How to Care for Rabbits

A pet rabbit can be a wonderful addition to any household. Rabbits are soft, cute and entertaining just like dogs and cats, but provide a different sort of friendship.

Like dogs, rabbits are highly social creatures that need lots of attention. Like cat, however, they enjoy their alone time.

If you have young kids, a rabbit can teach them about responsibility. But before you take the plunge into rabbit ownership, you will need to understand the unique needs of the animal, as well as what it costs to properly care for a bunny.

Caring for the Health of Your Rabbit

If you are deciding whether to buy a rabbit, there are a few things you should know about caring for their overall health. Rabbits, which can live for eight to 12 years and can be high-maintenance pets, require long-term care.

Like dogs, rabbits require their owners to give them lots of attention. It’s recommended that you spend at least three hours a day playing and interacting with your rabbit to keep it happy. Some rabbits prefer to spend more time in their crate while others will want to hop around the house and be close to their owners.

If a rabbit does not get enough time with its owner, the animal can be at risk for developing depression. If your rabbit seems lonely, you may want to consider adding another bunny to your brood. This will keep your rabbit company when you are away.

To keep your rabbit happy, entertain it with a variety of toys like paper towel rolls, phone books and rolling toys. Despite their furry appearance and social personalities, rabbits don’t want to be picked up and cuddled. If you hug your rabbit, it may feel scared and anxious. To show your pet affection, simply stroke its back for a few minutes at a time. This will vary depending on your rabbit’s personality, so pay attention to cues from your pet.

Make sure to find the right vet for your rabbit. Most clinics will examine rabbits, but it is important to find a veterinarian that specializes in rabbits to keep your bunny happy and healthy. Rabbits should be taken in for routine checkups and will need vaccines. If your bunny is at least five weeks old, it is ready for its first round of vaccinations.

What do rabbits eat?

In popular culture, rabbits are commonly associated with carrots and lettuce. But the four-legged furry animals need more than just vegetables to get by. Rabbits need a diet that is high in fiber. This includes lots of grass and hay like timothy grass, brome and orchardgrass. Rabbit pellets should be given in moderation. Pellets serve as a vitamin for your rabbit and provide minerals, protein and fiber to your bunny’s diet. You can purchase hays and pellets from your local pet store.

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Fresh vegetables are also great foods to incorporate into your rabbit’s diet. Carrots come loaded with sugar, so do not let your bunny eat them on a frequent basis. Rabbits also enjoy dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, as well as broccoli leaves and stems. Make sure to rinse and wash the vegetables before feeding them to your rabbit.

Baby rabbits should only consume their mother’s milk for the first two to three months of life. When they are around six months old, you can begin introducing hays and pellets into their diets. Adult rabbits should eat about 1/4 cup of pellets each day per 5 pounds of weight. If your rabbit consumes too much sugar or fiber, it can fall ill.

Do not feed your rabbit foods that are loaded with carbohydrates. This includes foods like bread, crackers and cereals. Your rabbit can eat fruits that are high in fiber, like apples, blueberries and plums. Give your rabbit 2 tablespoons of fruits per 5 pounds of weight. You can do this on a daily basis. Remove any seeds or pits from fruits and vegetables before serving them to your furry friend.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Rabbit

Becoming a pet owner of a rabbit is a unique experience that comes with great rewards. Rabbits are social animals that require attention but can be less of a commitment than other common household pets like dogs.

If you are looking for a new family pet, a rabbit could be just the animal you’re looking for. However, before you go out and buy a bunny, you should consider the pros and cons of owning a rabbit and how it will fit into your daily lifestyle.

PROS

  • Rabbits are great apartment pets because they are quiet and light on their feet.
  • Rabbits are easy to potty train and can use a litter box just like cats.
  • Rabbits are fairly clean animals and require little cleanup.
  • Rabbits do not need a lot of space to roam. They are content to be in their crate for most of the day, so they are an ideal choice for someone who works outside of the home.
  • Rabbits can be a great way to teach young children about responsibility without all the effort that comes with owning a dog.

CONS

  • Some rabbits can grow to be very large and may need to live in pet-friendly housing. Do your research before you buy a bunny to make sure you know exactly what size your rabbit will grow to be.
  • Rabbits don’t typically get along well with other animals. If you have a dog or cat in the house, a rabbit can easily become scared by the other pet. This can cause a lot of anxiety for the rabbit and sometimes even lead to death.
  • Rabbits like to chew. If you leave your rabbit out in your home, make sure you keep your valuables and electrical wires out of sight.

Economic Factors that Come With Rabbit Ownership

Rabbits are small animals, but the cost to care for these cute creatures can quickly add up. You will need to supply fresh produce and pellets on a weekly basis. You will also need to invest in a quality cage. This can get expensive depending on the size you get. Additionally, you will also need to buy bedding and hay. If you are heading out of town, you will need to pay to board your rabbit at the vet’s office, have a friend come over to watch it or find a pet sitter.

Rabbits require yearly checkups at the vet just like other pets. The cost will vary depending on the exam fee and any vaccines or medications your rabbit may require. You should also spay or neuter your rabbit to help combat rabbit overpopulation. Typically, this will cost you between $75 and $250.

Rabbits can also have problems with their teeth. Rabbits may need to have their teeth filed by a vet or a grooming professional every so often. They can also be prone to stomach issues when they do not eat a proper diet. These are just some of the complications that may arise during the lifespan of your rabbit.

In order to help pay for any unforeseen costs, set aside a certain amount of money each month to build an emergency fund for your pet. For the essential costs, develop a budget. You may need to adjust your budget once you determine how much your bunny eats, how frequently you need to change the bedding and other factors that drive the price.

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