Did you know that February is Adopt A Rescued Rabbit Month? There’s certainly never a bad time to adopt one of these charming little pets. However, while bunnies are adorable, there is a lot more to owning them than taking cute pictures. These little furballs require a lot of care. You’ll need to think carefully before adopting one of them. In this article, a local Derby, KS veterinarian offers tips on how to bring a bunny into your life.

Why Do Rabbits Chew So Much?

Rabbits are basically tiny, adorable chewing machines. Floppy isn’t trying to be destructive: she’s trying to keep her teeth healthy. Wild bunnies eat a lot of tough roots and fibers: their teeth have adapted to this, and never stop growing. Due to their softer diets, pet rabbits must chew quite a bit in order to keep their choppers from becoming too long.

There are two reasons why this is important. 

First, you’ll need a pretty endless supply of chew toys. Many cardboard, wood, and wicker items are fine. Just avoid anything with small parts, as well as anything covered in decorative substances, such as glitter or dye. 

Petproofing is also crucial. You must make your home safe for your furry pal … and protect your belongings from those little teeth. Put anything you don’t want Floppy gnawing on out of reach of those cute paws. You should also cover furniture legs, baseboards, and wires with protective coverings.

Do Rabbits Do Better With Friends?

Bunnies are very sociable, and are happiest with a buddy to play with and snuggle up to. Consider adopting a bonded pair. You’ll get double the cuteness, but not necessarily at double the cost: your furry pals will be able to share many of their things.

How Do I Take Good Care Of A Rescued Rabbit?

As with any other pet, bunnies need good food, clean water, and a comfortable environment. Your furry pal will need lots of daily free time. You’ll have to petproof your home, or at least the rooms Floppy will be allowed into. You’ll also need to find a vet who works with rabbits: not all do. This is also a great source of advice! We’re always happy to answer questions. 

What Should And Shouldn’t You Feed A Pet Rabbit?

Good grass hay, such as Timothy hay, should make up the bulk of your pet’s menu. You’ll need to make sure your rabbit always has plenty available. You can supplement this with commercial bunny food as well as safe fruits and veggies. Many fruits are fine: in fact, Floppy has a bit of a sweet tooth. Just be careful, as too much sugar isn’t good for your pet. Consult your veterinarian for specific advice.

You’ll also need to learn what is and isn’t safe for bunnies. However, this can be challenging, as some items that seem fine may actually be harmful. For example, bread, biscuits, and pasta are not poisonous, but can upset your bunny’s stomach. Iceberg lettuce, avocado, tomato and potato leaves, garlic and onions should be avoided. Additionally, oatmeal, coconut, chilis, cookies, candy, chocolate, junk food and any foods with seeds or pips can also be harmful to your pet. There are also foods that should only be fed sparingly. Do plenty of research, and ask your vet for specific advice.

How Do I Properly Set Up A Bunny Cage?

First and foremost: make sure you offer a roomy, comfortable cage. Many of the products sold as bunny cages are actually too small. Rabbits are very active, and will get quite unhappy if they are cooped up too long. Make sure your cute pet has plenty of space to jump around, stand up, sit down, and play, without touching the top or sides of her cage.

Choosing something with a solid floor is also important. Mesh floors do not hold bedding, and can cause paw and leg injuries. Additionally, they’re just not very comfortable. When choosing bedding, steer clear of anything made of hardwoods, such as pine or cedar, as their oils can cause respiratory issues in small animals. 

You’ll need to spot-clean Floppy’s cage daily, and follow up with more thorough cleanings regularly.

In addition, you will need to provide the following:

  • Toys
  • A Hide Box
  • Hay Rack
  • Water bottles
  • Litterbox (optional)

Ask your Derby, KS veterinary clinic for more specific information.

Do Bunnies Like To Cuddle?

Some of these cute furballs are quite affectionate. However, this isn’t universal: there are also many timid bunnies out there, who will prefer to sit beside you rather than curl up on your lap. Rabbits may also show affection in other ways, such as rubbing your chin. Attempted grooming is another cute sign of bunny affection.

Why Are There So Many Adoptable Rabbits?

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to adopt rabbits on impulse, often without being aware of how much care they require. Some are rehomed or surrendered to shelters, while others are released into nature. This is very sad, as pets are not equipped to fend for themselves. Many don’t survive long before succumbing to weather, predators, illnesses, or injuries. Reach out to a local shelter or bunny rescue if you find an abandoned bunny.

How Do You Bond With Rescue Rabbits?

Before you can earn Floppy’s love, you’ll have to earn her trust. Rabbits are somewhat timid. This makes sense, as they are prey animals in the wild.

Here are a few tips:

Don’t Force Things: It’s important for your pet to feel safe.  It may take some time for your bunny to warm up to you. That’s fine! Never pick her up or hold her against her will. That may scare her, which will do more harm than good in the long run.

Get Down To Floppy’s Level: if you think about it, you’re pretty much a giant. Sit or lie down on the floor, so you aren’t towering over your furry friend.

Keep Things Calm And Quiet: Avoid loud noises and sudden movements. Otherwise, you may inadvertently scare Floppy.

Learn Bunny Body Language: Happy bunnies tend to be very curious and playful. Really happy bunnies may reward you with binkies, which are basically bunny happy dances. Knowing the signs of anxiety is also important. These include freezing, sitting in a hunched position, acting aggressively, and flattening the ears.

Talk To Your Bunny: When talking to Floppy, watch those cute ears, and pay attention to your pet’s. It does not matter what you say: the tone of your voice is more important.

Give Floppy Treats: Food can earn animals’ trust, and is often a wonderful tool for bonding and training.  Floppy’s sweet tooth can come in handy here. Offer things you know are safe, such  as sliced apples, strawberries, dried bananas, and melons. Ask your Derby, KS  vet for specific advice.

In Conclusion: Rabbits make wonderful pets, but they need a lot of care. make sure you do plenty of research before you bring one home.

We covered some of the basics of bunny care in this blog, but there’s a lot more to learn. Contact us, your local Derby, KS veterinary clinic, with any questions. We’re here to provide excellent care!