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Although not absolutely necessary, for most, it is preferable to train your pet rabbit to use a litterbox. It will make clean ups much easier, which in turn may help keep down the odors. It is also less expensive to change the litter in the box more often and the remaining litter will probably last a bit longer. Your bunny's home will definitely be more agreeable to be close to, and your pet rabbit will likely "take care of business" in the area of the litter pan. Once litter trained, you will be happy that and your bunny took the time to train!
In addition to the actual training, you will need to decide on a type of rabbit litter to use. The House Rabbit Society suggests the following about rabbit litters: "What types of litter should I use?
It depends on what’s available in your area and what your
rabbit’s habits are. Keep in mind the following as you choose your litter: most rabbits spend lots of time in their litter boxes rabbits will always nibble some of the litter rabbit urine has a very strong odor.
House Rabbit Society recommends organic litters, made from
alfalfa, oat, citrus or paper. (Some brands to look for: Care Fresh (Natural
only), Cat Country, Critter Country, Yesterday’s News, and Papurr) For a
complete listing of litter types, see the litter boxes and liver disease
Stay away from litters made from softwoods, like pine or
cedar shavings or chips, as these products are thought to cause liver damage in
rabbits who use them. CatWorks litter has been linked to zinc poisoning. Swheat
Scoop Litter should be avoided, because rabbits will often ingest it. Because
it is comprised of wheat, it is very high in carbohydrates and can cause
obesity, excessive cecal production, diarrhea, bacterial imbalance, and other
Another approach is to place a handful of hay in each box,
or to simply use hay as litter. It is helpful to put several layers of
newspaper under the hay, to absorb urine so that your rabbit is not standing in
the urine. Most newspapers today are using soy-based ink, which is safe for
your rabbit, but check with your local newspaper to make sure first. Obviously,
you need to change the hay fairly frequently (daily), since your rabbit will be
eating it. This method often helps to encourage good litter habits as well as
to encourage hay consumption, since rabbits often eat at or near the same time
as they use the litter box."
Pet rabbits make wonderful additions to your family, as long as you understand that bunnies are different as pets than dogs or cats. There is a right way and a wrong way to interact with a pet rabbit, and keep in mind that they are very social animals that really want to spend time with their pet parents and family. Small children are not the best to mix with pet rabbits, and most pet rabbits do not like to be scooped up, cuddled or held. Instinctively, rabbits are prey animals so this behavior is just a natural reaction to escape.
The best way to play and interact with your pet rabbit is explained by Indianahrs.org: "It’s important to remember that rabbits are prey animals.
Prey animals interact with their environment very differently than predators
like cats and dogs. In general, rabbits do not like to be picked up. The act of
bending over them and grabbing them by their ribs to pick them up is very similar
to being picked up by a hawk – scary!! The best way to interact with your rabbit is on the floor.
Sit in the room while bunny is out to play and she will soon come investigate
you. She will like to be petted sitting next to you, but not necessarily while
being carried in your arms! If you choose a cage or pen with a sideopening door
and put it on the floor or provide a ramp to a taller cage, you can let bunny
in and out for playtime without ever picking her up!
If you are going to pick up your rabbit, make sure you do it
correctly. The best way is to place one hand under her rib cage and the other
under her bottom, scooping her back legs so she can’t kick. This method will
protect her fragile backbone while protecting you from those strong kicking back
legs and sharp nails. It is also important to wear an appropriate shirt when
handling a rabbit to avoid being scratched by nails as bunny tries to get away!
Or just encourage or herd bunny into a pet carrier or box and move him that
Keep in mind your rabbit will likely be easier to interact
with and handle once spayed or neutered. Spaying and neutering reduces
hormone-driven behaviors like lunging, mounting, spraying, and boxing. Spaying
also protects female bunnies from uterine cancer, which can be quite common in
older unspayed rabbits."
Traditionally, many people think of a dog or cat as the family pet, but rabbits make great family pets too. Like any other pet, it is important to understand the commitment of time and money necessary to care properly for a new pet bunny. There are many great groups where you can adopt a pet rabbit, and we have a link to an adoption finder on our website. Once yu decide that adopting a pet rabbit is a good choice for your family, you need to learn more about rabbits as family pets.
Love That Pet offers the following on rabbit care" "In addition to the many coat patterns, there are also
several sizes to choose from. For
example, dwarf lops and mini lops are very popular, and they are small: The
mini doesn’t get bigger than 1.6kg (3.5lb), and the dwarf only gets to 2.5kg
(5lb). These are the rabbits whose ears are very long and droop down to the
ground. Many people, when they think of pet rabbits, are thinking of lops. By contrast, the Flemish giant is well-named.
Often topping 6kg (14lbs), this rabbit is larger than most pet cats and many
kinds of dog (up to and including some spaniels). Unlike the lops, Flemish
giants have ears that stand upright. A little bigger than a dwarf lop and much
smaller than a Flemish giant, the “rex” weighs in at approximately 3kg (6.5lb)
and is noted for its curly fur.
All breeds are suitable as pets, but young children must
always be supervised when they are visiting with Bunny Buddy. It is very easy to injure a rabbit by
handling her awkwardly, and it is even easier to scare her. It’s rough being at
the bottom of the food chain! If she is scared or hurt, she will bite or
scratch to defend herself."
Once you have decided to provide a loving home to a pet rabbit (or any animal in need for that matter), you have not only made a great choice, but you will also gain a great satisfaction that comes with adopting a pet. Without sounding too "political", there are so many reasons to adopt, rather than buy a pet, and if most people adopted, there would be less reason to breed for financial gain.
With that said, congratulations on deciding to adopt a pet bunny! Now what? We found a great resource that is actually sponsored by Purina, Bayer and the Petco Foundation, that can actually help you find a rabbit in your area to adopt. Adopt A Pet says the folowing about rabbit adoption:
"First most, understand that no matter what, even if you buy
a Rabbit for sale, or adopt, as a new pet owner it is your responsibility to
care for the Rabbit it’s entire lifespan. Part of that responsibility is taking
time to understand the basic needs of a Rabbit. At the top of that list should
be getting know the diet of a Rabbit. Find out how often and what a Rabbit
needs to eat. Next, what shelter do you need to provide? Get to know what
habitat a Rabbit is accustom to, what temperature will the Rabbit need to
maintain, and what range of temperatures are acceptable for a Rabbit to
It’s usually a good idea to get to know a little more about
Rabbit habits, temperament and relationship with humans before adopting a
Rabbit. For example, can you handle a Rabbit. What is an indicator if a Rabbit
is being aggressive and senses fear? Some pets will maintain much more
happiness as long as they live socially, does a Rabbit need a companion pet in
order to live happily? What exercise does a Rabbit need regularly?
Rabbit adoption can be an enriching experience, and is a big
decision. Whatever pet you adopt will demand certain lifestyle changes, and a
financial commitment. Estimating the monthly costs of owning a pet is just as
important as making sure you have the time and motivation to feed the Rabbit
when necessary, and provide a safe environment to live."
Maybe the first question to answer is - what is a Rabbitat? A Rabbitat is a sort of "Rabbit Playground", sufficiant to provide for the basic outdoor instincts of a pet rabbit, but in a structured and safe manner. Your Rabitat should provide your bunny with safe outdoor space to dig, chew, tunnel, expolore and graze, to name a few activities. The concept remains that a pet rabbit should still live indoors, but allowing her to have some outdoor playtime in your Rabbitat will give her a chance to live like a - rabbit!
PetFinder offers the following on building a Rabbitat" "There’s
no such thing as a blueprint for the perfect rabbitat, but there are a few
features for the do-it-yourselfer to consider.
rabbits are descended from European rabbits, who live in groups in warrens, an
underground network of interconnecting burrows and tunnels that they dig in the
earth. Diggable dirt or ordinary garden soil should be high on the list of
things you provide for your house rabbits’ happiness.
Fresh-cut greens –Greens should not be a major component of
your rabbit’s diet, but access to a variety of fresh foliage has both dietary
and emotional benefits for rabbits. The objective here is to offer cut greens
and flowers in a natural upright manner so that rabbits can stand up and
stretch to reach the succulent leaves on the tops of the branches.
rabbitat must confine your rabbits while also providing shelter from the
weather and protection from predators and the unwelcome attention of other
animals and possibly unkind children. As prey animals, rabbits instinctively
avoid open spaces where they feel unprotected, so locate your rabbitat in a
shady corner of your yard, out of view of busy streets, neighbors’ dogs and
overhanging tree branches where cats or birds of prey may hover. Even if secure
inside an enclosure, a rabbit can die of fright if a predator is able to menace
her at close range."
Welcome to the wonderful world of having a pet rabbit! Pet bunnies make great and loving pets, but it is important to help train them like you would other pets, so they know what is acceptable behavior inside your home. When it comes to chewing and digging, both of which are natural bunny behaviors, it is important that they are trained for two main reasons. The first one is danger. If a pet rabbit chewed on an electrical cord, the result could be very bad. The second reason is damage. Naturally, you do not want your pet rabbit to damage carpeting, furniture, or anything else in your home!
The House Rabbit Society offers the following: "During the training time, do nothing but concentrate on the
rabbit. Open the door to her home and let her (or them) come out when she
chooses. You may offer toys or treats from your hand, but don’t interfere with
her if she wants to explore. And watch her carefully throughout the time she is
out of her cage. If the rabbit starts to chew on something you don’t want
chewed, immediately offer him as many other things that are okay to chew on as
you can. Block whatever he was chewing on so it ceases to be a temptation
(block it well, so you aren’t simply challenging the rabbit to break through).
If possible, provide something with a similar (or better)
taste and texture to what is being chewed. For example, a piece of untreated,
unfinished baseboard (screwed into something so it doesn’t move) instead of the
real baseboard; or a piece of scrap carpet instead of the real carpet (as long
as the rabbit isn’t ingesting the pieces he pulls out); or a piece of apple
branch instead of chair legs.
The same thing applies to digging. If the rabbit loves to
dig in the carpet, build a small “corner” or “tunnel” with carpeting on the
bottom (frequently replaced) and give this to him to distract him. Or make a
digging box by blocking the end-opening of a covered litter box and cutting a
hole in the side. The rabbit will go in, turn so her body runs the length of
the box (providing she is large enough that her body doesn’t fit cross- wise).
The digging material will be flung against the sealed end of the litter box and
remain contained. Use something totally dust-free and safe in the digging box
(see the litter faq). Rabbits, being the incredibly intelligent little
creatures that they are, quickly learn."
To fully enjoy the relationship with your pet rabbit, it is best to keep your bunny indoors and to intereact on a daily basis. The time you spend playing, petting and grooming your bunny will pay off in a more pleasurable relationship for all. If you have the space to have a rabbit hutch indoors, then that will give your bunny plenty of personal space. If not, then choosing a rabbit cage, which I prefer to call a rabbit home, is a great alternative. You can also use a puppy training crate, providing it has a design that is both safe and workable for your pet rabbit.
To choose the right rabbit home (cage), wikiHow offers the following suggestions: "Get an indoor rabbit cage. Indoor rabbit cages can often be
restrictive for your rabbit. Make sure you have enough space in the cage for
your rabbit. You should also be able to leave the cage open so he can get
plenty of exercise.
Give your rabbit enough space in his cage. There needs to be
enough room for him to move around in the cage and lie down. The minimum size
is three hops long and two hops wide. Of course, the bigger the cage, the
better it will be for your rabbit.
Make sure your rabbit has space for food, water, a litter
box, and toys. He will need things to do and to eat and drink in his cage.
Try a cage with a front door for your rabbit. Purchase a
cage that opens either from the inside and/or outside. Cages with doors that
open out enable your rabbit to come and go when he wants, whereas doors that
only push in mean you have to get the rabbit out of the cage yourself.
Make sure your cage has protection for the rabbit’s feet.
Cage flooring can injure the rabbit’s feet, so provide soft material that can cover
the cage flooring, such as an old blanket or towel."
The answer here, is a cautious "Yes". Some pets will just not mix well and good common sense needs to be used in these cases for the safety and wellness of all pets and people involved. There are some situations where pet rabbits can be introduced and get along with other pets in the household, such as other rabbits, cats, guinea pigs and even dogs. You must take the time to understand how the bonding process works, and take the time to introduce your pets slowly and carefully. The goal is a happy household without unnessary stress and a safe environment for all involved!
To begin the bonding process, Pet Care Tips.net offers the following: "The first thing you will need to do is find a companion for
yourrabbit. Male with female pairs seem to work the best
forcompatibility but female to female
can also work. Male rabbitsseldom get
along with other male rabbits unless started as
littermates. All rabbits should be spayed or
neutered beforeintroductions begin.
Start the bonding
process before the rabbits are allowed tointeract. Place
the rabbits in separate cages in sight of eachother. Let them get used to the presence of another rabbit forseveral days before actually letting them meet.
introductions should be done in a neutral territory. Thisis a place the existing rabbit has never entered. The
room shouldbe large enough for the
rabbits to move around yet small enoughso
the rabbits can interact.
Newly introduced rabbits may go beyond hand
shaking; they mayfight. You should have
a water spray bottle and towels handy tobreak
up any fighting. Do not break up fighting with your barehands, as the rabbit may not differentiate whom he is
attacking.Discontinue bonding session
before bites result in injury.Rabbits
may chase and show dominance behavior (mounting) duringthe introductions. These are normal activities to
determine whichrabbit will be the
As a proud pet parent of a pet rabbit, you will want to provide the best quality housing for your bunny that you can. We always encourage people to think of rabbits as an indoor pet, to provide them with a higher degree of safety and protection, plus to provide for more family interaction. Rabbit hutches work great in a den, bedroom, or in the basement or garage, which are better than outside. No matter where you place your rabbit hutch, The Rabbit House offers a few tips on choosing or building the right one for your pet rabbit: "Many rabbit hutches have doors that are secured with a twisting
section of wood. Unfortunately, this can easily become loose or a fox (or other
predator) scratching at the door can open it.
style of hutch door catch should be replaced with proper slide bolts and in
some cases with the addition of a padlock too. These can also be handy for
preventing young children opening the hutch unsupervised.
potential problem area can be the mesh sections of the hutch - this should be
securely fastened and preferably weld mesh rather than chicken wire. You can
attach mesh using U-shaped nails available from DIY stores. Mesh that has small
holes (under half an inch) is best - larger diameters can allow cats (or other
animals) to put their paws inside and claw at the rabbit.
Rabbit hutches need to
be raised of the ground to protect them from rising damp. If your rabbit hutch
doesn't already have legs then you can make your own or some hutch
manufacturers also sell separate legs. Another alternative are castors (wheels)
designed for cabinets which should be available from your local DIY store. A
lower tech solution is a brick at each corner.
Where possible avoid hutches with thin plywood
walls - these might be slightly cheaper but will need replacing much sooner
than a strongly built tongue and groove hutch. Check the walls regularly for
water stains and wear. The protective stain/varnish will need maintenance
approximately every 1-2 years.
Hutches should not be all wire; they must have
an enclosed box/bed area for your rabbit hide in when frightened, feel secure
when sleeping and snuggle up in cold weather.
Hutches should have solid floors rather than
mesh, which is bad for rabbit's feet. To make the floor easy to clean and
protect it from urine, I would suggest fitting lino style floor covering. You
may be able to obtain off cuts or pieces from the end of a roll cheaply by
asking local kitchen/bathroom flooring suppliers. A slightly tougher
alternative is vinyl safety flooring, which is used in many vet practices; it's
a harder, more rigid, material and is non-slip.
To fit the flooring you'll need to cut it to
fit the base of the hutch and then fix it in place with either double sided
tape or glue (tape is easier). To prevent your rabbit chewing or digging and
lifting the lino you'll need to fit edging strips or battens where the wall
meets the floor - like a skirting board. The edging will also hide any wonky
bits when you didn't cut straight. There will be a variety of styles available
in your local DIY store and they can be nailed into position."
As people become increasingly aware of how important a healthy diet is for us, it is logical that many pet parents are looking for more fruits and vegetable options to give to their pets. Pet rabbits are no different. Apples are certainly a tasty, yet healthy snack (or part of a meal) for us, so the question comes up - Can my pet rabbit eat apples? A pet rabbit's main diet should consist of grassy hay, but Rabbit .org suggests the following guidelines for feeding apples or other fruits to your pet bunny: "Fruits can also be fed in small amounts. In the wild these
would be special high calorie foods obtained only at certain times of the year.
Fruits make great training treats! You also might choose to hand-feed the fruit
portion of the diet as part of developing a close bond with your bunny and also
to make sure he has an appetite every day. It is a great way to see if your
bunny is feeling good when you observe if he takes his fruit treat every
morning! If he doesn’t want to eat his treat, it is time to call your
veterinarian. Remember that dried fruits are about 3 times as concentrated as
the fresh variety so feed less of those. Rabbits, like many animals naturally
gravitate towards high calorie foods such as those high in sugar or starch.
This is a protective device from the wild days when they could never be sure
when or if they would get the next meal. When a plant would produce fruit, it
is for a limited time and all the animals in the area would want to gobble
these gems up quickly! This means that rabbits cannot limit themselves when
given sugary or starchy foods if left to their own devices! Overfeeding fruits
can result in a weight gain or GI upset so it is up to you to feed these foods
in limited amounts. An approximate amount of fruit to feed your rabbit is a
teaspoon per 2 lbs of body weight daily in one feeding or divided into multiple
IMPORTANT: Before introducing any fresh foods to a rabbit it
is best if he has been eating grass hay for a minimum of 2 weeks. The grass hay
will help to get his GI tract motility and flora in good working order so that
he will be able to accept new foods more easily. When introducing new fresh
foods to any rabbit’s diet it is best to go slowly to allow the
gastrointestinal tract and all its important microorganisms to adjust.
Introduce one new food every three days and keep a watch on the stools. It is rare
for a rabbit that has been on a hay diet first, to have any problems using this
method, but if you note softer stools that persist over a couple of days, then
you might want to remove that food from your bunny’s diet. Keep a list as you
go of the foods that your rabbit has successfully eaten; you will then have a
handy shopping list when you go to the store!"
Once a person decides to become a pet parent, and commits to provide a loving, supportive and caring home for an animal in need, and they further understand the time and money commitment involved, then the next choice is to decide on what type of pet to adopt. By all means, dogs and cats living in shelters should certainly be considered and the simple act of animal adoption makes you a person of great character. But in addition to dogs and cats, rabbits should certainly be considered too. Then comes the question of the hour - Do Rabbits Make Good Pets? To help answer this question, Rabbit .org offers the following: "People who haven’t lived with rabbits often ask those who do
if rabbits make “good pets,” and if so, if they are more like dogs or cats.
Most house rabbit people don’t quite know how to respond to these questions,
not only because we have transcended such mundane matters in our own
relationships with rabbits, but also because the chauvinistic nature of the
questions themselves makes us feel uncomfortable.
It seems that for most people, an animal is perceived as a
“good pet” if she shows affection in ways human beings can understand without
much effort (e.g., lapsitting or coming when called), if she participates in
games humans easily comprehend (“catch,” “fetch,” or “chase the string”), or if
she makes an obvious effort to communicate vocally (barking to be let in or
out, mewing for supper). People usually seem fairly sure these qualities cannot
be expected in a rabbit, and hence, that rabbits would not make “good pets.”
Alternatively, some people expect such traits in all rabbits and may be
disappointed in one who is unwilling or unable to comply with their
The second question, “Are rabbits more like cats or dogs?”
is a natural to follow the first. My usual response is, “Are people more like
fish or cockatoos?” After all, rabbits are, first and foremost, like rabbits,
and the only way to find out what they are like is to live with one or more.
You’ll find that rabbits share a few characteristics with dogs, a few with
cats, and a few with humans. They probably even share a few with fish and cockatoos.
But mostly they’re like rabbits, and learning what rabbits are like is part of
the joy of living with them. The fact that this question, like the “good pets”
one, is asked at all makes clear the human position that in order to be
considered of value in our world, other species must conform to our notions of
what is “good.”
For many areas of the country this summer, we have had some pretty hot weather. As a responible pet parent, it is critical that you take steps to keep your pet rabbit cool, especially during times of high heat. But hot weather and rabbits do not mix well, so it is always best to plan ahead, take the necesssary steps and keep your bunny cool! HopperHome.com offers the following tips in Buns In The Sun: "Made for
Shade: Keep your rabbit out of the sun and have a cage in the
shade. Indoor rabbits with direct sun into their cage or pen in the
summer need to be protected, too. Heat passing through a window doesn't
escape back out so the room heats up. If you let your rabbit run in the
garden in the summer, have a shady place for it to rest.
Fans:A fan that will pass a breeze by the rabbit is great and
particularly a circulating fan so the breeze isn’t constant. Groucho
spends his summer by his own personal fan. Don't put the rabbit's cage in
front of an air conditioner and so they really "chill
out!" Be sure to bunny proof the cords!
Less Fur:On long-haired rabbits –
give them a "hare" cut for the summer. Also, brush
hair out of a bunny’s coat so there isn’t extra. After all, that is a fur
coat your rabbit is wearing in the summer.
Vegging Out:Vegetables help keep rabbits
hydrated so make sure they are getting plenty. Rinse the vegetables and
leave the water on them. Be sure they don't get too warm and remove if they
tiles, marble tiles or brick/cement pavers in the x-pen (puppy pen)/large cage
or in a favorite spot are cool areas for lounging rabbits.
a couple of ice cubes in their water crock or bowl – this will keep their
water cool and the ceramic crock will be nice for them to lounge next to when
it gets too warm. My rabbit, Rosemary, used to take them out to lick them
on the pen floor.
dissipate heat through their ears so you can mist them to help them keep cool.
Don’t make them wet – just mist occasionally. Plant misters work
well. A spray bottle full of water will scare a rabbit.
Cool Buddy:Freeze a
few 1 liter pop bottles full of water and then put a thin sock over the bottle,
then get wet under the faucet and put it in the rabbit’s
area. Rabbits will lay next to the bottle to cool off. I
keep one or two in the freezer all summer and rotate in the rabbit pen.
Rosemary and Groucho shared theirs by laying down with their bottle "ice
cube" between them. Hops is pictured next to his "cold
buddy." (Yes, that is a hole in the sock.)
Heat Stroke: If your rabbit gets heat
stroke, mist his ears. Absolutely no cold baths or
showers! Call your vet immediately!"
Having a pet rabbit can be a wonderful experience for you, your family and your bunny. When you bring a pet rabbit into your home, it is important to make sure that as many potential hazards are removed, just like you would with a new dog, cat or baby. Buunies chew, bunnies hop and bunnies like to play - all these make for a fun personality but can also get them into trouble. By simply taking the time to identify and address any potential dangers in your home, your pet rabbit will live safer and your family will reduce their stress levels!
One of the biggest dangers in your home are electric cords. the House Rabbit Society offers some great advice on rabbit-proofing:
"Why is rabbit proofing your home so important?
Preventing rabbits from chewing on electrical cords is of
utmost importance, since rabbits can be badly burned or electrocuted. The
consequences of biting into an electric wire are too severe to risk relying on
training alone. Instead, you must take action to move the cords safely out of
reach. Some ways of doing this follow.
So how do I keep electrical cords out of reach?
Spiral cable wrap Radio Shack sells something called “spiral
cable wrap”. It costs about $3 for 10 feet and works like a charm for most, but
not every bunny. (Some still manage to chew through it.)
This stuff is very flexible so the cords are still
manageable after wrapping. It works well with cords that you might have in the
middle of the room or might move quite often, such as vacuum cleaner, phone,
video game, extension, lamp and other cords. I keep my portable computer cord
wrapped this way, and it’s not too bulky.
Plastic tubing (similar to that used in fish tanks, or with
“swamp coolers”) from a hardware or aquarium store can be slit lengthwise with
a blade and the wire can be tucked safely inside. A harder, black, pre-slit type
of tubing is also available.
Decorative gold and wood-grained wire-concealers that stick
to the base of walls come in strips, corners, etc., so they can follow the
shape of the wall. This is a more costly and time consuming method than the
clear plastic tubing above, but is more permanent, and rabbit proof, as well.
Of course, Wires can be run behind or above furniture and
carpets, but do NOT run your wires under carpets, as this can create a serious
How do I keep my rabbit from eating house plants?
Many house plants are toxic. Putting them on high furniture
may not keep a rabbit away. Hang them from the ceiling if you have an active
bunny, but watch for falling leaves! If you are unsure which plants may be
toxic, the House Rabbit Handbook has a complete list of poisonous plants
(indoors and outdoors), as do two back issues of House Rabbit Journal."
Your pet rabbit's teeth are directly related to your rabbit's health. Her teeth continue to grow all the time, and a good bunny pet parent should keep an eye on her teeth, and take steps to help them wear down naturally. It helps to have a bit of insight about a rabbit's teeth, as well as the steps that you can take to make sure your pet rabbit stays healthy! Did you know that providing clean grassy hay is one thing that you can do to help your bunny's teeth? See what else you should know about your pet rabbit's teeth from the PetCareTips.net site:
"If you have pet rabbits, you probably know that a good rabbit keeper must always be concerned with their teeth because the condition of their teeth so much affects their health.
Here are some basic facts about rabbit teeth.
* Adult rabbits have twenty-eight teeth. There are two pairs of incisors in the top front of their mouths, with the second pair being much smaller and behind the large front teeth. There is also a pair of incisors at the front of the lower jaw.
* Rabbits don't have canine teeth, but they do have premolars and molars, called "cheek teeth". (Useful note: There is a good-sized space between the incisors and the cheek teeth that helps when you need to give the rabbit food or medicine by syringe.)
* Unlike our own teeth, rabbit teeth have no enamel and wear down quickly. The teeth of rabbits are also "open-rooted," meaning that they never stop growing throughout the rabbit's life. Happily, the nerves in rabbit teeth stop just below the gum line, so the constant wearing doesn't cause the rabbit any pain. * Rabbits have a strong instinct to gnaw, and domestic rabbits should always be supplied with plenty of clean grass hay as well as nontoxic wood branches or toys for gnawing, in order to prevent overgrowth of the incisors."
Before deciding to adopt any pet rabbit, please make sure that you have a plan to let your bunny have ample, safe and supervisied time to exercise, outside her rabbit hutch or rabbit home. It is healthy for your pet rabbit to get time to run and hop, and basically - be a rabbit! It is also importatnt that you provide your pet rabbit with a rabbit hutch or rabbit home that provides for some room to hop around inside. We always recommend that you choose a rabbit hutch or home that is as large as you can afford, and that will fit in the area that you are going to keep it. But remember that when it comes to rabbit housing, bigger is better. The Petfinder.com website suggests the following about exercise:
"Many people think that rabbits don’t require much room for housing or exercise. Not so! Rabbits have powerful hind legs designed for running and jumping. They need plenty of out-of-cage exercise time, as well as a cage that allows them to move freely. The minimum recommended cage space for a single rabbit is 2’ x 2’ x 4’. Although wire-bottom cages are common, they can ulcerate a rabbit’s feet. If you have a wire cage, cover the bottom with a piece of wood or corrugated cardboard. Better yet, buy a cage with a floor.
Your rabbit needs a safe exercise area with ample room to run and jump, either indoors or out. Any outdoor area should be fully enclosed by a fence. Never leave a rabbit unsupervised outdoors even for a few minutes! Cats, dogs and even predatory birds can easily get around fencing material. Also, rabbits can dig under fences and get lost. You can rabbit-proof an indoor area by covering all electrical wires and anything else your rabbit is likely to chew. Recommended exercise time for indoor rabbits is several hours per day"
Part of the enjoyment that most pet parents get from their pets is the joy of sharing "me time". This often involves patting, grooming and holding, especially with a pet rabbit. Pet rabbits are actually very fragile and to avoid injury to both bunny and bunny-picker-upper, it is important to learn the correct way to lift up your pet rabbit. The same is true for both holding and carrying your bunny. Think of these steps as a training process as well, which should help your pet rabbit to understand that everything is ok and there is no danger when you pick her up. Lastly, please realize that it generally is never a good idea for a small child to try to lift, hold or carry a bunny. It is better to have your child sit on the floor and possibly let the bunny sit on the child's lap or next to him or her, supervised, to enjoy some playful bonding time. Here are some tips on how to lift a pet rabbit from the House Rabbit Society: "Now that bunny is out, it's time to lift him. The following are directions (for right- handed people) if you are uncertain, or having trouble lifting your medium-to-large-sized rabbit.
Start with the rabbit on the floor, say, in the bathroom. Approach him slowly and pet him, leaving your hand on his head to discourage escape. Rabbits feel uneasy, and are most likely to struggle, when they are suspended in the air. So be prepared before you lift. Visualize how you want to hold the rabbit once you have lifted him. For example: the rabbit right side up, nose pointed to the left, left side along your midriff, supported by your right arm. Next, slide the rabbit around while he is still on the ground, until he matches this position, i.e. sideways and pointed left. Is he thinking of leaving? Keep your hand on his head, or gently grasp his shoulders. Do not lift by the scruff. If he runs, don't grab him. Follow him, using babytalk to lighten the moment. Wait until he stops, and start again.
Kneel, and keeping your left hand on his head, bend your torso close to him. Place your right arm along his right side, and put your right hand under his chest. If he accepts this, take your left hand from his head and use it to support his groin. Otherwise, lift using your hand to support the chest, and your arm to support the side and hindquarters. Scoop him to you and hold him firmly there. The key to this method is to position the rabbit within a few inches of you. That way you will shorten the suspended-in-air stage."
Choosing the right hay for your pet rabbit is important, not only so she gets the proper nutrition, but also to keep her healthy. There are several types of hay that are commercially available, some that are even organically grown. Hay is also important for your bunny's dental health as well. It is also important to enourage your pet rabbit to eat hay, as not all rabbits will readily do so. The following steps to make sure your pet rabbit is eating enough hay is from TheRabbitHouse.com "Despite the importance of hay, many rabbits are reluctant to eat it. This often stems from the availability of tasty but less healthy food, which can develop bad eating habits in young rabbits that can be difficult to change in later life. Not eating hay is a major factor in dental disease and illnesses relating to the gut, so putting in some hard work to encourage your rabbit to eat more has real health benefits. Here are some tips to encourage your rabbit to eat more hay:
Reduce the dry food you feed. Some foods are tastier than hay but, like humans, rabbits need to eat a balanced diet not just the foods that taste best. If your rabbit always has dry food available, it has no reason to eat hay. It's like sitting a child down with a free choice between cake and vegetables.
Feed tastier hay. Not all hay is the same; it comes in different varieties and flavours. Try different types of hay to see which your rabbit likes best. Make sure the hay is good quality and stored well. If your rabbit doesn't like hay, try fresh grass.
Rabbits are more likely to eat hay if it is near them at times they feel like eating. Rabbit's often like to eat whilst they are using their litter tray or resting so place hay in these areas. You may need to experiment to work out where your rabbit prefers the hay left.
Incorporate hay into toys and games. Some rabbits do not think of hay as food. Incorporating hay in to play activities that encourage your rabbit to pull, bite, and chew at the hay can help them to start tasting and nibbling on it. For example, try blocking a tunnel or box with hay so your rabbit has to remove the hay to get through.
Associate hay with food your rabbit likes. Try mixing dry food, vegetables, fresh grass, or herbs (dry or fresh) in to the hay so your rabbit has to dig through the hay to find food. Whilst searching through the hay your rabbit may accidently eat some and realise hay doesn't taste so bad after all."
The process of choosing the right name has haunted people for a long time. Soon to be parents may spend days, weeks or even months trying to choose the right name for their baby that has not yet arrived. For pet parents, it may be slightly easier because they often have the benefit of at least seeing and interacting with their new pet rabbit, before actually choosing a bunny name. When deciding on a name for your pet rabbit, consider your new bunny's colors, ears, feet, eyes and any other attribute such as one ear flopping over. Also take into account her behavior. Does she love to eat, get patted, jump around or rub on you? All of these characteristics that help make your pet rabbit unique can all be taken into account when naming your new best bunny friend! Think personality! Lastly, remember that a name that is easier for your bunny to learn, along with any younger members of your household, may be a good choice too. Now comes the fun part - below is a partial list of pet rabbit names to get you started from Best4Bunny.com "Abra & Cadabra, Acorn, Alpine, Amaretto, Amelia, Anoop, Applejack, Apples, Aquabelle, Arby, Artic, Attila, Auburn, B-bop, Baby belle, Babycakes, Baja, Barkley, Barlow, Barnacle
There are many rabbits, looking for kind and loving homes, ready to be adopted by caring pet parents. If possible, try to adopt a pet rabbit rather than buying one from a pet store or other source, to give adoptable bunnies a chance. There are many benefits to adopting a pet rabbit, just like adopting a pet cat, dog or other animal. In most areas, you can contact your local animal shelter as well as local rescue groups. Both can be a source of potentially great pet rabbits that will love you and your family! It is always important to learn about the proper care needed to be a responsible pet rabbit parent, and most shelters and rescues can help you with this as well. MyHouseRabbit.com provides the following information on the Benefits of Adopting: "Rescues often have rabbits of varying sizes, breeds, and ages. So, if you were looking specifically for a young, agouti mini lop, you will most likely find a good fit at the local shelter. But, you also might surprise yourself and fall in love with an older mixed breed rabbit once you start looking.
Aside from the ability to choose from a wide selection of different kinds of rabbits, adopting from a shelter or rescue is also very convenient. Volunteers at rescues take the time to acclimate rabbits to living in apartments and houses. In this way, the time you would have to take to train the rabbit is cut down considerably.
For example, volunteers will litter box train the rabbits as they come in, so although a rabbit may take a little while to adjust to living in a new home, you will not need to litter train your new bunny from scratch.
Furthermore, because a lot of rescued rabbits live in foster homes, many are accustomed to living in households with children and other pets. So if your household situation is similar, adopting a rabbit who is already comfortable in that environment makes the transition easier for both you and the rabbit.
If you were interested in having multiple pet rabbits, you may be able to adopt a bonded pair or trio. This saves you the time and effort of bonding the rabbits yourself. Adopting a bonded pair or trio is ideal if you work full time because the rabbits can entertain each other while you’re gone."
When you think about adopting a pet rabbit to add to your family, it is natural to think about the period of adjustment as your new bunny friend gets used to her new surroundings. How long does this take? How well do pet rabbits adjust? What does it take to help your new pet rabbit fit in and become a regular member of your family? All these are normal concerns, and the answer to most is that - thankfully, pet rabbits do adjust fairly easily and fairly well to a new loving home. It does help considerably to know what to expect, and what preparations to make. It will also be helpful to create the best environment at your home ahead of time so that when your bunny comes home, the transition will be a short and easy one. The Petfinder.com website offers the following advice: "Rabbits as Roommates
When you first bring your rabbit home, he is likely to be somewhat timid in his new surroundings. But given time and the freedom to explore, he will quickly make himself at home. As prey animals, rabbits steer clear of open spaces where they feel exposed, preferring to hug the wall and hide under furniture. A rabbit’s typical pattern of exploration is to start from an area of perceived safety and to venture out a few feet at a time, increasing his range with each successive trip. Some spirited thumping is not unusual as the rabbit encounters new aspects of his environment.
Territory is claimed and marked in several different ways—some of which can be disconcerting to new owners. Mature, unneutered males spray urine, and both males and females (even those who are reliably litterbox-trained) may leave what many owners tactfully refer to as “calling cards”—fecal pellets containing anal gland secretions that relay information to other rabbits and mark territory boundaries. They may also mark their territory by rubbing objects firmly and repeatedly with their chins, releasing a substance (imperceptible to humans) from a scent gland under the chin. Some rabbits consider human beings their own personal property, and many an unsuspecting owner has been liberally “marked” in more ways than one.
Most rabbits adapt remarkably quickly to the hustle, bustle and noise of a normal household, particularly if their cage or pen is placed in a high-activity area, such as a family room. This gives the rabbit a safe place from which to see, hear and smell all that is going on. Housing a rabbit in a child’s room or an extra bedroom, where there are sporadic bursts of activity, may actually delay the rabbit’s adjustment to normal family life.
Rabbits can also get along quite well with most domestic cats and many breeds of dogs. Even cats and dogs who chase small animals outdoors tend to accept indoor rabbits as co-equal family members and usually do not harass them if the owner is present. Introductions must be done carefully, and supervision of interactions is always a good idea."
Pet rabbits benefit greatly from both the time outside their rabbit hutch or rabbit home for exercise, as well as the social time your pet bunny gets to interact with you and your family. It is usually a good idea to spend some of this time training your pet rabbit, and having her come to you when you call her name can be a helpful thing for her to learn! Like training any other pet, it is important to be consistant when you train your pet rabbit, give her plenty of time to learn and reward her for being successful! Once she learns how to come to you when you call, impress your family and friends and have your bunny hop back to her cage when you call her. That one is always a crowd pleaser! The Pets on Mom.me website details the following steps to help train your pet rabbit to come to you:
"Getting Down to Her Level
Avoid training your rabbit outdoors, where it's easy for her
to run away. Instead, train her in a secure area of your home to prevent
escape, such as inside the garage, basement or other secure room. After you've
brought her cage into the chosen confined space, allow her to come out. To
appear less threatening and help gain her trust, lower yourself to your
rabbit's level. The ideal way to interact with your pet rabbit is on the
ground, according to Indiana House Rabbit Society. Rabbit training requires patience
and takes time.
Bribing the Bunny
If you know your rabbits favorite treat, hold it in your
hand and call her name. When giving commands, always issue the "come"
command before your rabbit's name. For example, you might hold out the treat
and say, "Come Fluffy." Keep your tone friendly and upbeat, rather
than sternly ordering her to come to you. When you initially begin training,
you might need to wave your hand in front of your rabbit to gain her attention.
When she finally comes to you, praise her and allow her to eat the treat. With
repeated practice, your bunny will equate hearing her name with receiving a
tasty snack if she comes to you.
Leaving the Rewards Behind
After your bunny learns to come to you in short distances,
began training her at longer distances. If you have a fenced-in area of your
backyard, release her from the cage and issue the "come" command from
across the yard. Or, issue the command from a different room of your home. Once
she begins consistently coming to you when called, begin weaning her off the
treats so she learns to obey the command without always receiving a reward.
Hopping for the Best
For the best results, always call your rabbit by her name
rather than alternating with nicknames. You should use the same command each time,
so she learns "come" means that she's expected to come to you. To
protect your rabbit's health, only give her healthy treats, such as small
pieces of fruit or vegetables. Avoid processed treats from pet stores that are
typically high in sugar and artificial ingredients. Be patient -- some rabbits
train faster than others."