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Is A Rabbit The Right Pet For You?

In the wild rabbits by nature are pretty shy animals – they enjoy the company of other rabbits but being prey animals, tend to be timid creatures. A little of this characteristic has rubbed off on to domestic bunnies which means it can take time for a pet rabbit to trust their new owners. Rabbits also get lonely which can lead to depression if left on their own for great lengths of time. This means you have to spend lots of time with them if you do decide to adopt or buy a rabbit as a pet – if you don't have the time, then getting a rabbit as a pet is not a good idea at all.

Have Your Got Enough Time?

Rabbits love to be groomed, stroked and they love to play. Messing around with your pet as much as you can creates a strong bond with them – the result is an extremely happy bunny and a content owner.

What Do Rabbits Need?

Pet rabbits are busy creatures, they have loads of energy which means they need the space to run around in – they have to be let out of their hutches if kept outside, at least once a day so they get the exercise they need to have. An enclosed run in a garden is ideal, as long as it is large and safe enough for them to be in and then left unsupervised. It is never a good idea to let your pet rabbit run freely around your garden unless you are absolutely sure there are no poisonous plants growing there – the list of toxic plants for rabbits is long with a lot of common garden plants being on it. House rabbits have the best life because they are treated very much like cats and dogs. Bunnies kept indoors can easily be litter trained – and they have all the space they need to run around in. As long as they have enough toys, they are not destructive either – some people like to keep house rabbits in large cages when they are at work – but then let them out when they get home.


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Rabbits Need Lots of Care & Attention

For a long time, many rabbit owners did not realise just how intelligent their pets were – but rabbits are also very sensitive creatures who love to interact with their owners. The great thing about bunnies is they are more than capable of looking after themselves in a domestic environment – but they do rely on their owners to provide a clean and safe one for them to live in. Rabbits need to be given the right kind of food to eat. Their diet is very important to their well being – fresh food and plenty of good quality hay will ensure they thrive and live to ripe old ages. Rabbits also need a constant supply of fresh clean water. Hutches and litter trays need to be kept as clean as possible which means you have to be able to spend time doing this on a daily and weekly basis – there's a lot of commitment to owning and looking after a pet rabbit. Rabbits are sensitive, delicate little creatures which means you need to learn how to handle them carefully. They never like to be picked up and because their skeletons are not very robust, rabbits can easily be injured by mistake when not handled with care. Rabbits have a tendency to struggle when being carried and this can result in owners dropping them with disastrous results.

Setting Up a Hutch and Looking After a Rabbit Costs Money

Buying or adopting a pet rabbit does not cost very much money. However, setting up a safe hutch and buying all the other things needed to keep a pet rabbit can soon add up as shown below:

  • Cost of hutch or cage could be between £50 – £200 or more with indoor cages starting at about £50. Outdoor hutches and runs start at about £80-100. The thing to remember is you need a cage or hutch big enough for the size of your rabbit
  • Cost of accessories is around £50 which includes food bowls, water bottles, brushes, claw clippers, toys and a carrying basket for when you take your pet rabbit to the vets
  • Cost of food would be in the region of £5 - £7 a week and this includes good quality hay, fresh foods and a small amount of dried food
  • Cost of bedding would be around £3 - £5 a week which would cover straw, wood shavings or any other type of rabbit bedding you may choose to use
  • Cost of neutering or spaying male and female rabbit is in the region of £40 - £80 with males being slightly less expensive than females
  • Cost of vaccination for two very necessary ones being Myxomatosis and VHD is in the region of £20 - £50 – then you have the follow up vaccinations to think about
  • Other medical expenses to consider are for illnesses and any injuries which can run into hundreds of pounds which is why rabbit insurance is worth considering. This costs about £30 - £40 a year

These costs are just approximate figures but they give a good idea of the total cost keeping a rabbit as a pet. Then of course, you have to think about the time you need to spend with your rabbit to make sure they are kept happy, busy and content.

Do Rabbits Make Good Pets For Children?

Traditionally, rabbits have always been thought of as the perfect pet for children to have. But the problem is that many children 'grow out' of their pet rabbits and forget to spend the time needed with them. Cleaning out hutches usually then falls onto parents' shoulders which can prove to be a chore at times. Rabbits do make fantastic pets but for the whole family. Children need to be taught not only how to treat their pets but how to look after them too. Kids need to learn how to interact with their pet rabbits on the ground and taught not to pick them up – they also need to understand that rabbits are delicate creatures that can be injured if dropped. Larger breeds are ideal as family pets where there are small children because they tend to be a lot calmer and a lot heavier making it harder for small kids to pick them up.

Conclusion

You need to consider very carefully whether a pet rabbit would be the ideal pet for you and your family. Rabbits need a lot of time, care and attention spent on them, they cannot be left to their own devices shut up in a hutch all day. If you think you have the time and money to spend on a pet rabbit – there is one thing you can be sure of and that is they are superb little creatures to have around, owning one will change your ideas about them forever!


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