Pet rabbits make for great indoor or outdoor companions.
Having a pet bunny is great for all families, but like any pet, they need to be properly cared for.
Rabbits are unique pets. If you’ve owned a dog or cat in the past, you probably know some parts of taking care of a rabbit. However, there are certain unique care tips you need to know.
Want to be the best rabbit owner around? Keep reading for 10 tips to keeping your pet rabbits happy and healthy.
1. Rabbit-Proof Your Home
Rabbits are energetic creatures. This means you’ll need to provide plenty of space for running and exploring. Odds are, you’ll allow your bunny to run around in your home.
But, before giving your rabbit full reign to the house, you’ll need to rabbit-proof it first.
Pet rabbits like to chew. Chewing can ruin your new pair of shoes. It can also be deadly to your pet.
To rabbit-proof your house:
- Cover wires with tubing or sleeves
- Lift wires 3-4 feet off the ground
- Cover wood with plastic guards
- Block off certain areas of the home
- Move houseplants to higher areas
Rabbit-proofing your home takes time and energy, but it’s well worth the peace of mind.
2. Pet Rabbits Need Proper Housing
The housing you provide your rabbit depends on how much freedom you want it to have.
You can choose to let your rabbit live freely inside of your home. You can also purchase a large rabbit cage. Rabbits can even be kept inside of a puppy pen!
The best rooms to keep a rabbit are the living or family room. Do not isolate your bunny. Rabbits are social creatures and need to be around their owners.
If you are housing your bunny outside, the housing should be:
- Lined with bedding (hay or shavings)
3. Provide Plenty of Fresh Hay
Your rabbit’s diet should be mostly hay. Pet rabbits can be around-the-clock eaters. So, ensure there is hay available at all times.
Is your rabbit young? If so, feed it a diet of alfalfa hay. Adult rabbits can be fed oat, grass, or timothy hay.
To keep your rabbit well-feed, place a hay feeder in its enclosure. Hay feeders keep the hay dry, clean and accessible.
4. Supplement Your Rabbit’s Diet
Rabbits are foodies, to say the least. While they love to eat hay, they also enjoy eating a variety of other foods. You can feed your rabbit fresh vegetables as well as fiber-pellets.
Want to feed your rabbit vegetables? Your bunny will enjoy eating:
- Broccoli leaves (not the stems or tops!)
- Mustard greens
- Dandelion leaves
- Romaine lettuce
- Water cress
You can give your rabbit these vegetables in endless quantities.
Fiber pellets are also an important part of your rabbit’s diet. These pellets are high in fiber and low in protein.
As your bunny ages, he/she won’t need as much fiber.
Rabbits won’t eat stale pellets, so ensure they are kept fresh.
Food aside, pet rabbits also need plenty of fresh water.
Place a hanging water bottle in your rabbit’s home. Some rabbits may also drink from a small bowl.
To boost your rabbits water intake, feed it washed veggies. No drying necessary!
5. Avoid Too Many Treats
While it’s hard not to give your adorable friend a treat, too many treats can be harmful to your rabbit.
Pet rabbits shouldn’t be given foods high in carbohydrates. This means no pasta, cereal, chips, cookies, or bread. Many rabbit treats sold in stores are high in sugar and fat and can be harmful.
Want to spoil your rabbit every so often? Fruit makes for the perfect treat. However, too much fruit presents too much sugar. So, feed sparingly!
Healthy fruits for a rabbit include:
- Apples without the seeds
6. Use a Litter Box
Pet rabbits are similar to cats in which they like to use the bathroom in one area. You can litter box train your rabbit. This makes cleanup a breeze!
The only difference is that you can’t use cat litter as it’s unsafe for rabbits. Rabbits like to eat when they use the bathroom. We don’t think cat litter makes for a healthy meal!
For successful litter box training, pace the litter box near the rabbit’s food source. Make sure you use newspaper pellet litter in the box, and put hay on top of the litter.
7. Provide Routine Grooming
Rabbits take good care of themselves. But, you will still need to offer routine grooming.
Rabbits go through shedding cycles, similar to dogs. By brushing your rabbit, you can help remove excess fur. Without brushing, your rabbit could end up ingesting the fur. This can cause all sorts of digestive issues!
You’ll also want to trim your rabbits nails. When clipping, be care to avoid the quick in the nail. Snipping this vein can cause bleeding and pain.
8. Offer Enrichment
Rabbits need to be entertained, otherwise they get bored. Aside from exercise, pet rabbits need to be mentally stimulated.
Chewing is a great way to keep your bunny busy. A cardboard box can offer hours of entertainment. The box also serves a quiet place for your rabbit to nest.
You’ll also find plenty of logic toys in your local pet store.
9. Understand Your Rabbit’s Behavior
Rabbits are prey animals. This means that when they are sick, they try to hide the symptoms.
You will need to keep a close eye on your rabbit’s behavior. Ensure your pet is drinking, eating, and going to the bathroom regularly. If any of these activities change, a trip to the vet may be necessary.
10. Use a Rabbit-Savvy Vet
Not all veterinary offices are experienced in working with rabbits. To ensure your rabbit is best cared for, find a vet that knows all about rabbits.
A rabbit-savvy vet will understand common rabbit diseases and illnesses. Make sure your rabbit lives a long and healthy life with the help of a qualified vet.
A Vet Clinic For All of Your Pets
Taking your pet to the vet is an important part of keeping your companion healthy. Does your new kitten need a wellness check-up? Do you have an elderly dog that requires routine check-ups?
If so, bring your pet to Sykesville Veterinary Clinic. With more than 20 years of experience, you can count on our office to provide your pet with top notch care.
Our staff is compassionate and dedicated. We treat your pets as if they are our own.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to meeting your furry friend!