Knowing their needs

Before bringing pets home, it is important to have ample knowledge on the do’s and don’ts of their needs and demands

Why is my rabbit shivering?

A rabbit shaking or trembling is a most common behaviour that owners come across that leaves many nervous, because it seems unusual. Rabbits may shiver when in pain. Unwell rabbits will also struggle to maintain their body temperature and hypothermia can set in quickly, even when the ambient temperature is not that cold.

Rabbits do not take heat very well; they can endure cold, but heat really gets to them. A temperature of 26º C (80º F) or more will cause them distress. High temperatures will make rabbits shake.

Bring down the heat in the room and leave a frozen water bag or a damp sheet or pillow near them. If heat is the cause, the rabbit will meet the cold surface and start feeling better.

When scared, it is quite normal for rabbits to start shaking. You will notice that they are frightened due to their body language; their nose will vibrate in such situations.

There are many different reasons why a rabbit could get frightened. It could be due to trauma or a change of surroundings. When you get a new rabbit home, they might miss their earlier environment at the pet store or the farm. They might even miss their mother or siblings. Sometimes, a rabbit that's used to being alone may not respond well to another in close confines and may get frightened with new company. All these situations make the rabbit shake and even spray urine.

With long-haired rabbits it can be difficult to decipher if the rabbit is really shaking its whole body or if it is just having a hiccup episode. Touch the rabbit all over on its stomach, nose, ears and back to diagnose the problem. They breathe fast, so you must be able to recognise their normal breathing pattern.

Can dogs have ice cream?

The first problem with ice cream is that dogs' bodies are not designed to digest milk after they are weaned, as puppies. Since ice cream is made with milk, feeding your dog ice cream could lead to gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, or vomiting.

The second problem with ice cream is that it is loaded with sugar, and feeding your dog sugary foods can lead to weight gain, which can lead to other health problems. Even if the ice cream says it's sugarless, you need to be careful to read the label to make sure that no xylitolis used, as this sweetener is extremely toxic to dogs.

The final problem with ice cream is that some flavours may actually be dangerous for dogs. Chocolate, for example, can be toxic for dogs because their bodies cannot efficiently process a component of the chocolate: theobromine.While not a major danger if given in small amounts as a treat, for dogs with obesity, diabetes, allergies or dairy intolerance, ice cream could be a big problem.

If you want to give your dog a summer treat, froze yogurt might be a better choice. Because yogurt is fermented, it contains less lactose, so it is easier for dogs to digest. Don't feed your dog a commercial frozen yogurt, since it will be loaded with sugar. Instead, make the yoghurt at home, and put it in your freezer at home. Although yogurt is easier for dogs to digest, not all canines can tolerate it.

(Views expressed and information provided are personal. Send your questions to

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