March 7, 2022 by Hanford Veterinary Hospital
In order to be the best pet owner possible, it’s important to understand the basics of caring for rabbits as pets. These hoppy little companions require special care, attention, and energy. Here are some quick rabbit facts to help get you on the right track.
Depending on the breed, environment, and care–rabbits can live from 5 to 8 years. Some rabbits have lived as long as 12 years. While no pet should be purchased on impulse–you really have to think about your lifestyle and future plans before becoming a rabbit parent. These are considered exotic pets and will need this special care over their lifetime.
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Make sure you have room for a cage big enough for your pet rabbit to move around. There should be enough room for food, water, and toys. If you really like rabbits–think about starting with room to grow. Make sure there is enough room around the cage for you to maneuver and take your pet rabbit out for a hop and snuggle.
Do you plan on litter training your rabbit like a cat? (Yes, you can actually do that!) Training a rabbit is as much about learning to understand your bunny’s likes and dislikes as it is about showing him some tricks. Use caution with where you choose to train your rabbit. A room full of wires in the house creates a mutually dangerous dynamic with your curious pet bunny, for example. Chewing on electric guitar cables is an all-around avoidable tragedy.
There are cages designed to be outdoors with weatherproofing. Make sure that the weather is temperate and healthy for your pet bunny. They cannot tolerate extreme heat or cold, and are most happy at 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit and can tolerate lower temperatures with proper insulation and protection from the elements. .
If you want to bring your pet rabbit into the veterinarian or to a playdate, get a carrier that opens from the top and sides. It will be less challenging to get all four of those fuzzy feet inside. Also be sure that the carrier doesn’t have too much room. The physics of riding in a car makes them vulnerable to rolling around and getting hurt. Never leave your pet in the car unattended.
Rabbits can eat pellets, but really do require fresh food for prime health and longevity. They should typically consume fresh hay twice per day. They also eat carrots (buy the ones with the tops still on), various greens, broccoli, and parsley. Avoid legumes, cauliflower, potatoes, and cabbage. Talk to your vet about how to provide a healthy and balanced diet for your pet rabbit.
Rabbits should have fresh fruit as a treat, versus the processed and overly sweet treats in the stores. A safe estimated amount is 2 tablespoons for a 6lb rabbit that is 1-5 years of age.
At Hanford Veterinary Hospital, we are always here for you and your pet bunny. Whenever you need us, please call us at (559) 584-4481. We want the best for you and your furry family member.