Tips for Caring For Your Pet Rabbit
Rabbits are the third most popular family pet after cats and dogs. Many people think of a rabbit as a pet that does nothing more than sit in its cage and occasionally hops around the garden but this could not be further from the truth. They are intelligent, sociable and affectionate animals that can be easily trained to be indoor pets. Not only do they play, come when called but they can also be trained to use a litter box. Always use a reputable breeder or pet shop when buying a pet rabbit. Learn more about rabbit care tips below.
Different Breeds of Rabbits
There are a lot of different breeds of domestic rabbits, which just like dogs, vary in size, shape, colour, temperament and needs. The following are the most popular domestic rabbits:
- Droopy Eared German Lops
- Dutch Lop
- Mini Rex
- Mini Lop
- American Fuzzy Lop
Rabbits will generally live for between eight and twelve years; however well cared for indoor pet rabbits can leave for longer.
Rabbits and Children
To be honest and straight to the point, a rabbit is not a good pet for a child. Rabbits are easily frightened and do not enjoy being held, pulled at, cuddled and carried around in the manner that comes naturally to children. This distresses the rabbit and may lead to them scratching or biting in order to protect themselves. These are the things kids want to do with cute furry rabbits and who can blame them. As we know dogs and particularly cats can be picked up and dropped without coming to much harm, however rabbits are delicate creatures and can easily suffer from broken legs and even broken backs if dropped by a child. They can make a good family pet if an adult is there to supervise and advise the handling of the animal.
General Tips In Caring For Your Pet Rabbit
- Housing – We generally think of a rabbit hutch in the back garden being the ideal home for a pet rabbit but this is incorrect. This environment leaves this social animal lonely and also often scared by other animals passing through the garden. Inside the home is the ideal place for your rabbit’s cage, preferably a solid bottom cage and not a wired bottom one. It will be safe and can also have interaction with the family.
- Exercise – A rabbit’s body is designed to run and jump and therefore they require room to exercise. A large cage should be provided so it has plenty of room to move about when it is locked in. Any outdoor area where your rabbit exercises should be completely fenced in and be big enough for running and jumping.
- Diet – Your pet rabbit’s diet should be made up of grass hay, rabbit pellets and vegetables and fruit. The hay is the most important part of its diet and is vital in keeping the gut and intestinal tract healthy. High quality rabbit food should be limited, after six months of age, and quantity will depend on the size and body weight of your pet. The remainder of your pets diet should be vegetables and fruit, it is important that this is part of a well-balanced diet and not the primary source of it. Always have clean, fresh water available for your rabbit at all times.
- Litter Training – Rabbits can be easily taught to use a litter box, which can be kept in the corner of its cage. It is important that you do not use cat litter clay as these can affect the health of your rabbit. It is best to use timothy hay or pelleted newspaper litter. Remember to regularly clean your pet’s cage and litter.
- General Care – Like a pet cat or dog, you should regularly brush your rabbit with a soft brush to remove excess hair. This will help to keep its coat looking and feeling good. Also it is important to bring your rabbit to the vet for annual check-ups. Unless he appears unwell, then bring him to a vet straight away.
One Thing to Always Remember About Your Pet Rabbit
We all have heard the expression ‘breed like rabbits,’ so always remember to get your rabbit spayed or neutered by an experienced professional. This will prevent the arrival of any unwanted litters and can also reduce the risk of many health problems in rabbits.