Rabbits are playful, affectionate, social, and have an amazing lifespan – all good reasons why they make excellent pets. According to A-Z Animals, rabbits can live for eight years and some breeds live up to 15 years. Bunnies are adorable, brimming with unique features, such as a twitching nose, iconic ears, and hoppy legs. But like any other pet, bringing a pet rabbit home requires a lot of preparation. You need to know what you’re getting yourself into because keeping bunnies isn’t as easy as it may seem. You should arm yourself with knowledge about how to get the best vets for your bunny, ways to keep them safe and healthy, and what they like. If you’ve been thinking of having one or a couple of bunnies in your home, below are a few things you should know before adopting pet rabbits.
Like any other animal, rabbits vary in appearance and size, depending on their breed. So, before adopting a bunny, familiarize yourself with different rabbit breeds in the world then choose one that fits your lifestyle. While there are over 60 rabbit breeds, the Dutch rabbit is the common breed in the US. These rabbits are often brown, white, or black and white. There’s the lop rabbit variety, whose ears hang down, and there’s also the small dwarf rabbit. If you wish to keep a pet rabbit for the first time, having one bunny is wise. That way, you’ll learn how to care for your desired breed before adding more bunnies. You’ll also want to neuter your bunny if you choose a male (buck). Neutering your pet rabbit stops it from marking territories with urine.
Rabbits Love Companionship
As much as keeping one rabbit is a smart move for first time bunny parents, you’ll want to have at least two rabbits. That’s because rabbits are social animals and prefer living in groups. Naturally, a rabbit must stay alert to protect itself from predators. But if you have two, your bunnies will share the responsibility of looking out for each other.
However, if you can’t afford or don’t have the space to keep two rabbits, you’ll need to give your pet some extra attention. Alternatively, find ways to keep your rabbit occupied, especially if you spend many hours at work. Providing toys and enrichment activities helps your bunny feel less stressed due to loneliness.
Bunnies Need Space To Roam And Exercise
Exercise is crucial for rabbits because it helps improve their overall health, including emotional health, prevents obesity, enhances mental health, and digestion. With this in mind, make sure your bunny has enough room for exercising and roaming around. Having an entire room for your rabbit is an excellent idea as it gives plenty of room for them to roam. If you have limited space, a cage or container is a perfect choice for your bunny. However, the cage should be five times the size of the rabbit, including the vertical sides so that your bunny can stand on its hind legs comfortably without hitting its head.
Bonding Is Crucial But Take Caution
If you have children, they’ll definitely love having pet rabbits around. After all, bunnies are adorable, affectionate, and playful. But rabbits are fragile and young children can cause injuries by squeezing them tightly or dropping them accidentally. So, make it a habit to supervise your children whenever they interact with rabbits.
Remember, rabbits tend to scratch and even bite if not handled with care. Therefore, take time to learn how to care for your pet bunny and develop a positive relationship with it. Unlike dogs, rabbits don’t like being petted on their chins and tummy. Also, avoid petting their feet, chest, and tail. The best way to show your bunny affection is by stroking their back, behind the ears, and on top of the head. Some rabbits feel good if you rub their cheeks. So, monitor how your bun reacts when you pet their heads, cheeks, and behind the ears. That way, you’ll know their favorite spots. Additionally, pet your rabbit while seated to prevent them from falling, and always pick them up with both hands. You may want to hold your bunny on your lap or close to your chest. Doing so is vital to ensure that your pet rabbit can rest its feet properly and to make it feel secure.
Proper Nutrition Is Essential
It’s a common misconception that rabbits feed on carrots only and you might be tempted to feed them that. However, feeding your rabbit a healthy diet is important. Your bunny’s diet should consist of grass or grass hay, plants and bushes, and weeds. Include at least two cups of fresh veggies like broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, and celery, into your rabbit’s daily diet.
Rabbits also need a high fiber diet, so fresh green vegetables shouldn’t be their main source of food. Moreover, feed your bunny low amounts of sugary and fatty foods, and more on things like fruits, carrots, and root vegetables. To ensure your pet maintains a healthy diet, speak to your local rabbit breeder, vet, or pet shop owner about the most suitable foods for bunnies. If you wish to introduce new foods to your bunny, start with small amounts to avoid digestive issues.
Rabbit Need Unique Healthcare
When it comes to healthcare needs, rabbits have unique requirements than other pets. They are vulnerable to various diseases that require expensive treatment. Paralysis, swelling, breathing difficulties, calicivirus and Myxomatosis are common health conditions that rabbits can get, and they can be fatal. Fortunately, you can protect your bunnies from getting sick by reducing the risk of mosquito bites and having them vaccinated. It’s also important to have your rabbit’s teeth checked regularly to prevent dental problems. Additionally, ensure your bunnies are chewing on something like hay grass or a gnawing block constantly to keep their teeth from continuous growth, which can be painful for your pets.
Rabbits make excellent pets for anyone who desires to be a pet parent. However, they have unique needs, from housing to feeding, healthcare, and handling. To ensure your bunny stays healthy and safe, you must arm yourself with knowledge about what they eat, how to pet them, and choose the right shelter to ensure their safety and comfort.