Tuesday, May 10, 2016

So you bought an Easter bunny....

So you bought an Easter bunny…

It seemed like a great idea at the time.  After all, what’s more cute than a fuzzy little baby bunny?  This innocent creature seemed like an easy, adorable starter pet, right?  Now, that cute little ball of fluff has grown up.  He’s turning into a hormonal teenage brat, being disrespectful, urinating everywhere, chewing on the furniture, and generally making himself as unwelcome as any other surly teenager.
Now what?

Don’t give up on your bunny!  Rabbits are the third most abandoned pet in the United States.  There are actions you can take to live in harmony with your bunny.  They can make adorable, hilarious, and wonderful house pets.  You just need to know how to care for them.

Spay or Neuter

First things first – your raging hormonal bunny will continue to have said hormones until he/she is altered.  Spaying and neutering is necessary for the health and well-being of your pet bunny (as well as your own sanity!)  Rabbits have a very high chance of getting reproductive cancer if they are not altered, and they will continue to exhibit territorial behaviors if all those hormones are coursing through their fluffy bodies.  Be sure to have a rabbit-savvy vet perform the procedure.  Do not fast your rabbit before surgery (they are physically unable to vomit, therefore holding back food is dangerous and unnecessary).  Males can generally be neutered at about 3 months of age, and females can generally be spayed around 6 months of age.  For more on spaying and neutering, visit http://rabbit.org/faq-spaying-and-neutering/

Bunny Proof

Bunnies are like any wayward toddler or inquisitive puppy.  They will happily find things to chew (baseboards and remote control buttons being a common favorite!).  They will also chew more dangerous items such as electrical cords.  These behaviors are instinct, so it is up to you to keep your bunny and your possessions safe!  Be sure to cover electrical cords, keep important items out of reach, and provide plenty of toys and entertainment for your bunny.  A bored bunny is a destructive bunny!  For more on bunny proofing, visit http://rabbit.org/faq-rabbit-proofing/

Bunnies like to chew!

Find a companion

Rabbits are extremely social animals, and are much happier living with a friend.  However, you can’t just throw two rabbits together and expect them to get along.  Now that you have already purchased a bunny and are doing research, you know that rabbit rescues exist!  Your local rabbit rescue can help you find a compatible friend for your bun and help with the bonding process.  Yes, it is a process!  You and your bunny will be much happier with another bunny friend – after all, nothing is cuter than seeing two bunnies snuggle with one another!


Provide proper care

In addition to providing an engaging environment for your bunny, you need to offer your bunny proper housing (not a tiny pet store cage!), food, and vet care.  The pet store or breeder may have given you misleading information about care.  Rabbits have specialized digestive systems, so proper diet is very important.  Unlimited grass hay (timothy, orchard grass, etc – not alfalfa) should always be available.  You probably purchased those fancy-looking pellets with colored bits and seeds in them.  Time to wean your bunny off of those (they are terrible for a bun’s health) and start him on plain, quality timothy-based pellets.  Fresh greens should be offered every day, and treats should be kept to a minimum.  Oh, and throw out those pet store treats you probably purchased.  Most of them are complete junk.  Instead, offer small bites of fresh fruit or homemade bunny cookies.  Here's an example recipe: http://bakebakebake.livejournal.com/1352167.html

Sharing your home with bunnies is a wonderful, rewarding experience when it is done right.  You just need to understand the behavior and care of these hilarious, adorable creatures.  Don’t forget, your local rabbit rescue can always offer specific advice as well.  Are you in the Tampa area and thinking about adopting a companion for your current bunny?  We can help!  Visit http://www.tbhrr.org for information!

*Carrots are a treat!  Feed in moderation :)

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