Rabbits are the cutest! So, it’s no surprise that they’re the third most popular pet in the UK. You may be thinking about getting one, but just want to make sure that getting a rabbit is right for you.

Naturally sociable, rabbits can become part of your family and as they’re highly intelligent animals, owning one can be very rewarding. However, they do need a lot of attention, time, and care so it’s important to do your research before getting a bun…

You are required by law to care for rabbits properly, yet they do have complex needs and they’re not necessarily easy to look after.

That’s why we have put together this beginner’s guide to help you on this journey and provide you with all the resources to ensure you have a happy and healthy bunny!

We'll cover the following:

 

Also, check out our various rabbit hay options perfectly suitable for your bunny.

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What you should know before buying a rabbit

Rabbits are very social animals and like companionship so it’s best to keep two rabbits or a compatible group.

As rabbits are an intelligent species they need to be stimulated mentally as well as physically.

The average lifespan of a rabbit is 10 years. This can vary depending on the breed of the rabbit, but you need to realise that caring for a rabbit is a long-term commitment.

 

How to health check your rabbit

You should check on your rabbit every day to make sure that everything is okay. A healthy rabbit will be alert and lively, so you need to look out for any changes in their appearance or behaviour.

Symptoms of poor health 

Symptoms of poor health that you should be on the lookout for are

  • a discharge from their eyes or nose
  • scaly patches inside their ears
  • coughing or wheezing
  • diarrhoea

 

It’s best to take your furry friend to the vets if you see any of this.

Rabbits are also prone to dental problems, so you should be regularly checking their front and back teeth.

 

Are rabbit vaccinations necessary?

Rabbit vaccinations are an essential part of keeping your pet healthy. Vaccines are available for fatal diseases such as myxomatosis. You should check with your vet who will advise which vaccinations to get and how often they need to be done.

 

How about grooming?

Efficient rabbit grooming will help to prevent flystrike – this is a common condition in rabbits caused by flies where they lay eggs into the fur. These eggs hatch out into maggots that feed on your rabbit's skin. Sadly, flystrike is often fatal within 24 hours.

Daily grooming is essential for rabbits. Not only does it reinforce the human/animal bond but it will also prevent your buns fur from matting.

 

What is a healthy diet for your rabbits?

A rabbit’s digestive system is unique compared to other mammals. When they eat, the food is passed through to their gut and they produce special droppings called caecotrophs. The rabbits eat these special droppings, meaning the food is being re-ingested. Ensuring your rabbit is fed a healthy diet is the best way to keep its digestive system in good condition.

 

Are rabbits herbivores? 

Rabbits are herbivores meaning they have a plant-based diet, and they also require fibre to be moving continuously through their digestive system.

Clean drinking water and good quality hay should make up the most of their diet.

 

How important is hay for a rabbit? 

Hay is not only essential for their digestive system but also for their teeth. Rabbit’s teeth NEVER stop growing. They have hypsodont teeth which lengthen by 3-5 inches every year. Providing them with good quality hay will wear their teeth down.

We recommend the Happy Hay Timothy hay, which is sweet smelling and green. Timothy hay is one our best sellers, so it is also a safe bet for fussy buns. It is also bursting with good nutrients, and it promotes dental health.

 

 

You should also give your rabbits a few pellets a day as well as fresh fruit and vegetables.

 

What is a suitable environment for pet rabbits?

Rabbits will be happy living either indoors or outside. But as they are active animals, they need to be able to run, jump, stand and stretch out. Rabbits need regular opportunities throughout the day to exercise and so they also need a lot of space, if they don’t have enough space then they can easily become bad-tempered.

 

How much space do rabbits need? 

It’s worth noting that every hutch or indoor cage should be considered as a bedroom, where they can eat and sleep. But they still need dedicated exercise space outside of this.

According to the RSPCA, a pair of medium-sized rabbits requires a living area where they can exercise and rest of at least three metres x two metres, and one metre high. Whereas groups of three or more rabbits and large breeds will need larger accommodation.

 

Outdoor tips 

If you’re keeping your rabbit outdoors, then make sure they can be sheltered from the sun and rain. Also, double-check that your rabbit cannot escape its area, and nothing else can get in.

 

Indoor tips

And if you’re opting to keep your rabbit indoors then you could either put them in an indoor pen or create a ‘rabbit proofed’ room in your house. Just make sure to move or cover any wires and cables that may be on show.

 

Other space considerations 

You must provide your rabbit with a hiding spot, as they are a prey species, they need constant access to safe hiding places. It is also best to allow them to have platforms so that your bunny can scope out its environment.

 

Find out more

There’s a lot more to learn about rabbits so keep an eye out for more advice, how to’s and fact files on rabbit care.

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