Rabbits make amazing pets and can bring joy to a family. This time of year we see many people tempted to adopt a rabbit just in time for Easter. However, before you choose to bring home a fluffy little bunny for the holiday you need to understand the commitment and responsibility that comes along with being a rabbit owner. Did you know rabbits live typically between 8 and 10 years and require the same long-term care as other pets such as cats or dogs? Despite what many people think, rabbits are not low-maintenance animals. They have very specific dietary needs and must be handled with care.
If you are really considering getting a bunny or rabbit for your family, we recommend that you don’t rush into anything for Easter. Start by giving a stuffed toy bunny to your child. If after the holidays you have a child who is adamant about getting a pet rabbit, purchase them a book on rabbit care. We recommend the “House Rabbit Handbook” by Marinell Harriman. This is a great instructional guide to the proper care and attention needed to successfully own a rabbit.
If at this point your family still feels comfortable in the idea of adopting a bunny, visit your local animal center. Here at the Humane Society of Greater Dayton we have a number of wonderful bunnies and rabbits available for adoption. We also have expert volunteers on hand that can answer your questions and help you decide the type and breed of rabbit that best fits the needs of your family.
Never thought about adopting a rabbit before? Here are some reasons why they make fantastic pets:
They don’t require a lot of space
If you live in an apartment or small space, a rabbit can be ideal for you. When housed indoors, they can be kept in a suitable-sized cage or exercise pen. They typically need a cage that is large enough for them to move around comfortably, hold a litter pan, contains their food and water and allows a spot for resting or hiding. Some rabbits can even be kept like cats and have free range of your home with proper litter box training and bunny proofing. Make sure to give them plenty of time each day outside of their cage to stretch their legs and hop around and play.
Rabbits are quiet pets
If you live in a home where walls are thin and neighbors are less than enthusiastic to hear your pet barking, squawking or running amuck, consider adopting a rabbit. Rabbits make little to no noise and will keep both you and your neighbors happy.
They are very social companions and form strong bonds
Rabbits are very curious, playful and social creatures that enjoy spending time with their owners. They can also enjoy socializing with other family members, children and pets with adult supervision. Some single rabbits bond so strongly with their owners that they come when called and even jump up onto an open lap.
Rabbits can have big personalities
Just like cats or dogs, each rabbit has its own distinct personality. From being very affectionate and playful to rather shy or reserved, every rabbit is different. To make sure you are picking a rabbit that fits with your personality and needs, spend some time with the bunny first to make sure you are a good match. Often staff at your local shelter or rescue can help you select the rabbit that is best suited for you based on their experience with each rabbit.
You can train your rabbit
Rabbits are very smart animals and with proper positive reinforcements they can be trained like other pets. Rabbits instinctively will use a litter box, much like a kitten or cat, if they’ve been spayed or neutered and it is readily available to them. Some rabbits enjoy activities like agility courses and can be trained using clickers or treats such as fresh fruit. Depending on your rabbit’s personality and activity level, the possibilities are endless.
There is a rabbit for everyone
Just as with dogs, cats or other animals, there are dozens of sizes, colors and temperaments in rabbits. It’s important to do your research before adopting to ensure you are getting a rabbit that would fit best with the needs of your household.
Rabbits can live a long life
If you are looking for not just a loyal pet, but one that will be with you for a while, then a rabbit is perfect for you. When kept indoors and cared for with proper diet and grooming, a rabbit can live an average of eight to 10 years. Rabbits don’t require annual vaccinations, but do require care from a veterinarian that specialized in small animal medicine.
If you are interested in learning more about rabbits, please contact the Humane Society of Greater Dayton. We have many rabbits available for adoption and would love to have one of our Bunny Brigade volunteers help you find your perfect match! For more information on adopting a rabbit, contact the Humane Society of Greater Dayton at 937-268-PETS (7387).