Becoming a pet owner is an exciting venture. However, understanding how to properly care for your new companion is a big undertaking.
Rabbits are popular household pets as they are cuddly, curious, and can be trained. But how to take care of a rabbit involves providing for your pet in a variety of facets: diet, environment, and training.
I’m sure you want your rabbit to be healthy and happy in its new home. We’re going to check out what it means to take care of your pet rabbit.
How to take care of a rabbit
You want to make sure that your pet rabbit has everything it needs to thrive in your home. Taking care of your new pet means making sure they have a balanced diet, a big enough space to live with all its necessities, and that they are happy — not stressed or afraid.
Checking all of these boxes is extremely important when considering taking on a new pet. Let’s dive into these topics in more detail to see exactly how you need to care for your rabbit.
Rabbits have especially fickle digestive systems. They must have the correct foods daily to maintain healthy digestion.
Your bunny should always have fresh grass hay available to them. You’ll notice that they’ll want to munch on something constantly. This is to keep their teeth from overgrowing.
Hay is important to your rabbit’s diet because it provides them with important proteins, minerals, and vitamins. It also helps them to maintain healthy digestion.
Rabbits should have a diet of mainly hay and greens. Rabbits should always have hay available to munch on. Apart from that, you can provide them with dark green, leafy vegetables. Vary the types of greens that you give your rabbit daily. When giving your rabbit veggies, make sure to wash them thoroughly before serving.
Here’s a list of healthy vegetable options for your bunny:
- Dandelion greens
- Bok choy
- Lettuce (no iceberg, look for dark leafed lettuce such as romaine)
- Carrot tops
Green foods help to provide your rabbit with nutrients that hay doesn’t provide. It also hydrates them. You’ll notice that if your rabbit is eating many green veggies, it may drink less water.
That’s OK! They’re getting hydrated from those healthy greens.
You may occasionally give your rabbits treats. Treats could be store-bought or you can just give them some fruit. However, you’ll need to find out what fruits rabbits can eat. When looking at manufactured treats, you’ll need to think about the ingredients used and their sugar content. Always try to choose the most natural, healthiest treats.
Rabbits have small, sensitive stomachs. Portion size is important. When it comes to treats, rabbits should have no more than 1-2 tablespoons.
You may introduce new foods to your rabbit’s diet. But make sure to do so slowly. Whenever you introduce a new food, monitor your rabbit for any changes.
Where your rabbit will live is up to you. Rabbits are social creatures and should be around you and your family.
You may want your rabbit to be able to roam free within your household. That’s great! Just be sure to bunny-proof the room or rooms where you allow your rabbit to wander about. You’ll likely want to consider litter training as well.
Rabbit hutches are also an option for your bunny if you are unable to let them have free reign in your household. You can buy a traditional hutch or make your own. You could also get a puppy pen so that your bunny has plenty of room but is still safe and sound in its penned-off area.
If thinking about hutches or pens, size is important. They need to be large enough for your rabbit to be able to hop around.
You will also need to let your rabbit out of the enclosure for a few hours a day. Make sure to keep an eye on them when you do, as rabbits are naturally curious creatures.
Training and behavior
Rabbits can be litter trained. This is probably the most important training that you’ll want to provide to your rabbit. Litter training comes fairly naturally to rabbits as they tend to go to the bathroom in the same area. It usually only takes rabbits a few weeks to be litter trained.
You’ll want to place a litter box in an area where your rabbit spends most of its time (whether it’s roaming free throughout your house or in a hutch). You can set one up pretty easily. You just need to make sure you’ve got a box that is shallow enough for your rabbit to access easily.
For litter training, you’ll need to place pellets in the box for absorption. You’ll also want to have hay either in the litter box or nearby.
Yes, rabbits like to munch on something and do their business at the same time. The hay will encourage your bunny to be in the litter box.
You’ll also want to play with your rabbit. Rabbits need stimulation. Provide them with toys. You can have some fun making up some rabbit games. Create a little food scavenger hunt for them in your bunny-proofed rooms of the house. Get creative and have fun playing with your new pet bunny. They’ll appreciate it and be happier and healthier for it.
Understanding your rabbit’s behavior
Speaking rabbit is an important part of the relationship between owner and bunny. You need to understand your pet’s unique behaviors to understand how they are feeling. This will create a greater bond between the two of you. And it will help to know when your rabbit is telling you that it’s either upset or content.
After all, you don’t want to panic when you see your rabbit jumping into the air and contorting its body in a funny way (also known as binkying). This is their way of showing excitement.
Do some research on common rabbit behaviors to understand the meaning behind their unique movements.
Here’s a list of common rabbit behaviors:
- Teeth grinding
Are rabbits easy to take care of?
Answering this question may depend on your understanding of “easy” when it comes to pet maintenance. However, rabbits are not low-maintenance pets to take care of. They need a lot of attention.
Rabbits need to have their living spaces or litter boxes cleaned daily. They also need a variety of greens in their diet each day, as well as fresh water.
However, with proper care and attention, rabbits make great companions. They’re fun and cuddly (once you’ve earned their trust). Show them some love by providing for their basic daily needs and the fun should follow.
What do rabbits need to be happy?
The best way to make sure that your rabbit is happy is by taking care of all of its basic needs. Having the right hutch or living space, a healthy diet, and providing them with attention and love will likely make your rabbit happy.
When you first bring your bunny home, they’ll likely be nervous or a little skittish. Earn your rabbit’s trust by being gentle and patient.
But, here are some tips to follow to make your bunny happy:
- Provide a comfortable living space.
- Nourish them with a healthy diet.
- Give them the occasional treat.
- Play with them.
- Let them get lots of exercise.
- Massage your bunny (they’ll love it).
- Allow them to be curious and explore (but in bunny-proofed areas or under supervision).
- Love them by understanding their needs.
Providing your bunny with all of its needs is the first step in building a healthy and happy relationship with your new household companion. Don’t force the bonding process between the two of you. Allow your bunny time to get used to its new home and owner.
For example, rabbits won’t like being held at first. Don’t keep picking them up! It will make them uncomfortable and wary of you. Allow your rabbit to come to you. They’ll use their unique behaviors to show their affection. Learn what they mean and the bond will grow between you.
Cover your rabbit’s needs
Understanding your rabbit’s daily needs is vital in best-taking care of them. You may want to skip ahead to all the fun and games, but providing a nurturing and stable home for them is the first step.
Make sure that your rabbit has a varied, well-balanced diet that is rich in hay and greens. Provide your bunny with a safe, large environment in which they can move around. Keep your rabbit’s litter box or hutch clean. And allow your bunny to play and have fun.
While taking care of a rabbit is not a simple task, it can certainly be a rewarding one when done well. After you care for your rabbit correctly, they’ll shower you with love and affection. And I’m guessing that’s what you want from your new pet.
Be patient. Cover their basic needs. Show them some love. And the owner and pet relationship will grow from there.