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How to Care for your Pet Rabbit

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How to Care for a Pet Rabbit

Rabbits are great pets. They have a few specific needs in order to live a long, happy and healthy life. Here is a complete overview on how to care for a pet rabbit:

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Step 1: Set Up Safe Housing

Rabbits inside playing
Here. Are

There are several options to house a pet rabbits. They can live free-reign in a bunny proof play area. And/or they can be contained within a play pen, bunny hutch or in a rabbit cage. 

Rabbits require space to run around and explore. Space should always be large enough to freely hop around, and your rabbit should be let out of the pen for a few hours everyday for exercise

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Be sure the location of your rabbit habitat is included in a room with you and your family. A family room or living room is a great place.

Cover all wires in his area with plastic sleeves or tubing, or try lifting wires 3-4 feet out of reach of your rabbit. You’ll have to block off certain areas of your home, since rabbits like to chew. Basically, your rabbit will try to chew everything in reach.

Wire cover

Step 3: Provide Fresh Hay

Rabbit eating hay

A rabbit’s diet most consist of hay. Hay should be provided to your pet rabbit at all times. Baby rabbits eat alfalfa hay, and adult rabbits eat timothy hay, grass hay, or oat hay.

Using a hay manger is helpful because it keeps hay dry, clean, and accessible. Learn more about the importance of hay and where to buy it at Hay for Rabbits: The Basis for a Healthy Diet.

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Step 4: Provide Fresh Greens, Fiber-rich Pellets, and Fresh Water

Rabbit eating greens

Supplement your rabbit’s hay with fresh vegetables, fiber-rich pellets (in limited quantities for adult rabbits), and fresh water daily.  You can learn more about what kinds of food to feed your bunny at What to Feed Your Pet Rabbit.

You can also learn about growing many of your rabbit’s favorite vegetables at Bunny Gardening for Beginners.

Step 5: Set Up a Litter Box

Rabbit in litter box

Rabbits have a natural inclination to poop and pee in one area.  Take advantage of this by setting up a medium-sized cat litter box or shallow storage bin near their food/water bowls and hay feeder.

Put a thin layer of rabbit-safe, recycled newspaper pellet litter at the bottom of the litter box. Do not use clay/clumping cat litter or wood shavings, as they are not safe for rabbits. Then put hay on top of the litter. Rabbits like to eat hay and poop at the same time, so this will encourage good litter box habits. Learn more at Litter Training Your Pet Rabbit.

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Step 6: Provide Enrichment

Rabbit in cardboard castle

Rabbits can get bored easily. Not only do they need space to exercise, they also need mental stimulation. Cardboard castles are great because rabbits spend hours chewing new windows and doorways. Cardboard castles also provide a quiet refuge for the rabbit when necessary.  Learn more at Building a Cardboard Castle for Your Bunny.

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You can also provide a variety of toys for your rabbit to pique his or her interest. Learn more at Enrichment for Your Pet BunnyLogic Toys for Rabbits, and Playing with Your Pet Bunny.

Step 7: Groom Your Rabbit

Rabbit's nails

Rabbits are naturally clean animals and wash themselves frequently. But you still need to groom your rabbit on a regular basis. Rabbits go through shedding cycles a couple times a year. It’s important to brush your rabbit to remove all the excess fur. Otherwise, your rabbit could ingest it and have serious digestive issues. Learn more about keeping your rabbit looking and feeling sharp in our article, Grooming Your House Rabbit.

Regular nail clipping is also important because long nails can get snagged on things or they can curl into your rabbit’s paw. Learn how to clip your rabbit’s nails yourself at Clipping Your Rabbit’s Nails.

Step 8: Bring Your Rabbit to a Rabbit-Savvy Vet

Veterinarian with rabbit

Rabbits are prey animals, and so their natural instinct is to hide any symptoms of illness. You must keep a watchful eye to ensure your rabbit is eating, drinking, pooping, and peeing regularly. If you notice any change in behavior, it is important to call a rabbit-savvy vet immediately. Learn about common rabbit diseases to look out for at our Rabbit Health section.

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Find a rabbit-savvy vet in your area at the House Rabbit Society Veterinarian Index.

Step 9: Understand Rabbits’ Unique Language and Behavior

Sleeping rabbit

Pet rabbits are different from cats and dogs. It’s essential to understand how rabbits think so you and your rabbit can live a happy life together. Learn about their unique language at Binkies, Nose Bonks and Flops: Rabbit Behavior Explained and demystify unfavorable rabbit behavior by reading Help! My Rabbit Hates Me!. By catering to your rabbit’s natural inclinations, you can build a trusting, loving relationship with your bunny. See Building a Relationship with Your Rabbit for more information.

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Rabbit Supply Checklist

  • Indoor housing
    Get a puppy pen 36 inches or higher so your rabbit can’t jump out. 
  • Wire covers
    Plastic sleeves can be neatly connected to your wall. 
    Flex tubing is another great option for covering and/or bundling wires. 
  • Furniture / baseboard protection
    Large split flex tubing can fit over wooden table or chair legs. 
    Furring strips, 2x4s or other wood panels can be used to cover baseboards.
  • Puppy pens / baby gates
    Puppy pens can help block off areas or confine your rabbit to a safe area of a room. 
    Metal baby gates can be used to block off rooms. 
    Storage cube panels can be attached to the bottoms of baby gates with zip ties if the slats are too far apart. 
  • Litter box
    A medium-sized cat litter box (no top) or a shallow storage container will do. 
  • Rabbit-safe litter
    Opt for a recycled newspaper pellet litter such as Yesterday’s News (unscented). 
  • Food / water bowls
    Ceramic dishes are heavy enough so your rabbit can’t tip them over. 
  • Hay feeder
    This helps keep hay fresh and available to your rabbit at all times.
  • Chair mat (optional)
    You may want to protect your floor in the bunny area. Make sure to get a hard plastic one to resist chewing. 
  • Food (hay, pellets, vegetables, and water)
    Purchase hay by the bale from a local farmer (check local Craigslist ads) or order bulk hay online.
  • Cardboard box
    Create a cardboard castle by cutting doorways and windows in a large cardboard box.
  • Chew toys
    Sea grass mats are acceptable to chew and can be used to cover areas. 
    Woven grass play balls are also a favorite for distraction. 
    Wood and rope activity centers/toys capture rabbits’ interest. 
  • Nail clippers 
    You will need to regularly trim your bunny’s nails.  If your rabbit has dark claws, a small flashlight helps you to locate the quick and avoid it.  

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An example of a rabbit area setup. This works for rabbits who are contained by a puppy pen or roam free in a bunny proofed room. A cardboard castle and other chew toys complete the area.

Now that understand how to care for a pet rabbit, you can visit our website at edenzone.net for more information. 


Recommended House Rabbit Supplies

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What about..Litter training your rabbit!

Click this link to visit our website at edenzone.net. We have Netherland Dwarf rabbits, and rabbit supplies available. Or, visit our store at 249 N. Main St. Brundidge Al 36010

Litter Training Your Rabbit

People have the idea that rabbit will litter all over the house. But to the contrary, rabbits make wonderful house pets. They’re great companions, and can be litter box trained.

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     Keep in mind….It’s a good idea to get your rabbit spayed/neutered in order to ease territorial feelings. If you choose not to spay/neuter your rabbit. There is no way to stop the urge to mark their territory.

Below is a list of steps for litter training your new rabbit.

Rabbit in litter box
This little girl is a Netherland Dwarf and is available to a good home. She’s 69.99 at Edenzone Pets. We ship! Shipping is 300.00 via Delta Pets.

Use at least 3 topless cat litter boxes. You can also use a a shallow storage tub.

Shallow large litter box, 3 pack

Here at Edenzone pets we have exactly what is needed to potty train your rabbit. We're offering a 3 pack of litter boxes,shipping included

$12.99

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For litter, use recycled paper litter such as Yesterday’s News. Make sure to use only paper litter. (Unscented) Shreded newspapers can be used as well. This litter will neutralize any unpleasant urine odors. Do not use clay-based or clumping litter because of the potential harm to your rabbits’ respiratory system. Also avoid wood shavings of any kind.

CareFresh litter

Carefresh all natural paper litter ( unscented) 30 L . Shipping included

$12.99

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Put a thin layer of litter at the bottom of the box. It should be just enough to absorb wetness. Use just a little because you will need to dump the litter everyday and too much is a waste of litter.

Nylon cat/rabbit leash

Small nylon collar, lightweight, various colors, no-slip closure, shipping included

$6.99

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Rabbits like to eat hay and potty at the same time. So to promote good litter box habits, place hay either directly in the box over the litter or place it in a hay box next to the litter box. If you use a hay box, position it so the rabbit must hop into the litter box in order to reach the hay.

KAYTEE Natural Hay Manger

The is a great hat manger for litter training your rabbit, 6x2x5 inches. Fits into the box without taking up all the space your rabbit needs.shipping included.

$9.99

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It’s easiest to develop good litter box habits in rabbits by limiting their space at first. Use a puppy pen to confine your rabbit to one area, even if you intend to give him/her free reign of your home eventually. This allows your bunny to get acclimated to the area in the beginning. Once your bunny consistently uses the litter box, you can gradually expand the area. If your rabbit starts “forgetting” to use the litter box, then limit the space again until good habits resume.

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Here are a few other tips for those stubborn, “outside-the-box” bunnies:

  • If accidents occur, mop up urine with a paper towel and pick up stray poop and place both in the litter box. This helps get the message across that the litter box is the place that they should do their business. Keep in mind that rabbits are generally not 100% perfect with their litter box. Sometimes they leave a few droppings next to the box, or they urinate over the edge of their box. This is normal, so placing a plastic mat under their litter box or putting the litter box on a tile floor makes it easier to clean up these little mistakes.

Nylon cat/rabbit leash

This lightweight short length leash is just right for rabbits and cats. Shipping included

$9.99

  • Be patient and persistent. Litter training takes time, especially if your rabbit has learned bad habits. It takes a while to retrain them. If you can see they’re about to go outside their litter box (they may lift their tail or sometimes they sort of shimmy down in a seated position right before they go), try to pick them up and put them in the litter box or corral them in. This is often times easier said than done of course.

15ft rabbit lead.

This lightweight nylon cord with hooks is great for outside trips with your bunny. Shipping included

$14.99

  • If your bunny is insistent on going in one corner of the room, sometimes it’s easier to give in to their stubbornness, and place a litter box in that corner. Sometimes when rabbits consistently choose another place to go, they are trying to tell you that that’s where they want to go.
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  • If your rabbit is pooping/spraying pee everywhere, this is probably due to your rabbit marking his territory. It’s a good idea to get your rabbit spayed/neutered in order to ease territorial feelings.
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  • Sometimes rabbits deliberately pee on your couch or bed because they’re showing you who’s Top Bunny in the house.  You should correct their misconception immediately. 

Litter training your pet rabbit takes patience and persistence. But in the end, you’ll have a wonderful companion to share your home with.

Litter Training Supply List

  • Litter box
    A few shallow storage containers works well.
    Or you may opt for a few medium-sized cat litter boxes.
  • Rabbit-safe litter
    Opt for a recycled newspaper pellet litter such as Yesterday’s News (unscented). 
  • Hay
    Purchase hay by the bale from a local farmer or at your local Walmart
  • Hay feeder
    Placing a hay feeder next to the litter box so the rabbit has to hop into the box in order to eat is helpful in establishing good litter box habits. 
  • Puppy pen
    Puppy pens help limit your rabbit’s space so that he/she can get acclimated to the area and get used to going in the litter box.
  • Information in this article was taken from the following sources. We hope it’s useful!
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Further Information:

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