Rabbits are cute and cuddly, and often perceived as a perfect first pet for a child. Having owned several rabbits myself, I think it’s essential to know that they come with a big responsibility. The cute little critters can reach anywhere from 8 to 12 years of age, which means that by getting a pet rabbit, you’re making a long-term commitment. To keep your bunny healthy and happy, provide him with everything he needs. Here are some tips that might come in handy.
Provide the Right Cage
Your rabbit will spend most of his time in a cage, so making sure the cage is big enough is essential. Your furry pal has to be able to jump around and lay fully stretched out in the cage. I’ve had both small- to medium-sized bunnies that were happy in cages that were 2 feet deep and tall, and 4 feet wide. I also used cages with solid bottoms, because wire bottoms can hurt a rabbit’s feet.
Feed a Healthy Diet
Hay is an important part of your bunny’s diet. It keeps his intestinal tract healthy and should be available to him at all times. You can use it as a base in the cage and have it double as comfy, edible bedding. You must also provide your rabbit with pellets. Purchase commercial rabbit pellet that contain at least 18% fiber and 15% protein and use a sturdy ceramic bowl to serve them in. As for the amount to feed, go by your rabbit’s age and weight and follow feeding instructions given on the food packaging. Fresh veggies are the third component to a healthy rabbit diet. Lettuce, carrot tops and collard greens can be given at a rate of 2 cups for every 6 pounds of weight. In addition to food, rabbits should have unlimited access to fresh water from a hanging water bottle or sturdy bowl.
Keep Him Fit
If your bunny gets bored or has pent-up energy, he’ll most likely start acting up and might display destructive behavior just to burn energy and to entertain himself. To avoid this, allow your bunny to run around a bunny-proof room every day for at least an hour. Provide him with chew toys and chew sticks, or make a digging box by placing shredded paper in a cardboard box. Always observe your pet companion when he’s exploring his surroundings.
Cleaning and Grooming
Cleaning your rabbit’s cage is essential to keep him healthy and happy and to prevent unpleasant smells throughout the house. Wash the cage at least once a week with soapy water and replace the bedding. Also brush your rabbit regularly and increase your brushing frequency when he’s shedding. This helps prevent hairballs from forming due to his grooming, and it keeps him looking handsome. Also, trim his nails periodically to keep them from getting too long.
Visit the Vet
Even if your rabbit seems perfectly healthy, a vet visit at least once a year can really set your mind at ease. Also, observe his droppings and eating habits, because a sudden lack of appetite and long-lasting watery stool can indicate a health condition.
House Rabbit Society