Being a first-time rabbit owner can be daunting, they’re known as creatures that are extremely fragile and can die of shock. However, they’re surprisingly sturdy and with a few basic tips, you should have no problems starting your rabbit ownership journey.
1. Bunny-proof your home
Keeping your home bunny-proofed is crucial to keeping a healthy and happy balance at home. You’ll want to protect all cables or electronics with wire coverings, add masking take along the edge of the baseboards, and move anything like remote controls, plants, and snacks from the reach of your rabbit.
You’ll find if they know they aren’t allowed to eat something, they’ll probably run off with it when caught nibbling.
2. Play with your rabbit and supply them with regular chew toys
Rabbits are incredibly smart creatures, they love to be mentally stimulated, throwing around toys and chewing on anything they can get access to. Be careful with where you buy toys, as some have easy-to-choke-on components, we recommend reading our safe rabbit toys list.
3. Start small, expand with time
Rabbits are extremely territorial and will easily break the boundaries of their space by rattling any cage bars or destroying anything in their way. However, with patience, you can move from an exercise pen to a fully free-roam indoor rabbit.
When expanding their roaming area, your rabbit may start changing their litter habits, this can be temporary, simply pick up the feces and put them in their toilet ASAP.
4. Find a local exotic vet
Rabbits can take a turn for the worst in a matter of just a few hours, having a local exotic veterinary close by who can cater to rabbits is crucial for your furry friend. You may find that your rabbit insurance can help you find a local veterinarian that is also covered by your plan with them.
5. Get pet insurance
We can’t tell you how important this is, having insurance can help pay any emergency fees in the future as a veterinarian bill can be surprisingly expensive along with medication.
Some vets offer a “pet plan” which is included with insurance, so you should query this and try and get the best deal possible. Don’t be afraid to shop around when looking for insurance as they’re usually quite competitive.
Here are some insurance companies we recommend:
- Embrace Pet Insurance
- Argos Pet Insurance
- Knose Pet Insurance
6. Spay/Neuter your rabbit
This is a touchy subject, but spaying/neutering your rabbit has a lot of health benefits that can help your rabbit live a longer and more fulfilling lifespan. We generally recommend this for first-time rabbit owners regardless due to their destructive nature and obsession with ruining carpets and furniture. However, some of the other benefits are as follows:
- Significantly reduces the risk of ovarian, mammary, and uterine cancers which are quite common in rabbits.
- Can reduce destructive and aggressive behavior
- Rabbits become less territorial (Easier to toilet train)
- Urine doesn’t damage carpets or wood floor varnishings
- Rabbits will typically be calmer
7. Consider keeping your rabbit indoors permanently
Rabbits are incredibly funny and smart creatures, keeping them inside is a great way to create a close bond as well as avoid potential diseases, predators, and insects that can cause health issues such as bot flies.
You’ll find over time your rabbit will become more familiar with their surroundings and as they age tend to calm down.
New Rabbit Owner Checklist
If you’re looking to get a rabbit, it’s important to not miss out on the essentials. Below is a breakdown on everything you need when getting your new bunny.
Rabbits are small and may not seem like much. But they are very intelligent and sociable animals. They love being spoken to, being played with & cuddling. They can learn their names, be trained to do tricks as well as know when they are being naughty or good.
Rabbits who live indoors typically develop a stronger social bond with their owners and are better with strangers who visit, but they can be very specific with who they want to see or when they want to explore.
Your rabbit’s personality will differ from one to another, some are very easy-going, love to sleep, and love to relax whereas others are very energetic & mischievous.
On the odd occasion, it’s great to open new doors to let your rabbit explore, you’ll see plenty of binkies during this time.
Rabbits love being treated, they’ll learn the sound of a treat box shaking, a draw opening, or a fridge opening. Our rabbit, Link loves to jump on the sofa and watch me when I cook because he isn’t allowed in the kitchen, but he knows I’m there because of the fridge opening sound.
Your bunny will likely love playing, whether it’s tossing a cup, their food bowl, or their toilet. But again, this comes down to trust and long-term care.
Rabbits are great animals, they will show a wide range of emotions from contentment, love, anger, fear, happiness and if they are bonded, the mourning of a lost one. If you have the time, get a rabbit. They are amazing pets.