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View Full Version : Smoking, Nicotine Smell and Rabbits



The Duchess
04-03-2010, 11:58 AM
Can those of you who have rabbits and who smoke tell me if you have noticed your bunnies being less likely to take treats from your hands than from those of your family members who don't smoke?

I am dealing with a lady who adopted a bunny, where the bunny will not take treats from her, whereas her original rabbit will.

She smokes (heavily I guess as I can smell her from a few paces away) and the adopted rabbit will approach, get so far and run off without the treat being offered.

I have tried to be tactful about the issues around her not having bonded with this new addition to their family (despite the boy rabbit liking her) but I do wonder if the heavy cigarette smell on her, and in particular on her hands, is preventing the relationship from working.

Any experiences, ideas, please share.

Thanks

Helen

areia
04-03-2010, 12:05 PM
i used to smoke and OH still does, my lot are not fussy whos hands feeds them treats, though i will admit to being and garden or kitchen with windows wide open type smoker, OH is only allowed to smoke outside too,

I did use to wash my hands before handleing, even though I used to think it was slightly pointless considering my clothes would smell,

I never noticed a bun put off treats because of that in particular, If the buns in question is used to a fresh air or smoke free area, It is possiable, try the alcohol rub approach you put some on your hands then offer to her, while saying about smells etc ,

VickiP
04-03-2010, 12:07 PM
:wave: Hi Helen, I am a smoker but, not heavy about 10 a day max and I don't smoke in the house, I hate the smell of stale smoke in a house - it makes a huge difference if you smoke outside in terms of carbon monoxide levels aswell - I have been trying to stop and when the clinic did that breating test she said my levels were very low, she thought I only smoked a couple of cigarettes or something like that. I am very anti smoking round animals and children aswell, it is my choice to do it not theirs so I wouldn't ever inflict it on my pets-I tend to wash my hands a lot of the time and actually have just had a cigarette and can't smell it on my hands, I think you have to be smoking a lot to start smelling - most people I meet unless they see me smoking don't realise as I am very conscious not to smell of it.

I would think if she is a heavy smoker then yes it certainly could make a difference, she really shouldn't smoke round her pets at all, it's not fair.

Justine
04-03-2010, 12:09 PM
I smoke but never in the house. I don't have any trouble with my two taking treats.

rngpwelfare
04-03-2010, 12:12 PM
I'm an outdoor smoker.

I've never noticed a problem with the rabbits approaching me.
But I'm not a heavy smoker and regularly wash my hands.
So can't really answer the question.:?

Shellypops
04-03-2010, 12:15 PM
I smoke but just either in the kitchen with the door closed and the window open, or outside. Doesn't seem to bother Bobby at all. :?

I don't smoke round her

However my disgusting habit bothers me A LOT! I want to stop:oops:

donnamt
04-03-2010, 12:33 PM
our pair take treats from Ste and hes a smoker

Phill
04-03-2010, 12:37 PM
I'm a smoker but an outside one and i've never experienced any differences in the way the buns are with me compared to Ali who doesn't smoke

The Duchess
04-03-2010, 12:38 PM
Thank you for your responses.

This lady smokes in the garden, the buns live well away from where smokes and I don't think her clothing or anything smells of cigarettes, it's really just her breath and her hands.

I guess I am grasping at straws to find out why this rabbit won't go near her at all. To the point where she wishes to return her to rescue and break up the bond. :cry: She can't get close enough to pick her up and it's now turning into a battle of wills. I was rather hoping that there might be some evidence for her hands being part of the problem.

Jack's-Jane
04-03-2010, 12:45 PM
If the Doe is bonded to her other Rabbit then why cant she just accept that the Doe is not a 'people orientated' Rabbit :?

Surley she would not split them up :cry:

The Duchess
04-03-2010, 12:47 PM
If the Doe is bonded to her other Rabbit then why cant she just accept that the Doe is not a 'people orientated' Rabbit :?

Surley she would not split them up :cry:

It's complicated Jane.

Jack's-Jane
04-03-2010, 12:49 PM
It's complicated Jane.

People always are !! :lol:

VickiP
04-03-2010, 12:50 PM
Thank you for your responses.

This lady smokes in the garden, the buns live well away from where smokes and I don't think her clothing or anything smells of cigarettes, it's really just her breath and her hands.

I guess I am grasping at straws to find out why this rabbit won't go near her at all. To the point where she wishes to return her to rescue and break up the bond. :cry: She can't get close enough to pick her up and it's now turning into a battle of wills. I was rather hoping that there might be some evidence for her hands being part of the problem.

Yes I agree with Jane, I can't see that being the issue then funnily enough the other day I picked my doe up (needed to bring her in to check her bottom ) - couldn't believe it - so tried it again and again, have been spending a lot of time with her - she is turning into a cuddle bun :shock: and never liked it before ! Clearly me smoking doesn't bother her but, as I said I don't smoke a lot.:)

Rachy bunny
04-03-2010, 12:51 PM
I used to smoke. It never bothered my first bunny but she HATED it if I ate Oranges. She wouldn't go near me and would stamp if I reached into her cage.

The other bunnies Have never really experienced it. However i did come in from a night out after smoking all night and they wouldn't let me stroke them. Mind you they can be a bit moody.

I think rabbits are like humans in some ways they have likes and dislikes...

weeble
04-03-2010, 12:53 PM
Might be a silly suggestion but is she any different if the lady is wearing thick gloves?

Is she the sort of rabbit that is like that anyway? Some of my lot will follow me around the lawn others I have to follow them if I ever want to catch them

tigerangel
04-03-2010, 12:56 PM
Me, my OH, my parents and our friends who visit us don't smoke. Neither of our rabbits have a problem with any of us and they freely come up to us to see what we've got (or in the case of new visitors, see who they are and if they've got anything edible on them :lol:).

My OH's parents smoke heavily and when they visit us, the rabbits seem to jump back from their hands a bit, as if they've smelled something unpleasent and gone 'Eugh!' :? though they will freely sniff at their feet, it's just their hands and fingers they don't like and they usually hop away when they see a hand coming their way.

I have always assumed it's the smell of cigarettes on their hands that's the problem?

Hoppit!
04-03-2010, 01:14 PM
However my disgusting habit bothers me A LOT! I want to stop:oops:

Good for you! :thumb: Why not give one of those 'quit smoking' helplines a ring?

I've never smoked, none of my family do and nobody's ever smoked in the house. The cleaner just gave me a load of smoke-flavoured newspapers for the rabbit cage though, and the buns are taking great exception to them! They're deliberately peeing on them!! :shock:

The Duchess
04-03-2010, 01:16 PM
People always are !! :lol:

Yep, it's often the people and not the rabbits that have the issues.

In making any decision here, my priority will be for the rabbits but in particular for the rabbit that was adopted. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of this and get a good outcome.

Rachel89
04-03-2010, 01:22 PM
Seph doesn't smoke but I do, I'd say I'm a very heavy smoker. The buns come upto me more then they would do him, take food from my hands, lick me and want nose rubs.

The Duchess
04-03-2010, 01:24 PM
Might be a silly suggestion but is she any different if the lady is wearing thick gloves?

Is she the sort of rabbit that is like that anyway? Some of my lot will follow me around the lawn others I have to follow them if I ever want to catch them

But this is the problem - I have explored lots of things with this lady and have given her loads of things to try to build the bond with the bunny. I am now convinced that she doesn't want to and so my energy has to go in getting the best outcome for the rabbits. I have gently suggested that it may be nicotine. She won't have tried anything like this as it's not her but the rabbit that is the issue in her mind.

I am just wondering if I can go to her and say well actually it could be your smoking that is playing a part, but with no anecdotal evidence that it is her smoking, I don't see the point it making things worse. I have already upset her to the point of a breakdown in comms (which I have now rebuilt) but just want to explore all avenues before I give up trying to get the rabbit to like her.

weeble
04-03-2010, 01:31 PM
Does the rabbit have to like her? I enjoy just watching my lot be rabbits

angeleyes
04-03-2010, 01:37 PM
Its such a shame this is happening Helen :( Especially as the buns have a good bond, sometimes thats hard to come by as we know!

Robert smokes only outside as well and all the rabbits take treats etc from him :?

Such a shame she can't see that the rabbit doesn't need to like her, its her loss really. Lolly doesn't really like us, we can stroke her on the odd occasion but she will wash straight after :lol: I would never dream of getting rid of her though and she loves Lionel so much :love:

areia
04-03-2010, 01:45 PM
Its such a shame this is happening Helen :( Especially as the buns have a good bond, sometimes thats hard to come by as we know!

Robert smokes only outside as well and all the rabbits take treats etc from him :?

Such a shame she can't see that the rabbit doesn't need to like her, its her loss really. Lolly doesn't really like us, we can stroke her on the odd occasion but she will wash straight after :lol: I would never dream of getting rid of her though and she loves Lionel so much :love:

I agree carrie isn't a people person, me an j have scars to prove it :lol: but wouldnt consider splitting up a bond for that reason

Rachie
04-03-2010, 01:56 PM
Does the rabbit have to like her? I enjoy just watching my lot be rabbits

Ditto this! My boy rabbit was quite a fuss pot before we got him a wifey bun but now his bonded; they both hate me and aren't interested unless we've got food. I just accept it as being the way it is

moss
04-03-2010, 02:00 PM
Do you know why the bun was given up for adoption in the first place?

I wonder if the previous owners may have offered treats as an attempt to catch the bun to pick her up? We used to have to do this with Bunny to get her into her carry cage - she played ball at first, then when she realised that we were only giving her the treats to put her in the carry cage, she stopped coming over. I guess in my situation, her ears perked up and she came running when she I rustled the raisin packet, then I guess she associated it with going in a carry cage and backed off... could this be what is happening here? Just a thought :)

bunlover
04-03-2010, 02:01 PM
i think its a shsame when people wont let bunnies be bunnies it took me a long time to gain my first ever rabbits trust many many months and even if i never had of done i would not have given her up. chelsea(rip) didnt ever like human touch she was not scared of us just didnt like people at all i loved her so much anyway. was the bunny funny about treats before leaving the rescue or only since new home? could their be any underlying health issues (teeth etc?) i dont think i would eat off a plate smelling smokey and i know my buns turn thir noses up at food that smlls plasticy from shops before. how about just lying on the floor with the bunnys and giving them a chance to cme to her on thier own i find dora who doesnt like strokes will come sit on me provided i dont touch her if im reading a book as she is nosey its only meds vets and weekly checks i pick her up from and she hates it tho randomly when donna(one of alices fosterers) came over dora went up to her nudging her for a stroke! most unusual!!!! x

lottielouise
04-03-2010, 02:15 PM
Thank you for your responses.

This lady smokes in the garden, the buns live well away from where smokes and I don't think her clothing or anything smells of cigarettes, it's really just her breath and her hands.

I guess I am grasping at straws to find out why this rabbit won't go near her at all. To the point where she wishes to return her to rescue and break up the bond. :cry: She can't get close enough to pick her up and it's now turning into a battle of wills. I was rather hoping that there might be some evidence for her hands being part of the problem.

I can't handle Sophie, and to a point Granite, by my bunny sitter can :( She will come up to the front of the run/hutch, but doesn't when there is nothing between us :( I do wonder if it is past issues, but having had her from 8 weeks, it just can't be. We did have a rough time during the teen 'years' with her chewing, and a problematic spay.

Some bunnies just don't like some people.

As for those being garden smokers. I wonder if this would be of interest to you

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7813124.stm

Jenova
04-03-2010, 04:32 PM
One of my really good friends is a very heavy smoker, to the point where if she strokes my rabbits I can smell it on them afterwards. They have no issues taking treats from her, but my buns are very food obsessed. Could it be the treats she doesn't like?

She also has her own bun and no problems there either.

And as we're all really nosey here on RU could you tell us what the outcome is if that's appropriate please. :)

luvabun
04-03-2010, 05:02 PM
Tough one Helen. It looks from the responses here that smelling of smoke is not a contributory factor and it's more the bunnies personality. I sort of get where she's coming from as I was in a similar situation with the Pretty Boys and I was a bit disappointed initially. I've had to come to terms with them not being cuddle buns like my others and once I realised and accepted that, then allowed them to be bunnies in their own right and watched them from a distance, I love them in a different way as their interaction with each other is lovely to behold, it's humans they're not too fussed with.

It would be such a shame to split up two bonded bunnies because of a humans preference and I hope you find a solution that helps this pair.

Sorry, not much of a helpful post:oops:

The Duchess
04-03-2010, 05:23 PM
Thanks for all the posts.

My question is probably answered in that most of you smokers don't feel it's an issue with your rabbits so thank you for that.

With regard to all other posts about not splitting up a bonded pair. I completely agree. I don't feel that it's a topic that I personally need to be explore on this thread in particular as I would never, ever choose to do it, unless one of the rabbits was at real risk from health or injury issues.

Safe to say, every situation is different and in this case, the best option for the rescue rabbit involved may indeed end up being to be returned to the rescue for rehoming to a family that will love her unconditionally, even if it means breaking a bond. :cry:

lauraocal
04-03-2010, 05:34 PM
I smoke and my bunny doesnt mind taking treats off me.
Although, this is going to sound stupid, but I bite my nails and if I have been at my nails she wont take a treat off me.. same as if I bit a biscuit first she wont take it but snatches them off me when they havent been near my mouth.
It's a long shot but I have noticed it with my bunny.

Going to be a bit weird telling asking her if she has spittle on her hands though, cant you ask her to wash her hands first for a while whilest trying then see if the bunny takes them?

The Duchess
04-03-2010, 05:36 PM
I smoke and my bunny doesnt mind taking treats off me.
Although, this is going to sound stupid, but I bite my nails and if I have been at my nails she wont take a treat off me.. same as if I bit a biscuit first she wont take it but snatches them off me when they havent been near my mouth.
It's a long shot but I have noticed it with my bunny.

thanks for this.

I guess I was just kinda hoping that there would be one last thing I could suggest to them as being an issue. Doesn't seem that it's founded and I think it's most likely that the bunny knows that they don't like her and so she (quite rightly) doesn't like them back. Very, very sad.

Jenova
04-03-2010, 08:34 PM
It's sad but it seems they have it in their head. And by being so stubborn they're passing that emotion onto their bun. :(

If you take her would they get another mate for their boy?

Buuny_Friend
04-03-2010, 09:08 PM
thanks for this.

I guess I was just kinda hoping that there would be one last thing I could suggest to them as being an issue. Doesn't seem that it's founded and I think it's most likely that the bunny knows that they don't like her and so she (quite rightly) doesn't like them back. Very, very sad.

I think there is a lot to be said for this.

All animals are very intuitive and can easily sense atmospheres and people's emotions.

If this woman is adament she will never be able to build some sort of a relationship with this rabbit, the rabbit will pick up on this.

How long has the bunny been living with her?

sidereus7
04-03-2010, 09:14 PM
I used to smoke. It never bothered my first bunny but she HATED it if I ate Oranges. She wouldn't go near me and would stamp if I reached into her cage.

The other bunnies Have never really experienced it. However i did come in from a night out after smoking all night and they wouldn't let me stroke them. Mind you they can be a bit moody.

I think rabbits are like humans in some ways they have likes and dislikes...

Milo *hates* the smell of lemons on my hands. He looked rather offended when i tried to give him a carrot with lemony hands. :lol:

I think some buns have different smell preferences, though. Maybe like humans and the smell of gasoline? So you might be right that this bun just really doesn't like the smell.

Also, smell is a powerful trigger for memory. Is it possible the bun has a history of abuse with someone who smoked?

Buuny_Friend
04-03-2010, 09:15 PM
Milo *hates* the smell of lemons on my hands. He looked rather offended when i tried to give him a carrot with lemony hands. :lol:

I think some buns have different smell preferences, though. Maybe like humans and the smell of gasoline? So you might be right that this bun just really doesn't like the smell.

Also, smell is a powerful trigger for memory. Is it possible the bun has a history of abuse with someone who smoked?

Very good point!

Bavarian Bunny
04-03-2010, 09:25 PM
Yeah, what is the previous history of the rabbit?

Could the woman smell of something else, not just smoke? Some perfume maybe? I jump backwards when someone wearing perfume gets too close to me. My oldie bunny never wanted to be touched by humans, and that did not change in all the 12 years we had him for, he did come and pick treats from our hands, though. I don't know what happened to him in the first few weeks of his life, I think he may have been a Christmas present baby bunny, who got returned to the garden centre a week later. :(

susieb1
04-03-2010, 09:34 PM
I have to throw a spanner in the works. I do not smoke or anyone who comes into daily contact with my bunnies. My Cookie an extremely people friendly bun will go to anyone BUT if my Mum goes near him when she pops in he runs a mile and won't come out. Oddly enough she is a smoker and we had put it down to that reason that he doesn't like the smell. We never have the problem with anyone else including the V E T.:wave:

The Duchess
04-03-2010, 10:40 PM
I have to throw a spanner in the works. I do not smoke or anyone who comes into daily contact with my bunnies. My Cookie an extremely people friendly bun will go to anyone BUT if my Mum goes near him when she pops in he runs a mile and won't come out. Oddly enough she is a smoker and we had put it down to that reason that he doesn't like the smell. We never have the problem with anyone else including the V E T.:wave:

Very interesting thank you!

VickiP
05-03-2010, 01:10 AM
Yeah, what is the previous history of the rabbit?

Could the woman smell of something else, not just smoke? Some perfume maybe? I jump backwards when someone wearing perfume gets too close to me. My oldie bunny never wanted to be touched by humans, and that did not change in all the 12 years we had him for, he did come and pick treats from our hands, though. I don't know what happened to him in the first few weeks of his life, I think he may have been a Christmas present baby bunny, who got returned to the garden centre a week later. :(

Sorry I know it wasn't meant to be funny but, I just have a picture of you physically jumping backwards and someone saying what's wrong and you saying - your perfume :lol::lol:

I think it could be a bit of both things possibly - her vibes to the bunny and the cigarette smells which could be linked to past negative experience. Sad for bunsters whichever way it is - moreso almost for the one staying with her.

BB Mommy
05-03-2010, 08:52 AM
I don't smoke, but if I've been cleaning and using bleach none of my bunnies will take a treat from me.

sillyrabbit
05-03-2010, 09:04 AM
If the Doe is bonded to her other Rabbit then why cant she just accept that the Doe is not a 'people orientated' Rabbit :?

Surley she would not split them up :cry:

This

I smoked for a long time and never had a problem with any of mine eating from my hands. But then I used to and still do wash my hands especially if I am feeding them, kind of thought everyone did that so. Can she not try washing her hands and see if it makes any difference?

It might just be the bunny? Scarlett won't accept anything from my brother and he doesn't smoke where as Trip tends to ignore my mum and she also doesn't smoke. Just because a rabbit is friendly with one person doesn't mean they will automatically be like that with everyone :wave:

Bavarian Bunny
05-03-2010, 10:31 AM
I don't think washing hands gets rid of all of the smell if she is a heavy smoker. Everything on them smells, and even I can smell a smoker when they are somewhere near me. Bunnies have much more sensitive noses.

giantbunnymummy
05-03-2010, 11:05 AM
My two were disgusted with me when I offered them a treat after eating salt n vinegar crisps (even though I'd washed my hands) :oops:


Sounds like a very difficult situation with this bunny :(
I hope things work out. But if she does end up going back into rescue fingers crossed for a perfect forever home for her.

sillyrabbit
05-03-2010, 11:14 AM
Washing your hands doesn't completely get rid of the smell of a lot of things though, most perfume absolutely stinks, at my old work you could smell hairspray from the girl 4 desks away it could be a number of things. Its just common sense to wash your hands before you touch animals especially when feeding them anyways

I didn't read the thread properly because didn't see that she is a heavy smoker. Was just pointing out that I never had any problems with my own pets reacting to me when I have smoked. And my rabbits have reacted in this way to people who do not smoke so, Smirnoff and the rats do it too. They take to some people and ignore others sometimes and they don't all like being hand fed. Its possible its not that she smells so bad the poor bunny can't stand to be near her, but that she hasn't got the cuddly rabbit she was expecting

Bavarian Bunny
05-03-2010, 01:02 PM
My cat didn't go near certain people, either, I never knew why. Would be interesting to know. It's not enough that someone doesn't like a certain animal, because I don't like dogs, and they all come running to me. :roll: :lol:

sillyrabbit
05-03-2010, 01:19 PM
My cat didn't go near certain people, either, I never knew why. Would be interesting to know. It's not enough that someone doesn't like a certain animal, because I don't like dogs, and they all come running to me. :roll: :lol:

Same! :lol: I tend to get dogs running up to me in public places I am sure they can tell a mile off that I am scared of them :shock: :lol: There are a few people who come round that Smirnoff will completely ignore but then others she won't leave them alone. The rats are the same, they will be fine with some people and just don't want to know others so pay no attention

Not all bunnies like being hand fed either so, Buu would quite happily let me hold her dinner while she ate it but the others have always grabbed the food and run like I am going to take it back again :roll: :lol: Scarlett doesn't like eating even a couple of pellets if I am holding them