Well, that depends. Bunnies may be irresistibly cute with their floppy ears and fuzzy coats, but they aren't exactly "beginner's pets" and are more complex than you might guess. However, bunnies can bring a lot of joy to your home and make great additions to the family under the right conditions. So how do you know if a pet rabbit is a good fit for you? Here are six things to consider before hopping over to your local rescue.
Children Shouldn't Be Left in Charge
Despite their tiny stature, rabbits are relatively high-maintenance animals. They require just as much care and attention as larger household pets and should be taken as seriously as a dog or cat. While kids can be great helpers and faithful friends to a new pet bunny, they are typically not equipped to be full-time caregivers. Therefore, we don't recommend bringing home a rabbit as a gift or a lesson in responsibility for a young child. These delicate animals require consistent routines, especially when it comes to mealtimes and hygiene, so it is best to leave these duties to the grown-ups in the house. However, if your child shows interest in helping or socializing with your new bunny, assign them a simple daily task like setting down extra hay or freshening up water bowls and supervise all interactions to ensure both your pet and child's safety.
Not All Breeds Are the Same
The breed of rabbit you adopt plays a considerable role in the type of pet you'll have. While certain bunny breeds, such as the Holland Lop, Mini Rex, and Harlequin Rabbit, have been generally deemed more suitable pets than others, the type of bunny you bring home should be heavily influenced by your home's environment. For instance, it might be best to go with a larger, less fragile rabbit if you have children. Or, if your living space is limited, breeds like the Mini Satin don't demand much room and might be a better fit for you than others. Many traits, including weight, grooming needs, and temperament, are influenced by the breed type of your rabbit, so be sure to do your research before picking out your new companion.
Bunnies Have Boundaries
It's necessary to identify what you're looking for in a pet before bringing one home. While some people are okay with bunnies' physical boundaries, we also know hugs and cuddles are important for many pet owners! Despite rabbits' adorably cozy appearance, bunnies do not generally like being picked up or held for extended periods. Because rabbits are prey animals, they are prone to skittish behavior and like to have both their feet planted on the ground to run or hide if frightened. Forcing a rabbit to be carried can lead to injury, stress, and even aggression, so it is crucial to pay attention to your rabbit's body language and be mindful of what your pet is and isn't comfortable with. Of course, there will be times when you must pick up your rabbit, like during cage cleanings and vet visits, so learn to hold them properly with one hand supporting their rear end and the other securely wrapped around their midsection.
Rabbits Need Room to Roam
Is your home suitable for a bunny's needs? Rabbits are active animals, which means they need plenty of space to hop and play. In addition to a spacious cage, bunnies should have ample time outside of their enclosure to exercise and explore within your home. Whether you dedicate one big room for your pet to wander around or give them free rein of the house, it's vital to note all the potential hazards and risks. Bunnies like to chew, so keep any wires or important items out of their reach and pay notice to what they are doing at all times. Just like any pet, there is some training involved as they get used to a new environment. Keep an eye on your furniture, baseboards, and other surfaces, and redirect your bunny to a suitable chew toy if they begin nibbling on something they shouldn't. Also, keep in mind that while rabbits can be litter box trained, they poop frequently and will likely leave droppings on the floor while playing outside their cage. Fortunately, bunny droppings are not typically messy and are fairly easy to clean up — just be sure to grab a broom or vacuum after returning them to their enclosure!
Bunny Maintenance & Monthly Costs
If you are considering adopting a bunny, be aware that these little critters tend to stick around for quite a long time. Bunnies can live up to 10+ years if given the proper care, which means 10+ years of maintenance and costs. Though the adoption fee for a bunny is usually low, which can be appealing to those looking for a new pet, there are many hidden costs to consider. For example, bunnies require weekly bedding changes, frequent grooming, and a hardy diet of hay, produce, and pellets each day. In addition, chew sticks and toys need to be replaced as they wear down to provide your bunny with an exciting assortment of activities to encourage mental stimulation. Bunny owners also need to be aware of their rabbit's physical health, noting any changes in behavior, and scheduling routine vet checkups. Because rabbits are prey animals, they may try to hide any illness or injury, so these checkups are essential in keeping your pet well. Unfortunately, these bunny necessities add up and can be tricky to stay on top of if you are not prepared, so be sure to factor in these expenses before they sneak up on you.
A Rabbit's Diet Requirements
Rabbits love to eat and require an assorted intake of fresh produce, pellets, and piles of premium hay each day. That being said, one of the more significant responsibilities you'll have if you choose to become a bunny parent is keeping up with your pet's food supply and providing a range of quality ingredients. The nutrients in your rabbit's food affect their overall health, meaning your animal's digestive system, hygiene, mental wellness, and more are all directly impacted by the meals you place in front of them.
What can rabbits eat
Good quality hay should make up 75% - 80% of your rabbit’s diet. Rabbits need hay to keep their digestive system healthy and to wear down their teeth (did you know that a rabbits teeth continually grow?!). Hay should always be available so your rabbit can graze naturally. Fruits and vegetables are also a great way to give your rabbit vitamins and nutrients.
Fruits & vegetables rabbits can eat include:
What not to feed rabbits
Foods to avoid feeding your bunny include:
- Iceburg lettuce
- Raw Onions
Curating a nourishing diet for your bunny may be trickier than it would be for other species, but the extra effort you put into their meals will undoubtedly benefit your bunny and strengthen the bond between you. And to make things a bit easier, Andy delivers top-tier organic hay products, so you know for sure that your bunny is receiving all the vitamins and other essentials they need to stay happy and healthy.
So...should you adopt a pet rabbit?
As you now know, these animals require a particular level of care that can be tough for some folks to follow through on, but the result of a well-loved and cared-for bunny is well worth the extra work. Rabbits contain multitudes of endearing characteristics and unique attributes that make them exceptional companions, so if you are ready to put in the effort, Andy is here to support you on your journey to becoming an excellent rabbit owner.