After cats, dogs, and pocket pets, one of the most popular pets in America is the rabbit. There are many different varieties, ranging from the beloved mini lop, French lop, and garden variety bunny. Unlike cats and dogs, rabbits offer unique benefits, such as being virtually non-allergenic and offering a much quieter companionship. You can keep your bunny indoors in a hutch or cage, offer free-range roaming, or provide an outdoor enclosure, depending on the time of year. The extreme cold and weather that we experience in Southeastern Massachusetts can be dangerous for outdoor animals of any kind, so it is a good idea to have a warm winter backup for your rabbit before you even adopt. Rabbits must be allowed to get out of their pens and interact with people for a few hours each day. Consult with your local veterinary clinic in Dartmouth to discuss rabbit care and feeding, training habits for pets, and provide quality veterinary care in Massachusetts.
How to Bunny-Proof a House
Indoor accommodations are preferable to outdoor, as long as you can bunny-proof your house. The more space you can give your rabbit to run around and explore your home, the better. All wires must be covered with hard plastic sleeves or lift at least three to four feet off the ground. Plastic guards can be used to prevent gnawing on furniture, baseboards, bed posts, house plants, bookshelves – pretty much anything within reach. Consider a large puppy pen if bunny-proofing is impossible to give them space to hop around and explore in a restricted area.
Enrichment should be provided, such as things that will keep your bunny busy. Cardboard houses are fun for children and adults to make, and bunnies enjoy chewing them up. Create a simple entrance and a sophisticated roofing or castle system up on top and let your bunny go to town. Rabbits will chew new entrances, windows, tunnels, and other architectural features to create a safe refuge from the everyday noises of your home. There are lots of great tips for castle building that you can find online. Whenever you doubt, contact Anchor Animal Hospital to get professional advice and veterinary care in Massachusetts from our experienced team.
Can I Potty Train a Rabbit? – The answer is YES! You absolutely can house train a rabbit. Like a cat, rabbits have a natural tendency to want to poop and pee in a single area. You can get a litter box that offers easy in-and-out access or even use a shallow storage bin. Keep it near the food and water area and place a thin layer of recycled newspaper pellet at the bottom. Never use traditional cat litter, particularly the clumping type, as rabbits will eat the litter, which could be extremely dangerous for their digestion. In fact, place a thin layer of hay on top of the litter to give your pet rabbit something safe to nibble on while they do their business. There will be a few random accidents, as bunnies tend to release bits of poop when they run and play. This is not intentional and should not be punished, merely cleaned up right away when noticed.
Rabbit Care and Feeding
When you bring your new bunny to our veterinary clinic in Dartmouth for a check-up, make sure to discuss the basic needs of rabbit care and feeding. Behavioral issues can be solved through better training habits for pets, regardless of what type of pet you have. Quality veterinary care in Massachusetts is essential, providing preventive treatments, sound advice, and professional services throughout your pet’s lifetime. For example, while many people turn to rabbit pellets sold at the local pet store, the primary diet for bunnies should be fresh hay. Baby rabbits can also have alfalfa, while adults should be fed primarily timothy hay, grass hay, or oat hay. A large hay feeder can simplify the feeding process and keep the hay clean, dry, and accessible.
In addition to hay, fresh greens, water, and fiber-rich pellets are also beneficial. The pellets should be provided in small quantities – think about them as a supplement to the fresh hay and greens they are eating. Some of the best greens for bunnies include Romaine or dark leaf lettuce – never cabbage or iceberg lettuce – mustard greens, parsley, mint, dandelion leaves, clover, cilantro, celery, carrot tops, broccoli leaves, basil, bok choy, dill, and even kale on a limited basis. While cartoon rabbits seem to munch on carrots all day, real bunnies should only have carrots from time to time. Certain treats can be given now and then, including bananas, strawberries, raspberries, and apples that have had the seeds removed. Do not feed your pet bunny human food, especially cookies, chips, crackers, cereal, and pasta.
Contact Anchor Animal Hospital by calling 508-996-3731 to schedule an appointment at our veterinary clinic in Dartmouth. We can answer all your questions about rabbit care and feeding and offer solutions to ensure proper veterinary care in Massachusetts.