Are you considering adopting a bunny? This may be the perfect time to do so. These cute little balls of fur are hopping into the spotlight this month: it’s Adopt A Rescued Rabbit Month!  Read on as a local Cumberland County veterinarian offers some tips on bringing a rescue bunny into your home.

How To Set Up A Bunny Cage

Many cages sold as bunny habitats are actually far too small for Floppy. Rabbits are very curious and energetic, and they can get quite unhappy if they’re cooped up too much. Make sure your cute pet has plenty of space in her cage to hop around, stand, sit, and play without touching the top or sides.

When buying the habitat, choose something with a solid floor. Mesh ones don’t hold bedding, and can cause paw and leg injuries. (They’re also not very comfortable.) When it comes to bedding, avoid hardwoods like pine and cedar: their oils can cause respiratory problems in small animals.

You’ll need to spot-clean the cage every day, and follow up with more thorough cleanings frequently. 

It’s also important to furnish it properly. Here are some of the things you’ll need to include:

  • A Hide Box
  • Toys
  • Water bottles
  • Hay Rack (optional)
  • Litterbox (optional)

What To Feed Your Pet Rabbit

First and foremost, Floppy should always have plenty of fresh hay available. In fact, your rabbit’s diet should consist primarily of grass hay, such as Timothy hay. You can supplement this with commercial bunny food and safe herbs and veggies. Many fruits are fine, but you’ll need to be careful: too much sugar isn’t good for your pet. Consult your Cumberland County veterinarians for specific advice.

What Foods Are Dangerous To Bunnies

You’ll need to learn what foods are safe and unsafe for bunnies. This can be challenging, as some items that seem fine may actually be harmful. For example, everyday foods like bread, biscuits and pasta are not toxic, but could cause digestive issues for your pet. Other foods that should be avoided include coconut, chilis, cookies, iceberg lettuce, avocado, tomato and potato leaves, garlic and onions, oatmeal, candy, chocolate, junk food, and anything with seeds or pips. It’s also important to know that some foods, such as chard and broccoli, should only be given occasionally. Ask your Cumberland County veterinarians for more information.

Some Bunnies Will Cuddle With You

Like any other animal, bunnies all have individual personalities. Many  are quite affectionate. Others may prefer to hang out beside you rather than curl up on your lap. Even if Floppy is not a lap bunny, she may still show her affection in other ways, such as rubbing her chin on you or attempting to groom you.

Why There Are So Many Rescue Bunnies Needing Adoption

Unfortunately, rabbits are often impulse purchases. Many people just fall for those cute faces and purchase a bunny without realizing how much care Floppy needs. Even worse, rabbits are often given as pets to children, who can quickly lose interest. (This is particularly common around Easter.) Many of these poor bunnies are soon rehomed or surrendered to shelters. Others are released into the wild. This is very sad, as pets aren’t equipped to fend for themselves. They often do not survive long before succumbing to weather, predators, illness, or injury.

Reach out to a local shelter or bunny rescue if you find an abandoned bunny.

How To Bond With A Rescue Rabbit

You will need to earn Floppy’s trust before you can win her heart. Good TLC will go a long way here. Remember, rabbits are prey animals in the wild, and can easily get scared.

Here are a few tips:

Be Patient: It may take Floppy some time to warm up to you. Your furry pal may not feel safe until several months have passed. Don’t force it!

Talk To Your Pet: It doesn’t matter what you say: the tone of your voice is the most important aspect. Always use a friendly, gentle tone of voice.

Avoid Scaring Your Pet: Try not to make loud noises or sudden movements around your pet. Rabbits can be quite nervous, so unexpected sounds or commotion may frighten your little friend.

Don’t Force Attention On Floppy. Never pick your bunny up or hold her against her will. That would just scare her, which will do more harm than good. Try holding treats or grass out to her.

Use Snacks: Food can go a long way towards earning animals’ trust. This is where your pet’s sweet tooth can come in handy. Floppy might go bonkers for things like apples, strawberries, dried bananas, and melons. Just stick to safe options, and don’t go overboard.

Meet Eye-To-Eye: We’re pretty large and imposing from Floppy’s point of view. Sit or lie down on the floor, so you aren’t towering over your rabbit.

Learn To Read Floppy: It is important to learn bunny body language. Happy bunnies are generally playful and curious. They may even give you binkies, which are bunny happy dances. You should also be aware of the signs of anxiety, which include freezing, sitting in a hunched position, acting aggressively, and flattening the ears.

Why Rabbits Chew So Much

Chewing is essential for bunnies. New bunny owners need to understand that Floppy isn’t trying to be destructive, but rather trying to keep her teeth healthy. Wild bunnies eat a lot of tough roots and fibers. Pet rabbits have much softer diets. Therefore, they must chew on other things to prevent their choppers from becoming too long, which can cause painful dental issues.

You’ll need to provide an endless supply of chew toys. You don’t have to break the bank here: many cardboard, wood, and wicker items are fine. You can also offer safe fruit tree branches, provided they have been properly cleaned. Avoid anything with small parts, as well as anything covered in decorative substances, such as glitter or dye. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Why Bunnyproofing Is So Important

You’ll need to petproof your home, both to make it safe for your furry friend and to protect your belongings from her little teeth. Put anything you don’t want Floppy gnawing on out of reach. Some things to address include anything small or sharp; personal items, like phones, shoes, and purses; wires and cords; and plastic bags. You’ll also need to cover furniture legs, baseboards, and wires with protective covers. Consult your Cumberland County veterinarian for more information. 

Rabbits Are Very Social

While Floppy is small, she’s got a big personality, which makes her a great companion. However, these guys tend to be happiest with a friend. You may want to consider getting a bonded pair. You’ll get double the cuteness, but not necessarily at double the cost: your furry pals will be able to share many of their things.

In conclusion: Bunnies are very cute and can make wonderful pets, but they require a lot of care and attention. Before adopting one, it is important to think carefully and do plenty of research.

As your local Cumberland County veterinary clinic we are here to help if you have questions about bunny care. We’re also dedicated to offering the best veterinary care around.