Easter is right around the corner which means chocolate, egg hunts and of course, bunnies. Many parents will take this time of year as an opportunity to introduce a new pet into their family. If you're looking to do this, it's important that you know some of the specifics of how to raise a rabbit.
Rabbits are different than cats and dogs and are often left abandoned by uninformed owners shortly after Easter. To avoid contributing to the annual cycle of rabbit mistreatment, follow our expertly-researched advice on how to raise a rabbit.
Some well-meaning parents buy rabbits thinking that they're a short-term pet. That couldn't be further from the truth. Rabbits typically live between eight and 12 years, meaning they'll need your care for a long time.
On top of that, rabbits take time to train properly. They can be wonderful, loving pets with the proper training, but you have to be willing to put in that time. Rabbits have a tendency to become aggressive and problematic around 3 to 6-months old. These behaviors can be handled with proper training, plenty of exercise and by spaying or neutering the animal.
You should also plan to spend a considerable amount of time litter-training your rabbits. It seems unusual, but it's common and very feasible.
Rabbits are notorious chewers. Just like you would baby-proof or puppy-proof your home before introducing a new member of the family, it's important that you take the same precautions with rabbits.
You probably won't be able to bunny-proof your entire home or apartment because that would basically require moving all electrical appliances, furniture and putting down a rubber floor. What you can do, however, is bunny-proof a full room or invest in a rabbit cage, bunny condo or other similar "home" for your new furry friend.
A bunny-proofed room is ideal if you have one to spare. This allows your peace of mind when you can't keep an eye on your rabbit and allows him or her to live a healthy, happy life (and take a full-speed run every once in a while). Rabbits will chew on almost anything within reach (baseboards, furniture, house plants and even walls) so be sure to cover all your bases.
Whatever space you choose to bunny-proof should be equipped with a litter box, hay, fresh water and fresh food. If you cage your rabbit, you should let them out for a few hours each day for exercise. Cages should always be big enough for the rabbit to hop about freely.
Having a rabbit at home can be hugely rewarding. These lovable, calm creatures are highly-intelligent and minimally invasive if you give them the right environment.
Keeping your bunny's space stocked with toys, games and places to hide away can curb many of the destructive behaviors associated with these pets.
Part of raising a bunny at home is maintaining the animal. This means regular enrichment and grooming and vet visits are mandatory.
Regular checkups are important, but it's extra important that you watch your pet for signs of illness outside of regular checkups. Rabbits have a tendency to hide their injuries or illnesses as they're technically prey animals. It's also important that you have a relationship with a vet knowledgeable on the specifics of caring for rabbits.
Grooming rabbits is actually pretty simple. For the most part, they clean themselves so you're only responsible for brushing their fur on occasion. Outside of that, you'll probably want to learn how to clip a rabbits nails at home. Not only can long nails scratch you, they can also injure your pet rabbit.