Rabbits make delightful pets. They’re so cute and cuddly and fun to watch Of course, I suggest you learn everything you can before you choose a pet rabbit. In fact, people ask me regularly about adopting a pet rabbit. So, what’s important to know when adopting a pet rabbit? You should consider adopting your pet rabbit from a local shelter if possible. This is better than a pet store. These rabbits are usually well cared for and need a good home. Investigate the shelter environment as well as the pet rabbit’s health. Study rabbit breed characteristics to see which one best fits your family and lifestyle. There’s a financial investment for owning a pet rabbit, so consider what you’ll need to purchase so your rabbit can be healthy and happy. Don’t forget to choose a good vet who has experience caring for pet rabbits. Last of all, enjoy your new pet rabbit.
Should I Buy A Rabbit At The Pet Store?
It’s best not to purchase a pet rabbit from a pet store. Here’s a couple of reasons why:
- Weaned too young-Dealers who sell rabbits to pet store usually sell rabbits as young as 4 weeks old. Healthy rabbits are weaned around 8 weeks. Weaning too soon can cause stress on the rabbit’s health and could make him more susceptible to digestive illnesses.
- Bunnies grow up-When you purchase a young, cute little bunny without understanding what he’ll look like as adult, you might be in for a huge surprise. Bunnies grow up to be big rabbits! Be sure to do your homework when it comes to adopting a rabbit. Look up the breed. How big will he get? How many pounds will he be? What’s this breed’s typical temperament?
How Do I Adopt A Rabbit From A Shelter?
Animal shelters always have rabbits that are available to adopt. These rabbits are well cared for by the shelters and need a good home. Here are the steps to finding a rabbit at the shelter:
Think local-Check out your local animal shelter first to find a pet rabbit. Most local shelters have a website where you can see their available rabbits. Their websites usually explain the cost and process for adopting a pet from their shelter.
Do your homework- Look at the available rabbits. Spring is usually the time when there’s a lot of rabbits for sale. Once you see the rabbits you’re interested in, do a little homework on how big they’ll get, or their temperment. Usually the shelter’s website provides information about the age and personality of the rabbit.
Visit the rabbit-Then go visit the rabbits you’re interested in. Ask the shelter folks questions about the rabbit.
- Was he an indoor or outdoor rabbit?
- How old is he or she?
- What’s his personality like around kids?
Beware!– When you’re at the shelter not only are you checking out the rabbits, but also take a look around the shelter. Is the shelter clean? Does it smell bad? Do the rabbits and other animals in the shelter have food and water and a clean cage? Do the rabbits seem ill? Are they playful? If the animals look ill or if the shelter isn’t clean, it’s best to find another shelter. Dirty shelters aren’t healthy places for animals. You don’t want to adopt an unhealthy rabbit.
Play-Take some time to play with the rabbit. Is he fearful or aggressive? Pet him and see if he warms up to you after awhile. See if you enjoy holding the rabbit. If you have children who will help care for your pet rabbit, take them along with you to see how the rabbit responds to them. Teach your kids how to pet him and hold him correctly.
Health check- Does the rabbit look healthy? Take a good look at:
- Fur- Is his fur shiny and dirt free? Are there any cuts, bumps or open wounds on his skin?
- Teeth-Are his teeth clean? Are they broken off? Is his chin wet? Is the fur around his mouth discolored or wet? This could indicate an overgrown teeth issues.
- Discharges– Are there any discharges from the rabbit’s nose, mouth or ears?
- Toenails-Are his nails trimmed down? Broken or loose?
- Tail area– Look for signs of diarrhea under his tail. If it’s wet or discolored he could have digestive problems.
- Spayed- Ask if the rabbit’s been neutered or spayed. Rabbits that have been altered are usually easier pets and less aggressive.
Adoption process-Usually this process involves filling out an application form and paying for your new pet. Most shelters frown on returning animals so be sure you’re making the right choice of pet before taking this step.If the rabbit hasn’t been altered, the shelter might require you to pay for this procedure for your new pet. They will send your new rabbit to a designated veterinarian to have this process completed then you’ll pick up your pet rabbit at the vet’s office in a few days. Usually the shelter will offer you some toys, straw, hay or toys for your new pet.
What Are Some Characteristics Of My Pet Rabbit Breed?
It’s important to understand the unique breed characteristics of your new pet rabbit.
Sussex rabbit- This breed is easy to care for with it’s meek, easy going personality. This breed is curious and fun to teach because they learn so quickly. Cons are that they tend to overeat so they can become fat is you’re not careful with the amount of food and treats you give them.
Californian rabbit- This breed is laid back. This breed is large, up to 12 pounds. Californian rabbits are friendly and affectionate pets.They need lots of social activity with people and other animals since they’re so affectionate. Also, they tend to get sore hocks easily if left too long in their cage.
Himalayan rabbit- This is one of the most popular rabbis to adopt. They’re curious, friendly and easygoing. They’re very playful so they need lots of stimulation and play to stay happy. They’re especially sensitive to coldness so they don’t do well living outdoors.
Dutch rabbits- This breed is calm, but often shy. They’re small, usually not more than 5 pounds as adults. They are prone to dental issues as adults because they have a small head and jaws.
Thrianta rabbits-This breed is gentle and friendly. Adults grow only to 5 or 6 pounds. They are prone to teeth issues and ear mites. They do well outdoors or indoors.
Chinchilla rabbits-They are long haired, calm and sweet natured breed of rabbit. They are a good rabbit for inside or outside. Prone to ear mites,need to check their ears every week. Also prone to teeth issues if not carefully looked after.
What Should I Buy For My Pet Rabbit?
Your newly adopted pet rabbit will need several things to live comfortably.
- Cage or Hutch-If your new pet rabbit will live indoors, you should choose a nice sized cage for him.Choose a large enough cage for your rabbit to stand and turn around easily. He should be able to also lay down and stretch out comfortably. There should also be room for a sleeping areas, a litter box and food bowl. You will also want to add a hay rack to hang above the litter box. If your rabbit will live outdoors, he will need a hutch similar to the size of a cage. Be sure the hutch has a substantial roof, is well insulated, and has no cracks in the wood that rain can get into. Place the hutch under a shady tree, next to a building that will buffer the hutch from wind and harsh weather. If your rabbit is outside, you’ll want to be sure he gets lots of attention. Don’t stick him in the hutch and forget about him, he will be an unhappy pet.
- Straw for bedding– Put straw in the bottom of your rabbit’s cage or hutch. This is the best bedding for a rabbit. Change out the straw every few days to keep your pet’s home clean and sweet smelling. Clean out the litter box daily.
- Hay-Give your rabbit lots of hay for fiber. Your rabbit should eat his weight in hay every day. Too little hay isn’t healthy for your rabbit’s digestive system. If he doesn’t get enough hay every day, he can develop digestive problems. Plus, hay helps your rabbit’s teeth stay trimmed down since their teeth never stop growing.
- Food –Your rabbit can eat leafy green veggies, herbs, fruits and leaves. Here’s a general list of what veggies, fruits and herbs are safe for your rabbit to eat.
Vegetables and herbs your rabbit can eat:
- Beet greens
- Bell peppers
- Brussel sprouts
- Grass-free cut, no fertilizer or pesticides
- Bok choy
- Dandelion greens
- Peppermint leave
- Chinese pea pods
Fruits your rabbit can eat:
- Fresh water- Give your rabbit fresh,clean water every day. Choose a heavy water dish so your rabbit can’t flip it over or play with it. Water bottles are good for rabbits to drink from. Be sure to clean it out every week.
- Toys-Your rabbit needs lots of stimulation to stay entertained. A bored rabbit will get into trouble. Give you rabbit paper towel tubes or empty cereal boxes for play. You can purchase cat toys, too. Anything that’s safe and fun for your rabbit to stay busy and happy will be a good toy.
- Play area-Many rabbit owners create a play area outside for their rabbits. This should be large enough for your rabbit to hop around. A large gated area works well. Your pet rabbit can graze on grass or play with his toys in this area. Always supervise your rabbit when he’s outside, rabbits are good escape artists.
What Should I Look For In A Veterinarian For My Pet Rabbit?
Be sure to choose a veterinarian that has experience caring for rabbits. Ask questions about how often the vet cares for rabbits. Is it weekly? Or yearly? Many vets treat rabbits as livestock rather than pets, this determines the care they give. Most specialized vets who take care of rabbits will require your rabbit be checked annually. Don’t forget to ask your vet if he or she provides emergency care. Sometimes rabbits can get sick quickly, so you’ll need 24/7 care. You might consider purchasing health care for your pet rabbit. Different insurances provide different care, so do a little homework to figure out what is best for your pet.