Tips on what to expect if you are thinking about getting a bunny rabbit as a pet: what you need to know in advance

Different bunny rabbit breeds

Dwarf Bunny rabbit.
Dwarf Bunny rabbit. | Source
A baby Netherland Rabbit
A baby Netherland Rabbit | Source
A Lionhead rabbit
A Lionhead rabbit | Source
White Angora Rabbit
White Angora Rabbit | Source
Baby Holland lop rabbits
Baby Holland lop rabbits | Source

Bunny Rabbits as Pets

Bunny rabbits are a great pet for grownups not just for children. They are cute, adorable, hilariously funny at time and will give you lot of love in their own unique way. While you might think that only children can have bunny rabbits as pet, in fact they are probably more suited to adults instead.

If you are thinking of getting a bunny rabbits, think first about the age of your children, bunny rabbits are easily frightened and small children might scare or hurt them. They would be better suited to a household with older children.

While owning a bunny rabbit is completely different to having a dog or a cat, they are still one of those pets that will bring a smile to your face each day. They will cheer you up after a bad day at school or at work and will return your love with their outgoing personality.

But be careful, because unlike dogs and cat, bunny rabbits need to be handled with care. There bones are fragile and can break a lot more easily compared to a dog or a cat.


Getting a pet rabbit for children

Teaching children the correct way to pick up and carry a bunny rabbit is the first thing any parent should do if they decide to bring one into their home.

If you look after your pet rabbit and keep it inside in the house or the shed, it could live up to 8 years. If you have them in a hutch outside, they will most likely last to 6 years of age. But if you really love your rabbit, then you will home them in a big hutch that has 2 levels, has a big open area in the front where the can run. When you are at home, you should have them in the house with you and let them hang out in the kitchen.

Choosing a Bunny Rabbit

There are a variety of rabbit breeds out there and choosing one can be difficult. If the rabbit is for a child then you most likely will choose a dwarf rabbit. However most adults like having a bunny rabbit as a pet too.

When you decide to first get a bunny rabbit firstly look at how much free time your household has, then decide if a bunny rabbit is the pet for you. Remember time and patience are vital for owning a bunny rabbit as they can be naughty when you first get them and you need to teach them the correct behaviour in a patient way.

Some well know breeds are:

  • Netherland Dwarf rabbit

  • Mini Rex rabbit

  • Holland Lop rabbit

  • Dutch rabbit

  • Lionhead rabbit

  • Angora rabbit


While this list the most common types of rabbits, there are many other breeds out there. There are also cross over breeds that might be specific to a particular country.

When you decide you want to have a pet rabbit you can usually find a breeder in your area, ask your vet for advice or try to purchase one from a really respectable pet store.

A sleepy mini rex bunny rabbit lying down and relaxing.
A sleepy mini rex bunny rabbit lying down and relaxing. | Source

Care for your Bunny Rabbit

Bunny rabbits need to get vaccinated each year.

There are two diseases that rabbits need to be vaccinated against, Myxomatois and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease. Both these diseases can

1) Spread to other rabbits very quickly

2) Can cause very painful death to your bunny

In Ireland the Myxomatois vaccine is widely used by vets, but unless your rabbit shows signs of Viral Haemorrhagic Disease they will not receive this vaccine as it is dangerous to the person who is administering it.

It also has harmful side effects that you pet might be susceptible to. Owner of more than one rabbit need to be alert for ear mites and ringworm. The more rabbits you own, the more chance of this spreading among them.

It's not very often your bunny rabbits will get sick. But any owner needs to be alert to any change in their rabbits behaviour. Bunny rabbits don't make any type of noise so you will not be aware that they are suffering. So

You also need to decide if you want to get your bunny rabbit neutered. It is wise to get both sexes fixed because if you don’t the most likely outcome is that your male rabbit will decide you are his mating partner. The result will be lots of urinate on your person and an abundance of dancing circle around your person. If you have a female that is not fixed, she might later develop uterine cancer.

Indoor rabbits will need to get their claws clipped once a month. If you are not confident, consult your vet and he/she will clip them. It is important that you don't let them get long because this could cause your bunny rabbit to have problems later on with their feet.

Bunny rabbit has made his bed on a chair in the house.
Bunny rabbit has made his bed on a chair in the house. | Source
When bunny rabbits are exhausted and feel safe in their surrounding, you will often see them sleep this way. They fall over on their side like they have collapsed.
When bunny rabbits are exhausted and feel safe in their surrounding, you will often see them sleep this way. They fall over on their side like they have collapsed. | Source
Bunny rabbit often lay their head down flat on the ground when they are tired or just want to rest themselves.
Bunny rabbit often lay their head down flat on the ground when they are tired or just want to rest themselves. | Source

Bunny rabbits behaviour

Bunny rabbits are very intelligent creatures. They can identify their owner and will come to you will called in no time once they become aware of you.

They love to have their cheeks and nose rubbed and love any attention you give them. If they really begin to trust you, you might even be allowed to pet their tummy.

But you need to understand that every animal is different and what one bunny rabbit might enjoy another might not. Trust needs to be built between you and your pet. But once this trust is formed you will both have a fantastic relationship and you will see your rabbit true personality come out.

They have their own way of telling you how they feel. The way a rabbit positions his body will tell you their mood. If he/she has their head and body flat on the ground it means they are happy and enjoying themselves, if they are jumping up in the air and kicking their legs out to the side, this is called Binkies, and you have an extremely happy rabbit.

When your rabbit thumps his back legs this is a warming they are scared or nervous. Sometimes loud noises can upset your rabbit and he might get frightened.

Large rabbit hutch for your bunny rabbit if they are kept outside.
Large rabbit hutch for your bunny rabbit if they are kept outside. | Source
One story hutch for your rabbits if they live outside.
One story hutch for your rabbits if they live outside. | Source
If you have decided to home your bunny rabbit inside, you can get indoor pens to house them.
If you have decided to home your bunny rabbit inside, you can get indoor pens to house them. | Source

Environment: Should you keep Rabbit inside or outdoors

If you decide to keep you rabbit outside you need to make sure you make their environment is safe. These are some of the threats they could face

- Predators

- Overexposure to sun, heat, wind and rain

- Theft

· Diseases

· Shock (with will result in death)

It is your responsibility to have a safe hutch enclosure for your rabbit. You must make sure there is plenty of space for them to run around and get exercise. Keeping your rabbit inside is much safer and gives you more time to bond with your pet.

Bunnies are very sociable creatures and they enjoy nothing more than hanging out with you in your sitting room or the kitchen.

But beware you must bunny proof your house if you have them inside. Cover wires, beware that bunnies like to chew any type of wood. To avoid your table legs being chewed, please give your bunny a wood toy to chew on and never leave a bunny rabbit in a room unattended. .

Also just like cats, your rabbit can be litter trained to go to their litter tray. This take time, and some persistence on your part. But it can be done.

Fill a litter tray with hay or newspaper and keep putting your rabbit in there when they need to go to the bathroom. Eventually he/she will learn this is where they go to do their business.

When feeding your bunny rabbit, give them plenty of hay and water. Give them enough pellets each day to help keep their digestive system in good working order.
When feeding your bunny rabbit, give them plenty of hay and water. Give them enough pellets each day to help keep their digestive system in good working order. | Source

Feeding Your Rabbit

You need to make sure you feed your rabbit the right food. If you give them human food you could kill them. So don't be tempted to give them a biscuit.

Rabbits need roughage everyday. So you need to have a supply of

  • pellets

  • hay

  • fresh vegetables/fruit

  • water

You need to make sure when buying pellets that contain a high fibre content. A lot of the brands out there today are made up of dried vegetables and fruit, but beware that these are loaded with sugar and are not good for the rabbits teeth or their digestive system.

Hay: When giving them hay make sure it is a good alfalfa brand and make sure it is always stocked up in the pen. Fresh hay prevents hairballs and digestive system blockage.

Vegetables: When giving fresh veggies and fruit to rabbits these are a few that they love cabbage, carrots, apple, basil, Brussels sprouts, celery, cilantro, kale, mint, parsley, wheat grass, wheat grass but to name a few. But make sure not to overfeed your rabbit either, give him the correct weight of pellets according to his/her weight.

Rabbits like to chew and nibble on wood. So make sure you buy the wood sticks available in all good pet stores. As a rabbits teeth are constantly growing you need to give them wood sticks to chew on. This also keeps them away from your wooden furniture.

Conclusion

Rabbits are just like any other animal, they are intelligent, loving and sweet.

If you give them all your love, they will return it back to you.

If you keep your rabbit indoors, this lets you spend more quality time with them. Plus you will see their true personality emerge.



© 2011 Sp Greaney

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Comments 16 comments

sangre profile image

sangre 2 years ago from Ireland Author

Hi grand old lady, thank you so much for your comment. As you know having a bunny rabbit as a pet is fantastic. Our guys is such a cutie.

Having our guy litter trained is a lot easier than having to clean up after him. It's amazing how he quickly learned by routine what he had to do. We started from day one with the training.

Getting them vaccinated especially if you live in the countryside is important, who knows what could wander into your garden spreading germs.


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 2 years ago from Philippines

I used to have a rabbit, it very cute and lived long. However, it's only now through your hub that I realize that the rabbit should have had injections and could have been toilet trained. My rabbit also was fed fresh cabbage and carrots. This hub is very helpful. I will pass it on to a friend of mine who has a rabbit.


sangre profile image

sangre 3 years ago from Ireland Author

@ bethh, thank you so much for your kind words. Good luck with the new bunny. :)

I'm sure you will have such fun when he/she arrives. I know my guy keeps me entertained on a daily basis.


bethh 3 years ago

I'm getting a rabbit either in the summer or next week. Your hubs have really helped me a lot! I know what too expect and it's been really useful! This is my first bunny and I want too make sure its healthy and happy :D thank you very much!


sangre profile image

sangre 4 years ago from Ireland Author

@purnimamoh1982, I'll check that out. I think they don't get enough credit for being smart and adorable. :-)


purnimamoh1982 profile image

purnimamoh1982 4 years ago

Very true. Rabbits as pets are so satisfying and watching their activities is quite refreshing. Some of my experience of having rabbits at home. http://hubpages.com/animals/On-Pets-An-Account-of-...


sangre profile image

sangre 4 years ago from Ireland Author

@ Lilly, I agree with your words. Cutest pets out there.


Lilly 4 years ago

Bunnies are soo cute


sangre profile image

sangre 4 years ago from Ireland Author

@ sgbrown, thanks for your comment. My little fellow spends most of his evening indoors. Having the shoebox as litter tray was a smart idea. They do get use it, most of the time. I love most animals, but I think rabbits now have my devotion. They can be funny little fellows.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

Wonderful hub! My daughter had a pet rabbit when she was in 3rd grade. Her name was Duchess, she lived for about 7 years. We had a hutch simular to the outdoor hutch you showed here, but she spent a lot of time indoors. She was actually hous broken. She would at least pee, in a large shoebox we placed by the back door. Now the other was a different story. Little pellets everywhere! The only really bad thing was that she would chew up any electrical cord she could find. Rabbits can make great pets if you know what to expect. Very nice hub here! Voted up and interesting! Have a great day! :)


sangre profile image

sangre 5 years ago from Ireland Author

@ R Talloni, glad you found it helpful.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Bunnies are amazing pets. So glad you posted good guidelines for owning them.


sangre 5 years ago

Me too, they are friend for life..


trackio1 profile image

trackio1 5 years ago

love rabbits XD


Sangre 5 years ago

I don't see why not, a lot of people I know keep guinea pigs and rabbits together. It really depends on the nature of your rabbit.

If you see signs of aggression from either one of them I would separate them straight away.

Start introducing them to each other gradually. Maybe have one inside the hutch and one outside. Let them get to know each other. Make sure each one has his own space in the hutch to chill out, so they can get away from the other one if need be.

If they dont' get on maybe just put a divide between the hutch to keep them separate.

Hope that helps.

ps: thanks for comment..


Joe Cook profile image

Joe Cook 5 years ago from UK

Hey there,

Nice work - I tell you, the french angora is one funny looking little rabbit!

Just a quick question, is it okay to keep degus and rabbits together in the same hutch?

Anyway, thanks very much.

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