Rabbits are one of the most common house pets in North America, ranking as the third most popular pet behind dogs and cats. If you’re welcoming a rabbit into your home, there are a few things you need to know to ensure you’re taking good care of your new companion.
Easter is also the most popular time of year for families to welcome a rabbit into their home, but it’s important to know what you’ve signed up for. Check out this video on why Easter is the scariest time of year for bunnies!
Make your new pet feel at home and ensure you’re ready for pet ownership with these simple tips for rabbit owners!
1. Before introducing any new pet to your home, step 1 is pet-proofing and creating a safe space for them. This ensures a smooth transition for the pet and allows them to get more comfortable with their new environment as soon as they arrive. When it comes to rabbits, here’s a great article on creating an appropriate indoor space for them.
2. Have your rabbit checked by a vet. When bringing any new pet home, having them checked out by a vet is always wise. This allows you to get a clean bill of health or to catch any potential issues early. Download the Healthy Pets app to ensure you have access to a reliable vet, online at a moment’s notice for any questions you may have about behaviour, diet, or health concerns!
3. Understand your rabbit’s nutrition needs. Rabbits are fairly low maintenance pets and hay is a dietary staple, however there are a few additional items that you should be feeding your rabbit to ensure they’re healthy and happy such as fresh vegetables and fiber-rich pellets (fewer for adult rabbits). Of course, all pets should also have access to fresh water.
4. Give your rabbit a litter box! Rabbits are smart and tidy creatures, who groom themselves and seek a designated place to go. Many rabbits will use a litter box, but you’ll have to set it up a little differently for them. Always use rabbit-safe pellet litter, and place a thin layer at the bottom of the litter box. Clay/clumping cat litter or wood shavings are not safe for rabbits. Place some hay on top of the litter, and ensure your rabbit has easy access to the box itself.
5. Learn how to handle and groom your rabbit. While they do groom themselves, your pet rabbit will still need your help with some essentials such as brushing to alleviate shedding and regular nail trimming. Do to this, you’ll need to know how to handle your pet and keep them comfortable - building trust with your pet will make this easier over time.
6. NEVER release a domestic rabbit into the wild! Domesticated rabbits are not equipped for life in the wild and are unlikely to survive if they're released by their owners. If you can no longer keep your pet, try to rehome them with a friend or family member or find a local humane society who will take them in.
Remember if you have any questions about your new pet’s diet, behaviour, or health, the local vets at Healthy Pets are just a text or video call away!
Here's to a "hoppy" and healthy life together for you and your new pet!