Are you introducing a new fluffy friend to the family? Rabbits are great family pets, with less-hassle than a dog and are ideal for teaching children about responsibility. Most rabbits love to be cuddled and stroked too, with lessons to children about appropriate handling a great way to teach them about being gentle (perfect for when they start school!)
But, how exactly can you be sure you are providing everything you need for your rabbit and ensuring they are happy? Just because they are small animals doesn’t mean you should ignore their needs and emotions.
Here at House My Pet, we have a dedicated team full of animal-lovers, so we know a thing or two about looking after pets. After all, it’s part of what we do when our clients are away – look after the furry friends they love! So, please keep reading to learn more about what you need to make sure your rabbit is well cared for in its new home.
The Right Food
A rabbit’s diet should mainly consist of hay, which should be provided to them at all times. Make sure it is fresh, so it helps keep them happy and their gut healthy. Baby rabbits should be given alfalfa while timothy hay, grass hay and oat hay are better suited to adult rabbits. You can use a large hay feeder to contain dry, clean hay for your rabbits while making it accessible to them 24/7.
Fresh greens, water and fibre-rich pellets are also super important in a rabbit’s diet. Small-cut vegetables are an excellent way for young children to interact with rabbits and help your pet rabbit feel comfortable around your family. Fibre-rich pellets should also be provided in limited quantities for adult rabbits, so speak to your vet for more information.
The Best Bedding
Setting up the right rabbit home is essential for ensuring the health and happiness of your pet. There are several housing options you can choose, such as free-reign living in a bunny-proofed room, a puppy pen, bunny condo or large rabbit cage. The space itself should be large enough that they can hop around, but they should still be allowed out of the pen for a few hours a day for exercise. The best place for their pen is somewhere close to the family, like a living room.
The next most important thing for their pen is the choice of bedding you make. We think that the Kaytee Clean and Cosy White Small Animal Bedding is ideal for your fluffy friend. Not only is it highly rated, but it sets a whole new standard in super-soft and absorbent bedding. It also encourages burrowing and nesting, allowing your rabbit to carry out its instincts and feel at home in your home. The paper bedding absorbs two times more liquid than wood shavings, making it perfect for cutting out any odours – it even has an odour control guarantee!
Like you’d clean your bedroom and make your children clean theirs, a bunny rabbit needs a nice clean home too. Otherwise, they can become ill or infected due to bacteria and uncleanliness.
Similar to cats, rabbits have a natural inclination to poop and pee in one area rather than many. You can use this to your advantage and create a litter area – like you would for a cat – where you can easily clean after them. A medium-sized cat litter box or shallow storage bin is ideal. Set this up near their food and water bowls and hay feeder, so they have easy access after they have eaten.
Cleaning this will be easy, just place a thin layer of rabbit-safe, recycled newspaper pellets at the bottom of the tray (the Kaytee Clean and Cost White Small Animal Bedding can be used for this!). Place some hay on top of the litter as rabbits like to eat and poop at the same time, so this will encourage them to use and re-use this space. Just replace the newspaper, bedding and hay each day to keep it fresh and sanitary.
Just like you would with a pet cat or dog, you must register your rabbit with a vet. Take a look on websites, call around and ask other pet owners for recommendations for vets near you. Many offer packages where you pay monthly and receive all of the check-ups, vaccinations and flea-treatments they need.
Health check-ups are vital for ensuring your rabbit is healthy and well-cared for. Vets can tell you if and when diets need changing, if there is something to be worried about or just that your rabbit is okay. Finding any illness or injury early ensures that it can be taken care of quickly, reducing any pain your pet is feeling.
You might be wondering if it is best to get one rabbit, or two. Dogs and cats often make these decisions for you, taking to other furry friends well or being distanced and unsociable. With rabbits, it may be harder for you to understand their body language. Typically, rabbits are naturally sociable, and so they need the companionship of their kind.
Your rabbit will be much happier if they are living with another rabbit or a compatible group. If not, they can become very lonely. It is best to bring a pair of rabbits in together from birth, though more often than not rabbits less than twelve weeks old will live together happily.
If you’re heading on holiday, need post-surgery help or are worried about your pets during a long day at work or out of town, then check out our website. We have a dedicated team of professional rabbit carers ready to support you whether you need a drop-in, boarding or even pet-sitters.