Are you looking into getting a rabbit but not quite sure if they are the best pet for you? This article will cover six of the major ways rabbits can be easy or difficult to take care of to help you decide whether or not a pet rabbit is right for you.
Six reasons why rabbits are easy to take care of
- Rabbits are quiet animals
Unlike other common pets such as dogs and cats, rabbits are generally quiet animals. Occasionally, they may thump with their back foot but otherwise do not make much noise.
You don’t have to worry about them waking up the baby from a nap when the doorbell rings or barking the whole time you are gone. Rabbits are an excellent pet for anyone with sound sensitivities or neighbors who complain when you make too much noise.
- They don’t require any walks or outdoor space
In fact, rabbits are generally safer indoors. There are no predators to grab them or pesticides that can make them sick. For that reason, rabbits are mostly considered indoor pets.
While you certainly can give them an outdoor space or take them for walks to a nearby park, they aren’t required. This makes rabbits great for someone who isn’t very active or doesn’t have easy access to a safe outdoor area.
- They don’t require a lot of space at all
The general rule of thumb is if it is enough space for you, it is enough space for your rabbit. Rabbits don’t need all that much space.
Unlike dogs who will barrel into things and knock over tables and chairs when they don’t have enough room, or cats that need space for their towers and scratching posts, rabbits really only need the same amount of space as a person and don’t mind sharing.
They are good to go as long as they have a soft area to exercise and run around. This is great for people living in small apartments.
- Rabbits don’t need a lot of large items
In addition to not needing a lot of space to run around, they don’t need a lot of larger items. Rabbits only need a few items that take up space.
There are things like a safe space (A little bed, cage, or even a fancy bunny condo) and a litter box. If you do have a lot of room and want to confine the rabbit to one space, you can even give them a pen which can be where they spend most of their time.
So while rabbits do need a fair amount of space, it is pretty reasonable even in small living spaces.
- They can be trained to use a little box
Another great thing about rabbits is that, similar to cats, they can be easily trained to use a litter box. A litter box makes cleaning up messes easy and brings us back to no walks required. Make sure your rabbit is spayed or neutered before you begin to train them, though, or they might spray to mark their territory.
- Rabbits are very loving
Rabbits enjoy spending time with people and love to cuddle and groom their owners. While they generally do not enjoy being picked up or carried, they will come up to you and lay down to show trust and affection.
They will even run around your feet when they are excited to see you. They have large personalities, and it is exciting to get to know your rabbit and its little quirks.
Six reasons why rabbits are difficult to take care of
- Rabbits have an expensive and specific diet
Unlike dogs or cats, where there are food bags containing everything your pet may need nutrition-wise, the same cannot be said for rabbits. On top of bagged food pellets, they require hay and fresh fruits and veggies, and maybe a few treats. Your rabbit needs all of these in different quantities, and it can be expensive and time-consuming.
- They require a lot of grooming
While rabbits keep themselves nice and clean, they need extra help. Their teeth, fur, and nails all need to be kept a careful eye on. If a rabbit ingests too much of its fur, it can cause health issues, so they need to be brushed often.
They can also crack, rip out, or injure themselves with nails too long, and so those must be kept shaved down or clipped. The front teeth of a rabbit grow fast. They must be kept trimmed down to avoid injuries or troubles with eating.
Most of this can be taken care of with toys and exercise, but keeping vigilant about grooming for a pet can be tiring and stressful, especially if the rabbit doesn’t want to be inspected.
- Rabbits often chew
To keep their teeth at a healthy length, rabbits chew a lot. You can buy toys and blocks to help with that problem, but they can frequently start licking and chewing things they aren’t supposed to, like cords or furniture. For this reason, it is best to keep your rabbits somewhere secure when you aren’t home and try and rabbit-proof as much of your house as possible.
- They can be very fragile pets
Rabbits are very small animals with weak bones. Being held too tightly, dropped from too high a fall, or even held in the wrong way, can cause serious injuries. They can also get sick easily with stomach issues, abscesses, cancer, and more. Like with any animal, there is a wide range of issues that can impact a rabbit’s health, even if they are well taken care of.
- Rabbits require a specific type of vet
This brings us to the next issue. Most standard animal vets focus on dogs and cats. Finding someone who can take care of your rabbit requires either a small animal vet or exotic, and you still need to call and check that they can take care of your rabbit.
Since they are more specialized, they are generally more expensive than a standard vet, so saving money is important, as well as knowing which vet will take your precious pet in case of an emergency.
- They are very social animals
Rabbits are very social creatures. They need a lot of love and attention. If you are too busy to give them the attention they need, they can become bored and even depressed. Getting a second rabbit can help reduce some of that responsibility, but they will still need quality time with their owner.
Taking budget into consideration
As with owning any pet, rabbits can be costly. With their specific diets and need for toys to chew on, the costs can be much higher than people expect.
Rabbits can eat quite a lot of hay a month. According to a study by Canadian Living, a rabbit can cost around $450 annually before accounting for any emergency vet bills. This includes items like pet insurance, bedding, toys, and food.
This may seem cheap in comparison to dogs ($1000) or cats ($850), but it can still be a hefty fee in the long run, especially when rabbits can be rather frail, which can lead to expensive, unexpected vet appointments.
There are also initial costs to consider or one-time purchases. These are things like a rabbit run, a cage, and a litter box. These are estimated at around $500.
For some, owning a pet might be above money, as they are family. However, it is still important to realize what you are getting into with owning any pet. They can seem cheap up front, but there are many other costs to consider before stepping into the role of a rabbit pet owner.
Choosing a rabbit as pet
Any pet has a cost with it, and while it may not be a problem, it is always worth knowing what you are getting into. It is a good idea to research all the items your pet will need before getting one.
It is also important to note that all animals have chores associated with them. Every pet needs to be groomed, cleaned up after, and requires attention and love.
There are negatives and positives to any animal you might get. What is essential is to figure out which animal works best with your lifestyle. Do proper research before jumping into any pet.
If a rabbit sounds like it might be for you, there is a Wiki page dedicated to helping beginners figure out what all a rabbit will need.
It is a way to get started on the road to pet ownership. It answers most beginner questions as well as recommends the best types of feed and things to definitely not do. Plus, it will give you links for most other questions you might have.