WELLINGTON COUNTY- It’s generally accepted that rabbits are adorable creatures. They hop around, are most active in the early hours of the afternoon and are known to be quiet pets, making them a great fit for families with children. When properly cared for they make loving and loyal companions, but require much more care than most people realize.
It is estimated that as many as 80% of all rabbits purchased at Easter die or are abandoned before their first birthday.
Too often owners are unprepared for the commitment involved in keeping them. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to understand the reality of owning a pet rabbit before taking one home.
– Research different breeds and their characteristics to find one that is a good fit for your family and lifestyle.
– Consider adopting a rabbit from a local shelter or recue organization instead of buying from a pet store or breeder.
– Make sure you have enough space for a rabbit to live comfortably, including a large cage or pen and a separate area for them to run and play.
– Provide your rabbit with a healthy diet of hay, fresh vegetables, and a small amount of rabbit-specific pellets.
– Spend time interacting and bonding with your rabbit daily.
– Don’t buy a rabbit on impulse without considering the commitment required to properly care for one.
– Don’t buy a rabbit as a surprise gift for someone without their prior knowledge and consent.
– Don’t neglect the daily care and attention a rabbit needs.
– Don’t keep a rabbit in a small cage or hutch without regular opportunities for exercise and socialization.
– Don’t feed your rabbit a diet high in sugary or processed foods, as this can lead to health problems.
Prepare for a long-term commitment
Rabbits can live more than 10 years so it is important to consider whether you can commit to them for that long before bringing one into your home. Not only do they need daily exercise and stimulation, they also require specialized veterinary care.
Due to their unique anatomy and physiology, not all vets are knowledgeable about rabbits so it’s important to find one who specializes in rabbit care before going through with adoption.
The cost of vet visits, vaccinations, spay/neuter surgeries, medications, supplements, and more should also be factored in when considering whether or not a pet rabbit is a good fit.
Rabbits are not low-maintenance pets
A common misconception about pet rabbits is that they don’t require much effort from their owners; unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
Unlike cats or dogs who can simply be let out into the backyard for fresh water and exercise, rabbits need much more active engagement from their owners in order to thrive.
Regular, monitored trips outside in a fenced off area provide opportunity for exercise and allow them to feed on grass, which helps with digestion.
Expensive pets to own
In addition to veterinary costs, there are other expenses associated with keeping a pet rabbit. Hutches, food bowls, litter boxes, bedding materials, toys and chew sticks can all add up over time.
There’s also the cost of fresh vegetables to consider since rabbits need regular access to these foods to stay healthy.
Research is important to in order to know exactly what kind of expenses can be expected down the line.
Exercise & stimulation
Rabbits need daily exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Without regular activity they can become depressed or even obese—neither of which is good for them. A bored bunny may resort to chewing on furniture or other items around the house.
To prevent this from happening, owners should provide their rabbits with plenty of activities such as digging areas lined with hay or tunnels made out of cardboard boxes.
Lack of affection
The hard truth is, rabbits can sometimes come across as little remembers. While some rabbits might show affection from time to time – the occasional nose nudge here and there – generally speaking, they don’t show their appreciation as a cat or dog might.
If the ideal pet is an animal that will regularly cuddle up with the kids, a rabbit might not be the best choice.
Owning a rabbit can be incredibly rewarding, but certainly comes with its own unique set of challenges.
If this list comes across as a bit overwhelming, it might be a better idea to stick with a chocolate rabbit this Easter.