Thinking of getting a small pet for you and your family? Want something that isn’t too small that it could get lost in the house but yet not as big as a dog or cat? Rabbits can be a great family pet but there are some basic care tips you need to know before bringing home a new furry friend.
Rabbit Supply Checklist:
1: Solid-bottom cage or large dog crate to call “home”
2: Carrier for trips to the vet and for when you need to clean the cage
3: Litter box that has pelts or hay
4: Grass hay and a rack for it
5: High quality balanced food pellets
6: Food bowls
7: Chew toys, digging toys, project-oriented toys
8: Grooming tools
Once you’ve gathered these supplies or found ways to make them, such as using a box or empty toilet paper roll for a toy, it’s time to think about care and handling of your rabbit. The food you choose to feed is extremely important. Rabbits need a diet that will keep their intestinal tract healthy. Hay needs to always be available but it’s not the only thing they eat. Rabbit pellets that are high in protein, fresh greens, and clean, fresh water is important as well.
The cage should be a solid bottom because wired bottoms can hurt the feet and needs to be big enough for the rabbit to bounce around. You can also invest in an exercise pen. Rabbits should be indoors and if you do choose to bring them into the yard, there are leashes and outdoor playpens that you can buy. However, never leave a rabbit outside alone. There are too many dangers such as other animals, parasites, and the fact that your rabbit might get out of the yard and get lost or hurt. They are timid animals by nature, so keeping your rabbit feeling safe and secure is important in terms of being able to handle, care, and show affection towards him.
Rabbits need exercise, so don’t forget to keep toys around. Bored rabbits often find unsafe things to chew on and can hurt their teeth and feet. Safe toys are chew toys, cardboard boxes, the telephone book, and chew sticks. Digging toys such as a box full of shredded paper or hay is also a great toy and satisfies an innate need to dig, hide, and play.
In terms of basic care be aware that there are many rabbit breeds out there and their sizes can range from being a petite 3 lbs rabbit to a bigger one that can tip the scales at 20lbs, and they can live up to 13 years.
Rabbits are also delicate and need to be handled with care, children may love them but must understand that they are not as resilient as say a happy go-lucky lab and can be hurt if grabbed too hard. Rabbits need their cages cleaned out on a regular basis to remove waste, replace water, and remove old food. Rabbits also need to have regular vet visits and may need some extra care if you notice that the appetite changes or watery diarrhea. Other signs of illness can be runny eyes, dark red urine, and fur loss. Taking care of a rabbit isn’t hard but does require some time each day. Once you fall into the routine of changing litter, feeding, and playing with your rabbit, it’ll feel like second nature and as natural as brushing your teeth everyday!