Rabbits as Pets
Rabbits as pets are excellent for many families, though they are very different from having a dog or a cat. Rabbits can live indoors or out, but they should have a secure cage either way. Rabbits like to feel safe in a small enclosure; the European rabbit that was the basis of today's domesticated pets naturally digs burrows in the ground to accomplish this. Cages provide this security for rabbits.
Outdoor pets need to be protected from the weather, the heat, the wet and from predators. Their cages must be located in a safe shed or outbuilding or be built in such a fashion as to provide this type of protection.
Indoor pets can have a lot more flexibility with their cages. Indoors, cages only need to protect the rabbit from small children, other pets and to provide security for both the rabbit and your home when the rabbit is not supervised.
Rabbits as pets can be litter trained like cats. Place a litter box in their cage in the corner they usually use for relieving themselves. It doesn't take long at all for them to learn to use the box.
Once they use the box regularly, you can let them out in the house and they will return to the cage to relieve themselves.
They will still leave the little round bunny droppings when they are out; they tend to come out without any effort on the part of the rabbit. These droppings are dry and easy to vacuum, however.
Rabbits as pets can be very affectionate. When living with other rabbits, they often groom each other. If you are taking the place of another rabbit, your pet will enjoy lying next to you, rubbing themselves against you and being petted. Rabbits are not fond of being picked up. They are naturally prey animals, and being lifted into the air may send them into a panic. It is best to accustom them to being transported and held when they are small.
Some breeds make better pets than others. Large lop eared rabbits tend to be laid back, as do the large Flemish Giants. Some of these rabbits may be intimidating due to their size, however, especially for new rabbit owners. Himalayan rabbits are small and gentle. They are usually very affectionate and love to be petted. Tiny breeds like Netherland Dwarfs, Mini Rex and such tend to be very energetic. They can be challenging for new owners, though of course there are exceptions in every breed.
If you will not be breeding your pet, you may want to look into getting them spayed or neutered. This can prevent health issues when they get older and may stop some behavioral problems. Not every veterinarian is experienced with rabbits, so you may need to search for one that has several rabbits in their practice. Rabbits are sensitive to some medications and should not be fasted before surgical procedures.
Your rabbit will enjoy playing with toys and they are a lot of fun to watch as they race around the room. They do need regular grooming and their cage needs to be kept clean. Rabbits as pets require a real commitment from you, so consider this before you bring one home.
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