Rabbits are great pets, if you have the time and money. Here are five things that every prospective rabbit owner should know.
1. They are a Ten-Year commitment.
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Even though they are a rodent, they can live a long prosperous life. In captivity rabbits live much longer because we can successfully give them everything they need, where in the wild they must find it. We can administer their food and nutrients that they consume. They are extremely sensitive pets, but with the proper care they can live to the age of a big dog.
Additionally, the lack of predators in captivity greatly increases their chance of longer survival. This is also the reason that having a dog or cat around can be dangerous because rabbits are considered prey to most animals. However, with patience and time the two can create an inseparable bond.
2. They are VERY sassy.
Rabbits will most of the time not come when called, they want to be pet on their terms and will stomp and kick their feet at you when angry. For being so small, they carry themselves highly.
Most people believe, because of their appearance, rabbits are cuddly like a cat or dog. People think they can carry them in their arms and they will lay still and allow you to pet them. While there are rare cases, they don't like to be held or taken off the ground to any extent. Rabbits love to be pet but with all four paws firmly on the ground. Their cuddling is more along the lines of how you would pet a dog on the head.
3. Their vet bills will leave your wallet crying.
Rabbits are classified as exotic pets. With exotic pets comes high bills when they need treatment. Rabbits are sensitive creatures, and without the right medical care, they can easily die.
What a veterinarian can give to your cat or dog when sick is not the same for rabbits. Some medications and treatments can be administered to rabbits but in extremely small doses. Most times, the medication for rabbits must be specially ordered because the demand for it is so low which overall increases the price.
4. Their diet.
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What a rabbit's diet consists of is debatable. However, the two staples in their diet are always unlimited hay and water because these help their digestive system. Without them, your rabbit can develop serious health issues.
Secondly, your rabbit needs pellets. Pellets can be found at any pet store, however, usually they consist of sugars and low fiber which is never recommended. A rabbit needs pellets with high fiber and quality nutrients or their body will lack the proper vitamins and minerals it needs.
Lastly, veggies. Vegetables are something that every rabbit should eat. While every rabbit has different taste buds, they all need vegetables that are clean from pesticides and are freshly bought. A list of safe vegetables and fruits for rabbits can be found here. Fruits should only be given to your rabbit as a treat and in small quantities.
5. Let's talk housing.
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You go into a pet store and see these small wired cages that they recommend for rabbits. That is actually completely false knowledge and these cages can harm your rabbit in the future. Rabbits are a type of animal that need room to run. They love running and exploring more than anything (besides their food). These cages limit their mobility and your rabbit can become stressed and depressed because of their lack of space.
Rabbits need at least an area that allows them to hop three times in all directions and allows them to stand up. Inside this area they require toys, a shelter, a litter box, food, water and hay, and optionally, a cooling tile. With all these in mind, a dog pen is the perfect "cage" for these little guys.
In some cases, a rabbit can free roam like a dog or cat. All they need is a little training and a house that is rabbit proofed from cords, plants and other harmful objects.
With the proper care and a lot of love, a rabbit is a wonderful pet. They will bond to you and love you unconditionally just as a cat or dog. Even though they are pricey, it's an experience that you will never regret.
These are only a few things that are involved with taking care of a rabbit. It is highly suggested you research before buying your furry friend.