A common misconception about pet rabbits is that they are an easy, “starter” pet. Actually, they are particular creatures with particular care needs, and social animals that crave the companionship of their caretakers. If you are thinking of welcoming a pet rabbit into your home, here are the basic things you’ll need to prepare.
Rabbits may be small in size, but they need a big place to hop around and stretch out. A puppy pen on a carpeted area or a large cage with a solid bottom can work well. If you plan to keep your rabbit in a cage, it is recommended to layer the bottom with recycled paper or newspaper shreddings, with another layer of hay on top. It is important that the rabbit have enough space to move around. Since rabbits are tidy animals, they will choose a certain corner of their space to do their business. This is where you will want to put the litter box. Outside of this area, the rabbit should have a place to sit, stretch, eat, and drink.
Food and Water
Rabbits need some combination of hay, vegetables, and pellets in their diet to keep healthy, depending on their age and appetite. The younger rabbits needs more hay, alfalfa, and pellets, while grown rabbits can eat more vegetables. Let fresh water always be available to your rabbit. If you use a water dispenser, make sure to check it regularly for chewed ends that can stop up the water. If you use water and food bowls, use heavier, ceramic ones so that the rabbit will not accidentally knock it over.
A Bunny-Proofed Environment
Besides needing space to move about within its contained home, rabbits also have a need to explore and play. This means you will need to bunny-proof the house. Houseplants, baseboards, books on bottom shelves, furniture feet, and electric cords are not safe from your rabbit’s teeth. Covering the electric cords with plastic sheathing, covering the baseboards with a plastic protector, covering furniture feet with durable socks can help prevent or reduce your risk of danger to your rabbit and your belongings. Creating barriers and removing items from the floor will also help.
With distractions and hazards out of the way, you can introduce your pet rabbit to some toys that he or she can enjoy. Rabbits need mental stimulation so that they do not become bored, depressed, or obese. Providing boxes, paper bags, and cat toys can give your bunny hours of fun.
Grooming and Preventative Care
Rabbits need little care in keeping clean, as they clean themselves. However, it is still best to take them to a knowledgeable vet annually, trim their nails, groom them, and get them spayed or neutered.
Trust the Care of Your Pet to the Professionals at Everhart Veterinary Medicine!
At Everhart Veterinary Medicine, our veterinary professionals strive to provide your pet with the very best of veterinary care. We believe that the best care for your pet should be provided by experienced, compassionate, and knowledgeable veterinary professionals. With two Maryland locations in both Baltimore and Pasadena, we are always ready to welcome your pet as a new patient! Give us a call today at 410-355-3131 or 410-793-7670! For more information, as well as updates on veterinary news and topics, visit us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest!