Our bunnies care is always a top priority. It should be. They make fun, loving and excellent pets for families across the world. Not only do they need love from us as the owners, but they also need plenty more essential items that many of us may not be aware of when we first purchase our bunnies.
Sometimes even food choices and what kind of cages to purchase can give us a scare. A question that presents itself frequently with rabbit owners is simple. What does a rabbit need? Here is what I can tell you about this topic.
So, what does a rabbit need? Rabbits need nutrition with proper food, water, and a stable environment are the three core items that can help your rabbit thrive in his or her new home. Hay, fresh water and a climate-controlled environment are imperative to your rabbit’s health and safety.
However, that’s not all a rabbit may need. They need much more to really be in the best position possible to be happy and live a long loving life. You can take your bunny from the bare minimums to living a life of luxury for not much money out of your pocket and not much work on your end.
Today, I want to cover the 13 essentials items that you should be getting your rabbit today to ensure they have everything they possibly need. Let’s dive into it.
13 Essential Items to Purchase for Your Rabbit Today
First, we can break down these items into a few categories to help keep this post organized and easy for you to follow. Let’s start with food consideration for your rabbit and make sure we aren’t feeding your rabbit anything unnecessary.
The main categories are of course food, mind stimulation and environment. Lastly, your love towards your bunny matters more than you may think.
Food Considerations for Your Bunny
#1- Hay Is Critical to Your Rabbits Diet
This is simple and a big one. If you are a new rabbit owner, you must use plenty of hay. Not just now but throughout your bunny’s life. Rabbits don’t like some of the treats that are offered up frequently such as salt licks, or other wooden treat options. Some rabbits don’t even like food pellets from time to time.
Hay not only helps your rabbits’ teeth remain strong, but it has a lot of the balances of vitamins and minerals that your rabbits need to thrive for years to come. Hay should always be offered to your rabbits.
They can offer benefits of fiber that other food pellets can’t provide, and they also just purely love it. You should stick to popular choices such as Timothy hay or oat hay for your bunnies. Hay should typically account for 80-90% of your rabbits’ diet.
#2-Proper Housing and Climate Control Are Key Components to A Healthy Rabbit
First, I know many have tried the outdoor housing scenarios with their bunnies and depending on the climate, this may have worked out okay for you.
In most situations, this isn’t the best approach. Rabbits should be housed indoors. Rabbits like other small animals get scared and full of anxiety very quickly. If a predator does attempt to lurk closely in the dark of the night, your rabbit could go into shock, have a heart attack and ultimately pass away.
Not to mention, it’s tough to keep proper temperatures monitored using the outdoor approach. At the end of the day, indoor housing is the way to go with domesticated rabbits. Indoor housing can also eliminate issues such as the following.
- West Nile Virus
- Round Worm
When taking our advice and placing your rabbits indoors, it’s essential that you isolate your bunny away from other large domesticated pets such as dogs. Rabbits can be easily litter trained if they are indoor pets and you can use oversized cages to provide enough space for your rabbit to move freely.
Rabbits also do a good job not getting into too much trouble with supervision if they are left out to play even in common rooms such as living rooms or unfinished/finished basement areas. If you don’t want to stress over possible climate issues, dangers from enemies, proper housing would be allowing your rabbit to remain indoors. No questions about it.
#3- Water Should Always Be Offered to Your Bunny
Just like humans, rabbits need constant availability of fresh water and fluids. Surprisingly rabbits are not as big of fans as you may think when it comes to water being dripped from the ever so popular water bottles that we see so frequently.
A water bowl is more pleasurable and natural for your rabbit to drink happily. Always have fresh water available and be sure to clean the water bowl with soap and water regularly.
#4- Rabbits Need Your Love or Interaction with Other Rabbits
When you purchase your rabbit, it’s important to understand that you should be planning on spending time with your rabbit or finding a way to ensure your rabbit has companionship or other means of social interaction.
Rabbits need and crave this social interaction. Rabbits even grieve or cry when a rabbit mate/friend passes away. That’s how loving these creatures can be. If you know, you will have plenty of time to interact with your rabbit, and you plan to do so, you will be in good shape.
If, however, you know that you have a demanding schedule and may not always have this time, you need to consider getting a second rabbit.
Obviously, play your cards with some intelligence on this and don’t mix a male and female rabbit together that are not fixed but I think you get the point. Rabbits need the interaction and rabbits need to be social and feel loved.
A little bit can go a long way with your pet bunny.
#4- A Prepared Home Can Avoid Potential Danger and Tragedy
We already know because of item #2 that your rabbit needs the ability or should be offered the chance to be domesticated and living inside your home. With that, you do have some additional steps to take precautions for. Picture your rabbit like a newborn baby just learning to crawl.
They are going to explore. They aren’t trying to terrorize your home, but they are naturally curious. Wire protectors should be purchased to avoid your rabbit taking a shock of a lifetime. Plus, in case he or she chomps down on that brand-new smart television power cord, I doubt you are going to be very happy.
Also, you can keep the hay feeder and water accessible to your rabbit in the main areas that they can roam or be free in.
You also want to protect yourself some and not just your rabbit. They may just nibble on some valuables if given the opportunity.
Rabbits will love to chew on your wooden furniture or even trim finishing’s on baseboards or other finishes around the home. If it’s something you want to be protected for yourself or your rabbit’s safety, you need to keep it covered. That’s all there is to it.
#5- Chew Toys Are Still A Great Option and Must Have for Your Bunny
We discuss how cardboard can be a great option for your bunnies in this post here. If it’s safe of course. Also, cardboard makes our top list at number 7 to be included in the top items you should offer your bunny.
It’s also important to understand that your bunny can get great enjoyment from other versions of chew toys as well. Some typical options for your rabbit can include seagrass mats that can be used to cover specific areas and allow them a safe chewing frenzy in addition to woven grass play balls and other wood and rope type toys.
These serve a few purposes as well. First, they help file down and keep your bunnies’ teeth healthy. They can also help keep your rabbit occupied, healthy and their minds stimulated. They get a lot of pleasure and fun out of a cheap chew toy.
It’s something you want to include Amazon shopping cart or pet store cart on your first trip to pick up supplies.
#6- Nail Clippers Will Keep Your Bunny Fresh and Happy
I can already hear you guys cringing at this idea. You probably hoped you could get away without needing to trim your bunnies’ nails. Unfortunately, this just isn’t true, and you will need to keep up with your rabbit’s nails every 4-6 weeks. Luckily for you, I have a post dedicated to helping you through this process that you can view here.
It’s not an overly difficult task and reading that post will surely help you take your game to an entirely new level with nail clipping. Make sure to buy rounded pet clippers, don’t hit/clip the blood supply and you and your bunny will be well on your way towards an excellent bonded relationship.
#7- Cardboard Boxes, Assuming They Are Safe Are Great for Bunnies
This needs caution exercised from a few angles. You need to make sure that the cardboard is safe and free of ink. You also want to ensure that you don’t give your bunny an overly large amount of cardboard to frequently.
This can be bad for your bunny’s digestive system over time and can make your rabbit not too hungry for the meals that include the fiber and nutrients that they need daily.
Cardboard works great for mind stimulation and something to do for your bunny but should be used somewhat sparingly. Overall, it’s something that’s great, cheap and easy to get your hands on to provide your rabbit some fun.
#8- Vegetables and Another Pellet Food for Your Bunny is Crucial
I own several small pets. Several of my pets also eat hay as a primary food source. A common pitfall I notice individuals do is only offering hay once you realize that this is the favorite food that your bunnies consume. This can be a mistake. Pellets and fresh vegetables still need to be offered.
You see, bunnies are a lot like humans. They may go through a mood change with what they prefer to eat. Just because they like hay primarily now doesn’t mean they wouldn’t enjoy some fresh pellets or vegetables on a different day which also offer plenty of nutrients and vitamins to your bunny.
Obviously, don’t use something such as a gerbil or hamster pellets but the critical point is that you always need to at least offer pellets. If they don’t like them or take the offering, that’s perfectly fine, but it should still be an option on the dinner menu.
#9- The Bunny Toilet. You Need a Bunny Litter Box
Bunnies can surprisingly train just like a cat to take care of business in the litter box. I’ve seen a lot of misguided information about this online and seen people who use litter boxes that just won’t work for this task. The litter box needs to be adequately sized and plenty of room to place hay towards the bottom.
Picture the hay as the toilet seat. If you set it up like this, your bunny will feel perfectly comfortable taking care of some bowel movements inside your designated litter box. Trust me, it works just fine.
#10- Gates, Pens and Other Safe Play Room Options
I’ve harped on you already that indoors is the way to go. This is true. I’ve also harped on you about bunny proofing the rooms you choose to use which is also essential. Any easy tool to always have on hand is baby gates or other small pens.
These will be your best friend with a pet bunny. I use the same. You can block off stairs, other rooms or entryways or just create a circle or box to keep your rabbit enclosed in during playtime.
Either way, I highly doubt you ever run into a situation where you don’t get your money worth out of purchasing a few of these and having them on standby.
#11- Love, Patience and Affection Will Take Care of The Rest
Perhaps the most important factor of them all to be an ethical, responsible and great rabbit owner.
Love is extremely important with your rabbit, and they can feel this and build a love towards you as well.
The bond you can form with your bunny overtime can be unbreakable. Maybe it’s letting them sleep in your bed or even understanding how to allow your bunny to grieve over a lost bunny mate appropriately.
Regardless of which of these may be the case, it’s essential that you get a rabbit because you intend on forming this bond and showing love and affections towards your rabbits. Rabbits can get bored, depressed and lonely.
Without a cage mate, you are tending to their needs they can head down a slippery slope of depression quickly. Be sure to plan play time with your bunny and not let your busy schedules overpower making a few minutes here and there to interact with them even if it’s just to sit and pet or talk to and play with your rabbits.
This in addition to food and water is the three most significant things that your bunny needs to live a long healthy life.
#12- The Hay Feeder
You can’t really offer hay to your rabbit without a proper hay feeder. Not only will this help not having hay everywhere but it’s also an easy way for you to measure how much hay your bunny is consuming.
These hay feeders cost next to nothing on Amazon or even inside of a local pet store. Usually, they hook up quickly to the side of a cage or also attached to another convenient spot where your rabbit can reach it with ease will work just fine.
#13- Travel Cage for Your Bunny
This is another item on the list that you absolutely need but need to exercise caution when using. We have an entire post about if rabbits get car sick and proper traveling techniques that you can see here.
Be sure that your rabbit doesn’t have to much room to slide around inside the travel crate and allow for proper ventilation inside of the crate, and you will do just fine.
Not allowing proper ventilation can make your bunny overheat and too much sliding room inside the travel cage can easily result in injury or other scenarios that aren’t very favorable for you and your bunny.
Be sure to read our post we linked to above for a more in-depth look on how to take care of this correctly.
Putting It All Together, these 13 Items Will Get You Started with Your Bunny
At the end of the day, these 13 items are going to be more than enough to get you off on the right foot as a new bunny owner. If you did nothing but these 13 items, you would probably have no issues going forward and keeping your rabbit safe, healthy and happy for the next 10 years.
Always stay up to date and be an ethical pet owner. Understand your rabbit’s needs and what they need nutritionally, emotionally and for safety and you are well on your way to be a Rockstar rabbit owner.
Do you have any recommendations or items you believe should be added to this list? Be sure to drop a comment below.