A rabbit can make an excellent pet. Like any animal, though, a rabbit will need the right kind of care. It’s important to ensure that you can give adequate care and attention to your rabbit before giving them a new home.
General rabbit care
Rabbits are herbivores, meaning they only eat plants. They like a varied diet, but the bulk of what they eat should be high quality hay. This should be supplemented with a small amount of specialised rabbit pellets, plenty of water, fresh greens, vegetables, and fruits.
Understanding your rabbit
Rabbits communicate in different ways than you might be used to. They can express their emotions through their physical behaviour. A content rabbit may relax by stretching out on its side, while a scared rabbit will use the well-known thumping noise.
To understand your rabbit, and their health, you will need to pay attention to their eating and their droppings. As rabbits don’t express discomfort or pain, it is up to you to make sure they are healthy and catch any problem before it gets bad.
How to keep your rabbit healthy
The biggest health concerns for rabbits are related to their digestive system. A healthy rabbit’s gut is always moving; a condition called gut stasis is a potentially fatal disease that can be brought on by a wide variety of issues, including stress, the wrong food, and other illnesses.
Keeping a rabbit healthy is a combination of the right foods, the right amount of exercise, enough mental stimulation, and good veterinary care. Rabbits also need plenty of things to chew on, as this keeps their teeth from becoming overgrown. Most breeds of rabbit will also need regular grooming, including brushing their fur and trimming their nails.
Indoors vs. outdoors
While rabbits are naturally outdoor animals, many rabbit owners prefer to keep them as indoor pets. In either case, the rabbit will need plenty of attention, with steps taken to ensure their safety.
For outdoor rabbits, it is important to keep them warm enough in winter and cool enough in summer. A good quality hutch should protect them from the elements and any predators.
Indoor rabbits can be great companions, but can cause destruction. A house rabbit can be allowed to hop freely through the house, but be sure that you have protected any electrical wires and other potentially harmful things that a curious bunny could chew.
Choosing the right hutch
The hutch you choose will depend on whether you are keeping your rabbit in or outdoors. A good hutch should be a safe haven for your rabbit, where they can comfortably sleep. In either case, it should be possible to securely fasten any openings for when you need to keep your rabbit in their hutch.
Exercise for your rabbit
Rabbits need a lot of exercise. They can be given free reign of an enclosed run, or left to hop around the house, provided your home has been rabbit-proofed. Rabbits generally prefer to live in pairs, and the play between rabbits provides great exercise.
Are rabbits right for me?
With breeds ranging from tiny dwarfs to huge giants, not all rabbits are the same. Most rabbits can be trained to use a litter tray, but some will be difficult to train. A rabbit may be the right pet for you if you have the time and energy to engage with and care for your pet.
Rabbits with children
While children love the idea of having a pet rabbit, most children are not able to provide the level of care needed for a rabbit. Before buying a pet rabbit for your child, consider whether they have the responsibility to look after a high needs pet.
Being a rabbit owner can bring you a huge amount of joy. From cuddling up with you to bouncing happily around their run, they can be a fantastic pet. This joy does come with a big responsibility, however.