How to Keep A Pet Rabbit Happy (Everything You Need to Know)

How to Keep A Pet Rabbit Happy
How to Keep A Pet Rabbit Happy

Rabbit owners know that rabbits make excellent pets. In fact, I suggest that you learn everything you can about your pet rabbit to best care for him or her. But, I get many people asking me on a regular basis about the best ways to make their pet rabbits happy.

So, how do you keep a pet rabbit happy? You can keep your pet rabbit happy by giving him the great care. Great care includes providing your rabbit healthy food, a large, clean hutch, a play area, exercise, and fun entertainment. Watch over his health, being careful to protect him against unnecessary stress and always handle him gently.

How Do You Know If Your Pet Rabbit Is Happy?

What Healthy Foods Keep A Pet Rabbit Happy?

Unlike other animals, you can tell when a rabbit is happy. A happy rabbit purrs, or grinds his teeth. He may make a clicking sound with his teeth, too. A happy bunny will do a little dance called “binky.” Binky is when a rabbit jumps, twists and kicks up his back legs. He may flop down on his bottom and then start dancing all over again. 

Buy your rabbit good quality, name brand rabbit food. Skip the generic brands, they sometimes don’t have the same nutritional requirements and testing that name brands do. You can also give your rabbit a variety of fruits and vegetables. Check out the natural treats listed below to see what fruits and vegetables are safe for rabbit. Keep fresh hay in your rabbit’s cage or hutch. Hay adds the necessary fiber to your rabbit’s diet. Fiber prevents hairballs and other stomach issues. Feed your rabbit twice a day to offset boredom. Your rabbit’s cage or hutch should also include a salt block. Salt blocks are blocks of salt injected with other minerals animals need.

What Healthy Treats Keep A Pet Rabbit Happy?

Rabbits love treats. Give your rabbit a treat when he’s done a trick or if he’s upset a treat can calm him down. But don’t load up your rabbit with treats even if they are healthy, because they’re extra calories on top of his regular diet and could cause him to gain weight. Here is a list of natural, healthy treats your rabbit will love.

  • Chunks of fruits such as apple, banana, blackberries, nectarines, papayas,grapes,peaches, pears, plums, strawberries, tomatoes(not the leaves)
  • Pieces of vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, cucumbers, celery leaves, cauliflower, fennel, green beans, peas, peppers, pumpkin, romaine lettuce, squash, watercress
  • Some weeds like dandelions are okay as long as they haven’t been sprayed with chemicals. Also clover, lavender, chickweed and wild camomile are fine.
  • Herbs such as basil, dill, mint, oregano, rosemary,sage and thyme are safe for rabbits to eat.

What Other Healthy Habits Keeps A Pet Rabbit Happy?

Healthy pet rabbits are happy pets. Besides good quality food and water, a clean environment and plenty of exercise, rabbits need some extra care. Here are several healthy habits your rabbit needs.

  • Brush- Brush your rabbit at least once a week. Brushing is especially important while your rabbit is shedding. Rabbit clean themselves. When they shed they tend to get a lot of fur in their mouths that could get stuck in their stomach. Brushing helps reduce the amount of fur your rabbits gets in his mouth.
  • Inspect-While brushing check your rabbit for fleas, ear mites or fur mites. If you find any call your vet to find out what you should do.
  • Trim- Trim your rabbit’s toenails every 6 weeks. Your vet can also trim your rabbit’s nails.
  • Teeth check- Rabbits teeth grow their entire life. If your rabbit isn’t chewing enough, he might need his teeth clipped down. It’s best to get your vet to do this since the teeth can crack or break off while cutting if not done properly. Plus, teeth trimming is stressful for your rabbit.

To prevent your rabbit’s teeth from getting too long- give your rabbit plenty of fiber and things to chew on like:

  1. Twigs from specific trees like orange, lemon, apple, ash, maple or pine
  2. Mix of fresh hay and timothy hay
  3. Chewing blocks
  4. Vaccinations-Get your rabbit both the RVHD and RVHD2 annually to protect against myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease

How Do I Handle A Pet Rabbit to Keep Him Happy?

Never pick up a rabbit by the ears. This could damage his ears and be painful for him. The best way to handle a rabbit is

  1. Gently grasp him by the scruff of the neck with one hand.
  2. Support the rabbit’s rear quarters with your other hand.
  3. Hold the rabbit against your body, raise your arm bending your elbow to cover his head
  4. Use both hands to support his rear end.

What Kind of Affection Keeps A Pet Rabbit Happy?

Rabbits often want their owners attention. It can be hard to read their signals if you’re unfamiliar with them. Rabbits that want your attention will nudge you, rub their little heads up against you and move towards your hand. This means they’d like to be petted, scratched behind the ears and maybe even cuddled a bit. Pet rabbits will show signs of submission such as pulling their neck into their bodies when you’re close. They’ll also not look at you to show submission. They do this to be smaller, giving you a signal that you can pick them up or pet them. Other signals include relaxed ears, laying down with their legs stretched out behind them, licking you or rubbing their chins on you means their marking you their own!

What Kind Of Home Keeps A Pet Rabbit Happy?

A large, clean home with good ventilation will make your rabbit happy. Your rabbit’s cage or hutch should be large enough for your rabbit to move around easily. If you have an outdoor rabbit, set his hutch under a shady tree or sheltered area with good ventilation especially in the summertime when it’s hot. Put sweet smelling straw on the bottom of your rabbit’s cage or hutch to keep it clean. Rabbits are picky about cleanliness. Add fresh straw and clean out the rabbit poop at least three times a week to guarantee your rabbit’s home is clean. Indoor rabbits can be trained to use a litter box. If your rabbit uses a litter box, it will keep his house cleaner. You just need to empty the litter box daily. Rabbits drink a lot. Be sure to add fresh, clean water every day. The water bowl should be heavy enough that it can’t get knocked over easily.  Add fresh hay daily for your rabbit to eat. Hay gives your rabbit the fiber he needs for proper digestion.

What Kind of Play Area Keeps a Pet Rabbit Happy?

Exercise makes a bunny happy and healthy. Some rabbit owners make a rabbit run area in their house . This area is perfect for your rabbit to play safely and without stress of getting underfoot or lost somewhere in the house. There are creative ways to build these playpen type structures, so check online for ideas for your bunny play run. Add safe, indestructible toys to the play area so your rabbit won’t get bored.

Popular Toys to buy:

  • Wooden chew toys
  • Slinkies
  • Cat toys
  • Metal lids
  • Quik-tubes

What Kind Of Homemade Toys Keep A Pet Rabbit Happy?

Rabbits are curious and fun loving. There are many easy to make toys that your pet rabbit will love. Here’s a list of some fun homemade toys:

  • Cardboard boxes with openings for your rabbit to climb in and out
  • Small elevated boxes, stools or little chairs  so your pet rabbit can climb up on top
  • Paper towel cardboard rolls
  • Trays with enough sand or dirt for your rabbit to dig in
  • Small plastic buckets or pots for your rabbit to throw around,
  • Empty cereal boxes
  • Empty oatmeal boxes

How Do I Know If My Pet Rabbit Is Stressed?

Rabbits are prone to stress. Because stress can make your rabbit sick, as a rabbit owner it’s important that you keep an eye out look for signs of stress in your rabbit.

Here’s some of signs of stress in a rabbit.

  • Hiding- Stressed Rabbits will hide in a corner of his cage or hutch. They will hide under things in their cage.
  • Aggression- They will lunge out when you open the cage. They might bite you when you try to pick them up.
  • Thumping- Rabbits under stress thump their back legs to warn of danger. Your rabbit might think the danger is you if your rabbit is stressed out. A rabbits thumping is a signal to “stay away from me.”
  • Hunched up- A frightened or stressed rabbit will make themselves smaller by hunching over or lying on the ground in a stiff position.
  • Bulging eyes- Scared rabbits eyes will bulge out.
  • Breathing stressed- Stressed rabbits breath quick, shallow breaths.

How To Calm A Pet Rabbit?

There are several things you can do to help your rabbit destress and calm down. Rabbits are sensitive animals They get stressed and frightened easily. Practice these things to help your rabbit calm down. 

  • Use a quiet voice with your rabbit. Yelling will scare him and cause him to fear you.
  • Learn if your pet rabbit likes to be carried or not. If not, don’t try to carry him around. If he likes being carried, when you pick him up he will relax in your arms.
  • If you need to quickly pick up your rabbit to get him out of danger, put a towel around your arms incase he’s scared and tries to scratch you.
  • Keep your rabbit out of crowds of people.
  • Keep your rabbit away from loud noises or music or bright lights.
  • Play soft music to calm your rabbit down, classical music has been known to calm rabbits

What Does A Happy Pet Rabbit Look Like?

Typically, a healthy pet rabbit also a happy pet rabbit. So how do you know if your rabbit is healthy enough?  Here’s some key things to look for if you’re wondering if your pet rabbit is healthy and of course, happy. 

A healthy rabbit has…

  • An alert and curious interest about his surroundings.
  • Bright eyes with an intense look. No discharges or wateriness that could indicate allergies or illness. 
  • Clean ears. No scabby, or discharge should be coming out of your rabbit ears. This could indicate infection. No mites, or dirt. If your rabbit keeps moving its head from side to side incline his head, it could mean an ear problem. Contact your vet is you see your rabbit do this.
  • Healthy looking fur. Your pet rabbit’s fur should be shiny and soft. There should be no matted fur, lesions on the skin that seep, no bare spots or itching. All these symptoms suggestion disease or a parasite of some kind.
  • Healthy feet. No crustiness, or sore spots. Sometimes rabbits get a condition called “sore hocks.” This is a common disease in pet rabbits. It happens when the bottom of your pet rabbit’s feet get sore, red and inflamed. Sometimes they get infected. Overweight rabbits get sore hocks. Sometimes the wrong kind of flooring in your rabbit’s cage can cause it.
  • A good appetite.Your rabbit should eat food and drink water every day. If your rabbit stops eating or only eats once in while, you might want to call your vet to figure out what’s going on.
  • Normal poop. A healthy rabbit has normal droppings. They should be round, same size, and consist mostly of hay. Rabbits also poop what’s called “CeCotropes”, or  “night feces”  as it’s called. These are basically little soft pellets that look dark and wet. Your pet rabbit will probably eat this poop. It’s normal for rabbits to eat their own feces late at night or early in the morning, hence the name, “night feces.”
  • A normal weight. Your pet rabbit shouldn’t be overweight or underweight.  Ask your vet if your rabbit weighs the right amount. Overweight rabbits are prone to disease, foot problems. An underweight rabbit is also prone to disease.

Keeping your rabbit happy is easy if you provide him with everything he needs to stay healthy and grow. And maybe in the process, you’ll feel happy too.