Who doesn’t remember the Bugs Bunny from childhood, almost everyone grew up watching it. But in real life rabbits are nothing like a tall lean animal, but they are the fluffiest of creatures. So you might think how hard can it be to keep a rabbit as a pet? They just need carrots and a hutch. But here my friends you’re wrong! Keeping these adorable domestic rabbits as a pet is nothing related to low maintenance. Without further ado let’s dive into quick tips on how to take care of a rabbit.
The first thing to keep in mind is that domestic rabbits are nothing like their wild relatives. They are well kept indoors rather than outdoors because they can not tolerate the extreme temperatures, they are extremely sensitive beings that even a slight scare can stress them out so much that they can die of a heart attack.
Now the question arises to keep them in a cage or free in the house?
If you decide to let your little fluffy companion free in the house or in a specific area of your house, you have to bunny-proof your home completely.
Rabbit as a pet is very challenging to handle, they like to chew, whatever they can get their tiny hands-on they’ll chew it. So you need to cover the wirings around the house or raise them higher than its reach to avoid any electrocution. You might use baby gates to section off a part of a place which is a no go zone for your pet rabbit. As usual be careful while placing any poisonous insecticide or chemical in low cabinets that are easier for your pet rabbit to reach, apart from this some plants such as tulips, poinsettia, holly and tomato leaves are toxic to your little bunny.
If you decide to keep your rabbit in a cage then be sure to get the biggest one i.e. it should be at least 5 times bigger than your rabbit’s body, allowing it space to stretch completely along with the place for its food, water, and litter. It should be high enough to hop without bumping its head.
If the cage is wired, be sure to place wood or solid surface below because bunny feet are very sensitive, also it can slip on those wires and hurt itself. If you want to give maximum rabbit care then it is advised to make a safe place for your rabbit to hide and sleep.
Apart from this, a caged rabbit must be taken out of its cage for a few hours every day for a healthy life. It is very essential as part of rabbit care to interact with your lovely companions and play with them in a safe zone.
How To Train Your Rabbit
Rabbits like cats and dogs have the ability to quickly be litter trained. While setting a bed for them be sure to avoid any wood shavings or clumping cat litters which may cause harmful effects to your rabbit, instead use organic paper or citrus pellets and spread hay over them. The litter box should be shallow but big enough for your rabbit to relax as they often like to do so in their litter.
Fun fact: Rabbits have a habit of pooping while eating so it’s ideal to have a set up of their litter right where they eat and drink.
What to feed?
Contrary to popular belief, carrots are not rabbit’s main diet, instead, it’s hay. Baby rabbits need to munch on alfalfa, while the adult rabbit should be fed with timothy hay, grass hay or oat hay. Dry hay should be provided all day so its best to use a hay feeder.
An adult rabbit must have green and leafy vegetables in their diet as well but in limited quantity along with chunks of carrot in it. Snacks as treats should be included like chopped up pieces of apples, bananas, and pineapples.
The freshwater bowl should always be present along with food.
As a compulsive chewer, they need to spend their energy on something that isn’t destructive. What you can do in order to take care of your rabbit as a pet is to provide safe toys to chew on. They don’t necessarily have to be expensive, they can be something as easily available as cardboards or tissue rolls. Cardboard castles are their favorite as they chew out new doors and windows, this not only provides physical stimulation but mental stimulation as well.
Groom your Pet Rabbit
Following are the tips on how to take care of your rabbit by grooming it:
- There is no need to give a bath to your rabbit, they clean themselves. In special cases where your rabbit has encountered diarrhea then you have to just dip your poor little bunny’s bum in shallow water and clean it. Never immerse the whole rabbit in water.
- Rabbits shed every once in a while, during that phase it is essential to thoroughly brush through your rabbit’s fur in order to avoid swallowing of large amounts of fur that could be fatal. Therefore brushing will take all the fur out that have shed.
- Clean your bunny’s long ears gently with a cloth and take it to a vet as soon as you see any wax in the ear canal.
- Scent glands of your bunny should be cleaned as well because they are situated at the bottom of your bunny and may collect dirt creating a foul odor. Take it to a vet if you’re not comfortable cleaning it but don’t leave it unattended.
- Rabbits nails need to be cut regularly so that they don’t curl in its paws.
Take That Pet to the Vet
The lifespan of a pet rabbit is about 10 years, that’s a long time to stay with a pet, which eventually at some point will need medical attention. Like any other pet animal, regular visits to vets who specialize in rabbit care should be taken. Especially when you feel like your rabbit is not feeling okay. Noticing can be through the presence of nasal discharge, matted fur, scabies, irregular bowel movements. Teeth of rabbits grow throughout their life, chewing on things help to maintain its length. If they go beyond the lower lip get your bunny checked.
For your rabbit as a pet should be spayed or neutered for a long healthy playful life.
How to Handle your pet Rabbit
Rabbits are generally fragile beings, picking them up the wrong way can cause great harm to them. Place one hand below the upper arms and one below your Rabbits bottom to pick it up, keeping it close to your body and close to the ground because they are very hyper animals who will wiggle or try to jump in your hand, if the distance between them and the floor is long, it may cause some serious damage your rabbit.
Rabbit Cage Care
You should tidy up your Rabbits cage every day by fluffing up the hay, replacing a clean bowl of fresh water, refilling of food and cleaning of the litter. Care of the rabbit should be cleaned once a week but be careful not to use any chemical cleaners instead of clean it with water and white vinegar which is not harmful to your pet rabbit.
Owning a rabbit as a pet is a huge responsibility. Rabbit care is nothing near to low maintenance. These tips will help you to take better care of your rabbit, do not forget to spend time with your rabbit and play with it, this will give maximize the lifespan of a rabbit.