Thinking of Adopting a Rescue Rabbit? Make Sure You’re Prepared
Rescue rabbits can make amazing pets, but many people don’t realize that they are more than just a pair of floppy ears and an adorable nose. If you are considering adopting a rescue rabbit, make sure you understand the commitment and are ready to invest the time and resources that it takes to properly care for the animal.
The American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes over 50 different types of rabbits. They come in all different color palettes and sizes, and can make a loyal companion for people who are willing to put the time into caring for them properly.
February is Adopt a Rescue Rabbit Month, so while it may seem like the perfect time to rush out and adopt a bunny, make sure that you know what you are getting into. Use this article to learn about a few important things to know about the life and care of a bunny before you take the leap.
Understand the Rabbit’s Past
If you are adopting a rescue bunny, understand that this bunny already had a home and was given to a shelter after the owner decided they could no longer provide it with the necessary care. For this reason, your new bunny may be hesitant or uncomfortable getting too close to you.
Give your bunny time to acclimate to the new environment. Consider spending time at the shelter with the bunny you’ve chosen so that the animal is familiar with your scent when you take it home. This will also help to ensure that you and your bunny are compatible.
Know the Time Commitment With a Pet Rabbit
Many people adopt an “Easter bunny” before realizing that it will be a part of their life for much longer than just the Easter season. Under ideal circumstances, rabbits can live for up to 12 years. If you don’t have a stable living situation or can’t see yourself caring for a bunny in ten to twelve years, then it may be best to wait to adopt.
Make sure that you are prepared to provide your bunny with food, water, exercise, veterinary care and compassion for its entire life.
A Rabbit’s Diet Is Important
Bunnies eat a lot more than just carrots, and as you might expect, a proper diet is imperative to a rabbit’s happy and healthy life. Rabbits are herbivores, so they should eat a healthy amount of timothy grass, hay grass, dark leafy greens, and small amounts of fibrous fruits like apples and berries.
You may also feed your rabbit pellets, but make sure you don’t give them seeds, grains, or nuts, as they can cause unhealthy weight gain and GI upset.
Make Sure Your Rabbit Always Has Something to Chew
A rabbit’s teeth are constantly growing, so it’s important to make sure they always have something to chew on to keep their teeth from becoming overgrown. You can find wooden chews and sticks at your local pet store.
With that being said, rabbits are generally happy to chew on anything. Before you bring your rescue rabbit home, be sure to “bunny proof” the rooms in your house that your bunny will have access to.
Rabbits will happily chew chair and table legs, sofas, backpacks, cords, and pretty much anything else you leave lying around, so make sure everything is cleaned up and out of the way before you bring your bunny home.
For Bunnies, Regular Veterinary Care Is a Must
Bunnies don’t need any specific vaccines, but they do need regular checkups from a vet that feels comfortable working with rabbits. Some veterinarians who treat dogs and cats won’t treat bunnies—you may need to find an exotic vet who also works with birds, reptiles, and bunnies.
In general, rabbits need to be checked for parasites and other issues every few months. If your rabbit is female, consider getting it spayed as female rabbits are exceptionally susceptible to uterine cancer.
Prepare for an Amazing Companion and A New Snuggly Friend
Above all, prepare for a loyal companion who will bring a smile to your face for years. Adopting a rescue rabbit will make a drastic change in your bunny’s life, as they would otherwise spend their life in a shelter. If you feel ready to care for a rabbit, adopting a rescue will help to save that rabbit’s life.
Author: Giano Panzarella