What you need to know before getting a new rabbit

Everybody loves the idea of adding a cute, long-eared ball of fluff to the family. Rabbits are adorable, and they could easily seem like a good first pet for your growing family. However, when getting any pet, it’s important to do your research so you can make sure it’s the right fit for you and your family. So, if you are considering getting a pet rabbit, here are a few things you need to know.

What you need to know before getting a new rabbit

July 19, 2018

1It’s a long-term deal

Rabbits can live for up to ten to twelve years. This is very important when considering whether or not you want to get a hopping companion. Like any pet, you need to be sure that your family is ready for a long- term commitment. Rabbits require lots of attention and care, they aren’t pets who can be left to “do their own thing.” Make sure you are up to date with the feeding, cleaning and daily requirements for your pet, dependent on whether you are planning to keep your rabbit in an enclosure or allow them to roam freely.

2Choosing the right pet rabbit

There is a large variety of different rabbits available in South Africa, each one with his own quirks, characteristics and benefits. Have you thought about whether you want a smaller rabbit or a larger breed? Larger rabbits are more docile and robust, they are recommended for children with adult supervision. It’s also important to consider your pet rabbit’s coat before choosing a pet rabbit. Rabbits with longer fur will require more combing and grooming to prevent hairballs.

3Rabbit-Proof your home

Rabbit-proofing your home focuses on three main components. Preventing rabbits from destroying items, protecting your rabbit and providing safe and alternative things to chew. Rabbits are notorious for being quirky and fun but can sometimes be quite mischievous pets. Be prepared to rabbit-proof your home if you’re planning on letting your pet rabbit hop around the house. Rabbits love to nibble on loose wires or furniture, so be sure to cover them or move them out of the way from curious bunny bites. Make sure to provide your rabbit with plenty of chew toys to help ease the temptation of chewing what he's not supposed to.

4Two is better than one

Consider adopting more than one rabbit, as they are highly social animals. Because they are social animals, they tend to be calmer and have more ease of mind when they know another rabbit is looking out for them. It’s very important, however, that you adopt rabbits who are the same sex or consider spaying or neutering your rabbits - unless you are emotionally and physically prepared for a breeding pair, as the saying ‘breeding like rabbits’ is more of a fact than anything else. Spaying and neutering your rabbits will also decrease aggression.

5It’s not just sunshine and carrots

To humans, rabbits are generally portrayed as having only one true love – carrots. In reality, however, a rabbit’s diet is a lot more complex. Rabbits are small herbivores with very specific feeding requirements. Rabbits are also selective eaters and choose to eat nutrient rich-leaves and new plant shoots. Speak to our friendly Family Pet Clinic staff to get great advice about providing your pet rabbit with a healthy, varied and balanced rabbit diet. The bulk of your rabbit’s diet should consist out of either Teff or Timothy hay, as well as some fresh veggies and commercial rabbit pellets. Small pieces of veggies should be considered a treat. Fresh foods are a good addition to add every now and again as it adds moisture to your rabbit’s diet. Use caution when feeding your rabbit vegetables in the cabbage family as they can cause painful gas in some rabbits. Other foods to avoid are iceberg lettuce, nuts, beans, onion, potatoes, seeds or garlic.

The bulk of fresh veggies for your rabbit should contain out of fresh leafy greens like Parsley, Spinach, Beet Greens and Radish Tops. Other vegetables that shouldn’t make up more than 15% of their diet include carrots, celery, zucchini squash, bell peppers, broccoli and edible flowers such as roses, nasturtium, pansies and hibiscus.

 

If you’re already the proud owner of a rabbit, take a look at everything you need to keep your rabbit happy and healthy, from bedding and food to leashes. Visit our online store here: https://familypetcentre.co.za/collections/collars-leads-harnesses-for-small-pets.  If you have any questions or would like some more tips about caring for a pet rabbit, feel free to contact us or visit our store.

Sources

https://www.msdvetmanual.com/exotic-and-laboratory-animals/rabbits/nutrition-of-rabbits
https://www.msdvetmanual.com/all-other-pets/rabbits/selecting-a-rabbit
https://rabbit.org/greens-are-great/
https://rabbit.org/suggested-vegetables-and-fruits-for-a-rabbit-diet/https://rabbit.org/faq-rabbit-proofing/
https://rabbit.org/better-with-two/


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