Thinking about getting a rabbit? Good choice! If the idea of a house rabbit appeals to you, but you’ve never owned a pet bunny before, here are some things to think about before you bring a new rabbit into your home.
1. Do You Have Allergies?
People can be allergic to rabbits, even if they are not allergic to dogs and cats. People can also be allergic to hay, a rabbit’s primary food. Before getting a rabbit, make sure no one in the home is allergic. Visit an allergist or a home where rabbits live to see how you react to being around rabbits.
2. How Many Rabbits?
If you’re considering getting just one rabbit, be aware that rabbit experts recommend getting two. Rabbits are social animals who get lonely without a bunny companion. The best combination is male and female, because rabbits bond for life. Of course, they should be altered before you bring them together, not just because you want to control breeding, but because altered rabbits make much better pets.
3. Rabbits and Children
Resist the urge to get a young child that baby bunny she’s been asking for. Rabbits are not the best choice for young children. Rabbits can be injured (or even killed) by being held improperly, a common problem with young kids. Rabbits don’t always like to be held and cuddled, especially as they grow older, which may disappoint younger kids. A distressed rabbit can also bite or scratch, something to keep in mind in homes with young children.
4. Dogs and Cats
Do you have any other pets in the home? It is best to introduce a rabbit into a home with a calm, mature dog. Rabbits can get dangerously stressed when harassed by a rambunctious puppy. Some dogs have a stronger predatory instinct than others, so keep this in mind when thinking about getting a house rabbit. Cats and rabbits can live very comfortably together. Consider introducing a larger, adult rabbit into a home with a cat, rather than a baby bunny. Because rabbits can be more social than cats, you may be surprised to find the rabbit taking charge of the cat rather than the other way around.
5. What Breed of Rabbit is Best?
Any breed of rabbit can make a great house pet. The main considerations when choosing a type of rabbit are size and level of care. The so-called “giant” rabbit breeds can grow to over 12 pounds. They need more food and space and can be harder to handle than smaller rabbits. The “mini” rabbit breeds can weigh as little as 4 pounds. Small rabbits require delicate handling and some may nip more than larger rabbits. Fluffy rabbits like angoras are adorable, but they can require daily grooming.
House rabbits make wonderful pets. To learn more about how to take care of rabbits, check out the House Rabbit Society’s website.
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