Things You Need To Know About Rabbits As Pets
- Rabbits make great house pets
Rabbits are intelligent, affectionate and inquisitive. Their personalities range from bold to timid, gentle to rambunctious, and all points in between.
- Rabbits can be litter box trained
- Rabbits are prey animals
This means that they are fundamentally different from dogs, cats and humans. They are (usually) shy until you have earned their trust. It also means that most rabbits do not like to be picked up or held. They are more comfortable being next to you while you pet and interact with them. They like quiet, gentle interactions.
- Rabbits and children
Rabbits can be a good choice for families with children. However, many children want a pet they can hold and cuddle. Most rabbits are not going to be happy with that. If your child has his or her heart set on a pet she can cuddle, a rabbit might not be the right choice.
- Rabbits do really, really well in pairs
It’s not much more work for you; they will share a pen, litter and food. Rabbits are very social and derive a lot of comfort from a companion.
- Rabbits can live with domesticated cats and well-behaved dogs
Rabbits are social animals who thrive in the company of others — humans, house cats, obedience-trained dogs. However, it is highly advisable not to leave your dog and pet bunny together unsupervised.
- Rabbits should live indoors
Domestic rabbits should live and exercise inside the house. Rabbits that live inside become part of the family. Furthermore, rabbits allowed outside are exposed to ticks, fleas, fur mites and predators. Predators will be very determined to get at a rabbit; and the rabbit will be terrified while it is doing so.
- Rabbits need more than just rabbit pellets for their diet
The primary component of a mature rabbit's diet should be good-quality grass hay, such as timothy, brome, or orchard grass. Fresh water and fresh, leafy greens should be given daily. Timothy rabbit pellets, as well as healthy treats free of any sugar or dairy ingredients, should be given only in limited quantities.
- Rabbits should be spayed or neutered
Spaying/neutering prolongs a rabbit's life and limits or solves many behavior problems, such as house soiling, destructive chewing and digging, and aggressiveness. Unspayed females have more than 80% higher risk of developing uterine tumors by the time they're three years of age. Rabbits can live up to 15 years in good health. A spayed/neutered indoor rabbit can live a much longer, much healthier life.
- Rabbits need a stimulating environment and like to explore by chewing
For their physical and emotional well-being, rabbits should be given lots of chew toys made of wood, cardboard, wicker, and paper, as well as toys to climb on and toss. Because rabbits are chewers by nature, their play area needs to be carefully rabbit-proofed.
- Rabbits need to see specially trained veterinarians
Most general veterinarians are not rabbit-savvy. You'll need to find a veterinarian who is experienced in diagnosing and treating rabbits.