounces, but she wasn't overweight. It is hard to picture a smaller rabbit, but I believe it does happen. I wonder if this rabbit could be one for the Guinness Book of World Records?
 

Imbrium

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Quite true, Niomi... a cursory Google search says that 'normal' weight for an adult netherland dwarf is 1.1–2.5 pounds... but while 1.5 is NOT necessarily 'overweight' or even close for the breed (some Nethies might even be underweight at 1.5 lbs), it's still significantly more than the 500g that was normal for Odin before he started pigging out on 'junk' foods. Taking his 'runt' bone structure into account, I still suspect he's overweight.

Anyway, overweight or not, it's not healthy for ANY rabbit to be eating rice and other carb-loaded grains. A fact I forgot to point out that you can share with your dad is that rabbits are quite prone to diabetes because their bodies are designed to thrive on a very low carb/high fiber diet. For both humans and rabbits, risk factors for diabetes include both obesity AND high carb intake. For those of you who may not know, diabetes is NOT just about sugar! It's about carb intake in general because complex carbs like pasta, rice, bread, crackers, etc. break down into sugars. As a diabetic myself, I'm far too familiar with this fact >.>

I'm sorry you're struggling so much to get your dad to quit overfeeding Odin. It can be frustrating that there's only so much you can do to control a situation when you're living under your parents' roof. As I said before, I still think your best shot is to train your dad to use pellets as treats rather than trying to get him to stop giving treats entirely.
 

Hermelin

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Thanks, I will have to see if Odin will start eating his pellets again. He have been so spoiled that he often refuse his pellets and beg for other treats.

I really never understood how small he was as a kit. Because he was the first bunny I ever bought from a breeder and also as a kit. Also he was my first bunny after 10 years of not owning a bunny. The rest of my bunnies have always been adopted or rehome bunnies.

So my concept of bunnies sizes got extremely warped because of him in the beginning. Even my family concept of bunnies got haywire. Thinking holland lops was big bunnies [emoji23]

Just yesterday when I was cleaning the kitchen cabinet, Odin tried to chew through an unopened package of pasta. Every time he hear the rice bucket opening he will try to jump into the uncooked rice and eat.

I have distracted my dad with feeding/ give treats to my other bunny that have trouble keeping the weight up. She easily lose weight. Also she’s a lot bigger than Odin. So the treats he always give to Odin goes to her instead. She’s a french lop so the amount of treats, she can handle better than a Netherland Dwarf like Odin.

How Odin often look like when he ask for treats.
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Baby Odin at 8 weeks:
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Hermelin

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He got a lot of pratice to perfect his begging. Often when he does that towards me I just pick him up and give him kisses. He will always give kisses back and then I let him down again.
Distracting myself from giving into him.

Bunnies are just born to be spoiled [emoji5]
 

April LD

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Odin is a cutie! Love his compact size. All my are 4 pounds and up. Haven't held a tiny bun since they were babies...so sweet.
 

Hermelin

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I also love the compact size he have but I love his personality more.

He’s also the easiest bunny to take pictures on compared with my other two bunnies. The camera just love him compared with my other bunnies [emoji23]

I just wish he can be in a healthy weight for his size, because I have noticed he have trouble cleaning himself. Often tipping over while licking himself and he no longer jump up on furnitures. But at least he still binkys and play around. His weight have started to restrict him and he loved before to climb up on furnitures and sit on the windowsill looking outside or high up on the couch.

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Hermelin

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Odin have steadily gone up to 770 grams. Feel like he go up 150 gram/ year :/

Truly hard making my parents stop feeding him. They point at eachother and blame the other for feeding Odin...
 

JenGibs

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Odin have steadily gone up to 770 grams. Feel like he go up 150 gram/ year :/

Truly hard making my parents stop feeding him. They point at eachother and blame the other for feeding Odin...
Its hard to be mad at bunny grandparents for loving him like this. I think it is great they they love him that much. I know it bothers you but a lot of us wish our parents would love their grandbuns.
Even as a runt, it still seems that his weight is VERY low. I have had bunnies tip over while grooming but not because of weight. How old is he? I just can’t believe that TINY amount of pellets is enough. He is super cute and it would be hard to say no to him. I just think you are way too worried about his weight. What does the vet say? Do they think he is overweight? You need to find a bunny savvy vet for sure. I have to drive over 2 hours to mine but it is so much better since they know bunnies!
 

Hermelin

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Its hard to be mad at bunny grandparents for loving him like this. I think it is great they they love him that much. I know it bothers you but a lot of us wish our parents would love their grandbuns.
Even as a runt, it still seems that his weight is VERY low. I have had bunnies tip over while grooming but not because of weight. How old is he? I just can’t believe that TINY amount of pellets is enough. He is super cute and it would be hard to say no to him. I just think you are way too worried about his weight. What does the vet say? Do they think he is overweight? You need to find a bunny savvy vet for sure. I have to drive over 2 hours to mine but it is so much better since they know bunnies!
He’s 2,5 years old, if he get more pellets he will leave the pellets in the bowl. Only eating one tablespoon of pellets will make him stuffed and he will sleep after eating.

So it’s perfect amount of pellets for him and he also gets veggies now daily.

The steady going up in weight had made him stop jumping up onto things like he always did before. Jumping up on the couch have become a trouble for him and I need to clean his scent glands.

Never taken him to a rabbit savy veterinarian, only when he got GI stasis. It cost a lot of money taking them to the savy vet and I have 2 other bunnies also. So I only go there when they get sick. I only need to drive 45 min to get to the savy vet and they are open 24/7. But I don’t have the economy for it.
 

JenGibs

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He’s 2,5 years old, if he get more pellets he will leave the pellets in the bowl. Only eating one tablespoon of pellets will make him stuffed and he will sleep after eating.

So it’s perfect amount of pellets for him and he also gets veggies now daily.

The steady going up in weight had made him stop jumping up onto things like he always did before. Jumping up on the couch have become a trouble for him and I need to clean his scent glands.

Never taken him to a rabbit savy veterinarian, only when he got GI stasis. It cost a lot of money taking them to the savy vet and I have 2 other bunnies also. So I only go there when they get sick. I only need to drive 45 min to get to the savy vet and they are open 24/7. But I don’t have the economy for it.
Maybe he will stable out over time. My buns will go to the pellets as if they have never eaten in their lives, eat for a few minutes, go chill, come back and eat for a few minutes and so on. After 30-45 minutes I take up what is left so now I have a good idea of how much they eat of them.
Oh, I hear ya! Bun vets are $$$$ and mine have broken the bank a time or two but I also know if there is an issue, the regular vets are wrong about 90% of the time which makes me have to pay them only to turn around and pay for the bun vet anyway.
I will say that I communicate with my Georgia chapter of House Rabbit Society all the time and they are a huge help- just over the phone. They know my bunnies now and I have the “bunny medical kit” that I learned to put together over time that covers medicines, injury supplies, grooming tools, etc. The bun vet also knows my bunnies and I have his personal cell phone number since I live so far away. I have the personal cell of a local vet too and she trained in exotics but she is awesome enough that if she is not sure of her diagnosis, she will reach out to a colleague to discuss. She is local and fantastic. I am able to reach out to GHRS or the vets at the first sign of something being off and most of the time we can resolve it without a visit. If they weren’t so kind to us, there is just no way I could financially manage all their medical stuff. The vets are great in that they will offer me medicines or supplies that are set to expire shortly for a discounted rate (since I need it right then) and we try a lot of the care at home first while I stay in contact with them. I do have one that has been medically fragile since birth and I have medical insurance on her because of the cost to keep her healthy and issue free. She also has some neurological stuff too.
These little guys sure keep us on our toes! I learned over the years of rescue work I have been a part of to learn your local or state rescues and they are really a huge community of family and support. I am so grateful to have the connections I have and the support structure. But I worked at it to get to this point. Maybe you can get to know some of your people too so you can have some additional support in times like this.
 
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