Rabbits are a popular pet for a wide variety of reasons. Ask any bunny parent and they will sing the praises of their beloved pets until you’re convinced. But just because someone else loves caring for a rabbit, it doesn’t mean they are the perfect pet for everyone.
So are rabbits good house pets? Short answer is yes they are but you need to make that decision for yourself. Below, I’ll explore all the facts about owning rabbits, the good and the bad. That way, you’ll have all the information you need, all in one place, to help you decide if a bunny will make a good house pet for you.
- 1 What’s It Like To Have A Pet Rabbit?
- 2 What Should You Consider Before Getting A Rabbit/Bunny As A House Pet
- 3 Types/Breeds of Rabbits
- 4 How To Select The Right Bunny For You
- 5 How Many Bunnies Should You Get
- 6 How Much Does It Cost To Own A Rabbit
- 7 Should You Adopt Or Buy
- 8 Where Do You House Your Rabbit Indoors vs Outdoors
- 9 What Can You Expect The First Month Owning a House Rabbit
- 10 Are Rabbits Kid-Friendly
- 11 What Are The Most Kid-Friendly Rabbit Breeds
- 12 How Much Space Do You Need To Keep Bunny Inside
- 13 How Quickly Will You Bond With Your Bunny
- 14 Veterinary and Medical Care for Rabbits
- 15 Do Rabbits Need To Exercise
- 16 How Long Do Rabbits Live
- 17 Are Rabbits Quiet or Loud Pets
- 18 How Easily Can You Train Rabbits
- 19 Should I Keep My Rabbit Inside or Outside
- 20 Will I need A Hutch Indoors
- 21 How Do Rabbits Get Along With Other Pets
- 22 Playtime With Your Rabbits Do You Need Toys
- 23 Special Needs Of Bunnies
- 24 Can Rabbits Destroy Your House
- 25 Are Rabbits Social Pets
- 26 Rabbits Dogs And Cats Will They Get Along
- 27 Rabbit Health Problems To Know About
- 28 How Are Rabbits As Roommates
- 29 Are Bunnies Sensitive
- 30 Do Rabbits Poo And Wee Everywhere At Home
- 31 Do You Need To Walk With Rabbits For Fresh Air
- 32 Do I Need To Give Attention To My Bunny or Buy a Bunny 2nd Bunny
- 33 Are Rabbits As Playful As Other Pets
- 34 Is Bunny Afraid Of Your House
- 35 Should You Spay Or Neuter Your Rabbit
- 36 Would A Rabbit Be A Good College Pet
What’s It Like To Have A Pet Rabbit?
This is a hard question to answer because everyone’s experience is different. I can’t tell you the experience of each rabbit owner, but I can give you a pretty good idea what it might be like for you.
Rabbits are curious, sweet-natured, and often cuddly animals. They bond with their humans and they can learn to do tricks, use a litter box, and come when called. However, all of this takes great patience and a gentle hand.
Rabbits are prey animals. As with most creatures meant to be food for other animals, bunnies are cautious and alert. They can be slow to trust and can often be frustrating to new owners who aren’t prepared for their special care.
Many new owners are surprised to learn that rabbits can be noisy, need exercise, and will appear to be eating their own feces. But a wise bunny parent knows there are reasons for all of these things, and they may not be what you’re expecting!
What Should You Consider Before Getting A Rabbit/Bunny As A House Pet
Any pet additions to your family should come after careful consideration. Each type of animal has special needs and care requirements. There is a lot to consider for rabbits, so I’ll break it down into a few quick categories. I’ll go into greater detail in the sections below, too.
- Cost—can you afford a pet rabbit? Consider the cost of the animal, the equipment, bedding, and food.
- Vet care—can you afford the cost of vet care? Think about vaccinations, medications, supplements, and surgeries.
- Space—do you have room for a rabbit? Consider their furniture, toys, bedding, food, and play space.
- Time—do you have time to tend to your rabbit’s needs? Think about play time, cuddle time, cleaning, training, and caring for sick animals.
- Lifespan and commitment—do you know how long rabbits live and are you willing to commit to caring for your rabbit for that long?
- Allergies—are you allergic to any animals? Making sure you’re not allergic before you adopt is a good idea.
Types/Breeds of Rabbits
With over 300 breeds of domestic rabbits to choose from, there is a bunny out there that will fit all your dreams. Fluffy, floppy, bouncy, relaxed, solid colors, multi-colored… there is a rabbit made just for you.
I don’t want to spend too much time listing more than 300 types of rabbits, but here is a sampling of rabbit breeds you might be interested in.
- American chinchilla
- American checked giant
- Belgian hare
- Britannia petite
- Dwarf hotot
- English lop
- French lop
- Mini lop
- Mini rex
How To Select The Right Bunny For You
Have you dreamed of cuddling a sweet, fluffy bunny? Do you imagine your pet rabbit lounging in your lap or a few bouncing around your house? If you’re considering a rabbit house pet, you probably already have a picture in your head of what it will be like.
But our imaginations aren’t reality. When it comes to selecting your new pet rabbit, it takes some thought. Here’s how to select the right bunny for your family.
If your family is adventurous and active, you’ll want to choose a rabbit breed that likes to play, explore, and be handled. Look for curious bunnies that like new stimulation and fun toys. Avoid breeds that are shy and docile.
If you’re a more laid-back person who likes to sit with a good book and enjoy the quiet, look for a rabbit breed that enjoys being cuddled and pet.
Match the size of your environment to the size of the rabbit. If you live in a tiny apartment in the middle of a huge city, you don’t want to get a large rabbit breed. You should also avoid any breeds that require a lot of room to run and play.
How much money are you willing and able to spend on rabbit care items? Some rabbit breeds don’t have many needs, while others require a lot of extra gear and supplies. Consider grooming, feed, treats, enrichment, and veterinary costs. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of the rabbits themselves. Some breeds are much more exotic and expensive than others.
Not all rabbits will be available in all areas. Make sure the breed you want is available where you live. Also, be sure the breed you’re interested in is allowed where you live. Some places won’t allow certain rabbit breeds because they’re considered an invasive species if they were to get loose.
Be honest—do you have time to raise, train, care for, and play with a pet rabbit? Bunnies need daily care and attention. They must be groomed, fed, trained, and loved. Even just an hour a day can keep a pet bunny happy.
If you’re working or going to school 12+ hours per day, it may not be the right time for you to get a pet rabbit. If you travel frequently, are away from home a lot, or are very busy, you should wait before you get a rabbit.
I have seen many bunny parents who have just one rabbit in their home. While it’s possible to keep a single bunny, that’s not a natural way for rabbits to live. Many of the single rabbits I’ve met have been doted on by loving humans, so they’re not suffering loneliness. However, that’s not the case for all of them.
Rabbits are social creatures. They enjoy the company of humans and other pets, but they really thrive in the company of other rabbits. They don’t need to be the same breed, just another bunny.
Keep in mind, however, that not all rabbits will get along. Just like people, rabbits have their own personalities. You’ll want to be sure your rabbits get along well before you leave them alone together.
How Much Does It Cost To Own A Rabbit
There is a lot to consider when thinking about the cost of owning a rabbit. A lot of people are surprised to learn about the initial costs—they almost always forget to consider something. Below, I’ve outlined the basic things you’ll need to purchase, including some estimates on the cost of the rabbits themselves. Do keep in mind that these are just estimates. Your local prices will vary, and not everything listed here will be available in all areas.
Rabbits need a place to call their own. Think of this like your bedroom or a home base for your bunny. They need a place to sleep, eat, lounge, and do other rabbit things. The cage is sometimes called a hutch or a run, though those terms are also used to describe other rabbit gear, too.
Basically, your rabbit’s cage should be large enough to house two adults of the breed of your choice. What type of cage you get is up to you. Think of how it will look, the comfort of the rabbit, and what the upkeep might cost.
A good rabbit cage can be anywhere from $30 used to over $300 for a custom enclosure.
The Play Area
Some rabbits are given free roam of the house, so a play area isn’t a necessity. However, most people will want to limit their bunny’s access to the rest of the house. Rabbits can be destructive, so it’s best to keep them enclosed whenever possible.
You can purchase a rabbit run or you can just use a regular “ex-pen”, which is short for exercise pen. These foldable, mobile play spaces are used to keep puppies and small adult dogs in a safe play area. They can be used indoors or out.
An ex-pen can range from $10 used to $200. An outdoor rabbit run can be between $40 and $500.
All rabbits, no matter their size, gender, or breed, will need some basic gear. This includes food dishes, hay feeders, waterers, bedding, grooming items, and toys. If you want to litter train your bunny, that’s an extra cost, too. Look to spend between $100 and $200 on basic gear before you get your rabbit.
Rabbits like to chew, which means they can do some major damage to your house and property. Investing in protective gear to begin with can save you a lot of money in the long run. Look for chair covers, furniture protectors to cover wooden legs, and washable floor mats. Always use cord protectors to prevent your rabbit from electrocution! You may spend between $100 and $300, depending on how thoroughly you want to cover your house.
Rabbits need to eat and will want to have fun things to play with. You’ll also need to replace anything that gets worn or damaged over time. Look to spend between $50 and $100 every month, depending on how much your rabbit eats, what needs to be replaced, and if you can find deals locally.
Purchase Or Adoption Fees
The cost of your rabbit will vary. The breed, availability, time of year, and place of purchase or adoption will all factor into the initial cost of your new pet. Look to spend between $20 and several hundred.
Spending Less On Your Bunny
You can go the simple way and buy everything right from the store, or you can find ways to save money on your rabbit supplies. One way to save is to go the DIY route and make many of your bunny’s supplies yourself.
You can also find great deals online. Buying used items will drastically lower your costs. You might also be able to find free items in local papers or on social media.
Should You Adopt Or Buy
This is totally up to you. Adopting a bunny and buying a bunny both end the same way: you now have a pet rabbit! Some people prefer to buy from breeders because the rabbits often come with health certificates and guarantees. Some people prefer to adopt from bunny rescues because it makes them feel good and they think they’re helping a bunny in need.
Whichever method you choose, be sure your rabbit is healthy and well cared for before you bring it home. A sick rabbit will cost a lot more money over time than one that’s healthy, well-bred, and ready for a new life.
Where Do You House Your Rabbit Indoors vs Outdoors
Rabbits can happily live both indoors and outdoors. Some breeds do better inside than others, and you need to consider your willingness or ability to meet your rabbit’s needs in different locations, too.
Outdoor rabbits need to have cages and play enclosures that are 100% predator proof. You should think about all predators, not just the obvious ones like hawks and raccoons. Smaller creatures can be harmful to outdoor rabbits. Rats and mice can kill young rabbits and bring diseases. Weasels have been known to decimate entire rabbit colonies in a single night.
Outdoor rabbits need a little extra work to fight temperature fluctuations, too. Provide shade and warmth, and check the enclosures often for wear and tear.
It’s much easier to care for a rabbit indoors than out because you no longer have to worry about predators or temperature fluctuations. However, space can be a concern. Rabbits need a lot of room, so if your house is small, your rabbit may not be happy inside.
If you can easily make room, however, most rabbits are thrilled to be so close to their human companions. Be sure to allow your rabbit plenty of privacy though. They do need some downtime to do their natural rabbit things such as self-grooming.
What Can You Expect The First Month Owning a House Rabbit
Every new relationship takes time to work out the kinks. Owning a new rabbit is no different than any other relationship. You’ll need to learn their personalities, their habits, their likes, and dislikes. Your rabbit will need to learn its new routine, how to interact with you, and to trust you.
The first month can be a crazy ride. It can be really fun one day, while being stressful the next. You’ll worry if you’re doing everything right. You’ll wonder if your rabbit is happy. You may even feel scared that you made a mistake. All of this is normal!
Expect to have good days and rough days, but stick with it. Consistency is key to helping a new rabbit and owner relationship thrive!
Are Rabbits Kid-Friendly
Pet bunnies can be delicate and easy to hurt. They require a gentle hand. For that reason, rabbits aren’t generally considered a kid-friendly pet. But there are some caveats to that statement.
Older Children And Rabbits
Older kids that have been taught how to handle animals with kindness and care might do well with a hearty breed of rabbit. These children understand that rabbits are living, breathing, sensitive creatures that deserve kindness. Older kids often understand that bunnies require a certain kind of handling, and they know how to read a rabbit’s non-verbal signals.
Older children can be responsible for minor grooming tasks such as brushing and cleaning the outside of the bunny’s ears. Responsible older kids might even be trusted with checking for parasites and fleas, patches of worn fur, or signs of illness. Don’t let them trim your rabbit’s nails, though. One bad trim can hurt a rabbit and make them not trust people.
Younger Kids And Rabbits
As adorable as it is to see a small child carrying and hugging a bunny, it’s not much fun for the rabbit. Younger kids should never be left alone with rabbits or entrusted with their daily care. They don’t understand that rabbits are not toys and can be hurt easily.
If a child is old enough to sit still when asked to, they may be old enough to enjoy sitting quietly with a rabbit in their lap, but it’s important to always supervise them. It doesn’t take much for a rabbit to become spooked. A scared bunny may bite or scratch to get away. When little kids are hurt or frightened, they can act in unpredictable ways which may result in more injury to themselves and to the terrified bunny.
Younger kids who wish to learn how to care for a pet rabbit can be trusted with some supervised tasks. Little kids might like to feed the rabbits, refill their water, and gently brush a rabbit that an adult is holding.
Is My Child Ready For A Pet Rabbit
I’ve said “older kids” and “younger kids” instead of mentioning specific ages because all kids develop differently. One child of eight years may be more mature and responsible than another child of the same age. The chronological age of the child is less important than the maturity of each individual child when it comes to pet care.
So, how do you know if your kid is old enough for a pet rabbit? Look for signs of maturity and acts of kindness.
If a child is responsible for feeding other pets, such as a cat or dog, they may be ready to start feeding a pet rabbit. If your child can be trusted to clean their room regularly, they may be ready to clean a rabbit cage. If your child can read the body language of other people and other pets, they may be ready to learn the body language of rabbits.
At the very least, the child should be able to read well enough to read a simple rabbit-owners guide to learn the basics of bunny care. If you start out supervising everything, you can be sure your rabbit and your kid are both happy, healthy, and bonding in a safe way.
What Are The Most Kid-Friendly Rabbit Breeds
Any rabbit from any breed can have any kind of personality. Just like humans, bunnies can be silly, happy, cautious, lazy, cuddly, or excitable. It’s mostly up to each individual rabbit, but there are some breed-specific traits that can help make a bunny more likely to enjoy the company of children.
Some of the best rabbit breeds for children are:
This popular little bunny is friendly, curious, and sweet-natured. It has floppy ears that give it an adorable look that most kids love. Mini lops are generally easy to train and they usually have playful, fun personalities. They love to be handled and played with, making them one of the most interactive rabbit breeds for kids.
The mini lop breed of rabbit is extremely intelligent. While that helps with training, it also means they can become easily bored. They require a good amount of stimulation—that means lots of new toys, new games, and fun things to do.
The mini lop is best for older kids or well supervised young kids.
The Dutch breed of rabbit is a popular and common breed. They have beautiful colors and interesting fur patterns, which make them an attractive rabbit to own. The Dutch is usually quite docile and doesn’t mind being held by respectful children.
They don’t require as much intellectual stimulation as the mini lop, but they do need something to keep them entertained. A moderate number of toys, daily care, and grooming are usually enough to keep the Dutch rabbit happy.
The Dutch breed is good for the entire family, including well-supervised younger children.
The Himalayan rabbit is known as a laid-back, sweet-natured, and cuddly bunny breed. They enjoy human contact and are gentle, curious, and can be playful. The Himalayan is one of the friendliest breeds and rarely bites, scratches, or gets spooked.
This breed of rabbit is more likely to seek out their human companions and ask for attention. They love to cuddle and be stroked, which makes them a delightful pet for kids. They do require a lot of attention and stimulation, so older children may enjoy experimenting with new ways to play with this breed.
This is an excellent breed of rabbit for older kids and younger kids under supervision.
How Much Space Do You Need To Keep Bunny Inside
All rabbits will need enough space to thrive. That space should include a place to sleep, a clean place to eat and drink, somewhere safe to hide, a sanitary bathroom location, and lots of space to play. The exact size will depend on your rabbit breed and activity level, but the following guidelines should help you get started.
A rabbit hutch is the bunny’s safe place, like a bedroom for a human. Most rabbits need to be kept in their cages or hutches for the majority of the day and night, so you’ll want to make sure there is plenty of room for them to play, eat, sleep, and groom.
A good size of cage or hutch will provide 12 square feet of space per rabbit. This can be in nearly any configuration, as long as the rabbit can turn around, stand up, and move freely inside. As an example, 12 square feet can be 6 feet by 2 feet, or 4 feet by 4 feet.
A hutch should not be the only space your rabbit has. All bunnies need room to hop, jump, run, dig, and play. Ideally, this would be with you, but some rabbits are just as happy with an enclosed space that they can explore on their own. Try to give your rabbit at least 32 square feet of play space that they can access at least once a day.
Many people don’t have the kind of indoor space rabbits would prefer, but that’s okay. By providing access to smaller spaces more frequently, you can still give your bunny the exercise it needs. Many rabbits enjoy free roam of their humans’ houses, and some are perfectly content with an hour or so of playtime in one room.
The key is to provide enough playtime for your bunny, no matter the size of the room, apartment, house, or yard you bring them to. A place with less space will require more frequent playtimes. A larger space can provide less frequent play times. Just adjust as needed for your rabbit’s happiness and health.
How Quickly Will You Bond With Your Bunny
Bonding with anyone, human or animal, is an act of emotional connection. Since every living thing has its own needs, wants, and desires, there is no exact science to bonding and no timeline that’s “right” for everything. Even so, there are some ways to check in and see how your bonding is going, both from your perspective and your rabbit’s.
First and foremost, when it comes to bonding with your rabbit, you must have patience. As naturally cautious animals, rabbits may be resistant to your acts of affection to begin with. Start slow, take your time, show your rabbit a consistent schedule and consistent behavior. Over time, your bunny will come to associate you with good things—like treats, feeding time, soft touches, a gentle voice, and pleasant activities.
Rabbits need to know that you are safe. By being consistent, as mentioned above, you are showing your rabbit that you can be trusted. Feed her the same way every day at the same time. Brush her the same way every time. Say her name, use the same words and phrases, and give her treats the same way each time. Every time you are consistent, she will grow to trust you more.
Inconsistency in schedule and behavior will cause your rabbit to worry. He may become detached and overly cautious. Avoid changes to your behavior and the schedule in the first few months.
Watch The Signs
Your rabbit will slowly begin to show signs of trusting you, and trust is the beginning of binding! When your rabbit is no longer on high alert when you enter the room, it may be a sign of trust. She may watch you intently, but her body language will be more relaxed than those first days. This is a good sign.
If she usually startles when you reach in to feed her, but one day she only looks at you, she’s growing closer! She no longer sees you as an immediate threat and now trusts that you will always feed her the same way every day. Keep it up!
Is This Love?
You’ve spent months being consistent, kind, gentle, and loving. One day, finally, your rabbit comes right to you when you open his cage. He nuzzles your hand or stares at your eyes without running away. Is this love?
Yes! This rabbit is showing signs of trust and affection. Congratulations, your bunny has bonded with you!
It may take mere weeks or it may take several months. Stick with it and you’ll be rewarded with sweet bunny cuddles before you know it.
Veterinary and Medical Care for Rabbits
All companion animals need vet care. It’s best to use preventative care—meaning to stop illnesses and injuries before they begin—but you also need to be ready to act when something bad happens.
All rabbits will need vaccinations to prevent deadly diseases. This keeps your rabbits safe and also prevents the spread of illnesses to wild populations if they happen to go outside, too.
Every bunny should be spayed or neutered. This is not an act of cruelty, it’s an act of kindness and compassion. Raging hormones can cause adult rabbits to behave in erratic ways. By spaying or neutering pet rabbits, you prevent them from developing bad habits, including aggression and marking territory.
A Word On Emergency Care
We can’t predict the future, which means we can’t predict when a pet bunny will be injured or fall ill. You can drastically reduce the chances of emergencies by handing your rabbit’s preventative care, but sometimes accidents happen.
In those cases, you’ll want to have an emergency plan in place. Put aside a few hundred dollars for emergency expenses. This will give you a financial cushion to ensure swift, appropriate care for your sick or injured rabbit. Keep a list of emergency vets in your area, and put the list somewhere easy to find.
By being prepared in advance, you will greatly reduce your stress at the moment. That will help you act quickly to get your beloved Bun-Bun the care she needs.
Do Rabbits Need To Exercise
It breaks my heart to see captive rabbits languishing in small cages, bored and ignored. Rabbits need exercise and stimulation to stay happy and healthy.
Imagine if all you did was sit in your bed and eat for months on end. You would not feel very good physically, you’d probably gain a lot of weight, your muscles would grow weak, and you’d probably be depressed. Rabbits are no different.
Bunnies need to stretch their legs, explore, and play. They need mental stimulation and plenty of fresh air. Above all else, they need time with you, their human companion.
How Much Exercise Do Rabbits Need
Young bunnies will need more play time than older rabbits, but every bunny will benefit from daily exercise. To put it into perspective, let’s take a look at wild rabbits.
A rabbit living in the wild may run up to three miles every day. They’re searching for food, playing, and sometimes running from predators.
Your pet bunny should get as much time to play and stretch their legs. Some say three hours is the minimum, but in my experience, even just one solid hour of active play can do a bunny the same amount of good. The key is the activity level.
For example, if your bunny is a slow hopper and doesn’t seem to like fast-paced action, they may need more time out and about. However, a bunny that goes full speed from start to finish may burn off their energy in a single hour.
Pay attention to your bunny’s body language and behaviors. You will begin to read him well and know when he needs to get out to play.
How Long Do Rabbits Live
The life span of an individual rabbit can’t really be predicted. You never know when illness or injury will shorten your rabbit’s life, but we can talk about the general life span of a rabbit.
Wild Rabbits Die Young
It is a sad fact that wild rabbits don’t live very long. At best, you can expect to see a wild rabbit living to about two years of age. Between predators, diseases, and injuries, wild rabbits don’t get much time to play in the sun.
They don’t make a good study for domestic rabbits though.
Domestic Rabbit Life Spans
Most domestic rabbits don’t have to worry about the same things that wild rabbits do. That means they have an easier time, suffer less illness, and get fewer injuries. Domestic rabbits have an estimated life span of about ten years.
There are lots of older rabbits out there and a sad few who don’t make it quite as long. On average though, you can expect a well-cared for rabbit to stick around for about a decade.
Are Rabbits Quiet or Loud Pets
In general, rabbits are very quiet pets. They do make some sounds but are usually quiet and unobtrusive. However, their behaviors and habits can make a lot of noise!
Below, we’ll look at some common rabbit noises and what you can expect from your pet rabbits.
Did you know that rabbits can growl? They do this when they’re unhappy with you. Sometimes, they’ll include a little thump of their legs to get your attention. Here’s a cute video of a little bunny growling when its owner stops petting!
Rabbits can make a soft honk or musical grunting noise when they’re very happy. This can be while being pet, brushed, or enjoying a snack. It’s very soft though, so you have to listen closely.
Bunnies can also scream, and this is not a good sound! If a rabbit screams, it’s in extreme pain or is terrified. I’m not going to include a video of that because it breaks my heart and is incredibly disturbing to hear.
Other Rabbit Sounds
While most rabbit vocalizations are very quiet (expect that terrifying scream), they can make a lot of loud noises in other ways. Be prepared to hear foot thumping from an angry or scared rabbit. You may also hear them clanging about in their cages or runs. They often do this to get your attention. Maybe they need food or water or they just want to come out and play.
Some rabbits will purposefully toss their food dishes around to make noise, but it’s not because they want out. Some seem to do this strictly for fun. If your rabbit does this, try changing the toys or providing something interesting to chew on.
Another rabbit sound is chewing, which can get quite loud. Chewing is normal and natural for rabbits, so if the sound bothers you, experiment with different chewing surfaces for your bun.
How Easily Can You Train Rabbits
“Easy” is a relative term. While I may find training rabbits easy after so many years of experience, a newbie rabbit owner may find it tedious and difficult. The best way to answer this is by example.
Rabbits aren’t like dogs who want to please you. They were not bred to be trainable and obedient. Yet, that doesn’t mean they can’t be trained or conditioned to be great pets. The keys to successful rabbit training are patience and consistency.
Praise often and heavily! Rabbits love treats and soft stroking and lots of attention. When your rabbit does what you want, show her that you approve by giving her the thing she likes most.
Always praise for the same things and always do so consistently. Rabbits aren’t dumb, but they’re not the smartest pets either. That means they need a lot of frequent reminders about what you want them to do.
Avoid Harsh Discipline
Like most animals, rabbits respond better to positive reinforcement than they do to punishment. In fact, you should never, ever physically punish a rabbit. The only form of discipline you should use on a rabbit is to put them in their cage when they misbehave.
Choose Appropriate Behaviors
Rabbits have physical limitations on what they can be trained to do. Be sure that what you’re trying to train is something your bunny can actually achieve. You wouldn’t expect a rabbit to pull a cart full of heavy rocks, for example, so be mindful of what your bunny can do.
This video has a list of example things you may be able to teach your bunny to do. Notice how the rabbit’s owner has trained her bunny to do things that are natural for rabbits. Simple spinning movements, running a tiny obstacle course, and coming when called are all easy things for rabbits to complete.
Should I Keep My Rabbit Inside or Outside
Where you keep your rabbit is up to you. Only you can answer that, but I can help you figure out what might be best for your situation.
Do you have a large house? If so, you can easily keep your rabbit indoors with the right equipment. We’ve already covered a lot of that above, so it should give you an idea what kind of space you’ll need. Smaller rabbits need less space, of course, but they all need play space.
Do you live with other people? Make sure anyone else living in the house is okay with your bunny living inside. If they have allergies or they work strange hours, a rabbit inside might not be a good fit.
Do you have space outside and can you provide safety? If inside isn’t an option, you need to be sure the outdoor enclosure is safe enough to keep your rabbit happy and healthy. You also need to be sure you won’t neglect your rabbit. “Out of sight, out of mind” comes into play here. Some rabbit owners forget about their rabbits outside!
Will I need A Hutch Indoors
If you plan to keep your rabbit insides, yes, it will need an indoor hutch. If your rabbit will live outdoors, then no it won’t need a hutch indoors.
All rabbits, no matter where they live, need a private place to call their own. A hutch is really just any place that a rabbit lives. It’s also called a cage or enclosure. A rabbit hutch is basically your rabbit’s bedroom and living room. Think of it as an apartment inside your apartment.
How Do Rabbits Get Along With Other Pets
Many hopeful rabbit owners are also pet parents to other kinds of animals. It stands to reason that they’d want to know if rabbits can get along well with other kinds of pets. It’s a complicated answer, but in short, yes. Rabbits can get along fine with a variety of other pets.
Rabbits And Dogs
Most bunnies are naturally wary of dogs of all sizes. Wolves, coyotes, and wild dogs are natural predators for rabbits, so it makes sense that bunnies might be afraid of your pet dog at first. They can’t tell the difference between a teacup poodle and a wolf, after all.
Rabbits can be desensitized to your dog with patience and care. Dogs can learn to be gentle with bunnies, too.
Never leave your bunny alone with a dog for any reason. Even if they were raised together and cuddle when you’re around, it’s just not worth the risk.
Rabbits And Cats
To a scared bunny, there is no difference between a lazy house cat and a hungry mountain lion. Rabbits are natural prey for wild cats of all shapes and sizes. Don’t be surprised if your new bunny is terrified of your cat at first.
Like dogs, cats can be trained to be gentle with rabbits. But, again, never leave a cat alone with a loose rabbit.
Rabbits And Birds
Many people forget that rabbits are considered dinner for many types of birds. It’s not just eagles and hawks that can eat rabbits; I’ve seen a flock of chickens injure a wild rabbit! So, bunnies are naturally cautious around most birds.
While a few pet finches or parakeets likely won’t hurt or scare your rabbit, larger birds can definitely do some damage. Unlike cats and dogs, birds can’t really be trained to be gentle with rabbits. It’s best not to leave them alone and loose together.
For smaller pets, such as rats or other pet rodents, the danger isn’t in being eaten. The danger comes from parasites or rodent pathogens that can be passed onto your pet rabbit. Keep your bunnies away from other rodent pets, just in case.
Playtime With Your Rabbits Do You Need Toys
I like to think of pet rabbits as human toddlers. Just like human children, rabbits love toys. They need to be stimulated and entertained. You’ll need to switch toys out every few weeks to prevent boredom.
Rabbits love to chew. Any toy that provides a safe and enjoyable chewing session will keep your bunny happy. Choose straw toys, wood blocks in fun shapes, and mats or baskets. Just be sure anything made of straw, wood, or other natural materials hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides or treated with varnish or other harsh chemicals.
Bunnies love cardboard tubes. When you finish a roll of toilet paper, paper towels, or wrapping paper, let your bunny play with the tube. They’ll have a good time chewing it, pushing it around the floor, hopping over it, or if it’s big enough, they may even crawl inside.
Rabbits also like cardboard boxes. Give your bun lots of shapes and sizes to explore.
Many bunnies love crinkly paper bags. It’s so fun to watch bunnies jump over and onto empty paper bags. They love the sound, the dark hiding spot, and the chewable surface.
A lot of bunnies have a strong desire to dig. Since they can’t dig through the floor, they turn their attention to thick, fluffy bedding. You can use blankets, towels, and old clothes to let your bunny dig and burrow through.
Wild rabbits live in burrows. Most human homes don’t come with burrows, so get your bunny a cat tunnel as a good substitute. They are sturdy, safe for pets, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many cat tunnels also collapse so you can store them out of the way between play sessions.
I’ve seen a lot of rabbits that love balls. Some like to carry them around, while others like to push them or run into them to send them bouncing around the house. Try a variety of sizes to see which ones your rabbit likes best.
Special Needs Of Bunnies
Rabbits aren’t a hands-off kind of pet. They will rely on you to provide for their every need. To fully provide for your rabbit, you need to understand their unique needs.
Rabbits are crepuscular animals. That means they are most active in the early morning and early evening, both times of day where the light is low. They can and do become active in the daylight, and they can and do become active late at night. However, their favorite time is dusk and dawn. Be sure your rabbit gets plenty of time to play during these mid-light to low-light conditions.
Bunnies need to chew. That means your house needs to be rabbit-proof or you need to be prepared to replace your chewed up furniture. Provide your rabbits plenty of fun things to chew and they may leave your furniture alone.
Every living creature gets lonely. Rabbits are no different, so don’t leave your bunny alone for extended periods.
Don’t be alarmed if you see your rabbit eating its own feces. It’s not actually feces at all! This is a natural, normal, healthy rabbit activity. They need to digest their food twice.
Can Rabbits Destroy Your House
Any pet can damage your home if you do not supervise them well enough. Rabbits love to chew, and they will practice this behavior on anything they can sink their teeth into. This is not an act of rebellion or naughtiness. It’s a normal and healthy rabbit behavior.
Even though chewing, scratching, and digging are normal behaviors, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take measures to protect your home. An unsupervised bunny can do serious damage to your house in a surprisingly short amount of time.
Install bunny-proof gates, rugs and mats, and cord protectors everywhere your rabbit will spend time. Wrap the legs of your furniture in chew-proof materials, and be sure to have some spot remover ready for accidents.
Are Rabbits Social Pets
Many rabbits love to be seen, held, and cuddled. Some don’t like it quite as much. Whether a rabbit is social or not will depend on their personality and a little bit on their breed.
You can encourage a bunny to be more social by socializing your rabbit early and often. The more a rabbit is exposed to something, the more they’ll begin to accept it. In this case, the more you handle your rabbit and share him with friends and family, the more he’ll enjoy social time.
Rabbits Dogs And Cats Will They Get Along
This is not a yes or no question. As if many other aspects of owning a rabbit, a lot will depend on the rabbit’s personality. As prey animals, bunnies are more likely to run away in fear than to be curious about your dog or cat.
However, all is not lost. You can safely introduce and desensitize your rabbit to your dogs and cats. Just take it slow and never leave them alone together.
Rabbit Health Problems To Know About
It’s often surprising to see how many rabbit owners don’t recognize when their pet bunny is sick. Don’t feel bad if you can’t tell; rabbits are masters at disguising illnesses and injuries.
Pay close attention to your rabbit’s behavior, eating habits, sleeping habits, and bathroom habits to watch for health issues. The following rabbit health issues are common.
- Overgrown, broken, or damaged teeth
- Sniffles, coughs, and other respiratory issues
- Myxomatosis caused by mosquitoes, fleas, and contact with infected rabbits in some areas
- Coccidiosis which can be spread to and from other animals
- Eye infections
How Are Rabbits As Roommates
Rabbits are probably cuddlier than your human roommates, but they’re worse at cleaning up after themselves. A little roommate humor here might lighten the bad news that rabbits aren’t great roommates. They can be awake at inconvenient hours, make a lot of noise while you’re trying to have a conversation or take a nap, and they can smell bad if you don’t keep their cage clean.
That said, rabbits can make great roommates if you do your part. Provide plenty of stimulating enrichment activities, attention, exercise, and healthy foods.
Are Bunnies Sensitive
This is a multi-part answer since the question is so vague. I’ll try to be as thorough as possible.
Emotionally, rabbits can be quite sensitive. Once a rabbit has bonded with a human, it’s impossible to break that bond. As such, a rabbit may feel abandoned, neglected, or ignored if you don’t come home on time. They may even begin to pout or misbehave to punish you for not being there.
Physically, rabbits are pretty hearty animals. They are susceptible to some physical problems which may make them seem sensitive, but it’s not really fair to call them that. They don’t care for loud, sudden noises. Rabbits can get overheated quickly, too. Just be a thoughtful and responsible pet owner and you can avoid many of the issues.
Do Rabbits Poo And Wee Everywhere At Home
Any animal that hasn’t been properly house or litter trained will poo and pee everywhere. Don’t blame the bunny for pooping on your floor if you didn’t bother to litter train him.
That said, yes rabbits can poo and wee everywhere if you let them. Just be consistent and persistent to house train your rabbit and it won’t be an issue.
Do You Need To Walk With Rabbits For Fresh Air
All rabbits enjoy time outdoors. Getting fresh air is good for their bodies and their minds. It’s good for you, too. You can certainly walk your rabbit on a leash if you like, but many rabbits and owners prefer to sit outside in a safely enclosed yard.
If you’re interested in taking your bunny for a walk, start slow. Get a well-fitting harness and let your bunny get used to the feel before you take him outdoors with it.
Do I Need To Give Attention To My Bunny or Buy a Bunny 2nd Bunny
You should always give your bunny attention. Nobody likes to be alone! But rabbits do much better when they have another rabbit companion. If you have multiple rabbits, you won’t need to be your bunny’s only source of social time.
That doesn’t mean you should ignore your bunnies often, but if there is more than one rabbit, you can let them have time alone together without worry. That is, as long as they get along well to begin with!
Are Rabbits As Playful As Other Pets
Rabbits can be as playful as any cat or dog. Some bunnies love to run and play chase with their humans. Others like to play fetch and play with balls. Most rabbits enjoy a good, rousing game of hopping over things.
Not all rabbits enjoy long stretches of playtime, so be sure you match your personality to your rabbit’s. And, of course, as rabbits age, they slow down a little. Don’t try to force an older rabbit to be as playful and spunky as a young rabbit.
Is Bunny Afraid Of Your House
Sometimes rabbits act frightened no matter how sweet you are to them or how consistent you’ve been with their routine. In those cases, there might be something scary in your rabbit’s environment.
Listen carefully to the sounds in and around your rabbit’s enclosure. Can your rabbit hear the neighbor’s dog barking? Is there a scary sound of your pipes thunking or making other noises?
Look around the room. Is there a scary shadow on the wall? Can your bunny see out into the street or out into the woods?
If you can’t figure out what’s scaring your rabbit about your house, try moving his cage to another room and see if that helps. You can also try to keep a light on, have a gentle white-noise machine in the room set on low, or spending more time with your bunny.
Should You Spay Or Neuter Your Rabbit
Always, absolutely yes. Spaying and neutering bunnies helps reduce their populations, keeps them out of the pound, and keeps each individual rabbit healthy and happy. There are many diseases and injuries that go along with keeping rabbits intact. It’s just not worth the risk. Leave the rabbit breeding to the professionals.
Would A Rabbit Be A Good College Pet
This question is more of a personal preference. I’ll give my opinion though since I keep getting asked this. I don’t feel that rabbits make good college pets for a few reasons.
First and foremost, college students are busy and stressed out. All those classes, study sessions, and homework don’t leave much time for you to play with your bunny.
Second, many college students are low on funds; college is expensive! Rabbits can cost a lot of money up front and may be pretty expensive pets for the long term.
Third, if you’re going away for college, it’s unlikely that the dorms or the surrounding apartments would even allow a pet rabbit. If you try to sneak one in, you could lose your housing or be forced to send your rabbit away.
It’s best to wait until you’re out of college to get a bunny. That said, if you have a spouse, sibling, parents, or friends who would be willing to help you with your rabbit while in school, it might be good to take them up on that offer.