Rabbit Care: The Complete Guide
Setting expectations: Rabbit lifespan
The typical life expectancy of a bunny has to do with 10 years. This price quote will differ a little, depending on the type of the bunny and the conditions they reside in. But when you obtain a family pet rabbit, you need to understand that this is a long-term dedication.
A bunny’s lengthy life expectancy suggests that they can grow to be outstanding friend animals, just like a feline or canine.
But it also suggests we have to consider the possibility of moving with a bunny or looking after them in their aging. Prior to you making the decision to adopt or buy a bunny, put in the time to actually consider the amount of work it will certainly require to take care of them for their whole lives.
I absolutely believe rabbits are fantastic family pets. They deserve all the problems they provide you and also make outstanding pets. But you need to be notified, and also decide for yourself.
Part 1: What to feed your rabbit
Allow’s begin with the fundamentals. Having a healthy and balanced diet regimen is absolutely required for your bunny’s well-being.
Rabbits have a very sensitive digestive system, and also troubles with their digestive tract are just one of the leading sources of illness and also fatality. So what does a healthy and balanced bunny diet appear like?
A full 80% of your bunny’s diet ought to be yard hay. Timothy hay is best since it is high in fiber and also it is rough, making it helpful for rabbit teeth and food digestion.
You’ll intend to get a large bag of hay and make sure you never ever allow your bunny to go out. Hay maintains their digestion system moving appropriately as well as helps them soak up the nutrients their body demands.
Many pet stores, also those that don’t have much in supply for rabbit supplies, will have bags of timothy hay.
This is an excellent and also healthy hay to make up the base of your bunny’s diet plan, but it’s additionally a great concept to add in other grass hays, such as orchard, field, or oat hay, to add some variety as well as motivate your bunny to consume even more hay.
Some brands will market bags of hay that are already blended, but you can also obtain the various sorts of hay separately as well as blend them with each other.
You could even purchase large bundles from neighborhood farmers if you want to get the best feasible hay for your rabbit.
I obtain my rabbit’s hay from an online store called Small Family pet Select and I have actually been impressed with the quality of the hay they deliver. My referral is their second reducing Timothy hay, but they likewise have oat and orchard hay you can include.
Keep in mind: Alfalfa is not yard hay, as well as usually should not be a part of your grown-up bunny’s diet plan unless you are advised or else by a qualified vet. The exemption to this is infant rabbits who are less than 6 months old. In this instance, alfalfa has nutrients that benefit an expanding rabbit.
Fresh leafy green veggies present a selection and also taste right into your bunny’s diet, while additionally giving them the nutrients they need to stay healthy and balanced.
You’ll wish to offer your rabbit one to five cups of fresh greens daily, depending on exactly how huge your bunny is.
You can offer this to your rabbit all at once or choose to portion it out over the course of the day.
I choose to provide my bunny her everyday greens throughout supper time but might give her a little as a reward for permanently habits at various other points in the day.
How much leafy greens to feed your rabbit:
|Weight of the rabbit||Maximum amount of leafy greens|
|2 lbs||1 cup|
|3 lbs||1.5 cups|
|4 lbs||2 cups|
|5 lbs||2.5 cups|
|6 lbs||3 cups|
|7 lbs||3.5 cups|
|8 lbs||4 cups|
|9 lbs||4.5 cups|
|10 lbs||5 cups|
The majority of leafed greens you can find in a food store, or grow in your garden, are safe for your rabbit, but there are some varieties that you ought to give in smaller-sized quantities, and a couple that you must prevent giving your rabbit totally.
Safe leafy greens for your rabbit:
- Carrot tops
- Leafy lettuces (red, green, romaine)
- Turnip greens
- Dandelion greens
- Bok choy
Safe for your rabbit, but give in smaller quantities:
- Beet greens
- Mustard greens
Greens to avoid giving your rabbit:
- Iceberg lettuce
- Onion greens
Pellets are not in fact required for your bunny’s diet plan, but they do have some dietary value and can be a healthy snack for your bunny.
You wish to be very stringent concerning the number of pellets they get in a day. A lot of pellets can promptly make your rabbit obese, creating a string of illnesses.
It’s fine if they lack pellets throughout the day (or if they gobble them up right now). You still do not wish to refill their food dish till tomorrow.
You intend to motivate your rabbit to consume even more hay, as well as too many pellets will make them complete before they also get to their primary food.
I recommend Oxbow’s Yard Select pellets for bunnies. My rabbit gobbles this brand name up like treats, however, they’re really quite healthy. If you take a look at the components you’ll see that they are constructed from generally hay as well as dried-out veggies.
How much pellets to feed your rabbit:
|Weight of rabbit||Amount of pellets daily|
|2 lbs||2 Tbsp|
|3 lbs||3 Tbsp|
|4 lbs||¼ cup|
|5 lbs||1 Tbsp + ¼ cup|
|6 lbs||2 Tbsp + ¼ cup|
|7 lbs||3 Tbsp + ¼ cup|
|8 lbs||½ cup|
|9 lbs||1 Tbsp + ½ cup|
|10 lbs||2 Tbsp + ½ cup|
Part 2: How to set up an indoor enclosure
Most family pet stores will attempt to sell you a small cage for your rabbit, comparable to what they would certainly provide for a guinea pig.
In the large bulk of instances, the cages offered as ‘bunny’ cages are much as well small. Sadly this is because there is still a lot of false information available about rabbit care.
Rabbits won’t more than happy or healthy if they simply sit in a little cage throughout the day. So prior before you go out as well as buy a brand-new enclosure for your bunny, you need to take the rabbit’s dimensions as well as the cage measurements into factor to consider.
I recommend using a pet exercise pen for your rabbit’s enclosure. It gives the rabbit a lot of space and it’s easy to clean.
When getting a unit or hutch for your bunny you want to ensure the cage is long sufficient for your rabbit to make 3 hops from one end to the other.
Your bunny must additionally be able to lay along the width with a little room to extra and also stand right up on their back legs without bumping their directly the top.
The enclosure dimension will certainly vary a lot depending on your rabbit breed, but for an average-sized rabbit (regarding 5 pounds), you should intend to have an area of at the very least 4ft by 2ft.
There are some hutches available that will allow sufficiently, but I have located it easier to use a bunny ex-pen instead. This makes cleansing your bunny’s area a lot simpler too because all you have to do is relocate the gates and vacuum.
You can additionally consider obtaining a huge pet crate as a bunny cage. These can be really simple to establish as well as tidy as well as can provide a lot of area for your bunny’s home.
There are a few factors you intend to keep an eye out for, to ensure you stay clear of getting an enclosure not ideal for bunnies:
- A cage that is too small. The number one thing you want to stay clear of is obtaining a cage that is also tiny for your rabbit This can cause some severe health problems in the future, as well as a bored and also unhappy bunny.
- A cage with a wire bottom. A cord at the end of a cage can cut into a bunny’s feet as well as create sore hocks. If you have a wire cage that is appropriately sized, you can place a mat down along the bottom to keep them from being based on cable all day.
- A hutch made of painted or toxic wood. Rabbits have an instinct to eat whatever, so they will absolutely be trying to chew on a wood hutch. This is why you want to avoid any painted timber, and also you intend to make certain the hutch is not constructed from timber that is toxic to rabbits (such as cedar, birch as well as yew).
Bunnies, specifically when they are young, have a lot of energy. So you’ll need to make sure your rabbit gets a couple of hrs of daily workout time. You’ll want to give your rabbit a location that goes to the very least 24sq feet for your rabbit to run around in for a couple of hrs every day.
Normally individuals will just use the room they have their rabbits room in as the exercise space, but you might also allow your rabbit accessibility to the whole residence. Or you can establish an additional workout pen for your rabbit to make use of.
The best time of day to allow your rabbit out to exercise remains in the morning or night. Rabbits are crepuscular (not nocturnal), so they are most energetic during the hours around dawn and sunset. They’ll get the most out of exercise time if you let them out during the times when they are most energetic.
Free range rabbits
Instead of having a bunny closed in a room all day, many people choose to have what we call ‘free array’ rabbits. They allow their bunnies to avoid in your house all day long. This is wonderful for rabbits if it’s something you can do, yet it’s not constantly feasible.
Rabbits tend to be a little naughty and eat on things they should not, so you want to ensure you bunny-proof any kind of areas of the house your rabbit is allowed to stroll about in.
Rabbits have thick fur coats and have a tendency to do better in temperature levels that are slightly cooler than what people normally prefer.
Due to this, it’s typically best to house rabbits on reduced floors of your home, and even in the basement ideally. This will certainly maintain your rabbit’s space in the coolest part of the house.
Also in the summer season, you wish to attempt to maintain the indoor temperature below 75ºF, particularly if the humidity is high in the area where you live.
Rabbits can obtain conveniently obtain warmth stroke in temperature levels over 80ºF and also long-haired bunnies, such as lion heads, go to a greater threat.
In the winter, you might intend to consider maintaining your thermostat a little lower and also wearing a sweatshirt inside. Rabbits tend to flourish in temperature levels that remain in the 50-70ºF range, so there is no requirement to maintain their room added cozy.
Part 3: How to litter train your rabbit
Bunnies are actually spick-and-span animals. They will naturally want to maintain themselves and also their environment clean. Rabbits can also be trained to utilize a can, much like pet cats!
It just takes a little bit of additional job to aid your rabbit to comprehend that the can is where they should utilize the bathroom.
When you bring your rabbit residence, you want to have the products prepared to get started on litter training as soon as possible. What you will certainly need:
- A few litter boxes
- A pooper scooper
- Paper-based litter
- Pet-safe cleaning spray
- A pile of old newspaper
The tools you need to litter train your rabbit: litter, a litter box, newspaper, a pooper scooper, pet-safe disinfectant, and a garbage can with a lid.
To litter train your rabbit (I have a thorough step-by-step guide if you need help litter training your rabbit):
- Start small. Keep your rabbit in their unit for a couple of days with a litter box set up in the corner. Clean the room often, however, keep a little pee as well as poop in the can so your bunny can find out that’s where they belong.
- Increase the space. Area a number of cans throughout the room as well as provide your rabbit some time out of the unit to exercise.
- Pay close attention to your rabbit. As your bunny explores, enjoy them as well as try to capture them as they excrete so you can herd them to a neighboring litter box.
- Clean up any accidents. You’ll wish to clean up any kind of accidents as soon as possible to ensure that your rabbit won’t return to utilize the same place once again. If they do remain to utilize the same place as their restroom, relocate among the litter boxes to the rabbit’s chosen area.
- Remove the extra litter boxes. As your rabbit improves at using the litter box, start to remove them one at a time until your bunny always goes back to its unit to make use of the bathroom.
Part 4: How to bunny proof your home
Rabbit’s instincts to chew as well as dig are easily the most frustrating part of bunny ownership. We want to offer our rabbits a chance to live the good life and also zoom around the living room. However, the little nuisances just keep getting involved in points they should not. They chew on cords as well as dig into the rug.
If we wish to maintain our rabbits safe from the unsafe things they can enter into, as well as keep our homes safe from our rabbit’s harmful habits, we need to do some job to bunny-proof our homes.
Rabbits enjoy chewing with cords. This is unfortunate for our different digital devices, however, it’s additionally very unsafe for our rabbits. If a rabbit bites into a wire while it’s plugged in, the inadequate bun might end up getting surprised or electrocuted.
As long as feasible, you will require to move your wires out of our bunny’s reach. This can imply maintaining wires behind a surrounding location, or lifting cords off the ground so your rabbit does not locate them When it’s impossible to physically move the cables away, you can cover wires with thick plastic tubes.
This works in 2 methods. One, bunnies are much less likely to go after thick cables, and two, even if your rabbit tries to eat on the cord, he won’t be able to access the unsafe electric part. Simply make certain to examine the wire covers periodically to ensure your bunny hasn’t begun to eat through them.
Cover rugs and baseboards
Rabbits will typically have a reaction to explore the edges of carpets as well as chew on walls. This is due to the fact that in nature bunnies are burrowers.
They dig as well as utilize their teeth to make tunnels to live in. In the house, however, this can be an extremely damaging action.
Securing your carpets is most definitely a much easier problem to address. If it’s feasible for your living circumstance, you can try to prevent this concern altogether by maintaining your rabbit in a space that has a wooden floor covering, and utilizing area rugs that you will not mind being explored or chewed on.
If that’s not possible, you still have alternatives! You can address this by taking down a plastic floor covering (like the ones you would use under a work desk chair) in the corners or locations your bunny tends to explore.
You can additionally put down a rug and even flattened cardboard boxes to prevent your bunny from damaging the carpeting.
It’s a little more difficult to take care of all chewers. Not all bunnies will opt for the walls, however, make sure to enjoy your bunny’s actions to ensure they’re not doing too much damage.
The most effective means to manage these habits is by limiting your bun’s accessibility to the wall. Placement furnishings to obstruct the baseboards, or keep fencing around the boundary of the room.
I make use of the secure fencing from these DIY storage space dices and line them up along the wall surfaces utilizing zip ties. You can also consider covering the visible walls with wood or cardboard.
One technique that I have actually been using just recently is to cover the walls with a strip of concealing tape. This has actually stopped my Ellie from eating on the walls, however, a bunny might conveniently eat via the tape if they want to.
If your bunny continues to pursue the tape, you’ll want to remove it and try various methods. You don’t desire your rabbit to consume the concealing tape.
You’ll likewise intend to provide your rabbit with some wooden eat playthings, so they have a productive means to utilize their chewing energy.
Eating on things is really extremely vital for keeping your rabbit’s teeth from expanding too long, so you constantly want to see if there are wood-eat playthings readily available. Discover more about discovering toys for your rabbit that they’ll actually wish to have fun with!
Keep dangerous objects out of reach
Bunnies are a great deal like youngsters. They wonder about whatever, specifically the important things they actually should not be getting into.
So you’ll need to take some preventative measures to make certain you maintain your rabbit away from anything you don’t want them to have access to.
This indicates you wish to put houseplants (specifically houseplants that are poisonous to rabbits), over shelves or window sills that your rabbit can’t reach.
You will also wish to ensure you do not leave any type of human food unattended while your rabbit is strolling about. People, food is definitely not for rabbits.
If you want to maintain your bunny out of locations of your house that aren’t bunny-proofed, you can mount baby entrances.
You’ll possibly wish to install metal entrances because rabbits might attempt to eat through any type of wood entrance in time.
Part 5: Enrichment toys for your rabbit
Bunnies need playthings to maintain their mind and teeth healthy. They are really extremely intelligent pets as well as they need playthings to keep their mind energetic.
Bunnies need playthings they can throw around, pull on, and explore. And also they like to use challenge toys, so they can utilize their natural foraging impulses to find out just how to get at the deals.
Having appropriate playthings is likewise helpful for your rabbit’s dental wellness. Rabbit teeth are open-rooted and also continue to grow for life.
They need great deals of hay and also chew playthings to assist keep their teeth from outgrowing control as well as triggering health problems. If they’re not provided anything to eat, a rabbit’s teeth could wind up growing so much that they can no more eat.
If you’re unsure of where to begin, I recommend the toys from my preferred internet shop, Tiny Family pet Select. It’s what I always obtain for my rabbit when she seems to be obtaining bored of her routine playthings.
You can obtain a range of different toys from what they have in supply. Your rabbit can after that pick the ones they such as finest so you understand what toys to get in the future.
You can additionally make your very own do-it-yourself playthings out of cardboard boxes and cardboard tubes. You can conceal treats within the tubes, or transform them right into hanging playthings for your rabbit to play with. Or you can use cardboard boxes to make passages and excavate play areas for your rabbit.
Part 6: Grooming your rabbit
Bunnies dropped a lot as well you’ll need to clean them to remove excess hair. While rabbits lost a little bit at all times, they’ll have two huge molting periods where they shed their winter months as well as summertime coats.
During this moment, there will certainly be clouds of hair, as well as you’ll need to brush your rabbit usually to maintain their hair from obtaining matted. It additionally maintains them from ingesting excessive fur, protecting against clogs in your rabbit’s gut.
You will certainly also need to clip your bunny’s nails. This is a job that is much easier with two people, yet it’s possible to do even if you’re a single bunny mom and dad.
I’ve been clipping my rabbit’s nails myself for the last 8 years. It takes a lot of perseverance occasionally since bunnies usually do not like it when you touch their feet, yet I understand you can do it. If your bunny is just too tough to deal with, though, you can bring them right to your rabbit’s veterinarian to obtain their nails clipped.
When clipping your bunny’s nails you wish to watch out for the blood vessel, called the quick, that adds to the base of each nail.
This is easy to see in bunnies with lighter nails, yet it’s harder to find in bunnies with thicker or darker nails. In these cases, use the clippers at a spot you believe is past the quick.
Put some stress on the nail, but don’t clip it completely with. If the rabbit flinches away, this implies you ought to clip at a spot more detailed to the idea of the nail.
If you do inadvertently clip right into the quick, it’s okay. It’s a bit unpleasant for the rabbit, as well as there will probably be a great deal of blood, but this is not a severe injury. Your rabbit will recover quickly and question why you are making such a fuss.
Part 7: Socializing your rabbit
Rabbits are really social animals as well as they get lonesome if they are laid off all the time. Like with humans, isolation in rabbits brings about a shorter life expectancy.
If you want your bunny to live the most effective life feasibly, you need to hang out with them Sit with your bunny every day to create a bond with them as well as let them recognize just how much you love them.
How to pet your rabbit
Rabbits favor being brushed on the top of their heads as well as behind their ears. Lots of rabbits likewise like it when you pet them on the cheeks and when you pet them in lengthy strokes down their back. Unlike common belief, bunnies do not normally mind a lot when you touch their ears too.
Attempt giving your bunny some great head and back massage therapies. Normally rabbits will certainly love this a lot that they sink into the ground and also begin purring by grinding their teeth.
The majority of bunnies do not like it when you pet their feet, specifically their back feet. Their tail, as well as butt, are normally off limits also.
Rabbits commonly don’t like it when people touch them on their belly or underneath their abdominal area either, but this is a location that you might intend to gradually desensitize on your bunny so they will not make as much of a fuss when you require to choose them up.
How to pick up your rabbit
A lot of rabbits do not like to be gotten. Because bunnies are prey animals, their primary defense against predators is their capability to run away. They’ll often get frightened when they get grabbed since they really feel trapped.
If anything bad were to suddenly take place, they would not have the ability to run away, so bunnies like it when they have their feet on the ground.
For this reason, when connecting with your rabbit on a day-to-day basis, it’s best not to select them up very usually.
If you get your bunny every time you play with them, they’ll start to associate you with the worry of being held and they will certainly escape from you.
However, there are times when you need to select your rabbit up. Whether it be when you clip their nails, or to keep them out of an unsafe area. So it is best to sometimes exercise selecting your rabbit up, so you know you can manage them appropriately.
To choose your bunny up, place one hand on their bottom and also one on their chest behind their front feet. Gently raise them up and also hold them in your arms or your chest.
Constantly make certain their backside is sustained. Bunnies have relatively weak spinal columns. If held improperly they can kick as well as hurt their back.
Basic Rabbit body language
Rabbit body movement is special. They use their ears, tail, nose, and also body placement to tell us exactly what they indicate. All we need to do is learn the behavioral indicators and pay attention.
Some standard rabbit habits you may observe as you fraternize with your bunny:
- Binky: A jump and twist airborne, usually accompanied by some zooming around the space. This means that your rabbit is extremely happy.
- Cautious/Curious: They will slowly come close to an object of passion on tiptoe with their ears forward as well as tail down. They might extend as for they can with their back feet, staying in the very same location so they’ll prepare to make a dash for it if they get frightened.
- Chinning: The rabbit will certainly rub their chin versus a challenge and declare it as their own. Rabbits have scent glands under their chins, so this spreads their fragrance around and also lets any other bunnies recognize that this is your bunny’s territory.
- Flop: Flopping is when bunnies toss themselves onto their side and also sleep. It can be surprising if you’re not used to it since it sort of appears like the rabbit is dead, but it in fact suggests your bunny feels extremely safe.
- Loaf: Shirking is when your rabbit fluffs up right into a round as well as appears like a loaf of bread. This is typically a comfy setting for bunnies and also they’ll typically sleep in this setting, especially in the colder months.
- Periscope: This is when your rabbit bases on her hind legs, it indicates she wonders and is attempting to get a much better viewpoint. This is an additional among those cute rabbit actions that are just too tempting. And your rabbit recognizes it! This is how she pleads for treats.
- Purring: If you pay attention really closely when you pet your rabbit, you may hear her softly grinding her teeth with each other. And if you place your hand on top of her head, you’ll be able to feel a slight vibration. This is what bunnies do when they are happy as well as material. It implies the same thing as a cat’s purring.
- Territorial/Aggressive: Bunnies are generally extremely gentle creatures, especially if they have actually been spayed or sterilized. If a rabbit is presenting aggressive habits, it will pull its ears back and also grumble at you to advise you. Yet it’s really unusual for a rabbit to assault anybody out of the blue.
- Thump: When your rabbit thumps their solid back legs against the ground. It might also be loud enough to wake you up at night. This implies that your bunny detects risk or is very upset with something you did.
Children and rabbits
If you have kids who truly want a turn to have fun with the rabbit, then it is essential to show them just how to value your rabbit.
Monitor your youngster as you show them exactly how to delicately pet them. If the bunny flees, take it as an opportunity to instruct your kid to be a person as well as not to chase after the rabbit.
Your rabbit might need a little time to trust you
Rabbits are exceptionally pleasant as well as living creatures, yet they likewise get scared very easily. Rabbits are victim pets, and also their finest protection in any situation is escaping.
So do not be stunned if your new bunny runs away and also conceals from you in the beginning. If you offer your bunny the time and also space they need to warm up to you, you’ll have a gritty little fluffer zipping around you in a snap.
Here are a few quick tips to help your rabbit trust you sooner:
- Sit on the flooring silently near your bunny and also let him approach you. You’ll need to be patient with this. Eventually, your rabbit will obtain curiosity and come near you.
- Don’t grab your bunny unless you have to (e.g. put him right into a provider, reduced his nails, etc). The majority of bunnies do not such as to be held, so they’ll be more likely to run away if they think you will certainly pick them up every time you come near.
- Give your rabbit some treats (in moderation). You don’t intend to provide him too many treats, because that misbehaves for his digestion, but it’s all right to bribe your rabbit a little bit. Raisins often tend to be a success with the majority of the rabbits I work with.
Part 8: How to tell if your rabbit is sick
Rabbits are target animals so they tend to conceal their weaknesses. It’s usually tough to tell if a bunny is sick unless they are extremely ill, so you do not intend to await those even more evident indications.
The signs and symptoms you need to know so you can get your bunny to the vet as soon as possible:
- Lack of appetite, especially if they’re not interested in their favorite treats
- Lack of energy
- Small or deformed poops
- Not pooping (this is an emergency situation)
- Sitting in a hunched position
- A change in previously good litter box habits
- A bloated-looking belly
Part 9: Finding a rabbit veterinarian
Bunny biology really varies from a feline or dog, so you require to locate a veterinarian that specializes in bunnies. Typically the terms you wish to search for are ‘little pet veterinarian’ or ‘exotic pet veterinarian.’
However, you must constantly double-check to make certain this vet has experience with bunnies. Your House Bunny Society has a beneficial list of rabbit vets across the US and also even some international bunny veterinarians.
As with any kind of animal, it’s a good suggestion to bring your bunny in for a fundamental exam when your rabbit first comes home with you.
After that, you just have to bring your rabbit in annually for their yearly test, unless your bunny gets ill. If you notice your rabbit not eating or pooping for more than 12 hours, that’s an indicator that you need to reach a vet today.
Spay or neuter your rabbit
If your bunny has not been made sterile or neutered, you’ll want to make certain you get that dealt with as soon as you can. If your rabbit is young, you’ll need to wait on sex-related maturity, which is about six months for women bunnies and 4 months for male rabbits.
An unaltered rabbit will certainly develop health as well as behavioral problems. It’s far better for your rabbit’s joy as well as health in the future if you get them repaired asap.
Adopt a rabbit
If you haven’t currently brought a rabbit house, after that you still have the choice to embrace a rabbit instead of buying one from a pet dog store or breeder. Many shelters do have rabbits, and also in my experience, the bunnies have a lot longer stay in the sanctuary system than cats as well as pet dogs.
I collaborate with deserted sanctuary bunnies, and also I recognize these little fluff balls are simply waiting for a secure home where they can be happy bunnies forever.
Much of them have even currently been modified and also clutter trained, so it will certainly be a little much less work for you. So give a bun a 2nd chance and rescue a bunny today!