How to Take Care of a Rabbit
11 December, 2012
My friend, Samantha, just adopted a little adorable white rabbit, Ralphy. She was getting ready to adopt a cat and saw this little white rabbit and fell in love with him. Samantha had a rabbit growing up, but wanted me to write an article to help provide her and other rabbit lovers with overall tips for taking care of him.
Rabbit Proof your home
Most rabbit owners like to let their rabbits out of their cage and therefore you need to rabbit-proof your home or at least the area that in which you allow your bunny to roam. Remove electrical wires and cables or cover them with heavy-duty plastic tubing. Try to move any plants that your bunny may nibble on, because plants, such as poinsettias and aloe plants are poisonous to it.
Purchase a Rabbit Cage
Purchase a rabbit cage that is approximately four times the size of your rabbit when he’s lying stretched out; the larger the cage, the better. Provide a sleeping house inside the hutch for added privacy for your rabbit. A pet rabbit needs plenty of room to hop around inside a cage.
Place a litter box in a corner of the cage. Fill it with unscented, non-clumping cat litter. Clumping clay litter and pine or cedar-scented litter can be toxic to bunnies. Clean the litter daily.
Rabbits like a healthy diet
Place a bowl with commercial rabbit pellets in the rabbit’s cage. Stick to the feeding recommendations given on the rabbit food packaging. Try to provide two cups of vegetables for every six pounds of your rabbit’s weight. Always have straw for your rabbit to nibble on because it helps your rabbit’s digestive health and like dogs and cats, always have water available.
Your rabbit needs exercise!
Allow your rabbit to exercise at least one hour per day. Let your rabbit out of his or her cage and let him hop around and explore the environment. Exercise entertains your bunny and keeps him from getting bored or experiencing digestive problems.
Bunnies are social animals
Socialize a bunny with other pets or people in your home. Bunnies are very social animals and isolation can stress them out. You can introduce other pets to your bunny by rubbing the rabbit then letting your other pet smell your hands. Move the pets closer together while watching them closely. Like other pet introductions, it can take a little time for them to be comfortable together.
Groom your rabbit
Brush your rabbit’s coat with a brush at least twice a week and more often during times of heavy shedding. Similar to cats, rabbits groom themselves and can possibly ingest their hair, which can result in hairballs. Brushing your rabbit keeps its coat healthy and reduces hairballs.
Try to clip your rabbit’s nails every few months. Similar to a cat, avoid cutting through the pink vein in the nail, because this is painful to your rabbit and means you are cutting too deep. Apply some styptic powder if you’ve accidentally cut too deep and bleeding occurs.
Annual vet visits
Bring your rabbit to the veterinarian once a year for a checkup. Additionally, take him or her to the veterinarian whenever he or she displays signs of illness, such as a runny nose, watery eyes, long-lasting watery diarrhea or loss of appetite.
Just like any pet, if you provide your rabbit with good housing, a healthy diet and lots of love, he or she can be a wonderful companion for you and your family.