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Choosing a rabbit as a pet: what do I need?

Rabbits are very popular pets, not least because they’re loving and social animals who love spending time with their humans. They can easily become part of the family, making a wonderful addition to a household. If you’re thinking of choosing a rabbit as a pet, you may be wondering what you need to buy to make sure he is happy and comfortable. Read on to find out what you need to buy before you head out to buy your new rabbit…

A large hutch

Outdoor rabbits require sizeable living quarters to provide them with plenty of room to stretch out and move around. The hutch should be big enough that your rabbit is able to stand on his hind legs. It’s also a good idea to choose a hutch that has a private compartment, as this will provide him with a space to retire to if he needs some privacy. In the past, rabbits were often kept in cramped hutches with no room for exercise, but this is not longer the case. The minimum size hutch is 183cm x 90cm floor space, by 90cm tall. Keeping rabbits in accommodation that’s too cramped can lead them to develop skeletal pain, as well as making them bad tempered.

Bunny bedding

For rabbit bedding, look no further than clean straw, which is available in bags from most pet shops. It’s important that you check the bedding regularly, daily if possible, removing any that is soiled. You’ll need to pay greater attention to your rabbit’s bedding during summer, as the hot weather can attract flies which may lay their eggs on the dirty bedding. This can result in maggots which could burrow into your rabbit’s fur. Known as fly strike, this can be fatal. Once you know which part of their hutch they like to use as a toilet, simply put a litter tray there and they will quickly become litter trained.

Rabbit food

Your rabbit’s diet should consist mainly of grass or hay, as well as some fresh vegetables and fruit (such as carrots, broccoli, spinach, celery and apples). Some people choose cereal-based diets for their rabbits, but this isn’t advisable as they contain lots of sugar and few minerals. High-fibre pellets or complete foods are a better choice. Don’t give your rabbit grass cuttings as it can lead to serious health issues. Buy dried ready grass from a pet store instead. Make sure you provide fresh water at all times, changing it on a daily basis.

Toys for stimulation

All rabbits require stimulation each day in order to maintain their wellbeing. Tubes that they can run and hide can be a good addition to his hutch, as is a cardboard box with an entrance and an exit. Rabbits are playful animals, and so it’s a good idea to rotate the toys that your rabbit plays with every few days in order to add greater variety. You should also provide safe things for your rabbit to chew on, such as apple or wood, or you can buy edible wooden chews from a good pet shop.

Rabbits make wonderful pets, but if you’re to maintain his health and happiness, you’ll need to invest in certain pet products like those mentioned above. Do this and you can expect many years of enjoyment, fun and company from your new companion.

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