Is a Rabbit the Right Pet For You?
Rabbits can make great pets, but they require a gentle touch and plenty of care. Here’s what to consider before adopting a rabbit.
Are you in it for the long haul?
Healthy rabbits can live for more than 10 years, so a rabbit may be with your family for as long as a dog would.
Do you have young children?
Rabbits require safe, gentle handling and a quiet environment. As prey animals, they can be easily startled and stressed by the loud noises and fast, uncoordinated movements that are typical of excited children. You may need to wait until your kids are older before bringing a rabbit home.
Where will you keep your rabbit?
You'll need space for a fairly large pen, plus an area in your home that has been thoroughly rabbit-proofed. Domestic rabbits need to be lodged indoors, and relegating a bunny to the basement or garage won’t give them the stimulation they need. They need to be a part of the family just as much as a cat or dog does.
Take Time To Learn More About Rabbits
Can you meet a bunny’s needs?
You’ll need to:
Be sure your rabbit has unlimited access to hay.
Tidy your rabbit's enclosure every day—and clean it thoroughly once a week.
Provide fresh vegetables daily, which are part of a healthy rabbit diet.
Give your rabbit at least an hour outside their pen each day for play and exercise.
Interact with your bunny regularly so they stay socialized and happy. (Note that rabbits generally sleep during the day and night and are most active at dusk and dawn.)
Consider the financial costs of caring for a rabbit.
In addition to an adoption fee and ongoing veterinary costs, you’ll want the following items in your rabbit starter kit:
Large pen or habitat (or supplies to build your own)
Litterbox(es) and hardwood pellets for litter waste absorption (found at hardware stores)
Boxes and chew toys
Timothy hay (or other grass hay)
Timothy hay pellets
A rabbit will need a space, usually enclosed in a 4' x 4' x-pen, that can hold their litterbox, hay, water/food dishes, a toy, and a hidey-place for them. Traditional cages promoted at pet stores are RARELY suitable.
85% Hay (usually Timothy), 10% Appropriate Greens, and 5% Appropriate Food Pellets. Occasional healthy treats: baby carrot, piece of apple, or small chunk of banana.
A happy bunny needs time and space to explore, socialize, zoomie, and binky!
Rabbits love to chew and/or dig (helps to keep their teeth/nails growth down). Keep cords away and supervise while in carpeted areas and areas with wood/wicker furniture.
Domestic rabbits are litter-trainable. Their litter box should have a layer of wood pellets along the bottom and be big enough to keep hay in (or they will need a hay feeder next to the box).
Bunnies can be clever and get bored without stimulation. Toys and/or cardboard boxes and rolls will help keep them occupied.
Basic Medical Tips:
Since rabbits are prey animals, it is in their nature to hide health issues. Keep track of their eating and pooping routine, as changes to this can be a major concern for GI stasis. The only vaccine required by rabbits is for fatal virus that causes bleeding (RHDV2).
Animals like routines, especially bunnies, and changing environments can stress them out. By preparing everything ahead of time, you can help ease the homecoming process for your new rabbit.
Here's a quick checklist for what to do before you bring home your bunny:
Set up a “rabbitat” in a quiet, out-of-the-way area. Provide one or more litterboxes, rabbit-safe litter, water bowl and safe chew toys.
Rabbit-proof any areas of your home to which your rabbit will have access and always supervise them when they're not contained. You might want to use a metal exercise pen (30-36" tall) for a contained area.
Tuck wires and cords out of sight.
Remove toxic plants.
Swap out things you don’t want your bunny to chew for rabbit-safe toys (grass mats, pieces of cardboard).
Check our list of safe vegetables and have some on hand.
Try not to handle your rabbit too much during the first few days. You can start by sitting on the floor and letting them come to you. If you have other pets, let the newcomer get used to their new home before introducing everyone.
Keep the environment as quiet as possible.
If you already have one or more resident rabbits, keep your new rabbit separate from them until you can do introductions in a neutral location. **Bonding rabbits together is a process! See our Rabbit Bonding Service webpage.
If you're adopting multiple rabbits at once, keep an extra close eye on them. The stress from a change of venue can result in chasing or humping, even with rabbits who have been bonded for years.
Where To Get A Bunny
Just like dogs in puppy mills, rabbits are often kept in deplorable conditions when they're bred for pet stores to sell. Instead of buying a bunny, adopt from a rescue or help someone who is trying to re-home a rabbit.
Benefits Of Adopting A Bunny
Rescue workers will use their hands-on experience to help you choose the right rabbit for you. They can also provide detailed information on bunny care and behavior and answer your questions.
Our website has a wealth of information on caring for your potential new companion. Rabbits have behaviors that need to be prepared for in advance, such as digging and chewing.
On Our Website:
Adoption and Foster Programs
Exotic Vet Info
Diet & Safe Foods
Our many services and more!