Bunnies as a Pet – What you Need to Know

Bunnies make great indoor pets because they are so cute. They are fluffy, soft, and everyone loves watching their wiggling nose. They are oozing with character making them extremely adorable.

Everyone wants to own a cute bunny.  They have iconic ears, twitchy noses, and hoppy legs. However, just like any pet, owning a bunny requires knowledge and preparation. You need to know what you are getting yourself into.

Pet lovers often know more or less what to expect when they decide to have a dog. Owning and caring for a bunny is something new to many. This is probably the reason many bunnies end up in shelters and given up for adoption.

There are some things you need to do before you get down to the shelter and pick a bunny to make sure owning one is a perfect fit for you and your family.

To be an ideal bunny owner, you should be able to dedicate time to an active pet. Bunnies like to be cuddled. They want to play and require interaction from you. More importantly, bunnies need some maintenance.

Bunnies are not pets that you can take care of only for a few years. They have a lifespan of between eight to twelve years or sometimes even more.

Here a few things you need to know about bunnies as a pet.

  1. Owning a bunny is a big commitment.

Bunnies can grow up to be 20 pounds. This means, on the onset, you need to prepare some space for your new pet. They also need to be fed particular food such as fresh vegetables, special hay, and grass. You will even sometimes need to take them to the vet.

  1. Bunnies are fragile.

Bunnies are considered “prey animals” thus, they tend to be scared and jumpy when you pick them up. They have fragile bones so they can break their backs or get hurt when trying to get lose when you carry them.

  1. Bunnies always look for their moms.

Pet stores often buy bunnies when they are only four weeks old. At this age, they are adorable and require just a little space. It can, however, be difficult for bunnies to be separated from their moms at such a young age.

Pet stores can be a miserable place to be for young bunnies. Pet stores treat bunnies as products for their business. It is, therefore, wiser to adopt bunnies from shelters rather than buy one from pet stores.

  1. You may quickly get bored.

It is exciting to own a bunny. However, when the initial excitement wears off, many bunnies are ignored, neglected, or abandoned. Many bunny owners tend to put their pet bunny in a cage, give them up for adoption, or even leave them in the woods. Bunnies do not survive long in the woods.

  1. Bunnies can quickly get sick.

Bunnies are sensitive. They can get sick or even die when subjected even to the slightest of change. When bunnies have a running nose, sneeze, grind their teeth, tilt their head to the side, have diarrhea or constipation,  or do not move around much, chances are, they are sick.

If you notice scabs or spots on your pet bunny, this means they have mites or fleas on his skin. It would help if you immediately took them to the vet because they may be sick.

  1. Always keep your bunny indoors.

Not too many people know that bunnies should never be kept outdoors. Many bunny owners tend to keep them in cages outside of their homes, even during bad weather. It can be cruel to keep a bunny in a cage and outdoors because they can be stolen or attacked by other animals.

Bunnies should be kept indoors and allowed to run around the house, or they must have a suitable cage outside. After all, your bunny is part of your family.

Bunnies are chewers by nature. So you will need to cover all wires in your home or anything within his reach that they can gnaw.

  1. Bunnies need decent housing.

Bunnies are prey animals thus, it is not a wise idea to keep them unprotected outdoors. You can keep them in a cage or crate that is about eight feet long. Their feet are tender, so never place your bunny in a cage with a wired bottom. It is best to house your bunny in a plastic crate or cage designed around their needs.

If you do not allow your bunny to run around your house, prepare an exercise pen for them to have plenty of exercise.

Have a litter box with some grass hay such as an orchard or timothy grass. You can also put some of their droppings, tiny sawdust litter in the box so that they know this where they should do their business.

Bunny urine can have a strong and foul odor, so make sure you frequently change their litter box and spray or neutralize it. His urine is also high in calcium, so when it dries, expect a chalky residue on the floor that can be difficult to remove. Vinegar is usually the best thing to remove these residues.

Your bunny’s space should also have lots of toys such as wire cat balls, untreated wood, cardboard boxes, rolls of paper towels, chew toys made of plastic, and other similar stuff.

Make sure, too, to have ceramic water and food dishes.

  1. Bunnies and your kids

Bunnies have a long lifespan; thus, it is a long-term commitment to take on a pet bunny. Your bunny will require a lot of maintenance; thus, owning a bunny should be a family decision. Every member of the family should have their own responsibilities with the care of your bunny.

Your bunny will need a loving, safe home.

  1. Bunny Behavior

Bunnies are extremely social pets. They are entertaining and playful to watch. They are tame pets, too. It is easy for a bunny to develop a special bond with you and your family. Many families have their bunnies on their sides while watching TV.

Bunnies like to interact a lot with their owners. They are also relatively easy to litter-train. They also respond well to clicker training so they can easily be trained for special tricks and behavior.

  1. Food and Water

It is best to feed your bunny with hay such as orchard grass or oat hay. Never feed your bunny alfalfa hay. Feed them with leafy vegetables such as lettuces (avoid iceberg), watercress, herbs, cucumbers, sprouts, and carrot tops. You can also feed them fruits and a little of some other vegetables.

You can also feed your bunny some of those commercial rabbit pellets. Make sure not to feed them too much, though, because this can interfere with their digestion. Avoid pellets with nut or dried corn ingredients.

Give your bunny plenty of water. A blocked digestive system due to lack of water can be a significant threat to your bunny. It is best to give them clean, fresh, and chlorine-free water.

Final Thoughts

As mentioned, your bunny can have a long lifespan. Your pet bunny will require a lot of care and attention. Before buying or adopting a bunny, make sure you and your family are ready for a lifelong commitment to caring for your pet.

It is also advisable to pick up a bunny from an animal shelter rather than a breeder or pet store.

Before adding a pet bunny to your family, do your research and ask from families who have pet bunnies. While seeing a bunny in an animal shelter or pet store can get you and your family too excited to bring home a pet bunny, make sure you are ready and willing to provide them with a good home.

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