If you’re considering getting a rabbit as a family pet, you are probably concerned about caring for your rabbit and making sure that it is healthy, happy and safe. You understand that you are taking on a living being, for its entire lifespan, and that you are responsible for making sure she has everything she needs not only to survive, but to thrive and prosper in your care. While this is a big responsibility, taking care of your rabbit is fairly straightforward.
The most important thing you can do for your bunny is protect her from the hot sun. If she is outdoors, she must have shade if the temperature is above 80 degrees, and if you live in a very hot climate, keeping bunnies outdoors is not recommended. When rabbits get hot they become restless, and overheating is as dangerous to them as it is to humans. So make sure that you keep your rabbit safe from heat, or excessive cold. Extreme temperatures are no better for pet rabbits (which are not as hardy as wild arbbits) than they are for humans.
Of course, you’ll need to provide a safe, clean cage for your rabbit. Most cages sold as “rabbit cages” in pet stores are too small; get a large rabbit cage or find instructions for building rabbit cages online, and create a custom cage for your bunny. Rabbits need room to eat and have their litter boxes, and also room to move around their cages and play. Make sure you have plenty of rabbit-safe toys available, and switch out their toys occasionally if they get bored.
Most of the commercial rabbit pellets available provide perfectly adequate nutrition for your rabbit, and it is important to feed her a nutritionally balanced diet. Using ready-made pellets and providing treats in the form of vegetables is probably the best way to accomplish this, and gives you the confidence that your bunny is getting all her nutrients and also enjoying her snacks, which you can feed her by hand if you wish.
Always make sure that your rabbit is safe and protected not only from predators if outside, but also from anything in the house that she might get into. If you’re going to let her run free in the house, make sure you rabbit-proof it first, and preferably give her one room where she can run loose and play, which is completely prepared for her presence.
Rabbits need attention, love and play and exercise time, just like any other pet, and they also need you to get to know them, watch them carefully, and note any changes in their behavior, diet, or droppings, so that you know if they’re ill or injured.
Caring for a pet rabbit is really not much different from caring for any pet; it’s a matter of paying attention and giving the love and nurturing that your bunny needs. In return, she will love and cherish you and give you many years of enjoyment and fun.