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
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
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.
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 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.
Understanding you bunny rabbits behaviour
- Rabbit Behaviour - www.fuzzy-rabbit.com
A helpful explanation of rabbit behaviour to help you try to understand your bunny, including biting, growling, thumping and binkies
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
- Overexposure to sun, heat, wind and rain
· 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.
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
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.
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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