Do Bunnies Make Good House Pets?

April 23, 2011

It’s Easter weekend. Combine that with the Chinese Year of the Rabbit and the recently released movie “Hop,” and you can probably see why there has been a surge of bunny purchases at pet stores.

But, do rabbits make good house pets?

Before you bring any pet into your Chicago home you should do research, and a bunny is no different.

For starters, did you know that rabbits do not like to be held? This doesn’t mean they won’t be affectionate and cuddle up close to you while you lie on the floor, but don’t expect your cute bunny to sit in your lap.

Other features to consider about having a bunny for a pet:

*Rabbits explore by chewing, so not only is it important to have a stock of safe chew toys, but all electrical plugs and exposed wires must be placed well out of site.

*Rabbits should never be allowed to roam the house without complete supervision, so you must have a cage with a litter box and ample space so your pet doesn’t feel confined when left alone.

*Carrots are a treat, not a staple. Grass hay should be a rabbit’s daily meal.

*Spaying or neutering is essential. Rabbits who aren’t spayed tend to develop reproductive cancer. Also, rabbits have a very strong-smelling urine. Spaying or neutering will reduce that a bit.

*Rabbits need regular exercise and are a 7 to 10 year commitment.

*Rabbit need regular vet visits, and their health care can be more expensive than cat or dog care.

In honor of Earth Day, here are some eco-friendly reasons to have a rabbit as a pet:

*You can grow a lot of their treats in your garden, including carrots, lettuce, kale and parsley. They also eat dandelion greens and some flowers, so you can actually feed your bunny your unwanted weeds.

*Rabbit droppings contain a large amount of nitrogen and phosphorus, which are good nutrients to add to your garden. So, rabbit poop will actually fertilize the greens you are growing for him in the first place.

*We told you that rabbits like to chew, so make yours a personal paper shredder. Rabbits can chew apart the documents you want destroyed and be happy doing it.

*This goes beyond paper. Rabbits will play with toilet paper rolls, old telephone books, cardboard boxes and lots of other items you were just going to recycle anyway.

*House rabbits are actually very clean animals and are usually disease-free. That means you don’t need to use pet shampoos, flea and tick medications and other treatments that might include harmful chemicals.

So, with everything in life, there are pluses and minuses to housing a pet bunny. Think hard before you invest, and if you don’t think it’s right for you, opt for the chocolate kind this weekend instead.

For more information, check out the Chicago House Rabbit Society at hrschicago.org or click to read this here.

Categories: Education

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