From their adorable fluffy ears to their tiny beany toes, bunnies are undoubtedly charming animals. No wonder they are ranked as the third most popular UK pet. However, rabbits are also one of the most abused and neglected pets in the UK. Therefore, before adopting one, think things through and include these important things to consider in your checklist:
Adopting or buying a new bunny might be inexpensive. However, taking care of them is not, that is why it is crucial to contemplate the possible budget and expenses. You must make sure that you are capable of meeting your future bunny’s needs.
According to Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), since rabbits are social animals, they must have a partner or in small groups to keep themselves company. Taking care of a pair of rabbits will cost you a minimum of £6,500 to £9,000. However, if you also take into account their healthcare and other miscellaneous expenses, then the cost could be as high as £30,000.
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The average cost of the basic things that must be provided to the rabbit to ensure its safety and happiness is £570. This includes:
- Grooming equipment
- Food bowl
- Water bottle
- Waterproof home
- Pet carrier
- Exercise run
- The initial course of vaccinations
2. Kids and Bunnies
Abandoned and living forlornly in an unkempt hutch is one of the sad realities some bunnies face because their human family chose to give up on them. So if you decide to get a rabbit, it must be a family decision. Everyone in the family must shoulder the responsibility of taking care of the rabbit.
Adult supervision is required when you have a rabbit as a pet since they are sensitive animals. They require a good amount of attention when it comes to their cleaning, feeding, and exercise routines. If these needs are not properly met, your bunny may react negatively to these changes. It can cause stress on the rabbit and may result in illness. A child cannot easily detect the subtle changes in a rabbit’s behaviour and appetite, which can be symptoms of health issues.
Rabbits are also different from the stereotype kids commonly see them as. They may be cute; however, they are not up for hugging or cuddling most of the times. Bunnies are physically delicate animals. Their backbones are sensitive to force, which can be dangerous if a child suddenly picks it up and hugs it out of the blue. Additionally, rabbits are built to swiftly react to changes. If they are taken by surprise by a kid, they may either hop away or bite, which will not do well for both the animal and the child.
The roaring sound of a plane is very stressful for a rabbit. Travelling can be a pretty traumatic experience for a rabbit. If you will be on holiday overseas for a short period of time, then there is absolutely no need to take your pet with you. There are other alternative ways to find your bunny a temporary handler, such as:
- Leave it at home with a friend or a pet-sitter.
Choose a trusted individual that has basic knowledge or thoroughly knowledgeable about taking care of bunnies. They must find the time to visit your home once or twice a day to attend to your pet’s needs. Leave them a list that includes the phone numbers of the vet, rabbit feeding and cleaning routines, and signs of illnesses.
- Have someone accommodate your bunny in their home.
If you have a friend that would willingly take care of your pet in their house, then you might as well consider it. In this case, the rabbit will get more supervision and attention.
- Board at a kennel or a vet.
It is advisable that this should be the last on your list of options as these locations may prove stressful for the rabbit. However, if there is no other choice, make sure to check where your bunny will be placed. It must be far away from cats and dogs that might make loud noises and cause the rabbit stress.
But if you are planning to be a rabbit pet parent with a job that requires you to move or travel to different places, then maybe you should consider not getting one. There are only a few airlines that allow bunnies to fly abroad. Additionally, bunnies are often quarantined for month-long periods upon arriving in other countries. However, they are banned in other places.
Enrichment means developing the area where your rabbit is currently living in. It involves supplying your new bunny various choices of activities, foraging opportunities, housing areas, and socialisation. Enhancing a bunny’s quality of life and welfare is the primary aim of enrichment.
Rabbits are highly social and active creatures. Without activities to keep them busy, rabbits will get bored and it may lead to destructive behaviours and health issues. Since they are usually enclosed in their hutches most of the time, they must have control over their surroundings. The enrichment activities for rabbits include:
- Positive human interactions. It includes playtime, grooming, and training your rabbit.
- Dietary enrichment. It is a method of providing your bunny food that will reinforce its drive to work and forage for food.
- Toys, objects, and hiding places. These would encourage your bunny to be mentally and physically active. It would also give it the opportunity to dig and scent-mark.
When choosing a proper home for your bunny, you must keep in mind that there should be enough space for your bunny to hop around. Adding shelves and ramps into their living area is also a good idea in order to stop their boredom and keep them active.
Think in advance how big your bunny may grow and start choosing or creating your own bunny housing from there. The minimum size of a cage that is appropriate for a bunny that is 5 to 6 pounds in size is 30 x 30 or 24 x 36. If you are planning to have a bigger bunny, then a larger cage is required.
Never use any materials with solid walled enclosures or aquariums. These types of cages will trap in the ammonia from your bunny’s urine and cause it to build up. It may irritate your pet’s nose and lungs and cause health issues.
Think Things Thoroughly Before Giving Your Commitment
Never get a bunny out on a whim. If you have your heart set in getting one, remember the important factors above and think it over. It will help you prioritise the most important things you need to provide your bunny in order to make him a happy and well-loved furry friend.
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