Rabbits are social and affectionate animals that are often mistaken as low-maintenance pets. However, rabbits require as much time and attention as cats and dogs, possibly more. Rabbits are incredibly energetic pets that need regular exercise to keep them fit, healthy, and happy.
How much exercise do rabbits need? Rabbits require at least 3 hours of exercise or free-range time each day to keep them healthy and happy.
Read on to find out how much exercise rabbits need, how to safely exercise your pet inside and outside, and whether you can use exercise balls, wheels, and leashes for rabbits!
How Much Exercise Do Rabbits Need?
Rabbits need a minimum of 3 hours of exercise every day. If your rabbit lives in a small cage or hutch, then you will need to provide them with even more exercise to prevent them from becoming bored or restless.
Exercise not only provides your rabbit with mental stimulation, but it also keeps your rabbit fit and allows your rabbit to burn off excess energy. This is incredibly important for their health!
Rabbits who are not given the option to exercise will likely become bored, depressed, and destructive. Your rabbit will probably act out if it isn’t being given enough exercise, which could lead to biting and aggression.
You can exercise your rabbit inside or outside, so you don’t need to worry if you don’t have a garden for your pet to hop around in!
If you are using a run for your rabbit to exercise in, make sure it is large and spacious. The minimum size for a run should be around 8 ft x 8 ft or 240cm x 120cm.
There are many different types of rabbits runs to choose from, such as Apex runs and wire runs, so pick the one you prefer most.
Some rabbit owners use puppy pens as runs or play areas for their rabbits as these are typically inexpensive!
If you use a room to exercise your rabbits in, make sure it is safe and secure. You should ensure it cannot be accessed by other animals and clear away any hazards, such as electrical cables and plastic.
Additionally, small nooks and crannies your rabbit could squeeze into should be blocked off.
Whether you’re exercising your rabbits inside or outside, make sure you never leave them unattended. Your rabbits should always be supervised when they are not inside their cage or hutch.
Exercising Your Rabbits Outside
Exercising your rabbit outside when it’s warm and sunny is a great way for your rabbit to get some vitamin D. They will also enjoy the fresh air and grass too!
You should use a run or playpen when exercising your rabbits outside to keep them safe. If your rabbit has never been outside to exercise before, make sure you build them up and increase their time outside gradually to prevent them from becoming too stressed.
Rabbits love to dig, so letting them outside to exercises allows them to do this activity (and burn off some steam!). Make sure you keep an eye on your rabbits when they are digging to ensure they do not escape their run/playpen.
Precautions Before Letting Your Rabbits Exercise Outside
Before letting your rabbit outside to exercise, there are certain precautions you should take to keep your pet safe.
Make sure the temperature outside is not too hot or cool. Temperatures should not exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit (around 26 degrees Celsius) and should not be lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).
The weather should also be dry. If it’s windy, raining or snowing, then don’t let your rabbits outside!
You should use a run, playpen, or other types of sturdy enclosure for your rabbit to exercise in. It’s not recommended you let your rabbit free roam outside as they could escape, chew on dangerous plants/materials, or get into trouble.
Make sure the enclosure you are using outside is safe, secure, and robust. You should also make sure the top of the enclosure has a top/cover or has high enough walls to prevent your rabbit from jumping out.
Rabbits like to dig, so be on the watch for this if their run/playpen is on grass or near soil. You don’t want your rabbit escaping!
You should put away any dangerous materials/objects (like plastic) and make sure your rabbit cannot access any poisonous plants.
Poisonous plants include Holly, Lilies, Ivy, Milkweed, and Chrysanthemum. It’s a good idea to make sure your rabbit can’t get into any flowers or plants unless you know they are 100% safe.
The grass outside should be completely dry before you let your rabbits outside. Walking on damp grass can make your rabbits unwell.
Additionally, you should make sure the grass has not been treated with any pesticides or chemicals. These could seriously harm your pet if ingested.
Make sure your rabbits have access to shade and fresh water when they are exercising outside. A hideaway is a good option as it also provides your rabbit with a safe area to retreat to if they feel scared or threatened.
Be on the lookout on predators, such as cats, hawks, and foxes. Rabbits are prey animals and can be an easy target when they are outside, especially if their enclosure does not have a top/cover.
Lastly, always supervise your rabbits when they are exercising outside. You should never leave your rabbits alone outside, not even for a second.
Exercising Your Rabbits Inside
Letting your rabbits inside to exercise is ideal when you don’t own a garden or cannot let your rabbits outside due to bad weather.
You could use a playpen to exercise your rabbit inside or you could use a safe and rabbit-proof room for them to play in.
You should aim to give your rabbit at least 3 hours of exercise each day. Even if your rabbit lives in a large and spacious habitat, they still need exercise outside of their cage or hutch.
If your rabbit lives in a small cage, then you will need to make sure they get exercise to allow them to burn off steam.
More than 3 hours of exercise may be more adequate if your rabbit lives in a small habitat.
Precautions Before Letting Your Rabbits Exercise Inside
Before letting your rabbits exercise inside, there are safety measures you need to take.
Make sure you put away any dangerous materials, such as plastic, electrical wires, etc. before letting your rabbits exercise inside.
You should also block off any small gaps your rabbits could potentially squeeze into, as well as make sure there are no long drops your pet could fall from.
If you are using a room to exercise your rabbits in, make sure it is rabbit-proof and cannot be accessed by other pets. Similarly, if you are using a playpen or another enclosure to exercise your rabbits inside, make sure no animals can get into it.
Provide your rabbits with fresh clean water to drink when they are exercising inside so they don’t get dehydrated.
It’s a good idea to inform other members of your household hat your rabbits are exercising inside so they know to look where they’re stepping and to use caution when opening doors.
You should never use air fresheners, insect sprays, or perfume in the room your rabbits are exercising in. Sprays like these can cause respiratory distress or poison your rabbits if ingested.
Why Exercise Is Important To Keep Your Rabbit Healthy
Exercise is important for your rabbit as it keeps them healthy, happy, and fit. Exercise aids with your rabbit’s muscle development and keeps their heart strong!
As well as keeping your rabbit in good shape, exercise provides your rabbit with mental stimulation and enrichment.
If your rabbit is not given at least 3 hours of exercise each day, then they are more likely to become bored, destructive, and depressed.
These emotions can cause your rabbit to be more aggressive or territorial than usual. They could also lead to nippiness, bar chewing, stress, or reluctance to eat.
Stressed rabbits are at a much higher risk of becoming ill.
If you own more than one rabbit, then they could fight or act aggressively around one another if they are not given enough exercise. This is because they are pent up and are unable to release tension!
Always make sure you provide your rabbit with at least 3 hours of exercise daily!
For more information on how much exercise a rabbits need, Lou Carter from rabbitcaretips.com has put together a well written article on the exercise requirements for rabbits.
How Much Human Interaction Do Rabbits Need?
Rabbits are very social and affectionate animals that require attention from their owners to thrive. Rabbits need daily human interaction, especially if they live alone.
Without regular interaction, rabbits can become depressed and bored. Boredom can manifest into destructive or abnormal behavior, such as bar chewing, nipping, and protectiveness over territory (like their cage).
Do Rabbits Need Exercise Wheels Or Balls?
As exercise balls and wheels are common toys for small animals, you might have wondered whether they are also suitable for rabbits.
Wheels and exercise balls should never be used for rabbits. Even wheels or exercise balls that are marketed for large animals should never be used.
A rabbit’s build is not suited to a wheel and their spines are not very flexible. This means they can damage or injure their spine if they use a wheel.
Exercise balls are unsafe for rabbits as they do not offer enough ventilation, which can cause your pet to overheat. Additionally, most rabbits will not enjoy being inside an exercise ball, which will cause unnecessary stress.
What Toys Should I Provide My Rabbits?
Toys are a must-have when you own a rabbit. Not only do toys provide your pet with enrichment, but they also provide ways for your rabbit to burn off energy.
Here are some types of toys that are ideal for energetic rabbits!
Tunnels are fantastic toys for rabbits. They give your pet a place to rest and relax, as well as a place to hop around in to exercise!
You could connect tunnels together to create a maze for your rabbit to explore!
- Chew toys
Chew toys are a necessity for rabbits. Your rabbit’s teeth are constantly growing, so they need to be worn down to prevent them from becoming too long.
Chew toys help file down your rabbit’s teeth when they gnaw on it. They also let your rabbit burn off some steam!
- Interactive toys
Rabbits are intelligent animals, so providing them with interactive toys is a good way to test their mind. Interactive toys are also ideal for bonding with your rabbit.
Most interactive toys require your rabbit to solve a puzzle in order to receive a reward. A common interactive toy has you place treats in holes with lids on that your rabbit then has to move to reach the treats inside.
Interactive toys are ideal when you’re exercising your rabbit inside or outside to tire your pet out!
- Wooden balls
Wooden balls that are made from safe wood, such as Apple sticks or willow, are fun toys for your rabbit to chew on and play with. They also provide your pet with exercise when they knock the balls around with their nose!
- Obstacle courses
Making an obstacle course for your rabbit is a great exercise method. It’s also fun for both of you!
Cardboard is a good material to create obstacles out of (like balls, ramps, and hurdles!). It’s also inexpensive too. Just make sure the cardboard has not been dyed with any poisonous dyes!
Can I Put a Leash On My Rabbit?
It is not recommended that you put a leash on your rabbit, even if the leash is targeted for small animals.
Leashes are unsafe for rabbits as they can damage their delicate backs, especially if you yank or pull too hard on the leash.
Additionally, being put on a leash is extremely stressful and scary for rabbits. Your rabbit will not like the feeling of a leash, which could lead to them wriggling out of their harness and escaping.
How long do rabbits live for? Rabbits can live for 7 to 10 years if they are given good care.
Do I really need to exercise my rabbit? Yes! Exercise is very important for rabbits as it provides them with mental stimulation and keeps them fit and healthy.
How big should my rabbit run be? 32 square feet for your rabbit’s exercise space is big for your rabbit to run around and get the exercise they need.