Although you might think that your pet rabbit might enjoy the sights and sounds of the great outdoors, the opposites is true. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends keeping pet rabbits indoors at all times. They state that there are too many dangers outside that can potentially be fatal to your pet companion. If you’re trying to determine where to house your furry friend, the following dangers might make you think twice about placing him outside.
The biggest dangers you’re exposing your rabbit to by keeping him in a hutch outside are predators, such as cats, dogs, owls, raccoons, coyotes, hawks and possums. Your rabbit might smell, see or hear the oncoming predator and might panic and hurt himself while trying to flee. The shock alone can also kill your rabbit. Just because your rabbit is in a closed hutch doesn’t mean he’s safe. Predators, such as raccoons might even figure out how to open the hutch to get to your rabbit.
The weather is another thing to worry about when keeping your rabbit outside. Extreme heat can cause your rabbit to suffer heat stroke or heat exhaustion, and extreme cold temperatures and wind can trigger frost bite and even death. Ideally, keep your rabbit inside during extreme weather, and always make sure that if you do keep him outside, he has some form of shelter. An upside down box with an opening in it can be placed in his hutch and offer some shelter. Also, make sure to place your furry friend’s hutch out of direct wind.
Another outdoor hazard your rabbit might have to deal with are poisonous plants. If you allow your pet companion to roam the yard, always do so in an enclosed environment, especially if you can’t supervise him. Your rabbit can’t determine which plants are toxic and might nibble on them. The House Rabbit Society has a list of plants that you might want to avoid.
Because you tend to interact with an outdoor rabbit less frequently compared to an indoor rabbit, you might not be as quick to detect when he feels under the weather. Illnesses might end up going unnoticed and eventually take a toll on your rabbit. To avoid this and also to promote bonding with your furry pal, keep your rabbit inside.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
House Rabbit Society