Caring for Your Pet Rabbit

Longtime rabbit raiser Karen Patry provides basic information on grooming, housing and meeting the other needs of your pet rabbit.

  • Pet rabbits need attention and will be most open to your affection in the late afternoon and evening, when you're likely to be coming home from work or finishing homework.
    Photo by Fotolia/rm211171
  • When choosing a pet rabbit, remember that wooled breeds require more grooming than Rex and normal breeds.
    Illustration by Elara Tanguy
  • Use a nail trimmer and cut the tip of each nail of your pet rabbit as shown, but avoid nicking the quick, the area closest to the toe itself.
    Illustration by Elara Tanguy
  • You can wipe away debris from the anal glands of your pet rabbit with a cotton swab dipped in mineral oil.
    Illustration by Elara Tanguy
  • “The Rabbit-Raising Problem Solver,” by Karen Patry, gives the first-time pet rabbit owner and the experienced livestock farmer alike helpful information on raising the domestic rabbit.
    Cover courtesy Storey Publishing

The Rabbit-Raising Problem Solver (Storey Publishing, 2014), by Karen Patry, addresses questions and concerns about housing, feeding and breeding rabbits at every stage in their lives. From choosing productive meat and fiber breeds to preparing a proper nest box and coaxing a fussy bunny to eat, you’ll find proven answers and humane solutions to your rabbit-raising quandaries. In the following excerpt from Chapter 2, “The Rabbit as a Pet,” Patry conveys useful information for beginning pet rabbit owners.

You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: The Rabbit-Raising Problem Solver.

Rabbit Care 101

Q. What is involved in caring for a pet rabbit?

A. A rabbit’s physical needs include shelter, food, water, chew toys that entertain and help keep their teeth chiseled, and protection from fear and predators. A sturdy wire cage or hutch will do the trick, whether you house your pet rabbit indoors or outdoors. Rabbits can be trained to use a litter box and allowed to roam indoors, but they can be destructive and must be supervised. House rabbits will find a hiding spot in which they feel secure. That spot may be in their cage or may instead be among the dust bunnies deep under your bed!

If your pet rabbit has the run of part or all of the house and/or spends time romping in the yard or garden, you’ll need to be attentive to the intentions of family dogs or cats until you are certain that they think “Friend!” and not “Dinner!” at the sight of a pet rabbit. Sometimes members of different species get along great and can be trusted to play together nicely. With others, you can never be confident — make sure you know which situation you have.

Rabbits, especially a single pet, do need attention every day, but their need for companionship is not extravagant. Rabbits are most active at dawn and at dusk, when their main activities, at least in the wild, are foraging and chewing. Otherwise, they rest and sleep most of the day and some of the night as well, a pattern of behavior referred to as crepuscular. So a rabbit will be most open to your attention in the late afternoon and evening, a time frame that typically coincides with families coming home from work or finishing up homework and chores. With regular petting and playtime, a rabbit is likely to consider you an important part of its world.

Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of GRIT for just $22.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters