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More than half of American households own a pet. Although dogs are the most popular, 14 million of those pets are smaller animals. When you're looking for a small pet that forms deep bonds with its owners, a bunny rabbit is a perfect fit. Rabbits are a great little addition to your family life, but they're also a big responsibility. Before taking the leap into purchasing a rabbit, you should be aware of what's involved in rabbit care. These are the 8 rabbit care items you should be prepared for when you're buying your rabbit.
8 Rabbit Care Tips
When choosing your rabbit, there are many pure and even mixed breeds to choose from. Most rabbits live between 8 and 12 years, so having a rabbit is more than a hobby. Know that you'll be providing the below care for at least that long.
Spend Time with Your Rabbit
Because they crave companionship, it's important that you spend quality time with your rabbit. Every day, take your rabbit out of their pen and play with them for at least 3 hours. If you can't be with your rabbit that often, you should consider getting another rabbit to keep them company.
Your rabbits' bedding should be checked on a daily basis. When the bedding has been soiled, it should be changed as soon as possible. This is especially important in warm weather when flies are prone to laying their eggs in soiled bedding more quickly.
Proper bedding consists of bagged straw that you can buy at most pet shops. But you may also choose to litter train your rabbit, which will make cleanup much easier.
In order to do so, identify the spot where your rabbit most often uses the bathroom. Place a litter tray with rabbit-safe litter in that spot. It should be big enough for them to be comfortable and short enough for them to crawl into.
Feeding Your Rabbit
Your rabbit needs plenty of fresh water, which you should be changing every day. For food, your rabbit needs a mix of hay and veggies and/or pellets.
About 75% of your rabbits' diet should consist of hay. Adult rabbits can be fed grass hay or oat hay. Baby rabbits should only be fed alfalfa hay.
You can also offer your rabbit a selection of nutritious veggies and fruits. The best fruit and vegetables for rabbits include spinach, broccoli, carrots, apples, watercress, celery, and dandelion leaves.
Another option for feeding your rabbit is rabbit food or pellets. Pellets are formulated with all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your rabbit needs. They should be used in conjunction with an ample supply of fresh hay.
Similar to cats, rabbits clean and wash. Although they keep themselves relatively well-groomed, you still need to brush your rabbit regularly.
Grooming becomes especially important during shedding cycles. At least twice per year, your rabbit requires extra brushing. If you don't remove the excess hair, your bunny rabbit can ingest it and suffer digestive problems.
Without time for play and exercise, your rabbit gets bored. They need mental stimulation in the form of rolling toys, cardboard tubes and castles, phone books, and other forms of rabbit entertainment. Make sure your rabbit has plenty to play with inside and outside of their pen.
Don’t Scare Your Rabbit
Rabbits are prey animals that are often hunted from above. For this reason, approaching them from above might scare them.
Every rabbit will be different in terms of how easily they scare and how you can make them feel more comfortable. It'll take some time to get to know your rabbit and the best way for you to approach them.
You should also keep in mind that most rabbits don't like to cuddle for long periods. Your rabbit might nip you to let you know when they've had enough cuddling and hugging.
A Good Veterinarian
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of rabbit care is having a great veterinarian who can make recommendations along the way. Your vet should have lots of experience with small animals, which require different care than bigger pets like dogs and cats.
Is Your Family Ready for a Pet?
Rabbits are much smaller creatures than cats and dogs but rabbit care involves just as much thought and work as caring for a larger pet. Your rabbit requires space, grooming, and a lot of attention. And in order to care for your rabbit in the best way, you'll need some time to get to know them and their particular behavioral needs.
When it comes to pets, kids, homes, and all things family, we have you covered. Check out our family life blog for more tips and advice that make your home a happier one.