Rabbits can be highly intelligent, sociable and playful. If you are looking for your next pet, you could consider a rabbit. It may help to think about how much time you will have to spend with the rabbit, how much space you have and what the other occupants of your home think.
Rabbits have been becoming ever more popular as pets in recent years and even more so since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, so it may help to do your research and see if a rabbit might be a good fit. It may be helpful to be ready for the commitment and work that can go into rabbit ownership before you decide.
Why A Rabbit?
Despite popular belief, rabbits might not be a low maintenance pet. They may have their own unique needs, personality and preferences, just like any other animal. That being said, rabbits may be a great choice for many reasons. They are usually naturally sociable and can enjoy spending time with you and with other rabbits. They are longer-lived than most people typically think, with rabbits regularly living from 8-12 years old.
Understand Your Rabbit’s Nature
A rabbit is a prey animal, meaning that most rabbits may not enjoy being picked up and handled. It can be better to play with your rabbit and allow them to move around of their own volition. Being picked up might make the rabbit think it has been caught by a predator and react aggressively as a result.
It may help to understand the body language of a rabbit. This can help you identify when your rabbit is happy and relaxed or stressed and anxious, which will help you to provide better care for your rabbit. If you have children, it can help to teach them this as well, so that they can monitor your rabbit for signs of distress.
Consider Getting More Than One
Rabbits often thrive better with other rabbits, as they are sociable creatures. You could consider getting two rabbits rather than just one. Having more than one rabbit can also help alleviate anxiety in single rabbits. This is because wild rabbits are used to having other rabbits around to provide warmth and to be on the lookout for predators.
If you will be leaving your rabbit alone for long portions of time, then getting more than one may be even more beneficial. This can allow the rabbits to have company even when you are not around.
Have Them Neutered
If you get more than one rabbit, it can help to ensure they are neutered. This can ensure that you don’t hear the pitter-patter of tiny rabbit feet if you get two rabbits of the opposite sex and reduce the chances of rabbits fighting if you get two of the same sex.
Give Them The Right Amount Of Space
Another common misconception about rabbits is that they don’t need a lot of living space. It may be best to ensure you have more than just a hutch for your rabbit. It can help to provide a space where they can exercise freely, that is covered and which may prevent them from being reached by any predators.
Be Prepared For Lots Of Playtime
Rabbits might enjoy play and socialisation with you and other rabbits. It is best not to allow other animals to socialise with your rabbits, as they may cause stress to your rabbit or even present a danger to them. If you do own other pets, you may be able to introduce them carefully.
It can help to provide rabbits with areas they can hide and climb. You could consider making their area large enough that you can enter and play with your rabbit. Many rabbits may dislike being held or carried, so it might be best to play in a way they are comfortable with.
Know What To Feed Your Rabbit
A healthy diet for a rabbit may consist of good quality hay and grass. Rabbits are grazing animals, who typically feed in the early morning and towards the evening. A rabbit will also need constant access to fresh, clean water. You might also feed your rabbit some clean leafy greens. Root vegetables like carrots may be given as treats but are best not forming a key part of a rabbit’s diet.
Find A Dependable Local Vet
It can help to know who to get in touch with should the worst happen, and your rabbit needs professional veterinary care. You may need to find a specialist vet to care for your rabbit. It could also help to consider rabbit insurance, which may help to cover some of the cost of treatment should you need it. You can click here to find out more from Everypaw, who offer a range of lifetime coverage levels that may suit you and your fluffy friend.
Provide Separate Sleep And Toilet Areas
Rabbits may dislike having their toilet and sleeping areas too close together. For instance, you might consider placing the rabbit’s toilet at the far end, away from their covered sleeping space. You may also find that your rabbits find their own space to make their toilet. As rabbits are clean animals, you might clean out their toilet daily and do a thorough clean of their whole space each week. If you use litter trays, it can help to provide one for each rabbit.
It may be best to use soft, edible materials for your rabbit’s bedding. Dust-free hay and shredded newspaper can be good choices for your rabbit’s bedding.
Use Non-Toxic Cleaning Products
When cleaning your rabbit’s enclosure, it may be best to use non-toxic cleaning products. This might ensure that they don’t come into contact with anything that may be harmful to them. If in doubt, you might consider using specialist products with rabbit safety in mind. It may also be helpful to know how and when to use disinfectants should the need arise.
Find A Suitable Rabbit Carrier
Transportation may be stressful for rabbits. It might be best to consider if there is good reason to transport your rabbit before you do so. It may also help to choose a vet that is close by to reduce the amount of time you may need to travel with your rabbit.
It may be best to choose a secure, well-ventilated carrier that cannot be chewed on by your rabbit. Cardboard boxes may be impractical as a rabbit could chew through it. You might line the carrier with hay or grass and provide the rabbit with fresh sources of water.
Give Them Plenty To Do
As rabbits can be active and curious animals, it might help to provide them with plenty of things to do. You might consider putting multilevel areas for your rabbit to explore and plenty of covered spaces to hide. You could consider rabbit toys. This may also help to ensure they remain physically fit and healthy.
If you are looking for a fun, sociable pet, rabbits may be a good choice for you. It can help to consider the home you might provide to a rabbit and how much space you have. It can be a good idea to do research into the care of a rabbit and consider carefully if you are ready for the commitment.