Raising your rabbit is a fun experience. Whether you are getting a young one or an older one, you will still experience great joys. Raising a rabbit is a lot like raising a kitten. They have the same aloof, yet kind, personality.
If you are going to keep your pet indoors, it can be litter trained. They will do this naturally, but the litter has to be available at all times. Just like any other pet, your rabbit will learn its name and may even come when called if you spend enough time with it. This will be more likely of course if you keep your it indoors.
Keeping your rabbit outdoors is not out of the question. They handle cold weather very well so if you are in a cold climate, this is not an issue. Heat is another issue though, and your animal will need to be watched to make sure it does not overheat.
The following will provide you with additional information.
- When feeding always make sure to keep their diet consistent. Pet rabbits do not like it when their food is changed often. Feeding them a solid pellet food is always the best bet. If you have a smaller breed of rabbit, avoid types of pellets that contain a lot of corn and high protein. Try to keep the protein percentage around 16% to 17%. In fact, lower protein is best for all pets, unless it is a nursing mother. Aside from food, water is the most important nutrient for a rabbit. Always make sure they have fresh cold water!
- Provide a treat for them every now and then, such as carrots or timothy hay. There are also certain types of treats bought at pet stores that are a good choice. Don't ever feed your rabbit cauliflower. It will cause them to build up gas and they don't have any way to rid themselves of the gas.
- Rabbit care also means to provide toys. Cat toys work great, especially balls with bells in the center. Larger rabbits will even play with things such as pop cans and pop bottles. They will also chew on these and this will help to avoid them chewing on things in your house!
- Always make sure your pet has a cage big enough to accommodate them. This is important inside or outside. They need to have enough room to lay out, especially if they are indoors and you will cage them while you're gone. This is the safest option for the rabbit as well.
- Always pay attention to your rabbit's health. They are prone to colds and mites (mainly in their ears). Colds can be treated with an antibiotic or Vet RX medicine that can be found at most feed stores or at your veterinarian. Mites or fleas can be treated with any medicine that can be used on cats! Caring for rabbits may mean a trip to the vet.
- If your indoor rabbit is going to be playing outdoors, make sure you have your yard secured! Always stay with them; do not leave them in the fenced in yard alone. Rabbits love to dig and they will be under the fence and out into the world in NO time!!!! Having a secure fenced-in yard will also protect him from any predators such as neighbor dogs or cats. It is a good idea to flea treat your animal, as mentioned above, before you set them out into the yard. They are just as susceptible as any other house pet to fleas and ticks.
- If you do decide to litter train your rabbit, remember to be patient with them. They will catch on to it, but it might take a few weeks, especially if the rabbit is older. It is important to remember to "bunny proof" your house! There are two main things to worry about when bunny proofing. The first is electrical cords. Always make sure that all electrical cords are put up or taped to the wall the animal will not get to them. Often the plastic covers for outlets that are meant to protect children will work for your rabbit.
- Beware of registers.Many homes have registers on the floor. There are several precautions to take with these. First of all, your rabbit may mistake the register for a litter; it has an odd sound and open holes. The last thing you want is for your pet to urinate in your heating duct! There is also a danger of your rabbit getting their feet stuck in them if they run across them. This might frighten them and that is how their backs get broken. When frightened, they panic and begin to flail around, without realizing that they are hurting themselves. It is something one never wants to deal with, so getting a cover or blocking the register off is a great idea!
- Lastly, it is very important to handle your rabbit. It is important to get them used to the way you are going to pick them up. Always make sure to hold them securely with their feet tucked in. This will make them safer. Get them used to you flipping them over on their backs. This will help for when you have to clip their toenails in the future. (Clipping toenails can be done with cat nail trimmers and should be done about once a month.) It is important to start doing this at a young age so they will become acclimated. It will also form a stronger bond between you and your pet.
When you bring your rabbit home, they will be scared. If they are inside or outside, this will be true. Allow them a few weeks to get used to their surroundings and you and your family. This is especially true regarding other family pets. Rabbits are nervous by nature, so they will spook easily when frightened by anything from a vacuum to a dog barking. Give them some time, and take it slow, and you will create a safe environment for your rabbit and yourself. Remember they live anywhere from 4 to 10 years, so be prepared for a long commitment.
Owning a rabbit is the same as owning a dog or a cat. We hope you have enjoyed learning how to raise and care for a rabbit. It requires a lot of dedication, but it will also bring you many years of joy and happiness!