Thinking of adopting a bunny?
The RAPS Animal Shelter currently has some super cuties waiting for their forever homes. While bunnies are sweet, social animals with unique personalities, there are some considerations to keep in mind when considering welcoming a pet bunny into your family:
- Financial commitment. Like all pets, caring for rabbits incurs expenses. There is the adoption fee, housing, food, bunny-proofing supplies, veterinary visits and inevitable incidentals. check out this article How Much Does a Pet Rabbit Cost?.
- Bunny housing. Bunnies are social animals and generally love to interact with their human families, so you’ll need space to house your bun that will allow good social contact. They most definitely need an area to allow them to hop and run freely as well as a comfortable spot to stretch out and relax. Bunnies need lots of enrichment by way of human interaction, toys, different levels to jump on or hide in / under (cardboard boxes with cutouts make great hidey spots as well as a platform to jump on top of). Large wire dog exercise pens can allow for a good amount of space within which a bunny can run, binky, relax and live comfortably and happy. Some people even allow their buns to have free rein in a certain area in the house but precautions must be taken as bunnies are chewers (watch out for your electrical wires!) The location of a rabbit’s housing area within your home (which can take the form of a puppy pen, bunny condo, large cage, or just an area with the food, litter boxes, and cardboard castles if the bunny is free rein) is an extremely important consideration. You’ll have to make sure the rabbit has a place to relax by himself but is not completely secluded from the family. Rabbits need social interaction, plenty of exercise, and a lot of enrichment activities. Take a look at our Housing article to learn more.
- Bunny proofing. You’ll need to safeguard your home for supervised bunny exercise. Bunnies are curious and persistent creatures! Make sure they can’t get at your computer wires, electrical cords, molding, furniture piping, frayed carpets, etc. Check out this Bunny Proofing article for tips on protecting your bunny and your things.
- Don’t let your bunny get bored! Cardboard boxes, toilet and paper towel rolls make inexpensive toys to keep your bunny busy. Rabbits will get into trouble if they’re bored. They’ll make their own fun chewing your possessions if you don’t provide alternate forms of entertainment. A great diversion for rabbits is a cardboard castlefilled with empty toilet paper rolls, old phone books, and other paper products you find around the house.
- Litter box training. Yes, bunnies can be litter box trained! Patience, persistence and rewarding good behaviour is key. Litter training can be frustrating at times, but the key is persistence and consistent reinforcement of good habits. Read this article about litter training to learn more.
- Nutrition:It’s important to have a good understanding of a rabbit’s nutritional needs throughout his or her life. Proper nutrition (and in the correct amounts) is vital for a rabbit’s well-being. The staple of a rabbit’s diet is fiber. Rabbits must have access to unlimited grass hays at all times. It is very important to ensure that hay allergies will not pose a problem for anyone in the household. For a more detailed explanation of rabbit nutrition, see the article, What to Feed Your Pet Rabbit and Hay for Rabbits: Essential for Good Health. Another great link is the House Rabbit Society’s article about diet, which discusses the appropriate amounts as well as types of food to give your rabbit from youth to old age.
- Bonding with a Bunny: Rabbits can be quite affectionate animals, but personalities definitely vary from individual to individual. Most rabbits don’t particularly like being held or picked up, and some bunnies are more aloof than others. See the article, Building a Relationship with Your Pet Rabbit, for more information about taking steps to bond with a bunny.
- Traveling: Rabbits get very stressed out when traveling or when placed in unfamiliar environments, so it’s best to have a good pet-sitter on hand to watch the bunny if you go on vacation. If you’re a big jet-setter, with the need or desire to move to various places around the world, rabbit ownership probably isn’t right for you. Very few airlines allow rabbits to fly in-cabin within the United States and abroad. Often rabbits are subjected to multi-month-long quarantine periods upon arrival into other countries, and in many places, pet rabbits are not permitted in at all.
- Children and Rabbits: Adopting a rabbit is a long-term commitment. Rabbits are not low-maintenance pets. So adopting a bunny should be a family decision. When kids turn 18 and go to college or look for work, it’s important that the rabbit still has a safe, loving home. Read the article, Children and Pet Rabbits, for more information.
Rabbits can live 10+ years so remember, having a pet bunny is a commitment. Make sure to do your research to ensure having a pet bunny is a good fit for your family.
Bottom line: Do your research before adding a bunny to your family! While it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of getting a pet rabbit, it’s important to first assess whether or not you can truly provide a good forever home to a bunny.
If you’ve done your research and feel confident you can properly care for a bunny, please adopt a rabbit from a rescue or shelter instead of purchasing one from a breeder or pet store. Shelters are overflowing with homeless bunnies of all shapes and sizes. See the article, Benefits of Adopting a Rabbit, for more information.
You can get ready for your new pet by reading, Preparing for Your First House Rabbit, which includes a list of initial bunny supplies.