Can rabbits make good pets?

Rabbits can make wonderful pets and there are a lot of rabbit rescue groups around. House Rabbit Society is one of them and they have many chapters in the United States. They're a great place to find rabbits. If you're interested in owning a rabbit, please get some education on them because they do require specific care.

Dr. Becka Byrd
Northern Oaks Bird & Animal Hospital

Are rabbits suitable pets for children?

Rabbits are very sweet but they are not meant for children unsupervised. They are scared and believe everything is a predator. That's how they survive in the wild.

What is a common misconception about a rabbit's diet?

A common misconception is that rabbits should eat pellets all the time. Rabbits that eat just those pellets will end up with overgrown teeth because they are meant to grind their food. They are actually meant to eat dry, low-quality grasses like they do in the wild. Their bodies are designed for this type of diet as they are hindgut fermenters, which means their gut ferments the food into the nutrition they need. Feeding them just pellets can lead to gastric stasis, which can be fatal. Therefore, it's best to feed them hay, typically Timothy hay.

Can rabbits have too many vegetables?

Yes, rabbits can have too many vegetables. If you feed them huge salads every day, it can throw their gastric tract into stasis. Rabbits aren't meant to have too many fresh vegetables; in the wild, veggies are a rare treat. Excessive vegetables can cause their digestive tract to lock up, filling with food and gas, which can be fatal. It's important to keep their diet strict and limited to what they are meant to eat. Avoid sweet foods like bananas, and ensure they have plenty of fresh water.

How should you handle a rabbit to avoid injury?

Rabbits need careful handling as they can break their own backs if not picked up properly. They are very strong with their back legs, so pick them up in a C shape. Hold them behind their head and neck, cup their rear end, and cuddle them against your body. This way, they don't have the opportunity to lash out and kick. Covering their eyes can also help reduce their stress by limiting their view of potential threats.

What does a rabbit examination entail?

An examination involves looking at their eyes, ears, nose, and teeth. It's essential to check if their teeth meet well and if their bite is clear. We're looking for hooks and seeing if the teeth catch. If they do, dental work might be needed, which is not unusual, especially for certain breeds with differently shaped mouths.

Why is exercise important for rabbits?

Rabbits need plenty of exercise to keep their gut moving, prevent stasis, and keep them thirsty, encouraging them to drink more and keep everything moving through their system.

What should you do if a rabbit shows signs of distress?

If you notice a change in your rabbit's behavior, such as being lazy, not wanting to move, appearing painful, laying flat out, not eating for more than a day, or not making stools for more than a day, seek veterinary care immediately. Gastric stasis must be treated almost immediately.

Can rabbits be good long-term pets?

Rabbits can make wonderful lifelong pets and be great companions.

If you have any other questions, please give us a call at (210) 496-1315. You can also email us at [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as we are able. Don't forget to follow us on social media: Facebook and Instagram