A rabbit can be a fun addition to your family; however, adopting a rabbit is a long-term commitment that requires a lot of work. Rabbits are the third most prevalent animal in humane societies because many owners do not consider this commitment or the time it takes to properly care for a rabbit. The level of care they require means an adult should be the pet’s primary caregiver. Like most other pets, adopting a rabbit includes a financial obligation to provide health care, including spaying or neutering your bunny to reduce its susceptibility to disease and prevent overpopulation due to the rabbit’s breeding habits.
1. Time Commitment
On average, a domestic rabbit lives 8 to 10 years. During their lives, they require time out of their cages every day for exercise. If you are considering a bunny for a child, remember that you, as the adult, should still be the primary caregiver for the pet. A child should not have the total responsibility for cleaning the cages and it requires thorough cleaning one to two times per week to keep odors down.
2. Healthy Diet
Provide your rabbit with a healthy diet, consisting of grass hay, pellets, and dark leafy greens. Rabbits love hay and you should provide fresh grass hay, such as Timothy or orchard grass, every day. Select pellets that provide a minimum of 18 percent fiber and feed them in limited quantities to prevent obesity. Supplement the rabbit’s diet with dark leafy greens such as kale or spinach, but avoid watery vegetables, including iceberg lettuce, which sometimes causes diarrhea.
3. Litter Box
Because your bunny eats, it also has to relieve itself, so provide it with one or more litter boxes. Fill the litter boxes with more hay instead of clay based litters. Clumping clay kitty litter tends to stick to the bunny’s fur and the non-clumping variety has dust that causes respiratory problems for rabbits. The hay provides padding to protect the feet and absorbs liquids. Your bunny may enjoy eating the hay from the litter box while he does his business. This should not be a cause for concern if you replace the hay regularly.
4. Avoid Cedar or Pine Shavings
While cedar or pine shavings are all natural and help to cover odors, they contain phenols. These natural oils are responsible for the clean smell of shavings but can cause your rabbit respiratory problems.
5. Bunny-Proof the Home
Your new pet has a natural tendency to chew items. Chewing helps to keep his front teeth in check, but can wreak havoc on household items. Chewing on electrical cords can be dangerous to the rabbit and the house. Purchase and use cord covers or route cords through PVC pipe to prevent chewing.
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