Bobby's in PDSA Fit Club!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

I can finally announce it - my Bunny, Bobby has been selected for the exclusive UK nationwide competition: PDSA's Fit Club 2012!


What does this mean?  It means my four year old lady bunny, Bobby, gets to be closely monitored and guided by a PSDA team including head vets and nurses, to help her lose her chubbies and become a fitter, healthier rabbit.

It all started when I saw on the PDSA website that they were appealing for applicants to enter their fat pets into the infamous Pet Fit Club.

I knew one of my rabbits had definitely piled on the pounds.  Bobby is a Dwarf Lop breed (or possibly a mini??), a doe (female) and 'intact' at that, which means not only is she a highly hormonal lady she has accumulated a tubby belly and a voluptuous dew lap.  She doesn't appreciate the athletic life led by rabbit neighbour, Lucy, who loves nothing more than to bound around 'their bedroom' and play and instead she prefers to lie about and wallow like a hippo in mud.

The main reason why I wanted to enter Bobby is because she's fat, and rabbits and fat don't mix.  I've spent 20 years of my life dedicated to the enjoyment of owning guinea pigs (never bred) and until a friend gave me Bobby as a surprise present, rabbits never entered my head.  Because of this, I had no clue about owning a rabbit and have found the first four years of Bobby's life an immense learning curve.  I've since learnt that, unlike guinea pigs, rabbits are prone to heart disease exactly like us humans, which is why I found it frightening to have Bobby living with the threat of very serious conditions.

Then there's the matter of *poops*.  Whether a nice topic or not, in essence rabbits need to eat their soft poops, called caecatrophs, to live normally.  Vitamins that are not processed first time round need to be re-ingested, and a rabbit with a HUGE dew lap like Bobby's, is not able to reach their bottom to get to these poops.  This means an obese rabbit is missing out on vital vitamins.  This pretty much scares me too.

Rabbits are the 3rd most popular pet in the UK today yet we as a nation are not meeting their needs and putting our bunny friends lives at risk.

Another important reason why I wanted myself and Bobby to be part of PDSA's Fit Club is that I want to make an example of myself and get rabbit owners to listen up.  I have been a pioneer (or preacher?) of the proper care of small furries and from 2001 to 2011 I ran a hugely successful website for the proper care of guinea pigs.  I had people asking me every single day how to look after their guinea pig, help them find out what is wrong with their ill guinea pig and I actively promoted how to look after a guinea pig the proper way.  I am someone who should know better, yet I am still someone who has a fat rabbit.  It 'happens' to anyone, regardless of age or class.  What is important is that the facts are realised; of obesity in not just our dogs and cats but our very much loved rabbits too.  It is a lesson to be learned that if we have pet rabbits, we should not be confining them to life within a small hutch that is their home.  Rabbits not only need a good healthy diet consisting of good quality pellets/nuggets, tonnes of quality hay, fresh water and juicy greens, but regular access to freedom.  You wouldn't confine a dog or cat to a box 24/7 so why a rabbit?  I feed all my guinea pigs and rabbits a good diet but this is admittedly my failing.  Because Lucy and Bobby don't live together, and Lucy is the livelier of the two, she gets to be out of her cage all day and Bobby only comes out for shorter times elsewhere in the house.  I've known this isn't good enough and wanted to find a way of breaking the cycle and developing a better exercise plan, which was why I turned to the PDSA's Fit Club.

I'm looking forward to getting Bobby down to a healthy weight and size.  Check back for regular updates on Bobby's progress!  For more info on Bobby and the other Pet Fit Club participants check out

Becky x


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