“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” –Anatole France.”
Did you know that only 2% of the UK population have rabbits as a pet? Yes, only 2%. That’s why when adopting a small animal like a bunny, people generally have many questions in their minds.
- What should I feed them?
- How to ensure they are healthy?
- Are they outgoing like dogs?
- How to train them?
- Are they good companions for the kids?
All these are some of the common questions that people want to learn about.
But that’s not all!
There are several other things that you need to know before adopting them. So, in this article, we’ll give you a brief about everything you need to know.
Domestic Rabbits Have Longer Lifespan
Domestic rabbits, unlike their wild counterparts, are not vulnerable to continual stress and predators. They, on the other hand, have frequent access to food and shelter. That’s why most domestic rabbits have a life span of 8 years. With adequate nutrition and medical care, they can even live for more than 12 years (which is longer than many other small animals.)
So, before you adopt a rabbit, be sure you’re ready to provide them a house and food, for a longer time.
They Are Indoor Pets
Pet rabbits enjoy longer and healthier lives when kept indoors. It is because these are prey species, thus vulnerable to predators such as hawks, foxes, coyotes, and stray dogs. If they are left outside, they are more prone to get sick or get caught by other animals.
Furthermore, their thick fur coats and lack of sweat glands causes them to frequently overheat. Especially, in temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Likewise, they have minimal hair on their ears and the soles of their feet. Thus, if they stay outside in cold weather, the chances of them being vulnerable to frostbite amplifies.
But what if you want to take your bunny outside?
Well, in such a scenario, make sure that they are kept under proper shelter. In addition to this, you also have to keep them hydrated and protected from predators.
It Is Essential For Bunnies To Exercise Regularly
Although rabbits do not require the same level of exercise as dogs, they still need time outside of their cages on a daily basis.
Daily activity helps them digest their food and keeps them from gaining too much weight. Also, many rabbits love racing around and leaping on top of objects. So, it will also keep them away from boredom. Usually, pet parents create a bunny-safe room or a fenced-in area indoors where their beloved fur-ball can play.
Remember that they should never be left unsupervised outside of their cages since they are prone to chew on inappropriate items like furniture, painted surfaces and electrical lines. Needless to say, it can affect their health and might also cause a bit of trouble for you.
High-fibre Diet Is Essential To Keep Them Healthy
Bunnies are vegetable eaters; they require a considerable amount of hay each day. It not only helps wear down their steadily growing teeth but also provides fibre to the bacteria that break down their food in their gastrointestinal (GI) tracts.
A bunny’s daily diet should consist of unlimited amounts of timothy or other grass hay, as well as a smaller amount of leafy green vegetables, such as romaine lettuce, carrot tops, endive, basil, kale, cabbage, radicchio, or dandelion greens.
Apart from this, you can also look for small animal care food products. These generally are high-fibre and help improve the digestive system of the pets.
Note: The food requirements of rabbits are different at different phases of life. For instance, alfalfa hay is not recommended for adult rabbits; instead, it is good for pregnant or nursing rabbits. Therefore, before you feed them anything, it is better to consult a veterinarian. And also, always read the product description to learn more about the products you are feeding your pet.
They Are Are Fastidious Groomers
Luckily, rabbits groom themselves often and keep themselves clean. Therefore professional grooming is not required. Yet, their claws, like those of cats and dogs, should be clipped every few weeks. Also, the long-haired breeds, like the Angora, should be combed regularly to prevent hair tangling. Besides, bunnies also don’t need to be bathed regularly.
However, you do need to clean their cage daily or weekly. You also need to create paper-based bedding (For that, you can use shredded newspaper or recycled paper) so that they live in a clean environment.
Besides that, just like dogs, you can teach your rabbits how to use a litter pan. Just make sure to clean the litter box every day.
You Need To Provide Them Something To Chew On Constantly
As mentioned above, rabbits’ teeth, both front and back, grow constantly. As a result, they must have access to an endless supply of hay as well as safe rabbit toys to chew on. You can also use hard wooden blocks and sticks for that. Otherwise, they will chew on furniture, mouldings, door frames, carpets, wires, and other inappropriate things.
Tip: You must know that rabbits are great escape artists. Therefore, their pet cages should be locked properly in your absence. If not, then you might find half-chewed items all around the place.
Veterinary Care Is Utmost Important
Bunnies, unlike dogs and cats, do not require annual vaccinations. Still, they require annual preventative veterinarian treatment, such as dental checks and faecal tests to check for GI parasites. Also, they should be checked up by a veterinarian right after they’ve been adopted to make sure they are healthy.
Furthermore, female rabbits should be spayed at 6 months of age, as 70-80 percent of unspayed females acquire deadly uterine cancer by the age of three. So, you must not forget about their appointment with the vet.
To Sum It All Up!
These are the things that you must keep in mind while adopting a bunny. Apart from this, they are also low maintenance yet offer the same companionship as other pets. Nonetheless, you must take your time and understand them.