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20th April 2011

Bumper Thumpers

Petplan reveals that Easter sees a spike in pet rabbits

Parents appear to be giving in to pester power by buying their children their very own live Easter Bunny. Leading into Easter, Petplan, the UK's favourite pet insurer, has seen an 11 per cent increase in the number of rabbits they are insuring*.

Carl Stephens, Petplan's Communications Manager commented: "We always see a rise in the number of people insuring their rabbits this time of year as they are obviously front of mind, whilst being a pet which can be easily trained, is low maintenance and great for kids!"

He continued: "If you are going to buy a rabbit this Easter, make sure that you're properly equipped with the right food and housing for it before you bring it home. Most importantly, remember that a rabbit is not just for Easter – it's for life."

Last month, results from the Petplan Pet Census** found that nearly two thirds of owners believe that their rabbit understands what they say when they speak to it, which is an indication of their sometimes underestimated intelligence. Further insight into the attitudes and habits of rabbit owners showed that almost half of pets were bought from pet stores with 98 per cent costing under £100, making them not only cute and cuddly but affordable too.

Petplan has also found that unlike cat and dog owners, who are increasingly giving their pets popular baby names, rabbit owners are staying true to form and sticking with favourite pet names such as Thumper, Flopsy, Fudge, Fluffy, Smudge and Daisy, which was the most popular rabbit name in 2010.

There are an estimated one million rabbits kept domestically***, making them the third most popular pets behind dogs and cats.

Petplan's Vet of the Year for 2011, Alison Laurie, shares her top tips for looking after rabbits.

What Why
Yearly vaccinations Rabbits are susceptible to getting diseases such as myxomatosis so vaccinations play a big role in their well-being and gives your vet a chance to check our rabbits teeth and general condition.
Secure hutch Rabbits have little to defend themselves against predators so it’s important that they are carefully supervised if left in the backyard for a hop around and never leave them out all night.
Desexing females Rabbits have a gestation period of only 3 weeks so if you choose to let your rabbit outdoors on its own, make sure it is desexed or it may get impregnated by wild rabbits.
Strict diet Rabbits, unlike hamsters, are strictly herbivores so their stomachs aren’t able to process things like fruit, nuts, oatmeal or cereal so avoid treating your rabbit with foods like these. Instead, stick to fresh vegetables, hay and pellets.
Rabbit-proofing If you choose to let your rabbit live indoors, make sure you’ve rabbit proofed the house appropriately or they will chew loose wires, mouldings or rugs, which can be potentially fatal. If you intend on letting them outside, check for holes in the fence to prevent them from escaping.

Notes to editors

Petplan is the largest pet insurance provider in the world, offering comprehensive lifetime pet insurance cover for dogs, cats and rabbits.

Established more than 30 years ago, it is part of Allianz Insurance, one of the largest general insurers in the UK.

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