Tempting as Easter may be, chocolate bunnies make better gifts than living and breathing rabbits. The Winnipeg Humane Society is advising potential rabbit owners to weigh their decisions of committing to a new pet just as heavily on Easter as the rest of the year.
Rabbits make great pets, however (like with other animals) it is never appropriate to give them as a surprise. Rabbits require as much work as a dog or a cat; they need supervised exercise 2 – 3 hours a day. Many rabbits are easily frightened when held, and therefore not suitable for families with young children. As rabbits’ teeth are ever growing, they will find a variety of objects to chew on and therefore rabbit-proofing your home is essential.
Some prospective owners believe a rabbit can purchased and live its life in a cage with little to no interaction. Domesticated rabbits cannot survive in the outdoors. It is too common that a rabbit is brought to The WHS that has been found roaming outside, having likely been set “free” by owners who were uninformed on the level of commitment required. The WHS receives approximately 150 – 200 domestic rabbits each year.
Rabbits are excellent house-pets, and with time and effort can even be house trained! Rabbits can also live between 8-10 years. Are you ready for the commitment?
PLEASE THINK CAREFULLY!
- Training – Rabbits can be house trained, and since they require exercise it’s best to invest the time and effort into making this possible.
- Medical Emergencies – Rabbits often have teeth issues if they’re not provided with enough healthy chew objects to wear down their ever-growing teeth. Are you financially prepared to keep your pet healthy?
- Daily Exercise – Are you willing to provide adequate exercise? Rabbits can’t be confined for all hours of the day, and should be supervised when out of their cage.
- Proper Shelter – Where will your pet live? Rabbits should live in a climate controlled area of your house, away from extreme temperatures and dampness.
- Grooming – Rabbits require brushing so that they less hair is accumulated when they self groom (as cats do,) as rabbits are unable to vomit up any hair, which can lead to blockage.
- Bunny Proofing – Rabbits, especially young ones, are always looking for things to chew on. Electrical cords and exposed outlets are extremely dangerous for rabbits who have free range of the home.
- Adding to your Pack: Will your dog or cat react well to a smaller animal? Are there any aggression issues you should have a behaviouralist assess?
- Spay or Neuter: Like dogs and cats, rabbits should be spayed or neutered to reduce horomonal imbalances, as well as chance of unplanned reproduction.
The following list is from rabbit.org
Litterbox (in cage)
Pellet bowl or feeder
Toys (chew & toss)
Toys (chew & dig)
Fenced patio/porch/playpen (with floor)
Limited pellets daily
Hay /straw (for digestive fiber and chewing recreation)
Fresh salad veggies/fruit (add gradually)
Barley/oats (verysmall amounts)
Wood (for chewing recreation)
Multiple enzymes (digestive aid)
Petroleum laxative (when needed for passing hair)
Flea products safe for rabbits (no Frontline!)
Dust-free litter (not wood shavings)
White vinegar (for urine accidents)
Chlorine bleach (for disinfecting)