Pets and Animals

Tips for Keeping Rabbits as Pets

Rabbits are fun to keep as pets. They are playful, intelligent and interesting to watch. If you’re thinking about getting a rabbit, there are several things to do in order to prepare for your new pet. Take a look at some of the items to buy before you bring home your new rabbit.

Shelter for Your Rabbit

Many people who have rabbits as pets keep them in a rabbit hutch. This is essentially a large wooden cage that serves as shelter for a rabbit or rabbits. You can either build a hutch or purchase one. A rabbit hutch should be at least three feet long, three feet wide and three feet high. It should allow a rabbit plenty of space to move around. Hutches are designed with a wire floor so rabbit droppings can fall to the ground instead of collecting inside the cage. Put your hutch in an outdoor location that’s cool and out of the direct sunlight. Rabbits don’t like to be too hot or too cold. Several handfuls of hay should be placed inside the hutch so your rabbit can make a bed with it. You may want to put a smaller wooden box filled with hay inside the hutch. Your rabbit will likely make a bed inside it.

Feeding Your Rabbit

Just like wild rabbits, tame rabbits eat a lot of vegetables. You can feed your bunny lettuce, carrots, kale and parsley. These animals also need a steady diet of rabbit pellets. These can be purchased at a pet store. Always have a supply of rabbit pellets in your pet’s food bowl so it can eat whenever it needs to.

Providing Water for Your Rabbit

Remember that your rabbit needs to have access to water at all times. These pets can overheat very quickly so they need to stay hydrated. You can either purchase a water bottle and hang it inside the door of the hutch. Test the water bottle to ensure that it’s dispensing water. Or, you can put a bowl of water inside the hutch for your rabbit. You’ll need to choose a heavy bowl so your rabbit can’t knock it over and spill the water. Check your pet’s bowl each day to make sure the water is clean.

Grooming

Rabbits are very good at grooming their own fur. However, you can buy a small hair brush with soft bristles and brush your rabbit’s fur to help with grooming. There are soft brushes for dogs that are suitable to use on a rabbit. If your rabbit is docile, it may love to have its fur brushed every day!

Handling Your Rabbit

If want to hold your rabbit, put your hands around its middle to lift it. Be sure that you put one hand beneath the rabbit’s hind end so it will feel secure. Just like any other pet, your rabbit doesn’t want to feel like it’s going to fall. Whenever you handle your rabbit, make sure your movements are slow and that you talk to it in a soothing voice. Rabbits startle very easily so it’s important to make it feel at ease whenever you are holding it.

Exercising Your Rabbit

Rabbits are pets that need a lot of exercise. It’s best to allow a rabbit to exercise in an enclosed area. This keeps your rabbit safe from dogs, cats and other predators. Plus, your rabbit will not be able to hop away and get lost. Put a little rubber ball down and see if your rabbit will push it with its nose. Whether a rabbit is wild or tame, it needs to be able to hop around and stretch its legs.

Common Ailments of Rabbits

Part of the responsibility of keeping rabbits as pets is to make sure they stay in good health. One common ailment of a rabbit is mange. Mange causes rabbits to scratch and lose their hair on one or more areas of the body. This can be healed with topical ointment prescribed by a veterinarian. Also, if your rabbit starts to scratch its ears a lot, it may have ear mites. These small organisms get into a rabbits ears and make them itch. Once again, a veterinarian can prescribe an ointment that can kill mites and relieve the itching. Keeping a rabbit’s cage clean and feeding it properly are both ways that can help your rabbit to stay healthy and strong. When buying a rabbit, you’ll want to look for one with clear, bright eyes, a dry nose and a soft, clean coat.

Cleaning the Hutch

A rabbit hutch must be cleaned at least once a week. This means washing your rabbit’s food and water bowls with mild soap and drying them. Also, remove old hay and put in a new supply for your pet. Put your rabbit somewhere safe while your scrub the wire floor of the hutch with mild soap and hot water. In addition, remove any droppings or urine that you see in the hutch. Your rabbit appreciates a clean environment just as much as other pets do.

More Than One Rabbit

Finally, rabbits are social animals. So, it’s a good idea to keep rabbits together. The ideal situation is to purchase two rabbits that are already living together and compatible. If you try to put a second rabbit with one you’ve had for a while, they may not get along. So, you must introduce the new rabbit in a gradual way. Some people keep them in side by side pens so they can see each other without touching. If you put them together and find that they are not compatible, they need to be kept apart so they will not fight. Chances are, if you introduce two rabbits slowly, they will get used to one another and there won’t be a problem.

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