What to consider before having a rabbit as a pet?

These animals are increasingly chosen as housemates, thanks to their adaptability, tenderness and fidelity. However, certain aspects of their care must be known to offer them a dignified and healthy life.

Last update: October 15, 2021

Rabbits can be great roommates. However, many people adopt them believing that their care is simple and they end up surprised. Although they are not complex animals, there are several details to take into account before having a rabbit as a pet.

In general, they are affectionate, playful and intelligent, with a sociable character and easy adaptation. Although they do not require permanent attention, it is important to have a daily time to take care of them.

Although it may seem otherwise, having a rabbit as a pet not the best alternative for young children, who can get to cause problems with the wrong treatment. In addition, they require adequate space.

Care and needs of a domestic rabbit

Having a rabbit as a pet is a great option if you are looking for a faithful, hygienic and versatile company in adapting to different types of homes. However, it is important to know as much information as possible to ensure that you can provide a safe life for the animal.

There is a wide variety of breeds, depending on size, colors and personalities. The choice must take into account the available space that will be in the house, how long it could be loose or if you have a patio to circulate. In the case of large places, you can opt for larger breeds, such as the Californian or the New Zealand.

For small spaces, other types like the mini lop, the mini rex or Dutch are more suitable. What’s more, their weight does not usually exceed 4 kilograms. Another aspect to take into account is their life span, which ranges from 7 to 10 years.

Rabbits don’t enjoy being handled all the time. In that way, they can become skittish and form aggressive later attitudes.

There is likely to be confusion at this point, as many parents decide to gift this pet to their children out of cuteness. The ideal is to take them gently and with both hands, one on the chest and the other holding the back. They must feel stable and secure.

Feeding

The diet of these animals has to be based on hay, grass or dried alfalfa. It is important that they have this food constantly, while it can be combined with one or two cups of vegetables daily. The ideal are those with green leaves, such as chard, lettuce and celery.

Also add small servings of apple, pear or carrot. Finally, a few grams of feed for rabbits. These animals require a diet rich in fiber and a total amount of daily food that ranges from 2 to 8 grams.

Some servings of vegetables are necessary for rabbits, as they need a diet rich in fiber.

Hygiene

Having a rabbit as a pet does not entail too many hygienic problems. In general, it is a clean species.

They spend a good time grooming themselves, since they prefer to be sanitized. It is advisable to maintain your space in the same way, applying daily cleaning and disinfection in the hutch or box. These measures also prevent you from getting mites.

On the other hand, you have to be willing to constantly clean the hairs, because they renew their fur often. Some breeds tend to have it longer. For this, there are adapted brushes or animal hairdressers. They do not need to be bathed regularly, but their claws do need to be checked.



Advantages of having a rabbit as a pet

Knowing about general care, choose this type of animal as a companion brings a series of advantages that makes them unique and very different from other domestic species.

Fellowship

They are very sociable animals, who enjoy human company. While they are exposed from childhood to dealing with people, the more trusting and loving they will be as adults.

Relationship with children

Rabbits have a fragile bone structure. Always with adult supervision and exhaustive education on how to treat and manipulate them, it is possible that a special affective bond is generated between children and animals. It is essential to lift them with caution, support them with both hands, and support them on your lap.

Adaptable

These little ones adapt easily to the space where they are offered a home, both in large and small environments. However, it is important that have enough meters to explore, run, exercise and feel free.

Personality

Rabbits usually have a great personality that characterizes them, which includes demonstrations through their body language. With perseverance, they are apt to train, learn habits, routines and even some tricks of the game.

Cleaning

If they have a suitable area, such as a litter box or a corner of their hutch, they will quickly learn to relieve themselves there. On the other hand, they do not carry strong body odors, but their urine does, so it is important to sanitize the space frequently.

Loneliness

They are sociable animals that need contact with people or other rabbits, but they also enjoy solitude in its proper measure. In the case of being alone for more than two hours, it is important that they have toys and activities that keep them occupied.

Disadvantages of having a rabbit as a pet

Of course, having a rabbit as a pet also brings some setbacks, such as the economic aspect. You must have a budget available for them, although not more than with other animals.

The important thing is to have food, hygiene and play items and visits to the veterinarian. On the other hand, there are some expensive breeds, although it is advisable to adopt in a shelter.

  • Disorder. You have to be prepared to reorganize some clutter, crumbs and food that may be left on the way.
  • Teethers. They have this characteristic by nature. They tend to bite all kinds of materials, such as fabrics, plastics or cables.
  • Dogs and cats. In general, they do not have the best relationship with dogs and cats, who see them as prey or toys. However, if they have known each other since puppies, it is possible that they form a good bond.
  • Night life. They are twilight animals, that is, they are most active during dawn and dusk.

Preparing the home to have a pet rabbit

The most important thing is to offer them a decent space for them to appropriate. If possible, avoid cages.

In the case of hutches, they must have an open space of four times more than the size of the animal; and another closed, dry and dark so they can rest. The ideal material for your house is wood. You must have a permanent hay mattress.

The nature of the rabbit must be considered, which indicates that they are free explorers of their environment. For this reason, the larger your space, the better quality of life you will have. Usually, they need 4 or 5 hours a day to be out of any hutch or closed space and be able to exercise.

Another essential aspect is to keep items that can bite and affect your health, such as some cables, out of reach. This may involve reorganizing some sectors of the home.

Digging is another activity they really enjoy., so you have to take care of the carpets. It is recommended that they do not have access to indoor plants, as they tend to bite them. Some species, like tulips, can affect your health.

Children can keep rabbits as pets, but it is preferable that they are supervised by an adult in the treatment of the animal.

vet

It is important to take the rabbit for an initial consultation and then follow possible specific directions from the vet. While they do not require frequent appointments, check-ups should be done every half year. At six months of age it is possible to administer a vaccine that protects them from diseases.

The aspects to check regularly are the condition of your skin, ears and mouth, which may have an overgrowth of teeth. In rabbits they are usually in constant development; that’s why they need to bite all the time. For that there are a variety of toys and accessories.

In any case, if there are abnormalities, such as lagañas, watery eyes, liquid stools or loss of appetite, you should consult your veterinarian. It is recommended to castrate them when they reach sexual maturity, that is, between 4 and 6 months.



Keeping a pet rabbit in hot weather

An important aspect is to take certain measures to prevent the rabbit from suffering when the environment exceeds 30 degrees Celsius. It is essential that they are not exposed to the sun in high temperatures. On the other hand, if it is in the hutch, it must be kept in the shade, cool and isolated.

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