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Why Rabbits Should Not Be Declawed

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Related Articles
  • Why cats shouldn't be declawed
  • Digging article
  • FAQ: Training
  • Declawing rabbits is unnecessary and cruel.

    Here are some facts that you should consider before making a decision. Please note that in this article, the comparisons to declawing a cat do not imply that we support cat declawing. Rather, that it is even more severe for a rabbit to undergo this amputation.

    1. Rabbits do not have retractable claws like a cat which means they use them ALL the time for traction. ( A cat does not need its claws in normal movement around the house. It "extends" the claws when it needs to "hook" into somthing like a prey item or a toy) Rabbits that are declawed have more problems with traction, particularly on smooth surfaces. This can lead to splay leg conditions, particularly if the rabbit is sedentary or overweight.
    2. This is a PAINFUL operation and they have to walk on the surgery sites for several days while healing takes place. A cat that is declawed is also in pain (which is why I don't even like this in cats...but that is another issue), but rabbits walk more ON the surgical site, rather then on an elevated pad. I don't know if you realize that when a declaw is done that the bone that the claw is attached to is either severed or removed and there is a large hole that has to be either sewed or glued shut.
    3. When a rabbit is declawed it cannot "scratch an itch" with its back leg and that could be quite frustrating.
    It is interesting that in Europe most vets would not even CONSIDER such an operation in a rabbit. It would be deemed cruelty to animals.

    Alternatives to rabbits that like to dig or scratch.

    Obviously work a LOT with the rabbit to calm it down. Work with an HRS educator or veterinarian who can help with training procedures. See our San Diego Chapter's digging article.

    Construct an exercise pen out of a dog exercise pen material (usually metal panels that slip together to make any shape to keep the rabbit from getting into corners to dig.

    Protect cornres or digging spots with heavy plastic rub covers (like the kind they put under office furniture)

    Use Soft Paws on the rabbits claws. These are soft plastic caps that are placed over the nails and held in place with surgical glue. They do not hurt the rabbit (the glue is only on the nails)...they fall off and are replaced by the owner in one to three months. The plastic is soft and gives good traction and is harmless if pulled off and swallowed. check with local vets and pet stores for this material. It is sold for cats to prevent declaws. The claws cannot scratch with this.

    House Rabbit Society is a nonprofit rescue and education group.
    We welcome your feedback and appreciate your donations. Please join today!