10 House Rabbit Hacks: What You Need to Know
People continue to buy rabbits at Easter. Unfortunately, that is a spontaneous decision it is almost always also a wrong decision, and remains one reason why rabbits are relinquished to shelters.
While rabbits can be wonderful pets, they’re often paired with young children which is rarely a good idea.
Here are ten tips for having rabbits as pets.
- When purchasing a washing machine, you likely do homework first. Rabbits are emotional beings who are an 8-to-12-year commitment. Do your homework first. One credible resource (among many) is the House Rabbit Society. Pet rabbits (or any pet for that matter) deserves that you do the homework first to insure it is the right pet at the right time for your family before taking the plunge.
- Rabbits require veterinary checks, even wellness exams, just like dogs and cats. Be sure to find a veterinarian with a special interest in rabbits.
- House rabbits should be spay/neutered. Uterine cancer rates are high among rabbits. If not metastasized, there’s a high curative rate, but as rabbits age it’s more likely that cancer will be metastasized, which is then a likely death sentence. Females can be spayed at around six months. Male rabbits can be neutered as early as eight to 12 weeks. By neutering, potential hormone-related behavior problems can be avoided and that’s important because behavior problems are often a reason for people giving up their rabbits to shelters and rescues.
- Pet rabbits aren’t Bugs Bunny. People think rabbits like to eat carrots, and they’re right about that. However, carrots should only be offered as occasional treats. Diet should consist of high-quality pellets and always fresh hay (timothy hay, oat hay, and other grass hays). 24/7 access to fresh hay is essential to rabbit health.
- House rabbits are often purchased for very young children – but that match may be one-sided. Young children are hardwired to hug, cuddle pick up and carry rabbits. Rabbits are prey animals by nature; the only time they’re picked up is if there are about to be dinner. Adults and older children are better aware of rabbit body language and respond to what the rabbit is ‘saying.”
- Rabbits have acrophobia, a fear of heights. They seem to innately know they can become seriously injured, even when falling three or four feet. Interact with rabbits at ground level, adults can understand this rule but not necessarily young children.
- Bunnies prefer predictability. And little kids are rarely predicable. Rabbits generally don’t like turmoil (caused by small children) especially without a chance to get away from the commotion an enjoy a rabbit spa elsewhere in the home.
- House rabbits are easy to litter box train. Purchase rabbit-safe litter and a litter box that a rabbit has plenty of elbow room which to maneuver.
- Rabbits are social and love having friends. Of course, you know how rabbits are – so make sure any friends (and your rabbit) are spay/neutered and receive a health exam before being exposed to friends. Allow for speed dating first and place the bunnies side-by-side in cages at the start to test compatibility. Rabbits can be picky about who their friends are. Don’t just push two strangers together.
- Rabbits don’t lay eggs. But you can make your rabbits chocolate.