What you need for a new pet rabbit

By Link the Bun
Published on: March 8th, 2020

Link is the perfect bun 😉

Are Bunnies Good Pets?

Rabbits are great, we absolute adore our bunny Link, but how do you know if you’re ready for one?

Rabbits are a LOT of hard work to look after properly, most people don’t acknowledge that rabbits are very intelligent and have a wide range of emotions and personalities.

This doesn’t mean you need to treat them like a dog, although, that’s entirely possible if your rabbit loves snuggling whilst you watch TV.

Rabbits at a core only require Food, Shelter and a loving owner, if you can fit all three criteria, you should be fine.

Are dwarf bunnies good pets?

There’s not much difference between normal bunnies and dwarf bunnies, however, you will find that bunnies that carry the dwarf gene have shorter features such as; ears, nose, face, legs, body and you will find their head is a little rounder or squashed up (As opposed to our rabbit Link).

Dwarf bunnies actually have a few more drawbacks than your average bunny, one of which is that they are more fragile. With their size and weight being considerably less, you will need to take extra care when rabbit-proofing your house.

Dwarf Rabbits also have many more health issues due to their size as well as a different range altogether. It is highly advised to get a local exotic vet with pet insurance as these little guys and gals may cost you an arm and a leg at some point.

The following breeds are expected to potentially carry the dwarf gene:

  • American Fuzzy Lop
  • Holland Lop
  • Dwarf Hotot
  • Lionhead
  • Jersey Wooly
  • Mini Rex
  • Mini Satin
  • Netherland Dwarf

How long do rabbits live as a pet in the UK?

Rabbits often get mistaken for being beginner pets because they live on average 1-2 years in the wild. But a domesticated rabbit can live onward to an average of 10 years, making them very social and loving animals.

How much of a commitment is a rabbit?

Rabbits are a long term commitment, and whilst they are frustratingly mischevious, they are something you should think about in terms of your future.

We would advise not getting a rabbit as a starter pet for your kids, as you should understand that their rabbit will be left with you to care for whilst your child goes to school, gets a job and grows up.

Can my rabbit love me?

Yes, your rabbit will learn to understand kisses as a form of Grooming.

Whilst rabbits don’t necessarily understand the concern of kissing from a love perspective, they understand it as a form of grooming which rabbits will do to their bonded owners and other rabbits.

Many times, after giving Link scratches, we will get lots of kisses, sometimes for around 10 minutes or so on our forehead.

Link absolutely loves being kissed on the top of his head and will often grind his teeth.

Look at my peets!

What rabbit breed lives the longest?

In terms of breeds, most reach an average of 10 years. However, if you rabbit is a Holland Lop, the life expetency should be at least halved.

Unfortunately, Bigger Lops have pulled the short straw, however, that shouldn’t put you off! They need love too!

New Rabbit Owner Checklist

If you’re looking to get a rabbit, it’s important to not miss out on the essentials. Below is a breakdown on everything you need when getting your new bunny.

Rabbits are very messy

Rabbits themselves are clean, but that doesn’t mean your house will stay clean. Expect lots of poop, lots of hay (Annoying for carpet owners) and a lot of hair.

We’ve spent hours combing Link only to find he still sheds a LOT of hair not only a few hours later during the spring season.

Rabbits also mark their territory with urine, whilst it’s not the same as normal weeing, it is spraying their area so that other rabbits know this belongs to them.

This mostly happens when rabbits are new to your home, so given 3-12 months this should stop.

We highly suggest neutering / spaying your rabbit, whilst this can be dangerous, the positives outdo the negatives.

We use a robot vacuum for our rabbit issues, but you may find a small handheld vacuum is a lot easier to manage this! Rabbits can be expensive 😉

Are bunnies good apartment pets?

Despite their size, Bunnies need a LOT of exercise to stay healthy. For Link, we kept this to the living room where his cage, run and door out of the run was kept. He was out of his cage 24/7 which was attached to his run.

As of the last 6-9 months he’s had full range of the flat, spends time on the bed with us, runs between rooms no issues and is only put away at night. Taking time to get to this stage is crucial for an apartment bunny because they will learn to know your territory, scent and where to not pee and poop!

I’d argue that small studios are slightly better for rabbits as they have more room to run without weaving and/or running around everything. But as long as you have a clear run way, that allows for plenty of zoomies and binkies!

Rabbits are considered an exotic pet

This is something you should definitely consider, this makes it difficult to find the right vetinary. A personal tip here, Rabbits are very easy to lose quickly, it can take less than 24 hours for a circumstance to go from slightly bad to critical.

Be prepared to have medicine, prep to go to out of hours and more expensive vet bills.

Definitely look into pet insurance!

Rabbits are fragile

Following the point above, rabbits, especially baby rabbits do not like being picked up. If you pick up your rabbit and put it on its back, it will not be comfortable, this is known as being put into a ‘trance’.

We understand rabbits are very cute, but let them come to you!

Rabbits are very prone to being scared, from a loud noise, weird smell or even just moving suddenly, their natural instinct to run away will kick in.

Rabbits can bite or kick when they are scared, I can tell you a rabbit bite hurts a LOT.

They will also bite when you’re simply in their way and they are feeling particularly territorial and hormonal.

These are prey animals, they will run when possible, warn you when they sense danger and if they are forced to be picked up, they will fight back.

It took around 7-8 months for our rabbit to chase up or come to us when called for a cuddle. Only as of posting this has our rabbit started coming to bed when we should from the other room.

This is because you will bond with your rabbit and that will take time. Building trust means you need to spend a lot of time just talking to them, being around them, sitting with them and playing with them.

Should I get a rabbit then?

Yes, Rabbits are small and may not seem like much. But they are very intelligent and sociable animals. They love being spoken to, being played with & cuddling.

They can learn their names, be trained to do tricks as well as know when is naughty or good (Goodluck with that though!).

Rabbits who live indoors typically develop a move social bond and are better with strangers who visit, but they can be very specific with who they see.

Your bunnies personality will differ from one to another, some are very easy-going, love to sleep, love to relax where as others are very mischevious.

If like our rabbit, Link, you have a mischevious rabbit, training them is crucial, give them areas of your home for them to claim as their own, bunny proof their running area. Make sure they aren’t constantly surrounded by loud noises.

On the odd occasion, it’s great to open new doors to let your rabbit explore, you’ll see plenty of binkies during this time.

Rabbits love being treated, they’ll learn the sound of a treat box shaking, a draw opening or a fridge opening. Link loves to jump on the sofa and watch me when I cook because he isn’t allowed in the kitchen, but he knows I’m there because of the fridge sound.

Your bunny will likely love playing, whether it’s tossing a cup, their food bowl or their toilet. But again, this comes down to trust and long term care.

Rabbits are great animals, they will show a wide range of emotions from contentment, love, anger, fear, happiness and if they are bonded, the mourning of a lost one.

If you have the time, get a rabbit. They are amazing pets.

Don't forget to share this post!