With Easter fast approaching, you have certainly heard the stories about the families who want to get a bunny for their kids. Maybe you are even considering this for your own family! You have also likely heard the warnings and dangers about why this is not a good idea. While many children are indeed caring animal lovers and act very responsibly with pets, bunnies have a very different set of requirements and basic care needs than your average family dog.
Don’t get us wrong – bunnies can make wonderful family pets. They are obviously adorable, they like to snuggle, and they always put a smile on a child’s face. They are both trainable and clean; however, there are also some very serious things to consider in order to ensure your family is ready for a bunny and that the bunny will have a happy, healthy, long life.
Nice and simple, here are the pros and cons of having a bunny in the house.
- If spayed or neutered, healthy and well cared for house rabbits can easily live eight to twelve years. It’s essential to keep them on a balanced diet with high-quality kibble, timothy hay, and a nice variety of fresh vegetables.
- Rabbits are fastidiously clean animals by nature. Within their own cage setting, they will set up house with a living area and a separate bathroom area. Outside the cage, they can be litter box trained just like cats.
- Rabbits are also highly trainable in other ways. They can learn to walk on a leash, come to you when you call their name and do tricks, as well. All of this training can be achieved using basic methods like clicker and treat training.
- Rabbits can also get along well with other pets. Many people who have bunnies as pets also have cats, dogs or both. It’s a wonderful sight to see when a bunny and a cat are romping around playing together.
- Soft, cuddly snuggle bunnies! House rabbits are social creatures you can form everlasting bonds with. Once that bond is formed, they are happy to lie on the couch and fall asleep next to you.
- Bunny binkies are a sight to behold! When your rabbit is happy, there is no mistaking his behavior as he bounces across the room, contorting his body mid-air.
- It’s imperative to find a vet that is qualified to treat pets other than cats and dogs, which can be more difficult than it sounds. Your vet may be an ace at treating Fido and Fluffy, but a rabbit’s body is extremely different and, therefore, requires different treatments. Bunnies have sensitive digestion systems that are actually more similar to horses than to cats or dogs. It’s also a good idea to spay or neuter your bunny.
- House rabbits require lots of exercise to be healthy and happy. While most people prefer to provide a bunny with a cage to serve as housing, it’s absolutely necessary to let them out for daily playtime. Many rabbits can even be left loose all day as long as they are supervised.
- Bunny-proofing the house is absolutely essential. Because rabbits are so low to the ground and chew absolutely everything they can get their teeth on, it can be somewhat challenging to ensure all the power cords, outlets and toxic plants are secured and out of reach.
- Rabbits need a lot of attention from their people and are very social creatures. If you work 12-hour days and don’t have the time to socialize with a bunny, it’s probably not the right pet for you.
- Bunnies, like any other pet, are lifetime commitments. Due to their sensitive natures and strong bonds with their people, it’s not easy on them to be re-homed or taken to a shelter. If you adopt a bunny, make sure you are ready to make him a permanent part of your family.
Making the Right Decision for Bunny and You
Now that you have the basic facts about bunnies, please make sure you thoroughly research house rabbit care and discuss it with your entire family if you are considering having one as a pet. Keep in mind that small children may pose a threat to a bunny if they don’t fully understand how to handle one. If your family decides you are ready to have a bunny in your life, please adopt one from a rescue or shelter and do not ever buy one from a breeder or pet store.
And of course, remember, a bunny is not an Easter present; it’s a family member for life.
Lead image source: Orlandkurtenbach/Wikimedia Commons