Your First Rabbit – Things to Consider
Getting a pet should never be taken lightly, before you rush into picking up your very own bundle of fluff, give it some good thought. Here are some points to consider before you get a rabbit.
Rabbits like company
Rabbits are naturally social creatures and enjoy company. Your first consideration should therefore be to take on not just one rabbit, but at least two. We always advocate adoption; there are many thousands of rabbits living in rescue across the UK right now. If you adopt more than one rabbit then ask the resuce for their advice on bonding, neutering etc.
Do you have the time?
You may think that rabbits are a low maintenance pet. They are not. You need to be committed to giving your pet the happiest and healthiest life possible, perhaps for many years and this involves interaction with your pet, plus time devoted to feeding, cleaning, trips to the vet etc. If you’re adopting or buying a rabbit for your child, can you trust them to keep looking after them, day in and day out, after the novelty of the new pet has worn off, and the reality of the work involved has set in? Are you prepared to take care of the rabbits yourself and take over the care duties if your child neglects them?
Do you have the space?
Even a small pet such as a rabbit needs space and a hutch should only really be considered as a bedroom. Ideally you should have a patch of grass on which to place a run. Rabbits need exercise. It simply isn’t fair to keep them cooped up in a hutch all the time. Rabbits can be house trained but this takes time and patience. You can train them to use a litter tray like a cat, but you also need to watch out for hazards such as wires they could chew through, if your rabbit is going to be loose in your house. In winter you may want to have an area indoors, or at least in a shed or garage so your rabbit can have a little extra warmth over the colder winter months.
Can you afford it?
There are many ongoing costs with any pet, beyond the purchase price and the initial outlay for the hutch, your rabbit will need a good quality food, and hay. Hay is the most important part of your rabbit’s diet. Choosing cheap rabbit food or rabbit muesli is a false economy; cheap food rarely contains the essential vitamins and minerals a rabbit needs and without a plentiful supply of hay your rabbit can get overgrown teeth that may need expensive dental treatment. Don’t forget too, that your rabbit may get ill or injured and need to see a vet for treatment. This can be expensive. You may well also want to insure your rabbit to prevent a huge vet bill, so you need to factor in this ongoing expense.