They are quiet, clean and very adorable! Rabbits are the most popular pets in the US right after cats and dogs. The rabbit lifestyle suits a lot of pet owners because raising rabbits is a completely different experience compared to any other pet. Some pet owners might even say,
Getting a pet rabbit may be one of the best things you do in your life!
But because rabbits are so different from cats or dogs, you have to adopt a completely different mindset. So if you are ready then here are the 10 Things To Keep In Mind Before Getting A Pet Rabbit
1. Cost Of Getting A Pet Rabbit
So let’s be upfront, owning any pet is a significant financial responsibility. It is no different for pet rabbits. A lot of people think that rabbits are a very cheap pet but let me tell you from my years of raising many-many rabbits, this is certainly a myth.
In the US the upfront cost of adopting a bunny (this includes just adoption fee and paperwork) can be around $50-$80 plus the cost buying cages, feeders, water bottles, and litter boxes can add up to another $50 or so.
Other than this, housing your rabbit, rabbit food, litter, and other ongoing costs can be as much as $50 per month.
You must take into account the Vet bills (assuming two vet visits per year) can amount to $200+ per year. Pet rabbits can live as long as 10-12 years if they are housed indoors so before rushing down to a pet store or a rabbit shelter near you make sure your finances are in the right place to be able to keep a rabbit.
To learn more about the complete cost of keeping a pet rabbit check out The Real Cost Of Owning A Pet Rabbit
2. Housing For Your Rabbit
Pet rabbits can be housed indoors or in a roofed enclosure in the yard but we suggest housing your pet rabbits inside. Bunnies are prey animals so they are completely defenseless in front of predators like feral cats or dogs.
Rabbits are also highly social so they like to stick close to their humans. So the best way to house them is to have them free reign in your house just like a dog or cat. In case you would like to keep the rabbits separate from the rest of the house then you can dedicate a separate room for them.
Cages, puppy pens or bunny condos also work quite well but make sure that it is spacious enough for your rabbit. A rabbit should be able to move about at the least two or three hop lengths horizontally as well as stand up on its toes easily.
In case you have some other pets at your home like dogs or cats, its best to keep them separate at first since rabbits are prey animals they can be easily spooked by your other pets.
Rabbits are always happier when they get lot of care and enrichment in their lives. So its best to house them in a pair. Check out our post on Rabbit Housing to learn more.
Also check out our favorite rabbit housing available on Amazon.com. It has two layers with plenty of space for your rabbit to move around along with removable tray floors on both layers for easy cleaning. It even comes with a free hay feeder and a rabbit toy. Click here to find out more
3. Rabbit Diet
The next thing to know after your bunny’s housing is its diet. Rabbits are obligate herbivores, that means they are basically vegan. Understanding and planning out your rabbit’s diet is important even before getting a pet rabbit.
In the US most rabbit owners feed their bunnies a mix of rabbit pellets and fresh leafy vegetables as well as lots of fresh grass or hay. Rabbits are small creatures and therefore need proper nutrition and timely meals every day to stay healthy.
They also like to chew on some hay throughout the day especially when they are using the litter box so make sure to give your access to an unlimited supply of hay just in case.
Some experienced rabbit owners also advocate for The Pellet Free Diet which seeks to eliminate the need to feed your rabbits any sort of pellets.
You should also give your bunnies a treat from time to time, bunny treats can be any sweet fresh fruit like bananas, strawberries, carrots or apples. Keep in mind that too much sugar in a rabbit’s diet may cause obesity or stomach problems. So moderation is the key.
To learn more about my favorite rabbit diet check out our article on What Can Rabbits Eat? The Best Rabbit Diet.
4. Bunny Proofing Your House
Rabbits love to chew! Being lagomorphs which are closely related to rodents. They will chew down your rugs, sofa, cables, furniture, cloths or whatever they can get their teeth on.
Therefore to protect your house from your rabbit friend you need to take some steps so that your pet cannot chew down thing that you don’t want it to.
You may need to tidy up your electrical cables out of the reach of your bunny, your furniture needs to padded if you suspect that your rabbit might chew on it. Put an old rug on your carpet when your rabbit is roaming free so that it can chew on your carpet.. they same can be done for your bed or sofa.
Other then this make sure you don’t keep any good cloths where your bunny can reach.
To learn more about bunny proofing your house read our post on Bunny Proofing – A Complete Guide
5. Litter Training Your Rabbit
With some effort most rabbits can be litter trained just like cats. Once litter trained they almost always use their litter box for you know what..
For litter training rabbits, its best to start at an early age, just put the rabbit in its litter box whenever you see it going to the bathroom. It may be difficult at first to follow your bunny around to check on it but eventually you will find that your bunny is using the litter box on its own.
You can try the litter box that I have been using for my bunnies. It is quite large so it should be a great fit for bunnies of all ages and sizes. It also has a removable tray so you can easily discard your waste and keep the litter box clean and smell free. Click here to find out more.
Its also advisable to get your rabbits spayed or neutered as it greatly improves the chances of successfully litter training your rabbit. Peeing is something that un-fixed rabbits use to mark their territory.
Make sure to provide plenty of hay in your rabbit’s litter box as they love chewing on some hay while doing the thing.
Fore a more detailed guide on How To Litter Train Your Rabbit check out our article.
6. Bonding With Your Rabbit
Rabbits are highly intelligent ans social creatures. All of them have a different personality. When you are getting a pet rabbit, keep in mind you will have so put in some effort to make sure your bunny friend feels at home in your house.
Since rabbits are prey animals, it is best not to pick them up too much at first. This makes them think you are a predator trying to snatch them away. Keep your new rabbit in a noise free environment.
Let your bunny do its thing and explore its surrounding so that it feels more comfortable around you and your family.
Try feeding your rabbit by hand everyday at first, hand feeding your rabbit is an excellent way for your bunny to get more confident around you. Some rabbit owners have been able to train their rabbit to come when called just by calling out to them during food time.
To learn more about Bonding With Your Pet Rabbit check out our comprehensive guide on the topic.
7. Toys For Your Rabbits
Other than eating, sleeping and being adorable.. Rabbits need some enrichment in their lives. A bored bunny is a naughty bunny, so you’ve got to provide your rabbit with some play things.
What is a good toy for a rabbit you ask? Well anything they can chew and rip apart. Just give your bunny some cardboard boxes, some old telephone directories or some cardboard toilet paper rolls.
The best thing for a rabbit is plenty of space to run and binky around. Being social animals, rabbits love to live together. Its plenty of fun just watching a couple of rabbits running and bouncing around in your home.
Still if you want to get some fun toys for you bunnies then you can try out one of these.
You could also try our 10 DIY Rabbit Toys Made From Household Items list to get some more toy idea to make playtime with your bunny even more interesting.
8. Vet For Your Pet Rabbit
Depending on where you live, you may also want to get in touch with a rabbit friendly vet after you bring your bunny home. Rabbits are fragile creatures and my sometimes need emergency medical attention.
The thing is that most vets specialize in treating cats and dogs, as they are the most popular type of pet in the US. But rabbits are very different from cats or dogs. Their anatomy, diet and medical needs are also different, so normal vets may sometimes misdiagnose a rabbit’s problem.
In case you are wondering if there is a rabbit friendly vet in your city then we have you covered, check out our extensive list of Rabbit Friendly Vets in the US.
9. Traveling With Your Pet Rabbit
Well as you may already have heard, rabbits are prey animals. The can easily get spooked and stressed when placed in unfamiliar environment. Rabbits also get really stressed from loud noises like ones from car horns or airplane noises.
Plus most airline in the US rarely allow rabbits to fly in cabin and some international destinations may not allow rabbits at all. So if you travel a lot especially if you travel abroad then a rabbit might not be the best pet for you.
If you would still like to get a rabbit then keep a trusted pet sitter on hand to take care of your bunny while you are away.
Some folks also like to walk their rabbits outside in a leash while I personally do not recommend it, some rabbits might enjoy hopping around in a park.
You can check out this padded shoulder leash which is quite comfortable for you bunny. Check it out on amazon.com
If the you Understand Rabbit Behavior and feel that your rabbit is comfortable then something like this awesome rabbit carrier backpack.
A perfect getaway and your bunny is perfectly safe. Check it out on amazon.com
10. Rabbits And Children
A lot of folks have the idea that a rabbit is a great pet for children and often gift their children a rabbit on Easter. Remember, a rabbit is a living animal and not a toy. They may live for more than ten years so getting a rabbit like getting any other pet should be desicion you need to give some thought to.
What happens when your children grow up? Go to collage? Will there be someone to take care of the bunny? Will they still have a loving family to live with?
Getting a pet rabbit is a long term commitment and you should only get the bunny if you can keep that commitment for a lot of years to come.
In conclusion, research research research and decide for yourself in a rabbit is the best pet for you and your family. You can check out our article on Biggest Pros & Cons Of Having A Pet Rabbit to learn if rabbits are the best pet for you.
If you feel that you are finally ready to bring the bunny home then consider adopting a rabbit from a shelter and give a homeless bunny the loving home they deserve. Find Rabbit Shelter Near You
You can also check out our article on Making Your House Ready For A Rabbit for bunny proofing your house.
Tell us your experience while getting your first pet rabbit in the comments below and share this article with your friends.. ciao!!