Do house rabbits make good pets?

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Er, of course they do. House rabbits make awesome pets. Seriously though, rabbits are just as good a pet as a cat or dog. Better, actually.

Why house rabbits are my favourite pets

House rabbits really suit my lifestyle. I really love animals but I like weather, so having a rabbit that I can exercise by letting it zoom like a fool around my house suits me down to the ground.

I love how a house rabbit’s behaviour changes as they become more used to you, and I love how they interact with their mate.

I’m a bit if a hippy and really conscious of my carbon footprint, so having a naturally plant based pet is important to me. I’d love to say rabbit are vegan, but I’m pretty sure they’d try any food they could get their paws on.

I know that you can get vegan cat and dog food but it’s pricey and I don’t know how I feel about forcing an animal to eat something so removed from its natural diet.

Dogs probably don’t have much of an issue, but cats are carnivores – they’re to not only eat meat but eat mostly meat. Dogs, like humans, are more flexible.

Also, I couldn’t keep a cat inside that was desperate to go out, but I’d constantly worry about them eating birds or getting hit by a car.

You don’t have that worry with bunnies!

Would a house rabbit suit everyone?

No, but then no animal is suitable for everyone. If you have a loud, boisterous family, then a bunny might be a bit too nervous to settle properly.

A lot of rabbits aren’t keen on children – especially if the kids want to pick them up and cuddle them. I’ve had rabbits that tolerated cuddling, rabbits that hated cuddling, but so many that loved cuddles.

You can teach your kids to be respectful of rabbits, of course, but you need to be clear that your bunny may NEVER want to be picked up. Get your children to quietly sit on the floor and let the bunny investigate them, not the other way around.

I think it goes without saying that you shouldn’t get a rabbit ‘for your kids’ and expect them to take responsibility for it. Rabbits are the responsibility of the entire family and too much for a kid to handle.

Most rabbits like a calm, quiet environment, so if you can’t provide that, maybe get a pet that doesn’t mind a bit of noise.

Why house rabbits make such great pets:

House rabbits don’t need walking

I mean, I know that some people do walk their rabbits, but you don’t need to. If you provide them with a big enough area in which to roam you’ll notice pretty quickly that they exercise themselves in the form of pretty epic zoomies.

This is where lifestyle comes in – it wouldn’t suit me to take a dog out for a walk every morning and evening (with my current job) but I’m quite happy to chill on the floor for an hour or two and play with my rabbits.

House rabbits are great fun and sociable

I pity all those people that think pet rabbits need to stay outside – they’re missing out on the best parts of caring for bunnies!

Give your rabbit lots of toys and space to place with and you quickly see how funny they are (and how fast they can go!). Even Holly, our super nervous bun, cannot RESIST creeping over to me and seeing what I’m doing. The unwritten rule is that I must pretend that I’m a statue and not under any circumstances let her know I know she’s there.

House rabbits don’t smell

Well, they shouldn’t anyway. If your rabbit is eating a good diet and plenty of hay, their poop shouldn’t smell at all. Their pee does, but a good quality litter should soak it up and remove any odour.

If your rabbit does smell, it can be a sign that something is wrong.

Rabbit doesn’t smell unless your rabbit has rolled in something gross or isn’t grooming themselves for some reason. In fact, bunny fur smells, in my opinion, of digestive biscuits.

Cecotropes do smell, but your rabbit should, conveniently enough, eat them directly from their own bum. If you regularly see cecotropes, then that can be an indication that your rabbit is ill or too overweight to reach their bum. I usually pick them up and offer them to the bunny. Then they eat them. It’s gross.

House rabbits are fairly easy to train

I mean the easy stuff. You can absolutely train your rabbit to do tricks, but that’s not easy (though no harder than training a dog). But in terms of the basics, like litter training and getting into their bed when you want to vacuum, it’s pretty easy.

I have tips on litter training here, I just use the command ‘bed’ whenever the bunny is in their bed. Then when I want them to go to bed, I say ‘bed’ and wait for them to get in. When they eventually do, they get a treat and a fuss.

House rabbits are environmentally friendly pets

  • They herbivores, so eat a plant-based diet
  • You can feed them some vegetable scraps like celery leaves, carrot tops and the odd carrot peeling
  • You can compost their bedding. Herbivore manure is great to use as mulch for your garden.

House rabbits are comparatively cheap to keep

  • Hay and pellets are cheap
  • Vet care and insurance are cheaper than for dogs and cats, at least it is here in the UK
  • Rabbit boarding is so much cheaper than for dogs and cats
  • One banana or carrot = a weeks worth of treats
  • No one’s gonna sue because your rabbit bit them. It’ll be laughed out of court (even though they can be vicious little sods).

House rabbits can happily live in apartments

My old rabbit lived in an apartment for nine years. When we moved to a house with a garden I was SO excited to let her chill in the garden. I thought she’d love it.

Did she?

No, she was extremely underwhelmed. She liked the warmth from the sun and the fact the ground was edible, but she was hardly waiting by the door every morning to be let out for a run.

I many dogs (especially greyhounds) are perfectly happy to live in an apartment, but you don’t have to a bunny outside to poop.

Issues with keeping house rabbits as pets

House rabbit can be destructive

Please don’t ask me how to stop rabbit chewing up your carpet. You can’t. At least, there’s no method that’s guaranteed to work. If you don’t want your rabbit to chew it don’t let your rabbit have access to it.

There is no end to the list of things rabbits want to chew and dig at. It’s the way they’re made. My dream house is going to have stone or tile base boards so I no longer have to block them all off with panels of x-pen.

House rabbits can be messy

Some rabbits can be litter trained 100%, but they’re few and far between. If the idea of having poop on the floor grosses you out, rabbits maybe aren’t the pet for you. It really doesn’t bother me – the poo is dry and easy to vacuum up, and I know they’re trying their best.

It can be difficult to find house rabbit carers when you go away

We’re really lucky to have a great boarding facility nearby (about 40 minutes) and it’s super cheap. They have a variety of indoor and outdoor setups so your bunny will have an environment as close to their home setup as possible.

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to find good rabbit boarding facilities. It might be an easier option to have a friend or family member stay with your bunnies whilst you’re away, which obviously isn’t always possible.

Not all house rabbits like to be cuddled

And even fewer like to be picked up. The only time an animal that’s not a rabbit would get close to rabbit naturally would be to eat it. For obvious reasons, rabbits are only cuddly if they really trust you.

How quickly your rabbit trusts you is totally dependent on the rabbit. It can literally take years, but it’s usually a few months.

If a rabbit was picked up in the wild, that would be a bad thing – it would most likely be being taken by a hawk. No wonder 95% of rabbits HATE being picked up, and will fight to get down.

I’ve kept many bunnies for a long time, and even the sweetest cuddliest bunny didn’t like being picked up. It’s not a case of ‘getting them used to it’. Go down to their level and play with your rabbits on the floor. Only pick them up when it’s necessary.

It can be difficult finding rabbit-savvy vets

I think I must be really lucky because I’ve never been given bad rabbit advice by my vets. If the vet says your rabbit doesn’t need to be neutered, or suggests starving them before surgery go elsewhere.

My rex bunny once got sore hocks on her front feet (super common in rexes), and the vet, knowing we were poor students, told us to put sudocrem on them and buy some newborn baby socks.

The vet told us that if Molly tried to lick it off (which she would), we could put the gloves on. I wish I’ve taken a picture of Molly sitting on her bum with her front legs outstretched like a t-rex and little gloves on.

The vet was right – the next time we put the sudocrem on she didn’t lick it because she knew she’d get the gloves. She got it the first time! My other rabbits would have needed the gloves every time.

Final thoughts on whether house rabbits make good pets

Yes they make amazing pets! The question you need to ask yourself is will I make a good rabbit caregiver?

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