Are You Rabbit Ready?
A quick guide to rabbit readiness.
Is a Rabbit the Right Companion for You?
What a rabbit is...
Excellent home companion
What type of Companion do You Desire?
Understand the animal you plan to share your life and home with.
Remember, it's a commitment for the life of the animal you choose. A healthy well cared for rabbit can live an average of ten years.
Where to Find Your Rabbit
Never purchase a rabbit from a pet store, flea market, or back yard breeder.
Your local animal shelter
Contact the animal shelters in your area. In the upstate of South Carolina, The Spartanburg Humane Society does take rabbits.
The Greenville Humane Society does not take rbbits.
Your local animal rescue organizations
Contact the animal rescues in your area. Not all take rabbits, but it's worth checking them out, plus they can most likely put you in touch with the rescues that do take rabbits.
Local organizations in South Carolina
Preparing for Your Rabbit's Arrival
Before getting a rabbit, make sure you have researched rabbit savvy veterinarians in your area.
Take your rabbit to your veterinarian for a wellness check, spay/neuter appointment, and most vital of all, their RHDV2 vaccination.
If you have other rabbits in your home or if you are in contact with other rabbits, it's important to quarantine your rabbit for fourteen days to help prevent the possible spread of RHDV2 to other rabbits.
Bunny proof your home. Everything within your rabbit's reach is fair game for chewing. Pillows, draperies, upholstery, wood, carpet fringe, and electrical cords are a few of their favorites.
Determine where your rabbit will live within your home. Will she have the run of the entire house, or specified areas only?
Select a location for the rabbit's "home base" which includes her food and water dishes, litter box, and sleeping crate or kennel.
Acclimating your rabbit to her new home.
Put your rabbit in her closed crate or pen (as in the photo) in the area you have designated as her "home base".
To house break your rabbit, keep her in the closed crate or pen area for the first five days. Clean the litter box, and the crate or pen daily. Make sure your rabbit has food and water daily also.
At the end of the five days, open the crate or pen door and let her begin exploring on her own. Her "home base" is her safe place where she will return to rest, eat, and use her litter box.
What to feed your rabbit...bread, potato chips,ice cream? No way! Rabbits require large amounts of fiber to stay healthy. An improper diet is the main cause of many diseases. Chronic soft stools, liver and kidney disease, gastrointestinal disorders, dental disease, and obesity are all attributed to improper diet. Obesity can cause a rabbit to develop diabetes and heart disease.
For detailed information on diet, please read "Feeding Rabbits for Optimal Health" by Cynthia K. Wheat, DVM, which can be found on our website and is the source for information found in this presentation.
What's a Bunny to Eat?
In order of importance in the rabbit's diet are:
1. Hay - make available to your rabbit 24/7. Hay helps with proper digestion, and normal tooth wear. Grass hays like Timothy, Bermuda, and Prairie are best. Alfalfa is high in calories and should only be used sparingly. Hay cubes are an acceptable choice too.
2. Fresh raw vegetables - feed your rabbit fresh veggies every day. Selections like kale, mustard greens, beet tops, carrot tops, broccoli, mint, collards, and parsley - to name a few. Be sure veggies are clean and pesticide free before serving.
What's a Bunny to Eat?
3. Pellets - commercial rabbit pellets are high in calories and low in fiber. They are designed to grow rabbits quickly for commercial purposes like meat or fur.
Pellet portions depend on the rabbit's weight, as follows:
2 - 4 pounds = 1/8 cup
5 -7 pounds = 1/4 cup
8 - 10 pounds = 1/2 cup
11 - 15 pounds = 3/4 cup
4. Dont forget that your bunny needs plenty of fresh, clean water 24/7 also.
Spay/Neuter Your Rabbit
It's a good idea to spay or neuter your rabbit, even if you have only one. Your rabbit will be healthier since spaying prevents uterine cancer, and neutering prevents testicular cancer. Additionally, your rabbit will be more content, and unwanted behaviors such as spraying urine will be eliminated.
Other Health Considerations
Your bunny should have an annual wellness checkup too.
Eyes - should be clear and bright
Ears - should be clean and free of ear mites
Teeth - could need trimming by your veterinarian
Nails - could need trimming