You have wanted a pet rabbit forever, and finally you are going to get the opportunity to pick out the bunny of your dreams! The only problem is, you’re not quite certain how to pick out the right bunny for you and your family. The worry plagues you that you will somehow end up selecting the “wrong” rabbit.
So, how do you pick out/select a rabbit? Do research on the characteristics of different rabbit breeds. Only get your new pet from a legitimate place, and do your best to pick a healthy rabbit. Ask as many questions as you can about the rabbit before making your final decision.
Selecting a rabbit does not have to be cause for anxiety. Today, we are going to talk about the different ways you can make sure you are picking out the right rabbit for you and your family. Hopefully by the end of this article, you will feel more confident about selecting a pet rabbit.
- 1 What Breed of Rabbit Would be Best?
- 2 What Are The best Places To Get a Rabbit?
- 3 Why Is Important To Get The Rabbit From Legitimate Place?
- 4 What Are The Signs Of A Healthy Rabbit?
- 5 What Questions Should I Ask When Selecting A Rabbit?
- 6 What If I Already Have Other Animals At Home?
- 7 Does A Rabbit Need A Lot of Special Care?
- 8 Is Owning A Rabbit Expensive?
- 9 How Often Do I need To See Veterinarian?
- 10 Allergies and Rabbits: Is That A Problem?
- 11 Should I get Two Bunnies Instead of One?
- 12 Do Rabbits Like To Be Picked Up?
- 13 Where Should I Keep My Rabbit?
- 14 Conclusion
- 15 Related Questions
What Breed of Rabbit Would be Best?
Unknown to many people, there is a large variety of rabbit breeds out there to choose from. Different breeds have different sizes, different temperaments, different needs, and different looks. What breed you choose should be the first question that you should ask yourself on your quest to pick out the perfect rabbit.
Here are some things to consider when you are trying to figure out what breed to choose:
- What size are you looking for? Some breeds of rabbits such as the Netherland Dwarf and the Lion Head are considered very small. Silver Martens are considered a medium breed, while the English Lop is considered a large breed. Giant breed rabbits include the Continental and Flemish Giants. Different sizes may have different needs, and will definitely required different sized cages.
- What lifespan do you desire? Certain breeds of rabbits may live longer than others.
- What personality are you looking for? Some smaller breeds may be considered less friendly and more likely to nip. Likewise, some of the larger and giant breeds are considered friendlier to human beings. If you have children or the rabbit is going to be a pet for a child, you should make sure you are selecting a breed with less tendency to nip.
- Some breeds have certain common health problems, and you should research any health problems associated with the breed you are interested in.
- Some breeds also have certain special needs that you should be aware of.
- Looks should be the least important thing you use to determine what rabbit breed is best for you. However, some people do want a rabbit with a certain look, and that is okay to admit, too. Just make sure you are able to handle the size, lifespan, special needs, temperament, etc. of the breed you select.
Write a list of potential breeds you may be interested. After extensive research, narrow down your list to your first, second, third choices.
You should never select a rabbit breed because it may seem popular or like a novelty. You also should not select any rabbit on a whim without doing dedicated research about the breed. After all, you don’t want to select a breed that may not be good for you or your lifestyle.
What Are The best Places To Get a Rabbit?
When choosing a pet rabbit, your first two choices should be to adopt a rabbit in need from a rescue, or choosing one from a reputable breeder. You should not buy a rabbit from your local pet shop, especially not on a whim. Most of the rabbits that are found at pet stores come from less than reputable breeders who mass produce rabbits for profit.
Many larger shelters also have small animals in addition to cats and dogs. But you may also be able to find a rabbit-specific rescue in your area that only houses bunnies. If you are adopting from a private rescue, do you research on them, and make sure they have a trustworthy reputation. Adopting a rabbit from a shelter or a rescue comes with the satisfaction of knowing that you have given a home to a homeless pet. You may also have saved it from being euthanized.
But if you are looking for a more exotic breed, you may end up buying from a breeder. If you choose to buy your rabbit from a breeder, do extensive research on the breeder in question. Make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder only. You do not want to contribute money to support a questionable or less than ethical breeder; this will only encourage them to keep breeding.
If you do choose to get a rabbit from a breeder, you will need to do as much research as possible on the breeder. This includes asking the breeder for references, researching them on the internet, and even asking for a vet reference. After all, if a breeder does not have any use for a vet? Then you can not consider them a reputable breeder. You should also ask them if you can see where they keep their bunnies, to make sure that they take good care of their rabbits.
Why Is Important To Get The Rabbit From Legitimate Place?
There are many possible consequences of getting a rabbit from an improper source. If you buy a rabbit from a local pet store on a whim, you may be unknowingly supporting a bad breeder that supplies the pet store. Very often, breeders that breed to supply pet stores breed only to produce a large volume of rabbits to sell, and they care less about the health and temperament of the pets they are selling.
You also do not want to directly buy a rabbit from a backyard breeder, or a rabbit mill, for the very same reasons.
What Are The Signs Of A Healthy Rabbit?
You should never select a rabbit to take home if you are uncertain of its’ health. And you should always ask the person you’re getting the rabbit from if it has ever been sick, if it has ever been to the vet, and if you could see a copy of the vet records.
A healthy rabbit should be energetic, with no unusual discharge from the eyes or nose. Discharge may indicate a rabbit sick with a viral illness. Any bloody discharge from the eyes, nose, behind, or ears could indicate a serious illness.
And a healthy rabbit should be eating and drinking normal. It should not be too thin or morbidly obese, as an abnormal weight may indicate illness. Their fur should be shiny and free of parasites, fleas, or ticks. The rabbit should not have any signs of lethargy or dehydration. Feel the bunny all over, and make sure it does not have any lumps or bumps that could indicate tumors. Check its’ eyes to they are clear and not cloudy. Cloudy eyes may indicate blindness or an illness being present.
What Questions Should I Ask When Selecting A Rabbit?
Whether you are adopting from a rescue or buying a bunny from a breeder, you need to be asking the right questions when you are selecting your rabbit. These are some questions to ask when selecting your rabbit:
- Has anyone else ever owned this rabbit? Why did they return it?
- Has this rabbit ever had any serious or ongoing health issues? Could I speak to your veterinarian about it, or see the official vet records?
- How old is this rabbit currently? Has it been spayed or neutered? Has it received any shots yet, or been dewormed?
- Is this rabbit free of parasites?
- How old is this rabbit?
- What is the temperament of this bunny? Is it friendly, or has it ever seriously nipped anyone?
- Could I see the parents of this bunny? (If you are buying from a breeder, it is a good idea to see the parents to make sure they are also in good health).
When you ask the right questions, you will be more informed when selecting a rabbit. Before meeting with a breeder or a rescue, you should consider writing your questions down on a notepad so that you can remember them.
What If I Already Have Other Animals At Home?
You may be wondering if it is a good idea to bring home a bunny if you already have another pet. While it is true that some other types of pets may be more compatible to living with a rabbit, it also all depends on the breed of rabbit you choose. Mainly, it depends on the overall size of the breed of the rabbit that you choose.
If you have other rabbits, you should quarantine the new arrival. This is to help prevent the possible spread of disease. No matter how careful you may be when selecting a rabbit, your new pet may have an illness or parasites you are not aware of. And you don’t want to unknowingly let it spread to your existing bunnies.
If you have dogs, do you know if your dogs have high prey drive or not? Some dogs, such as hounds, were bred to hunt rabbits. Therefore, they may be likely to potentially attack your new pet, or even seriously harm it. And if you have cats, do you know if your cat has a history of attacking small animals? If your cat has ever killed a rabbit and brought it home, you may want to re-consider bringing home a pet bunny.
If you have cats or dogs and if you are unsure of whether they may attack your new pet, you might want to consider getting a large or giant breed of rabbit. Smaller ones may be more vulnerable to attack or harm.
And if you have another type of caged small animal, it would be easier to keep that animal away from your bunny so that they do not cause conflict with one another. But many small animal owners wonder if their animals can live with a rabbit and get along. Specifically, a lot of people wonder if rabbits and guinea pigs are able to live in the same enclosure. A rabbit and a guinea pig should not be left alone without supervision, and they also should not live in the same enclosure. Chances are, they won’t get along, and they may even fight.
Likewise, you should not leave your rabbit unsupervised with any other type of pet. This includes cats, dogs, guinea pigs, ferrets, hamster, etc.
Does A Rabbit Need A Lot of Special Care?
How much special care your rabbit is going to need will really depend on the bunny that you choose. Some breeds need more care than others. Also, sometimes the individual rabbit will also be more demanding of care than others.
Rabbits will definitely need different care than other animals. For example, your rabbit should only eat food that is species specific. You cannot give a bunny food meant for a guinea pig or a hamster, since these animals have different nutritional needs.
Is Owning A Rabbit Expensive?
The costs associated with owning a rabbit may actually depend on what rabbit you select. If you choose a larger breed, you will need to spend more money getting a bigger cage for it. This is also true if you are bringing home multiple bunnies. Generally, you will spend a lot more money if you have many rabbits versus just one.
If you are bringing home a special needs rabbit or one with a chronic health problem, you may be spending a lot of money over it’s life for extra vet care. Make sure to keep that in mind before you adopted one that may require special care.
When you own a rabbit, one of your biggest initial costs will be the cage. Then, you will be spending money throughout it’s life to pay for the food, hay, bedding, and other supplies. You will also spend money over the life of your rabbit to take it to the vet for annual check-ups, and when it gets ill. If you live in a country where your rabbit needs to be vaccinated to protect it’s health, that is another added cost you should factor in. You may also be spending more to spay or neuter it if this procedure has not been done yet.
Before choosing a rabbit, add up all the potential costs of ownership. Have an honest conversation with yourself about whether you can afford a rabbit at this point in your life. Too many bunnies are given up because new owners simply didn’t realize the costs involved with caring for them.
How Often Do I need To See Veterinarian?
You should not wait until your rabbit is sick to take it a veterinarian. Ideally, you will want to take your rabbit to the vet on a regular basis for it to have an annual health check-up. If you live in a country where your rabbit requires vaccines, you may be seeing your vet more often.
An older rabbit may need to visit the vet more often for check-ups, in order to keep an eye on any age-related diseases. This is also the case if your rabbit has a chronic health problem, or is considered special needs in another way.
Allergies and Rabbits: Is That A Problem?
If you are allergic to rabbits, you might want to think twice before bringing one into your home. After all, you don’t want to go through the process of choosing and adopting a rabbit only to have to remove it from your home once your allergies begin to act up.
When you think you might have a problem with your allergies, you should try to spend time with rabbits before bringing one into your home. If you do not know someone with a pet rabbit, you should seek out someone who has one who would let you spend time handling it. And if you discover your allergies become severely triggered when spending time with someone else’s bunny, you should reconsider whether or not you should bring one home.
If you only have mild allergies, you can ask your doctor for allergy medication to manage your symptoms. It is up to you to decide how much symptoms you can handle if you do end up being allergic to your new pet.
Should I get Two Bunnies Instead of One?
There are upsides and downsides to choosing to get two rabbits instead of one.
A major downside is the costs associated with two rabbits. Remember, it may be literally double the cost of getting just one rabbit. If you cannot afford the cost of multiple rabbits, you should only bring home one.
An upside is that your rabbit will have another animal of its’ same species to keep it company. If you are away from home a lot and can afford the costs of two rabbits, you may want to consider bringing more than one home.
Do Rabbits Like To Be Picked Up?
Many potential rabbit owners wonder if their rabbits will like being picked up and held. This will depend on the temperament of the breed you select. A friendlier breed of rabbit may like human interaction more than one with a reputation for not being so friendly.
But in general, rabbits usually do not like to be picked up. They are prey animals by nature, and they are naturally nervous around larger mammals like humans. Their natural instincts tell them to be nervous in order to keep themselves safe from attack.
When you do pick up a rabbit, be gentle and don’t let its’ legs dangle. This will help it feel more secure when it is in your arms.
Where Should I Keep My Rabbit?
While it is up to you to keep your rabbit indoors or outdoors, you should know that indoor rabbits are generally healthier and safer. But whether they are inside or out, you will need a cage unless you intend on raising a free-roaming rabbit. Many owners of free-roaming rabbits do still like to have cages to put them in on an as-needed basis.
Outdoor rabbits run the risk of being exposed to disease, exposed to severe weather elements, and vulnerable to attack from strange animals such as coyotes or foxes. For their safety, you should consider keeping your rabbits indoors. If you absolutely have to keep your rabbit outside, you need to make sure they have a proper enclosure that is weather-proof, and that can keep possible predators out.
When you purchase an indoor or outdoor cage, make sure it is big enough for the breed of rabbit that you have chosen. A cage that is too small may make your rabbit stressed, and a stressed rabbit is not a healthy one.
Today, we discussed some of the most important things to know when you are selecting a rabbit as a pet. You need to pick the right breed of rabbit for you. You need to pick a healthy rabbit that comes from either a rescue or a reputable breeder. And you should ask the right questions from the person you are getting your new bunny from.
If you have any other questions about rabbits, feel free to reach out in the comments section.
Should I get my new rabbit spayed or neutered? If you are not a breeder and your new bunny is a just a pet, you should definitely have it spayed or neutered. Spaying or neutering it is very beneficial for the rabbit’s health. It will also help improve its’ temperament by eliminating hormonal behaviors.
Which rabbit breed has the best personality? If you are looking for a friendly rabbit, some of the breeds with the best temperaments include the Japanese Harlequin, the French Lop, the Continental Giant, and the Himalayan. Make sure to do research on the temperament of any breed that you are considering.
What is the biggest breed of pet rabbit? If you’re looking for a giant rabbit, the Flemish Giant is the biggest bunny you can find. On average, they can weight between 12 to 14 pounds or bigger when they are fully grown. The average Flemish Giant will live for about seven years. Continental rabbits are also very large.