If you are a pet owner who loves and owns rabbits, or a rabbit sitter who prefers rabbits as petsitting charges, read on. In this blog we offer some essential notes on rabbit care that you need to know. Rabbits are intelligent creatures and make wonderful pets. However, their care notes are important to understand and follow. Learn more here.
Rabbit sitter or rabbit owner – How to understand rabbit care
Rabbits are one of the UK’s most-loved animals, with an estimated 1 million floppy-eared friends in households up and down the country.
If you want to bring a rabbit into your home, there’s plenty to think about, including giving them the best care possible.
Here is a checklist of considerations you should keep in mind as you welcome a rabbit into your family.
Rabbits need companionship
Rabbits are sociable creatures and live in large groups in the wild called colonies or, wait for it… fluffles (!!!). And so living on their own in your home takes them away from those experiences. You need to make up for that in your rabbit care.
If you are able to add another rabbit to your collection, this will help both of them a lot. Companionship makes for good rabbit care.
Otherwise, it’s up to you to provide that companionship. Take your rabbit out of their hutch regularly and play with them this is good rabbit care. Rabbits like to forage and chew things, so why not provide them with a treasure hunt around the home or garden with some tasty treats as a reward?
A study from pet care experts Burgess found that a lack of companionship was a neglected need for almost a third of rabbits.
Find rabbit sitters or pet sitters for rabbit care at home
So when you go away on holiday finding rabbit care and through rabbit or pet sitters who can look after your pets in their own home is important. If you can ensure their routines are maintained and they live in the same place even though you are away it means they are less stressed.
Where should a rabbit live?
Rabbits can happily live indoors or outdoors, but the key to good rabbit care is consistency.
When temperatures drop in colder weather, you may be tempted to bring them into your home where it is much warmer. However, be wary as the sudden change in temperature can actually put stress on their bodies and could actually do more harm in the long run.
If the mercury does plummet, move your rabbit hutch into a sheltered space such as a shed or car-free garage and they should be more than happy.
What do rabbits need in their cage
In terms of their living space, rabbits need space to roam, so if you do put up some fences, be sure that they are not too closed off, or your rabbit might not be able to resist the urge to start digging and make an escape!
How to take care of a rabbit in an apartment
If you keep a rabbit in an apartment rabbit care becomes more about fresh supplies and companionship. It is important to know how to care for a bunny inside. In their rabbit hutch or cage they need fresh straw and access to fresh water. They also need a food dish with a good supply of food. Rabbits need to eat on a regular basis. This adds up to good rabbit care.
Feed your rabbit more than carrots! Good food is good rabbit care
Images of Bugs Bunny chomping carrots and getting up to mischief might have been your inspiration for getting a rabbit. But please note, yours rabbit needs to have a much more varied diet. A varied diet means good rabbit care.
Grass is wild rabbit’s primary source of food and a good supply of hay should always be close by. This not only keeps your rabbit happily fed but will also keep their gut health in check and ensure that their teeth are gradually worn away.
This might sound painful but, in actual fact, it’s a necessity as rabbits’ teeth constantly grow. If they didn’t chew them down so much, it could lead to issues further down the line.
In the longer term, because their teeth are growing all the time; and if their diets are lacking in fibre (from grasses, hay, etc.); dental problems can occur, leading to overgrown teeth, inability to eat food (or soft poos – more on this later!), spurs on these teeth (that can physically cut the inside of their mouths), abscesses and infections, problems with tear drainage, eye infections, diarrhoea, and eventually death.
So all in all a poor diet delivers ill health and is not particularly nice! So they must have good fibre in their diet. This is good rabbit care.
Keeping rabbits is a responsibility and good rabbit care is vital
Rabbit care – Herbivores and High Fibre Foods
Rabbits and other small furry creatures are herbivores, and belong to a sub-group which we will call fibrevores. Meaning that their diet should consist mostly of high-fibre foods – as mentioned above, things like hay and grass. In addition to this, they should always have water available; and can have a small amount of nugget type food.
It is best to avoid muesli-type food (if possible), as they pick out the tastiest bits, and leave the less tasty (and usually more beneficial!) bits.
Rabbit sitters please note
It’s not just food that Rabbits (and Degus, Chinchillas, and similar mammals) eat. They eat their own poo, too. With the digestion of food comes bacteria that live in the guts, partially digested bits of fibrous food, and other useful nutrients and vitamins; and in most animals this is where the journey ends, leaving these behind in a lump of faeces.
The special poo, or caecotrophs, produced by bunnies, which contain all of these useful bits and pieces, are then re-digested leaving the familiar firm droppings that all small furry owners see in the cage or litter tray.
Rabbit care essentials – End note
Do you look after a rabbit at your own home? Are you a rabbit sitter? What top tips in rabbit care would you share with other people considering the same? Do you have opinions in what do rabbits need to stay alive and healthy. Let us know in the comments!
FURTHER READING ON GOOD RABBIT CARE, KEEPING PETS AND PETSITTERS