Rabbits make excellent pets for many families. If you’ve ever wondered just how to take care of rabbits, here are your top 9 steps to take care of a bunny, thanks to Nicholas Salmons…
Top Nine Steps To Take Care Of A Bunny
Rabbits are unique pets. They have specific needs in order to live a long, happy and healthy life. Here is a basic overview of how to care for a pet rabbit:
Step 1: Set Up Safe Indoor Housing
There are several options to house rabbits inside. They can live free-reign in a bunny proofed room/rooms, or they can be contained within a puppy pen, bunny condo, or a large rabbit cage. If contained, their space should always be large enough so they can hop around, and they should be let out of their pen for at least a few hours every day for exercise. Make sure the primary location of your rabbit is not isolated from you and your family. A family room or living room is a good place.
Step 2: Bunny Proof Your House
Rabbits need space to run around and explore. In order to create a safe space for your bunny and to protect your belongings, you will need to thoroughly bunny proof the area. This includes covering all wires with plastic sleeves or flex tubing or lifting them 3-4 feet out of reach of your rabbit.
If you don’t want your baseboards gnawed, you can cover them with plastic guards, 2x4s or furring strips. You’ll also have to block off certain areas since rabbits like to chew the undersides of beds, items on bookshelves, house plants, and more. Basically, your rabbit will try to chew everything in reach.
Step 3: Provide Fresh Hay
A rabbit’s diet should mainly consist of hay. Fresh hay should be provided to rabbits at all times. Baby rabbits should be given alfalfa, and adult rabbits should be fed timothy hay, grass hay, or oat hay. Using a large hay feeder is helpful because it keeps large amounts of hay dry, clean, and accessible.
Step 4: Provide Fresh Greens, Fiber-rich Pellets, and Fresh Water
Supplement your rabbit’s hay with fresh vegetables, fiber-rich pellets (in limited quantities for adult rabbits), and fresh water daily.
Step 5: Set Up a Litter Box
Rabbits have a natural inclination to poop and pee in one area. Take advantage of this by setting up a medium-sized cat litter box or shallow storage bin near their food/water bowls and hay feeder.
Put a thin layer of rabbit-safe, recycled newspaper pellet litter at the bottom of the litter box. Do not use clay/clumping cat litter or wood shavings, as they are not safe for rabbits. Then put hay on top of the litter. Rabbits like to eat hay and poop at the same time, so this will encourage good litter box habits.
Step 6: Provide Enrichment
Rabbits can get bored easily. Not only do they need space to exercise, they also need mental stimulation. Cardboard castles are great because rabbits spend hours chewing new windows and doorways. Cardboard castles also provide a quiet refuge for the rabbit when necessary. You can also provide a variety of toys for your rabbit to pique his or her interest.
Step 7: Groom Your Rabbit
Rabbits are naturally clean animals and wash themselves frequently. But you still need to groom your rabbit on a regular basis. Rabbits go through shedding cycles a couple times a year. It’s important to brush your rabbit to remove all the excess fur. Otherwise, your rabbit could ingest it and have serious digestive issues. Regular nail clipping is also important because long nails can get snagged on things or they can curl into your rabbit’s paw.
Step 8: Bring Your Rabbit to a Rabbit-Savvy Vet
Rabbits are prey animals, and so their natural instinct is to hide any symptoms of illness. You must keep a watchful eye to ensure your rabbit is eating, drinking, pooping, and peeing regularly. If you notice any change in behavior, it is important to call a rabbit-savvy vet immediately.
In addition to responding to illness, it is also essential to bring your beloved pet in for regular veterinary check-ups. The vet can check the ears, eyes, teeth, and gut to make sure the rabbit is in good health. Finally, consider spaying or neutering your rabbit. Spaying/neutering can reduce aggressive behavior, improve litter box habits, and improve a rabbit’s overall health.
Step 9: Understand Rabbits’ Unique Language and Behavior
Pet rabbits are different from cats and dogs. It’s essential to understand how rabbits think so you and your rabbit can live a happy life together. By catering to your rabbit’s natural inclinations, you can build a trusting, loving relationship with your bunny. See Building a Relationship with Your Rabbit for more information.
About the author:
Nicholas Salmons is the proud owner of two mischievous agouti rabbits named Coco and Cosette. A lifelong animal lover, Nicholas Salmons has been a freelance writer since 2009. He’s worked with local non-profit organizations to help pet owners with the cost of veterinary care and pet food and occasionally fosters pets waiting for a new forever home.
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Article Code: S290119