Keeping a rabbit as a pet can be a rewarding process that many pet lovers enjoy. Rabbits do have some surprising needs that may surprise even longtime owners.
Below we have listed some of the 15 best care tips for a bunny. Each tip has useful information that can enhance the life of your pet.
1. Small Amounts of Carrots and Other Vegetables
One of the biggest myths when it comes to rabbits is their love of carrots in the wild. Surprisingly rabbits don’t try to eat root vegetables very often when there feral.
The invention of rabbits loving carrots came about when owners started offering them as a treat to their pets. Rabbits love vegetables, including carrots, and became enthusiastic over the treat.
In truth, carrots aren’t always a rabbits favorite food, and some don’t like them at all. They certainly aren’t a part of any rodents primary diet.
If you do want to give your rabbit a carrot chop on into small bits. A rabbit should never be given a whole carrot or even fed carrots more than a couple of times a week.
2. Rabbits Have Sensitive Stomaches
Like most small animals, a rabbits stomach is incredibly sensitive. You should only feed your rabbit a very balanced diet with only a small amount of treats added in.
Many blends of rabbit food are mixed with treats instead of being made purely of pellets. Avoid these brands and go for bags that are filled with hay based pellets.
By feeding your rabbit daily servings of treat mixed food, you can cause obesity, which leads to a plethora of other health issues later in life.
Worst of all, your rabbit may not be getting all the nutrients he needs from this food. This can cause the activity level of your bunny to drop gradually over time.
3. Provide Enough Hay
Feeding your rabbit hay is as important as providing them water and pellets. Hay is one of the primary parts of many small animal diets, including rabbits.
In fact, you should attach a hay bin or provide a hay bowl to your rabbit that is full 24/7. You don’t have to worry about your rabbit overeating on hay.
Many time rabbits will just chew on the hay to help grind down their teeth. The plant is one of the most important parts of controlling your pets ever growing teeth.
Without hay, the digestive tract of your rabbit can be offset, leading to diarrhea. You will also run into more dental issues without providing the proper amount of hay.
4. Your Rabbit’s Dental Hygiene is Important
While you don’t need to try and brush your rabbit’s teeth every day, there are some things you need to do to keep their mouths healthy.
Rabbits teeth will never stop growing throughout there life and have to be maintained. If rabbits teeth aren’t cared for, then they can experience painful overgrowth.
To keep this from happening, you will need to provide constant chew toys for your bunny. Rabbits do have a tendency to get bored, and you will need to switch out toys regularly.
Many pet stores carrying an ever-changing variety of wood and pumice chew toys. These are both excellent choices for shaving down teeth.
5. Rabbit Have Sensitive Feet
All rabbits have sensitive feet, and some rabbit breeds feet are more prone to injury than others. Caring for your pet’s feet is possible and mostly easy to do.
Make sure only to use soft bedding with your rabbit, never use bedding that has sharp edges. You will also want to watch out for chewed plastic pieces from accessories.
Daily cage checks can take care of many feet related accidents an owner can run into. Additionally, never use a cage with a wire bottom; this is the best way to ensure injury.
Wire bottoms can lead to painful inflammation and bacterial infections in feet. These can be excruciating in rabbits and even lead to depression or stress.
6. They Have Great Hearing
Large ears aren’t just for show; they are perfect for helping a rabbit capture all the sounds that are happening around it. In fact, rabbits can hear for about 2 miles away.
This, of course, means that everything sounds louder to a bunny. This makes music a tricky factor to play loud when you own a rabbit as a pet.
Make sure to keep your rabbit in a room off to the side where daily noise won’t have a significant impact on them. Keeping a rabbit as the center of attention can cause ear damage.
If you do have a party with loud music check-in on your pet. If there are signs of stress, then you need to turn things down a bit.
7. Bunnies Get Stressed Easily
If you have ever heard of a rabbit dying of stress, then you probably waived it off as a myth. The sad fact is that rabbits can die from being too stressed or too scared.
Bunnies are fragile creatures that are on constant alert from predators. Sudden onset of intense fear or stress can trigger a heart attack to begin that is usually fatal.
Rabbits should be handled with care, and any signs of stress need to be immediately addressed. Rabbits shouldn’t be introduced to cat’s for “cute” playtime or startled.
While this condition isn’t common, it needs to be taken seriously. Stress or fear can also lead to a huge list of other problems in your rabbit that can develop seemingly out of nowhere.
8. Young Children And Rabbits Don’t Mix
Rabbits are a cute animal that many small children understandably want to own. The truth is that rabbits make a horrible first-time pet for most young humans.
Rabbits are fragile and easy to injure, making them a hazard to hold. They also don’t do well with screaming or loud noises that many children make when excited.
Many rabbits won’t warm up to your child for quite some time, which can be a major disappointment. Some won’t warm up to young kids at all.
If you are able to get a rabbit to be held by a child, they will most likely struggle and may even defend themselves. Rabbits have fierce bites and sharp nails that can easily break the skin.
9. Fruits And Vegetables Are Treats
Fruits and veggies are a healthy treat for humans that can often times have many negative health effects on pets. Rabbits are should never be given either of these foods daily.
Both of these items have high amounts of sugar that can cause health issues later on. Both can also cause diarrhea if fed to often or they just don’t work with your rabbit’s stomach.
Make sure never to let fruits or vegetables exceed 5% to 10% of your rabbit’s diet. Also, make sure to wash off the fruits and vegetables. Make sure only to buy organic produce as a treat.
Many fruits and vegetables sold in stores have been treated for bugs during the growth process. Pesticide should never be ingested by your pet in any amount, no matter how small.
10. Captive Rabbits Don’t Like The Cold
If you bought a rabbit from the pet store, then they have probably been kept in a warm environment for the entirety of their lives.
If you stick a pet store rabbit outdoors, then it’s probably going to die. If it’s too hot, then the rabbit will have a heat stroke, and if it’s cold, then hypothermia will happen.
Unlike wild rabbits, pet rabbits have been bred to be an inside pet that can’t stand changing temperatures. They may not even be able to resist many common ailments.
If you can’t keep your rabbit inside, then it’s best to buy farm bred rabbits. These rabbits have probably been raised in an outdoor environment.
11. Grooming Your Bunny
If you have a long-haired rabbit then your probably going to be faced with some grooming issues. Many captive rabbits will often get droppings entangled into their fur.
You will need special brushes that are rabbit approved in able to get out debris and tangles. The amount of brushing needed will depend on your bunnies individual needs.
For all types of rabbits, you may need to clip their nails. This keeps the overgrowth from happening and limits the number of scratches you get from holding your pet.
In some cases, you may even have to dry bathe your rabbit. If possible, do this with waterless shampoo from your local pet store.
If you need to shave your rabbit, make sure to seek the help of a vet. Rabbits skin is tender and can be easy to cut.
12. Rabbits Prefer to be in Pairs
Rabbits are social animals that prefer to live in colonies in the wild. Because of this, bunnies can become depressed when they don’t get the proper amount of attention.
It’s best to buy rabbits in pairs when possible. If you do get a couple of rabbits remember that you will need to double the size of your cage and double the accessories.
You will also need to make sure to get a pair of same-sex rabbits as they will reproduce fast. Try to get the rabbits as babies so they will get used to each other.
When first introducing the bunnies, make sure to observe them carefully. If there are any altercations, then you need to separate them immediately.
13. Socializing Your New Bunny Is Hard
If you want to have a working relationship with your rabbit, then you need to put in a bit of work. A rabbit isn’t going to trust you the moment you bring them home.
You need to give a bunny time to observe you; your pet needs to come to the conclusion that your not a pet. Avoid trying to pet or pick up your bunny on the first few days home.
To start out with offer your pet treats or hay through the cage. They will probably take a bit to take it from you, so you need to be patient during this process.
Rabbits are prey animals in the wild, and sudden movements will send them into flight mode. To avoid this only approach them slowly and without making tons of noise in the process.
14. They Like Being Clean
Rabbits aren’t going to smell unless there is something wrong. Rabbits, like many other rodents, take pride in their grooming habits. This keeps the odor from your pet at a minimum.
If you notice that your pet is beginning to smell, then you will probably want to clean their cage. Daily spot cleaning is also needed to keep odors under control.
In the case of a male rabbit, you will need to clean their scent glands. If glands aren’t clean, then oil will build up that smells awful.
If you have cleaned your rabbit and they still stink then seek out help from your vet. This can be caused by a UTI or other health issues such as impaction or bacterial infection.
15. They Live A Long Time
Most wild rabbits may only live for 1 to 2 years, but captive-bred rabbits live for much longer than that. If you buy a rabbit, you could have a 12-year commitment on your hands.
Rabbits tend to live between 8 and 12 years when properly taken care of. Because of this, some owners are caught off guard by the length of time their rabbit has stayed around for.
To ensure your rabbit lives the longest life possible, take our above tips to heart. A proper diet is one of the most significant factors in the overall health of your bunny.
Make sure to use proper bedding and keep your rabbit in a calm environment. Limiting stress can add years to the life of a pet rabbit.
How do I tell If my rabbit is sick? Look for signs of laziness or decreased appetite. If your rabbit stops drinking then seek a vet immediately.
Do different breeds have different health needs? Yes, each different breed of rabbits come with its own health-related needs that can differ from other breeds.
How do I introduce my rabbit to my cat? Never let your other pets get to close to your rabbit, this can trigger prey behavior and put your bunny in danger. Only spaced observing should be allowed.