Easter immediately evokes happy images of family traditions. For some, this might include hunting for brightly colored eggs, chowing down on chocolate bunnies and attending church services in pastel-colored dresses. The bunny is another icon synonymous with this spring holiday, and many parents consider buying their child a pet bunny as a gift during the Easter season.
While rabbits can be wonderful pets, many people jump into owning one without realizing the true time and financial commitment required. In fact, rabbits are rather high-maintenance pets, as they’re incredibly intelligent and energetic and require lots of exercise, social interaction and enrichment activities. Because of this, rabbits sadly are the third most surrendered animal to shelters. It’s important to understand the following before adopting a rabbit in Saint Francisville, LA:
- Rabbits can live for more than a decade: Rabbits have a relatively long lifespan. Most rabbits live upwards of 10 years with the proper care. This means your child will likely still have the bunny when they’re graduating high school and preparing to head off to college! Be ready to commit to having a bunny be part of the family for years to come.
- Rabbits require a lot of care: A rabbit isn’t a goldfish. They will require a regular routine of daily food, weekly cage cleanings, exercise, activities, bonding and more to keep them happy and healthy.
- Rabbits aren’t cuddly: Rabbits are loving creatures, but they aren’t cuddly. Their natural prey instinct makes them prone to a strong fight-or-flight response. They tend to get scared and try to run away when someone picks them up. Many children can accidentally sprain a bunny’s leg or even break their spine by attempting to pick the rabbit up too forcefully. Rabbits prefer to be gently petted instead of held and handled.
- Rabbits require lots of exercise: A rabbit needs about four hours of exercise each day. They’re prone to chewing incessantly without enough exercise. Plan to give them plenty of time to exercise outside the cage and interact with the family.
- Rabbits need a well-rounded diet: One of the most common misconceptions is that rabbits survive on a diet consisting of nothing but carrots. In fact, rabbits primarily eat hay. Hay should always be available for them to eat, as it’s vital to their digestive and dental health. The hay should be supplemented with a rich diet of fresh vegetables, including romaine lettuce, herbs and dandelion greens.
- Routine vet care is a must: Rabbits need to go to the vet regularly just like a dog or a cat. Plan to have them spayed or neutered shortly after adoption to prevent some behavior problems, such as urine spraying and aggressiveness that can be caused by hormones. You’ll need a vet who is specifically trained to treat rabbits. The bunny will need yearly checkups until they turn five, and then twice a year as they age.
It’s clear adopting a rabbit is a major commitment. The experienced vets at St. Francisville Animal Hospital can help if you’re still interested in adding a rabbit to your family. Call us today to learn more about how to care for your rabbit in Saint Francisville, LA!
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