Essential Rabbit Care Tips
A rabbit is among the top choices when it comes to the furry pet variety. They are highly domesticated animals that are affectionate, sociable, inquisitive and can live for more than 10 years — caring for a rabbit is a long term commitment. A lot of love, care, and knowledge of how to properly take care of a rabbit are needed in order to have a great and long lasting relationship with your cute and cuddly little pet.
Rabbits are high maintenance pets as they are physically delicate and fragile. Below are the key rabbit care tips to get you started.
Do not be alarmed if you see your rabbit eating faeces. This may seem strange but it is perfectly normal and healthy. The small, soft pellets are an extra source of nutrients and aid in digestion.
It is important for rabbits to be given a proper diet that is suitable for their complex digestive system. Numerous health problems are caused by foods that are not compatible with their digestive physiology.
Grass hay such as Timothy or Brome is a staple in a rabbit's diet and should be available at all times. It keeps their intestinal tract healthy and it provides the fiber they need to prevent health problems. In addition to hay, commercial rabbit pellets and fresh dark green leafy vegetables should also be given.
Fresh water should be available at all times. It can be served in a bowl or in a sipper bottle and should be changed on a daily basis.
Rabbits are best kept indoors because they find it difficult to tolerate extreme temperatures and require frequent social interaction. You can let them run free around the house or live in a cage.
When choosing a cage, choose one that is at least five times the size of your rabbit. Your pet should be able to stand up on its hind legs without bumping its head on the top of the cage and it should be able to move around and stretch out.
Place straw, hay or aspen shavings into the cage to make it more homely for your bunny.
Rabbits have delicate feet since they do not have protective pads like those of dogs and cats. The floor of the cage should therefore have a layer of cardboard, or any sturdy and smooth material, covering the wire flooring.
Bunnies are neat freaks by nature and prefer surroundings that are clean especially for their living quarters. Most rabbits choose a corner of their cage for their bathroom. Once the rabbit has decided which area it prefers to do its business, place a litter box in that corner and fill it with Timothy hay or organic litters made of paper, wood pulp, or citrus. Avoid using clay cat litters as these can result in respiratory or gastrointestinal problems for your pet. The use of cedar and other wood shavings should also be avoided as these can cause liver damage or trigger an allergic reaction. Change the litter box on a daily basis to keep the rabbit's home clean and odour-free.
Play and Exercise
Give your pet time to get out of its cage and roam around your house a few times a day. Rabbits enjoy running, jumping, digging, chewing objects, and exploring their surroundings. Because of these, it is important to keep your home rabbit-safe. Electrical cords should be out of reach and outlets should be covered. Breakable items and poisonous substances should also be kept out of reach.
Digging and chewing are natural urges that could cause destructive behavior if left unfulfilled. Providing chew toys such as cardboard boxes, wooden blocks, wooden rings and sticks, and a digging box made of cardboard — filled halfway with soil or shredded paper — takes care of these natural urges.
Follow these essential rabbit care tips to ensure a long and healthy life for your bunny and an enjoyable time for you as a pet owner!