Rabbit Care

Rabbits are wonderful pets. They”re quiet, don”t demand too much attention, and are very happy being near you. Of course, like all other pets, rabbits do require special care in order to lead a long, healthy life.

Housing Your Rabbit

Rabbits should be kept indoors where you can control the temperature and the amount of light. House your rabbit in a cage. The cage should be at least five times as large as your rabbit so that he can move about freely. Avoid cages that have wire floors because your rabbit”s feet are not padded. If the cage floor isn”t solid, line the cage with cardboard or paper.

Rabbits Can Use Litter Boxes

Rabbits can be easily trained to use a litter box. Place one in the cage to encourage the behavior, but make sure you don”t use wood shavings (especially cedar shavings) to line the box. Those may cause your rabbit to develop respiratory problems. And remember to change the litter regularly, especially if you use hay to line the litter box. Rabbits love hay and may chew on it.

The Dietary Needs of Rabbits

Rabbits need fiber, and lots of it. Pellets provide the daily nutrition required by rabbits, but you should supplement that diet with a lot of hay and vegetables. The roughage and fiber will prevent your rabbit from developing intestinal problems and prevent complications due to hairballs. Fresh papaya is very effective at breaking down hairballs in the gastrointestinal tract.

The Good, the Bad, and the Worthless

Carrots, carrot tops, broccoli, parsley and dandelion leaves are great for your rabbit. Cauliflower, potatoes, beans and cabbage are not. Iceberg lettuce is nutritionally worthless.

Pellets should contain around twenty percent fiber and fifteen percent protein. Your rabbit should receive about 1/4 cup for every five pounds in weight and it should be divided into two separate meals.

A Little Bit of Extra Chewing

Rabbits love to chew. You should provide a large number of chewable toys or toilet paper rolls in order to satiate their urge to gnaw on everything. Avoid plastic items and sharp edges as those can be dangerous to your rabbit”s well-being.

Bathing and Grooming Your Rabbit

You should brush your rabbit at least once a week. Long-haired rabbits need more frequent brushing. Be gentle, though. Rabbits are fragile creatures and harsh handling can result in broken bones.

As for bathing: Don”t bother. Bathing is particularly stressful to rabbits and most of them don”t need it. Just clean the areas that need cleaning. It”s easier and will save you and your rabbit from unneeded stress.