How To Take Care Of A Rabbit

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Preparing Your House For Your Pet Rabbit
by Andrea Austin, Rabbits-n-Bunnies.com


Now that you have decided where to get your pet rabbit from, and now that you know how to select a healthy animal, youíve got to prepare yourself, your family and your home for the new arrival. One of the first and most important considerations you will have to make is where your rabbit will stay.

Temperature

Rabbits are most comfortable when the temperature falls somewhere between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. For most of us, it rarely gets much colder than that indoors, given our heating systems in the wintertime. But what about the summertime, when it can get hot and sticky, even when we have our poor, overworked air conditioners on? Well, that can be a real danger to rabbits, who may suffer heat stress or stroke when the temperature climbs over 80 degrees.

One of my favorite creative ways to keep rabbits comfy on hot days is to fill an empty plastic soda bottle (the big 2-liter kind) with water, then freeze it in the freezer. You can stick it in your rabbitís cage and it will serve to bring down the temperature a bit.

Light

Rabbits should be protected from getting overheated. In addition to keeping your animal away from direct heat sources, make sure the cage is not in direct sunlight or the direct path of a desk or floor lamp. If your rabbit is in a too-brightly lit area, he may feel uncomfortable, or can even succumb to heat stroke.

Comfort

To ensure your rabbitís optimal comfort, place his cage in an area that is well ventilated. If it is too damp, bring in a dehumidifier, and turn on a fan (away from the cage) to circulate air, dry up the dampness and enhance the overall quality of the air.

Ensure that the rabbit has a corner he can run to to be away from the rest of the family, as some rabbits like their private time, too. They wonít appreciate constantly being on display and may get nervous if you keep them in a very busy central space.

Cage/Housing

A rabbitís cage is extremely important, because itís his home. Even if you let your rabbit run loose within an area, the cage is where he will probably return to, because it will contain his litter box and his food and water. Therefore, the cage has got to be big enough for the rabbit to fit comfortably inside and to move around freely.

Most available rabbit cages (which you can buy at any pet store) are made of wire. Some are made of wood, but these are hard to clean and can be unsanitary. Therefore, I recommend a cage made of metal.

Some cages have wire mesh floors, others have solid floors. The choice is up to you, but there are a few points to keep in mind when making this decision. A solid floor will enable the rabbit to sit and stand comfortably. Wire mesh floors much have openings small enough to guarantee the animal wonít get his paws stuck, and so that he is not uncomfortable when he is standing on the wires. In fact, if you buy a wire-bottom cage, you may wish to lay down a bunch of hay, a natural grass mat, a sheet of plastic or a plank of wood (that you can replace for sanitary purposes), so that the cage is more comfy and does not hurt the bunnyís feet.

Buying a cage with a slide-out tray can make the cleaning process easier for you.

Also, remember that paint or any other sort of metal finisher or stain can pose chemical hazards to rabbits, who like to chew on things.

The Right Size Cage for Your Rabbit

One of the most common question new rabbit owners ask is how large the cage should be. This depends somewhat on the type of rabbit you buy. If you buy a dwarf breed, the cage does not have to be as large as if you were bringing home a giant rabbit, for example. Follow this general rule of thumb: the cage should be high enough to allow the rabbit to stand up on his back legs without bumping his head or ears on the ceiling of the cage. Make sure the floor is big enough to accommodate the rabbit, his litter box, an exercise or sleeping area, and anything else you will be including inside the cage (water bottle, food bowl, etc.).

The above information is to be followed if there is only one rabbit in the cage. If you want to add a second rabbit, add on about half as much space (for a total of 150% of the original one-rabbit cage).

by Andrea Austin, Rabbits-n-Bunnies.com

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