Are Rabbits Good Pets For Kids? Age, Commitment and Responsibilities

Rabbit on lap

Rabbits are amazing creatures that should be a valued member of a family and they make pleasant pets for children if there is a genuine adult interest in the well being of the rabbit.

Apart from being lovely animals that become friendly and playful when treated properly, they are also sensitive and vulnerable to injury if badly handled.

Are Rabbits Good Pets For Children? Yes, rabbits make good pets for children only if there is a willing adult who will take care of the responsibility of caring for the rabbit if the child is unable to care for the rabbit.

Rabbits have distinctive personalities as they can be very playful, openly affectionate and at the same time independent. Rabbits can learn to use litter boxes easily.

They have the ability to scale over obstacles in the house and this makes their owners very proud.

Rabbits require equal commitment as bigger pets get from their owners and they have the best chance of becoming a well loved companion if treated properly.

Are Rabbits Good Pets For Kids?

Rabbits are excellent pets for children who are above the age of six. For toddlers and children below the age of six, it is not advisable for parents to get rabbits for them as pets.

Children are naturally loving and kind but holding, cuddling and carrying a rabbit around can make a rabbit feel frightened.

This in turn can make unsuspecting children to accidentally drop the rabbits which could result in broken legs and backs of the rabbits.

For children who have rabbits as pets, they can learn to take responsibility for caring, cleaning and feeding their rabbits.

Rabbits and children can bond successfully with the aid of an adult who should be the primary caregiver and supervise the children who interact with them.

Children can learn from adults how to interact with their rabbits in the appropriate manner and this can help them form lasting relationships with the rabbits which can help them develop a sense of respect for animals that carries into adulthood.

Most rabbits adapt quickly to the hustle and bustle of a normal household particularly if their cage is placed in a high activity area such as the living room. This will give the rabbit the chance to see, smell and hear all that is going on in the house.

Housing your rabbit in a secluded place might delay its integration into the family and make it unable to quickly adjust to the normal family life.

How Much Do Rabbits Cost?

Rabbits are usually bought as starter pets to teach a child the responsibility attached to taking care of a pet. But, without an adult supervision, it can turn out to be a bad experience for both the child and the rabbit.

The decision to buy a rabbit should be as serious as the decision to buy a dog. Rabbits have high life expectancy that can be up to 12 years if they are properly taken care of.

Initial Cost of a Rabbit

Most times, the place of purchase and the type of breed of rabbit will determine its cost. A rabbit purchased in a pet store can cost about $20 to $40 while a rabbit bought from a rescue or fair can cost about $5 to $20.

Rare breeds of rabbits can cost as much as $100.

Apart from the cost of purchasing the rabbit, there is housing cost (about $200), food cost (hay, pellets and vegetables which can cost about $40), accessories and grooming tools cost (food bowl, water bowl, toys, nail clippers, hair comb and brush which can cost about $32) and spaying and neutering cost (if the rabbit is not already spayed or neutered which can cost about $200)

Their Cage – How Much Does a Cage Cost?

Depending on your plan for the living arrangement of your rabbit, rabbit hutches usually cost more than rabbit cages.

If you decide to keep your rabbit outside, you will need to buy a rabbit hutch which costs about $150 to $200 if you don’t want to make your own.

However, if you decide to keep your rabbit indoors, you will need to buy a rabbit cage which costs about $50 to $100.  You can get also keep your rabbit in a rabbit-proofed room which will only require you buying a small cage and give your rabbit enough room to stretch out and play.

Food

The diet of your rabbit is very important and a well fed rabbit grows to be healthy looking.

There are varieties of food that rabbits can eat. The diet of your rabbit must be high quality foods that will help reduce digestive issues.

Full grown rabbits should be fed about half a cup of pellets per five to six pounds of body weight per day. The pellets should be bought in quantities that can be used up in less than six weeks.

The pellets must be high in fiber and should be given to your rabbit in the right proportion according to its body weight.

Timothy hay should be made readily available for your rabbit every day. Hay makes up majority of your rabbit’s diet and high quality hay should be given to your rabbit.

Lettuce, herbs and vegetables that your rabbit enjoys eating should be given on a daily basis. You can also give your rabbit certain fruits in small quantities as treats.

Buying high quality food for your rabbit will help your rabbit grow healthy and also help resist diseases.

If you have a garden, you can plant rabbit approved vegetables and fresh foods as this will help reduce the cost of purchasing them.

Bedding

Just as food is good for the well being of your rabbit, the bedding of your rabbit’s cage or hutch is also important for its health.

There are different types of bedding that you could use in your rabbit’s cage. You could use newspaper, pine shavings or sawdust, paper pellets and aspen bedding.

Newspaper can be used to line the floor of your rabbit’s cage. But many rabbits get bored and chew the newspaper. The ink on the newspaper can be dangerous to the health of your rabbit if it ingests too much of it.

Pine shavings or sawdust can also be used to line your rabbit’s cage but the dust can affect your rabbit’s respiratory system. Nevertheless, it is the most commonly used type of bedding for a rabbit’s cage.

Paper pellets are odour absorbent and excellent at moisture absorption. It is easy to clean up but it is more expensive than most beddings.

Aspen bedding is a very good option when choosing wood bedding. It is dust free and scent free. It is non toxic but it is not as absorbent as paper based bedding.

Recurring Expenses

Now that you have purchased your rabbit, there will be some other things that you will have to buy throughout the lifetime of your rabbit.

Some of these things include: food, bedding, veterinary care, medical care and grooming supplies.

Food such as hay, pellets and vegetables can cost as low as $25 per month.

For bedding, the price will depend on the type of bedding you use. Averagely, bedding cost $15 per month.

Just like human go for regular check-ups, it is important to take your rabbit for veterinary examination and the yearly can be about $200.

Rabbits need to be groomed every once in a while and the cost of grooming supplies such as hair combs, nail clippers and hair brush can be about $16.

For a complete break down of the costs of a rabbit and a avergae estiamted, the spuce pets has a detailed break down guide for a cost of a rabbit.

How Much Work Does It Take to Look After a Rabbit?

Rabbits are clean creatures that engage in self cleaning rites every day.

Depending on the cleanliness of your rabbit’s cage, you might only have to clean its litter box if your rabbit is litter trained.

In case your rabbit is not litter trained, you might have to train it in order to reduce the stress of cleaning the whole cage every day.

For thorough cleaning of the cage which should be done at least once in a week, take out your rabbit and all the accessories. Wash it and disinfect with white vinegar.

Leave the cage in the sun to dry completely before adding bedding. Return your rabbit into the cage and the accessories.

Try as much as possible to make your rabbit clean. Also, make your rabbit’s cage clean.

Rabbits do require fair amount of work, they need to be cleaned regularly, topped up with hay, water and pellets daily and require daily attention.

If you’re very busy in your day to day life, a rabbit may not be suitabled for you. Over at parents.com they have put together a list of the 6 best pets to consider for your child, check out that list as another animal might make a better alternative for you.

Do Rabbits Bite?

There are many things that rabbits do and biting is one of them. There are many reasons rabbits bite. It could be as a result of your rabbit showing love to you, pain, fright, or aggression.

If your rabbit is giving you slight, little nibbles on your toes or fingers, it could be its way of showing you love. Most of these nibbles don’t hurt and your rabbit might lick you after each nibble.

Your rabbit may bite you hard if it is trying to make you aware that it is in pain. If you are touching your rabbit in certain spots that can hurt it, your rabbit can resort to biting you.

As a result of fear, your rabbit can bite you. Your rabbit can bite you if it has recently been scared and you suddenly pick it up.

How Often Do You Need to Play With Your Rabbit?

Rabbits can be playful and interactive. Many rabbit owners keep their rabbits inside cages while they are at work or in schools.

A minimum of two hours to four hours is enough time to allow your rabbit play around. Due to some owners’ tight schedule, they do not have enough time to play with their rabbits.

When your rabbit doesn’t get enough time to play, it can make it dissatisfied and withdrawn and can make it overweight, developing cardiovascular diseases.

But, when your rabbit has had enough time to play, it will willingly retreat to its cage. Do not hesitate to allow your rabbit run around whenever time you can work into your schedule every day, if possible.

How Often Do Rabbits Need to be Cleaned?

Rabbits are very tidy creatures that do most of their grooming themselves. This helps them stay clean and parasite clean.

If your rabbit spend a lot of time outside or have long hair, you may need to groom and clean it once in a while.

Check the anal glands of your rabbit to ensure that there is no faecal build-up, but if you notice any, use a damp washcloth to clean your rabbit in order to prevent it from flystrike.

Keep your rabbit as clean as possible and clean out your rabbit’s cage thoroughly at least once in a week.

Do Rabbits Need to Live in Pairs?

Rabbits are gregarious in nature and they need constant companionship to avoid emotional suffering. If you have outdoor rabbits, you can keep them in pairs but if you have a house rabbit, you can keep it as a single pet in the right conditions.

If you work from home or spend most of your evenings at home, this is enough companionship for your rabbit and this can make your rabbit bond with you easily.

One of the downside of owning more than one rabbit as a pet is that you will have to spend more on food, bedding, veterinary care and other things that they might need. It will also require more work to take care of more than one rabbit depending on the breed.

What Are The Pros and Cons of Owning a Rabbit?

Rabbits are wonderful pets and there are many benefits attached to having them as pets. Some of them include:

  • Rabbits are usually quiet. But, you must be careful when your rabbit is playing around your house because they can sneak up on you which can make you kick them accidentally.
  • Rabbits can be litter trained and this can reduce the frequency of cleaning their cages every week.
  • Their poops are easily to clean up as they are almost solid and dry.
  • They are cute, fun and entertaining to watch. They can be excited when you present them with a treat.
  • Their food is fairly cheap as they mostly eat hay, pellets and vegetables.

Although rabbits have many pros but there are also some cons of having rabbits as pets. They include:

  • Rabbits can be very shy and might not show any form of affection. It might take a while for them to warm up to you.
  • Rabbits are fragile and they must be handled and carried carefully in order to avoid breaking their backs when they drop accidentally.
  • They need a lot of space to play around. It will be cruel to keep your rabbit in its cage all day.
  • Rabbits can be messy as they run around as they can leave hay everywhere.

Related Questions:

Should I neuter or spay my rabbits? It is advisable to neuter and spay your rabbits if you don’t want them to have too many babies. Un-neutered male rabbits have pungent smell while unsprayed female rabbits might have uterine cancer and die early.

Can I litter train my rabbit? Yes, you can. Litter training is usually not difficult. Rabbits normally relieve themselves in one or two areas. Place the litter box over the latrine area and with time, your bunny will learn how to do its business in one place.

Do rabbits eat furniture? Yes, they do if they are left to roam around the house. The drive to chew is in their DNA. You can protect the furniture legs to avoid this.

Charlotte Silcock

Charlotte lives in the United Kingdom and has worked in animal shelters looking after small animals. She owns a hamster as well as a dog and a cat and hopes to spread her knowledge about rodents to help other pet owners.

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