Rabbits are fun and enjoyable pets; however, they do require quite a large amount of care. Before making a rabbit a pet for yourself or someone you know please keep these issues in mind and also do some research of your own.
1, Most rabbits have a life span up to 10 years if properly taken care of. So when choosing a rabbit keep in mind that it is for the rest of its life, make sure that you are ready for that kind of responsibility.
2, Rabbits can also be very sensitive to other animals, pets such as dogs and cats may not be a good mixture with a rabbit.
3, When considering whether to keep your rabbit outside or inside remember that these animals will be at the mercy of what ever habitat it is placed in.
If you choose to keep your rabbit outside insure that it has plenty of shelter and a warm place to rest at night. Also if you are in a warmer climate please make sure that your rabbit is kept in the shade and has adequate water.
If your rabbit is going to be kept inside make sure that they have a safe place to go if they need to get away or sleep. If you have other pets please make sure that your rabbit is separated from them.
REMEMBER: In both cases rabbits need to be able to get some exercise! A large room that is free from dangers such as electrical cords, open wall sockets, and possible falling hazards can make a very nice area to exercise your rabbits. Make sure that if you are not going to watch your rabbit closely (though it is the best time to play with them) they are safely locked in the room and that all hazards are kept up off the floor. If you are not sure as to what could be hazardous think about the precautions that you would go through to insure the safety of a small child.
4, Although rabbits can be tough when they need to be, there are some common household items that can poison your new friend.
Aloe plants, lotions, and gels
Lily of the Valley
And several other bulb plants
Can be very poisonous for rabbits if they are ingested, leading to serious sickness
or even death.
5, Cages are the best way to keep a rabbit safe when it is not exercising; however even in a cage the rabbit will still need room. The ideal circumstances for a cage would be the room for the rabbit to stand on its hind feet it should also be allowed to stretch out when it is resting. Finally wire flooring should not really be considered as rabbits have very sensitive feet and the wire floor could injure them. Also a “rabbit bedroom”, namely a cardboard box or a wooden box, which the rabbit can use to hide.
6, Always remember too that rabbits can have unusual sleep patterns, sleeping during the day and night and becoming active in the early morning hours or in the early evening.
7, Placing a litter box in the cage with the rabbit will encourage them to learn to use that as its toilet. However, unlike cats they also will relax in their litter box so make sure that the litter box is large enough to accommodate your rabbit. Be sure to stay away from the following though as they may be poisonous.
Cedar or other wood shavings can be harmful to the rabbit’s liver if ingested and can also cause sever allergic reactions.
Kitty litter and dust can also cause serious health problems.
It is better to stay with organic litters made of the following:
Newspaper will work too
8, A rabbit’s diet is very important to their health, just like other pets there are certain foods that rabbits prefer and need.
Timothy grass hay which helps in digestion and reduces hair balls and diarrhea. Alfalfa hay can be problematic for adolescent rabbits and should only be given as a rare treat to adult rabbits as the high nutrients are too much for the rabbit’s tiny body weight.
Dark green and leafy vegetables such as romaine are good for healthy diets and can be a frequent snack. Carrots are also enjoyed by rabbits but should be given only on occasion as they are starchy foods that can sometimes overwhelm a rabbit’s digestive system.
Fruits are also good for rabbits cored apples (no stem or seeds), strawberries, blueberries, pears; peaches, plums, melon, and papaya are also enjoyed by rabbits. Surgery fruits like bananas and grapes are also ok but only as an occasional treat.
9, Rabbits have a very sensitive digestive tract and for this reason the following foods should be avoided if at all possible.
10, Pellets can also be used as food but not as a replacement for any of the foods recommend above. Also use a small amount of these pellets based on the weight of your rabbit. If you are unsure please talk to a veterinarian or other animal care provider before using pellets.
11, Water is a very important part of a rabbit’s diet as it helps with digestion and keeps the body temperature of your friend at a normal level. Fresh and clean water should be available at all times for a rabbit and can be given to them through a sipper bottle or a heavy spill proof bowl. If you are using a bowl make sure that you use a bowl that will not cause a drowning hazard. Also bowls need to be cleaned out more frequently then sipper bottles.
12, Rabbits chew, sometimes for hours at a time, so make sure that there is cardboard or untreated wood planks nearby that they can chew on. No rubber or small parts should ever be given to a rabbit to chew on. Also avoid plastic toys as they can be easily chewed up. Plastic litter boxes are ok to use in cages, but make sure to periodically check to box for signs of chew marks. If you see these signs please consider using a wooden litter box instead or make sure that there are more chew toys for them to use to keep them from continuing to chew on the litter box.
13, Rabbits are awkward creatures when it comes to the muscle vs. bone power of their structures. The muscles in their legs can cause serious damage to their spines (sometimes even breaking them) if they are handled wrong. So when handling your friend keep the following tips in mind.
Place one hand under the rabbit immediately behind the front legs.
Then place another hand under its bottom.
NEVER pick up your friend by any other means as this could cause the rabbit to break its own back or cause other serious injury to it self.
14, When it comes to grooming rabbits will groom one other around the eyes, ears, nose, and the top of the head. Since rabbits have a hard time with their digestive systems and cannot remove hair balls like a cat can, it is strongly urged that you brush your rabbit whenever possible to insure that loose hair is removed.
15, Also rabbits need to see the doctor too, so make sure that you take them in once a year for a check up with your veterinarian. This can be a great time to learn more about what you are doing right and also hear some suggestions on how to make your friend or friends happier and healthier. Rabbits can breed quickly so make sure that they are spayed or neutered, if they are not you will be overwhelmed quickly by the amount of new family members you have.
16, Above all remember that rabbits are social creatures and having more then one rabbit can insure that when you are too tired or busy to play with your rabbit that it still has a playmate.
Enjoy your new friends!