First of all, congratulations on adopting a house rabbit! Rabbits are intelligent, social animals who need affection, and they can become wonderful companion animals if given a chance to interact with their human families. Here is some advice and tips to living with a house rabbit.
SPAY AND NEUTER!
Although most rabbits will use a litter-box, hormones may cause unneutered males and unspayed females to “mark territory.” Spaying or neutering your rabbit improves litter-box habits, lessens chewing behavior, decreases territorial aggression, and gives your rabbit a happier, longer life.
FIND A RABBIT SAVVY VET
Not all vets are knowledgeable with rabbits, unfortunately. There are many things that are important to know when working with rabbits, that a normal vet usually isn’t aware of. Make sure you find a vet that is experienced with working on rabbits. This link will help you find a vet in your area that is recommended about the House Rabbit Society.
BUNNY PROOF YOUR HOUSE
Bunny-proofing your home is part of living with a house rabbit. It is natural for rabbits to chew on furniture, rugs, drapes, and, most deadly of all, electrical cords. Cords must be concealed so that the rabbit cannot reach them. Exposed cords can be encased in vinyl tubing (found at hardware stores), which is what we use around here. Give your rabbit enough attention, safe chewables, and toys, so that he or she is distracted from chewing furniture and rugs. Young rabbits (under a year) are more inclined to mischief and require more confinement and/or bunny-proofing than mature rabbits. I will post later with more in depth tips on bunny proofing, and show you how my house is bunny proofed.
DIET IS IMPORTANT
- Limited pellets daily
- Fresh water
- Hay /straw (for digestive fiber and chewing recreation)
- Fresh salad veggies/fruit (add gradually) Here is a link to a rabbit-safe list of fruits and veggies.
KNOW THESE DANGER SIGNS
Rabbits are very fragile and can die in just 48 hours if left untreated. If your rabbit stops eating or pooping, it is an emergency. If your rabbits starts to show any of the following, call your vet immediately.
- Diarrhea with listlessness
- Sudden loss of appetite with bloat and abdominal gurgling
- Loss of appetite with labored breathing
- Loss of appetite with runny nose
- Head tilt
- Incontinence (urine-soaked rear legs)
- Abscesses, lumps or swellings anywhere
- Any sudden behavior change