Rabbits are wonderful pets with very specific needs that must be met if they are to be healthy and happy. PFMA is a member of the Animal Welfare Education Alliance and we believe that owning and caring for a pet is a big responsibility. We recommend all owners read about their duty of care, as outlined in the Animal Welfare Act, and understand about their pet’s five welfare needs.
Rabbits are social creatures. Try to keep them in pairs with the opposite sex (after neutering). This can also reduce the risk of the rabbit becoming aggressive towards their owners.
You should gently handle your rabbit as often as possible so it can get used to human contact. Daily contact can prevent timid or aggressive behaviour but don’t forget to support the bottom when holding your rabbit so it doesn’t injure its back
Make sure your rabbit has sufficient toys and things to play with. You should also ensure your pet can avoid things that scare them like dogs, cats and ferrets.
Male rabbits often exhibit aggressive behaviour in their adolescence. This is a good time to consider having your rabbit neutered. (Please ask your vet for more information)
All rabbits should be registered with a vet and vaccinated. A rabbit should also be neutered to prevent unwanted litters and aggression. Your vet will be able to advise you on neutering your pet.
As an owner you should regularly check your rabbit is healthy and happy. You can do this by monitoring if there are any changes in eating, drinking, toilet habits and his / her behaviour or appearance.
It is advisable that you regularly brush your rabbit to keep its coats healthy.
Common problem areas for rabbit are their teeth, which both need to be worn down by eating fibre. Their nails may also grow too long and your vet can advise on clipping.
Ideally, rabbits need around four hours exercise outside the hutch each day to keep them fit and healthy. Rabbits can also suffer from obesity and it is very important to monitor your rabbit’s body condition. years. At the PFMA we have developed some excellent tools to help pet owners keep an eye on their pet’s health. Click here for our rabbit size-o-meter, which you can print off as a guide.
If you are concerned about your rabbit’s health, we advise you see your vet.