How to Raise a Bunny at Home
Rabbits can make excellent companions for those who put in the time and effort to understand their needs and care. Although many individuals may see rabbits as a great “starter pet,” they require a significant amount of attention and energy, along with a specific diet and medical care. Before adding a pet bunny to your family, it’s essential to understand what rabbits need, how to take care of a pet rabbit, and how to raise a bunny at home. These lovable and curious animals can live up to 10 years. Rabbits tend to bond with their owners, so providing a quality habitat is essential for them to be able to live a happy and healthy life.
Creating Your Bunny’s Habitat
Unlike their wild relatives, pet rabbits cannot live outdoors. Domestic rabbits can’t handle extreme temperatures, especially during the summer or winter months. In addition, pet rabbits are targets for all sorts of predators if they’re left outside unattended (even when housed in a large enclosed cage).
Bunnies will chew on just about anything, which means it’s crucial to bunny-proof your home to keep your furry friend safe, as well as to reduce the risk of damage to your belongings. Electrical cords need to be out of reach, power outlets covered, and any harmful plants must be out of reach. These include aloe, Lily of the Valley, and other various plant bulbs that can be dangerous if consumed by your pet bunny. Want to keep your rabbit extra safe? Block off certain areas of the house using baby gates as a ‘just in case’.
You can let your bunny have free roam of your house, or you can opt for a large cage. A good rule of thumb is that the cage should be a minimum of five times the length of your bunny when they’re fully stretched out. Rabbits are active creatures and need ample space to be able to move freely. The surface of the cage should be solid, including the floor portion. For bedding, opt for something that will keep your pet safe, as well as comfortable within the enclosure. Since bunnies like to chew, you must use a material that will be non-toxic. Paper, pellets, hay, and aspen shreds are all quality options for your furry friend. However, even if you have a cage for your rabbit, your pet bunny will still need plenty of time outside of their cage to roam around, stretch their legs, and play.
Bunnies will often go to the bathroom in the same general area. Due to this, pet bunnies can often be potty-trained. Place a litter box in one corner of their cage and a few throughout your home to give your pet plenty of options to do their business.
Care and Feeding Your Pet Rabbits
Pet rabbits also need a well-rounded diet to stay happy and healthy. Your furry friend should have access to timothy hay-based pellets, timothy hay, and plenty of fresh, clean water. Opt for a sipper bottle or a bowl of water. If you go with a sipper bottle, make sure your bunny knows how to use it, and that you clean it often so it doesn’t get clogged. If you go with a water bowl, put the water in a heavy shallow bowl to avoid it getting tipped over.
The most important food in a rabbit’s diet is hay! Here’s why: A rabbit’s teeth grow continuously throughout their life, and If they’re not eating about 80% hay then their teeth can grow too long. This can cause abscesses and dental problems, which sometimes are not fixable.
Vegetables also play an important role in a bunny’s overall health. For a balanced diet, you should give your pet bunny plenty of leafy, darker greens, including cilantro, parsley, romaine, arugula, and other greens. Rabbits also enjoy sweet treats, including apples, pears, strawberries, plums, blueberries, and more. Extra-sugary fruits should only be given to your furry friend sparingly, including fruits such as bananas and grapes.
Bunny Medical Care
Just like any other pet, bunnies need regular medical care and annual check-ups to make sure they are healthy. However, not all veterinarian clinics will treat pet bunnies. To find the right vet for your furry friend, search for an “exotic” veterinarian. The exotic designation simply means that they treat a variety of nontraditional pets, including bunnies, guinea pigs, snakes, and more. At AZPetVet, we have several doctors throughout our family of animal hospitals who partner with our clients to care for their exotic pets.
A pet bunny can be an excellent addition to any family. However, just because a rabbit may be smaller than many cats and dogs doesn’t mean that they’re more low-maintenance or need less attention. Pet bunnies still require a lot of work and love. If you’re ready, willing, and able to give them the kind of home and life that they deserve, then you will have a fun, loyal, and curious companion that will love you right back.
Several AZPetVet locations offer a range of services for exotics and pocket pets. Visit this link to find one near you!
[Disclaimer] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.