05 April 2016

A Quick Guide to Having A Pet Rabbit

A Quick Guide to Having A Pet RabbitAwhile ago a friend asked me if I could share some information in regards to having a bunny as a pet. After a lot of messages sent back and forth I came to the conclusion that I really needed to write a blog post about this, because like my friend said, it can be a little difficult finding information on bunnies as pets.

As most of you know, I have a pet bunny named Olive. She's an English Spot/dwarf mix and I absolutely love that little bun with all my heart. When I first decided that I wanted a rabbit as a pet I did A LOT of research online and no matter how much I read, I wasn't all that knowledgeable until having Olive for a little while. I figured I'd share what I learned with all of you!

So, you're thinking about getting a pet rabbit.
Having a rabbit as a pet is NOT like having a cat or a dog - they need supervision too. In my opinion, having a pet rabbit is actually a lot better and I've had both cats and dogs in the past. Rabbits are skittish by nature, I mean wouldn't you if you were not even six pounds? Besides they are prey animals. By default, they are ready to move at the slightest sign of danger. You have to be gentle with them, they are keen on doing things on THEIR terms. Sometimes rabbits nip. Olive only does it when you are in her way and she's exhausted all other avenues of moving you. It's never a hard nip, but when she first did it was unexpected. Oh, and they shed too, which is always fun if you have a white rabbit and wear mostly black like I do.

Rabbits need hay and A LOT of it. Depending on their size, rabbits will need different amounts of pellets and fresh veggies. The list of veggies and fruits that rabbits can eat is rather long so I won't list it here, but you can check out an awesome list over at Rabbit House Society.

I'm really picky about the pellets that I give Olive. I've found the best one to be Sunseed Vita Sunscription. These pellets have no added sugar, nuts, or seeds. They are also made from Timothy Hay so it's perfect. They sell them at Pet Supermarket and Amazon.

They should consume hay daily (typically the size of their body). However, the type of hay you give them depends on their age. Baby bunnies need Alfalfa Hay, whereas adult rabbits need Timothy Hay. If you find that you are allergic to Timothy Hay, Orchard Hay is a great option.

As for the amounts, it varies by how big your rabbit is. For every two pounds of bunny weight, they should get a cup of mixed, approved veggies. Since Olive is 4lbs I give her around 2 cups of fresh veggies for dinner. As for pellets, I give her 1/8 cup of pellets for her breakfast and half of that for her afternoon snack. Keep in mind that 70% of their diet should be made up of good quality hay. Bunnies love to graze, so if it takes them a little time to finish their food, don't worry. For more information, head over to House Rabbit Society's Diet page.

Fresh fruits are a great way to reward your bunny. Dried chamomile flowers are awesome as well - Olive loves the Badia ones.Olive's favourite special treat is bananas (in very small amounts). - we will give her banana strings or a little tip of the banana. She goes crazy for them. Just remember that too much sugar can cause GI stasis, which can be deadly.

Also, NEVER give your rabbit chocolate, yogurt drops or pellets with seeds or nuts mixed in. Try to stay away from pellets with added sugar. You can see some more information here.

Use a ceramic bowl instead of a water feed, it's easier for them to drink water. Always make sure they have fresh water and wash the bowl frequently. I always use filtered water for Olive - we have a PUR water filter attachment on our kitchen sink, so it makes it a lot easier and less wasteful than buying water bottles. Plus you get filtered water on tap too!

A large, rectangular cat size litter box is perfect. I keep Olive's in one corner of her cage. But you have to be careful what you fill the litter box with. Stay away from litters made from wood shavings or chips. CatWorks litter isn't safe either.

I use Tractor Supply store brand equine pine pellets. They are wood stove pellets that are actually for horses, but they are great for rabbits too. Best of all, it's only $5 for a 40lb bag. Which lasts a LONG time for Olive.

For their litter box, all you need to do is add in their litter and top it with fresh hay. Rabbits love to eat hay while their pooping. And yes, they will also eat their own poop. This is normal and HEALTHY. Rabbits go through their food so quickly that most of their poop is just half-digested food still full of nutrients. Also, you need to make sure that you change their litter box often.

This graphic from Rabbit House Society is great...

When I adopted Olive she was already litter box trained. But I've heard that it isn't that hard to train them to use a litter box. Rabbits like to keep their areas very clean so having a designated area for them is right up their alley. I've heard of people taking three separate litter boxes and lining their cage with them. They then remove one litter box, then the second litter box leaving the third litter box on either the left or right side of the cage. Just whatever you do, make sure the litter box isn't in the middle of the cage... bunnies need a lot of space to stretch out and be lazy

A pet rabbit, in my opinion, should always be kept indoors. As for the cage size, you have to remember that once the litter box is in there, there needs to be enough room for their water bowl and area for the bunny to sprawl out and hang out comfortably. For Olive, I originally purchased this cage. Olive isn't a large rabbit, maybe 41/2 pounds, so I thought this cage was perfect for her. Sadly, it wasn't. Plus those plastic surfaces can cause sore hocks - which can become very serious. We have since made Olive a rabbit-tat, thanks to this amazing metal x-pen. You can go here for even more info.

Picking up your rabbit and other things to consider.
Most rabbits don't enjoy being picked up. Simply consider that you tower over them, they feel safe being low to the ground and picking them up could signal danger. Olive will only let me pick her up on rare occasions. One way to see if your rabbit will even allow you to pick them up is to test the situation. Usually what I do is start by getting down on the ground next to her, I let her sniff me and then I will start petting her. I'll then move my hand towards her side, in between her feet, and if she doesn't bolt  I know that she's cool with letting me pick her up.

How to hold a rabbit - lots of bunny butt support.
When holding your rabbit make sure their paws are pressed to your chest with one hand supporting their butt. Bunnies have very delicate spines and supporting them in that way and location helps them feel safe in the "cuddle position" as I like to call it.

Listen closely, rabbits DO make noises.
Olive loves to grunt if she doesn't like what I am doing. This usually occurs if I have to pick her up and she doesn't want anything to do with it. She'll also grunt if I have to rearrange her set up in her cage while she is still in it. Bunnies can be a little OCD with their habitats and if they set up their stuff a certain way, they don't like to see it altered.

P.S. If you ever hear a rabbit making a grinding noise while you're petting them, it means that they are content. It's the bunny's equivalent of purring.

Honestly, rabbits make great pets,  they can live up to ten years (sometimes more - like 13 years) so it is a big decision that requires commitment. They need love and attention just like any other animal. And please, if you are thinking about getting a rabbit, check out local shelters near you. There are so many bunnies in need of adoption.

You can check out Olive's adventures here.


  1. Great information! Since I've met Olive and got to hold her, I know how sweet she is!!

    1. She loved you. Seriously, I haven't seen her stay that long in someone's arms besides mine!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Kim Salerno is the President and Author of pets from Sri Lanka

  4. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with extra information? It is extremely helpful for me. Dog Shampoo for Allergy Sufferers

  5. I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. dog jogging stroller

  6. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work... do dogs need a dog bed?

  7. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. anxiety crate for dogs

  8. thanks for this usefull article, waiting for this article like this again. best leather dog collars

  9. Today, I was just browsing along and came upon your blog. Just wanted to say good blog and this article helped me a lot, due to which I have found exactly I was looking. best outdoor cat house

  10. I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

  11. I was surfing the Internet for information and came across your blog. I am impressed by the information you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject. how long does cat urine odor last

  12. Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting? I'm pleased I discovered it though, ill be checking back soon to find out what additional posts you include. Read More

  13. Yes, I am entirely agreed with this article, and I just want say that this article is very helpful and enlightening. I also have some precious piece of concerned info !!!!!!Thanks. Click Here

  14. We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work. Ointment for Dog Sores

  15. Im no expert, but I believe you just made an excellent point. You certainly fully understand what youre speaking about, and I can truly get behind that. Neuter a Large Breed Dog

  16. Very informative post! There is a lot of information here that can help any business get started with a successful social networking campaign. Read More

  17. I found that site very usefull and this survey is very cirious, I ' ve never seen a blog that demand a survey for this actions, very curious... Flea Tick and Heartworm Prevention for Dogs

  18. This is my first time visit to your blog and I am very interested in the articles that you serve. Provide enough knowledge for me. Thank you for sharing useful and don't forget, keep sharing useful info: Natural Appetite Stimulant for Dogs

  19. Whilst he is training, get him used to being in there while you are in the house. best puppy crate

  20. How would I show the pooch these two apparently basic ideas? To begin with, supplant the word Yes with the word Okay. The word No remaining parts No. So's what you need to show the canine. OK, and No. best automatic dog feeders with timer

  21. On the off chance that your Chinchilla needs clinical consideration, a veterinarian familiar in Chinchilla care is required.chinchillas

  22. Please continue this great work and I look forward to more of your awesome blog posts. learn more

  23. Thanks for sharing the post.. parents are worlds best person in each lives of individual..they need or must succeed to sustain needs of the family. get free instagram likes reddit