Basic Rabbit Care Tips

Domesticated rabbits make great pets for a variety of people. Rabbits differ from other common pets, such as cats or dogs, so it is important to know those differences and their specific needs. The following tips will help you take care of your bunny better.

Providing Nutrition

A well-balanced diet is what keeps a rabbit healthy. Hay is a large portion of that diet and should be on hand and accessible to them at all times. Eating hay is not only a good source of fiber and good for a bunny's gastrointestinal (GI) tract but for their teeth health as well. Alfalfa hay is best for younger rabbits. Timothy hay is used commonly for adults, however, orchard grass, which is a better option for timothy hay allergies, and other hay varieties are great additions or alternatives. 

Pellets should be fed to your rabbit once or twice a day. Made of an alfalfa or timothy hay base, pellets have fiber and important vitamins in them and are a staple in a bunny's diet. Any pellets with nuts, dried fruit, or dyed pieces are not ideal. Those brands have added sugar, dyes, and ingredients that aren't healthy for rabbits' sensitive GI tract. The amount needed every day will vary with the size, species, and age of each bunny. 

Supplementary dark leafy greens are a good treat as well as a great vitamin source. Leaves of romaine, red, and green lettuce are used, but there are many other plants and herbs that rabbits can eat in addition. Cilantro is a well-balanced herb that helps keep a bunny's tummy happy. Some greens are more acidic and shouldn't be given in too big of a quantity, such as spinach, chard, parsley, etc.

Some baked treats and vitamins are good for training, enrichment, and for variety in your bunny's diet. A trusted exotic veterinarian can recommend what vitamins are best for your pet's specific needs. 

Building a Habitat

Despite many breeds of rabbits being on the smaller side, they still require quite a bit of space. Many cages sold by pet stores for bunnies are too small in height and footage, not allowing them the space needed to properly clean themselves or get enough enrichment and exercise. Outdoor enclosures are not ideal either, as some hutches face similar issues. Predators are also a concern and your pet is more likely to get hurt or sick outside in an uncontrolled environment. For these reasons, it's best to keep your rabbit indoors and with some sort of free-range space access. 

Having a cage, fenced enclosure, or some sort of crate is great for nighttime and potty training needs. A good enclosure has enough room where your bunny can stand fully on their hind legs and have space to lay down, stretch, clean, and easily access their bathroom area. This should not be their only space, as rabbits need room to run around, hop, and play. Because they're lagomorphs, bunnies don't have paw pads, so it is important to have hay mats and soft, safe materials in their enclosure and general space. 

It's important to be prepared to add a new pet to your home. Remember these tips if you choose to bring a bunny into your family. Contact a veterinarian to get more tips.

For more information, contact a company like Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic.