Is a rabbit right for you and your family?
Considering welcoming a rabbit into your family? This is not a decision that should be made lightly. Please seriously consider the following information before making a decision that will effect the life of a rabbit or two and every member in your household.
Rabbits need adequate, safe housing available to them for those times when they can't be supervised. Read our detailed information regarding adequate housing for your rabbit. Your home also needs to be prepared. Rabbits have a tendency to chew on furniture, nibble on or through cords, eat houseplants (poisonous or not) and may have potty accidents. It is up to you to protect any rabbit coming into your home as well as your belongings. We call this rabbit-proofing your home.
Parents should always be the primary care taker of any animal family member. Small children and rabbits do not make a good combination. Young children do not have the dexterity to handle a rabbit safely and securely. Often, when small children attempt to lift and/or carry a rabbit, one or both end up hurt. We do not recommend children under the age of nine to be allowed to handle rabbits. All too often, parents purchase a rabbit for a child family member; Easter is one of the heaviest times of the year for this. The child is excited, the rabbit is terrified, the child looses interest, the rabbit is ignored and unwanted and the parents end up disappointed and resentful. It is the parent's responsibility, regardless of the situation, to ensure that ALL family members are safe, happy, healthy, cared for and loved.
A helpful video
This video was created by 7 year old Lily and her bunny Savannah. Lily talks about how important it is to be very careful with a pet bunny--and how to take care of him or her the right way. It might be a good way to talk to your children about having a pet bunny.
Additional Animal Family Members
Any introductions should be done slowly and with strict supervision. Some animals should not ever be considered for introductions. One such animal is a ferret. They are precise, accurate, and avid hunters of rabbits. Dogs should never be left alone with a rabbit. The most friendly, calm canine's instincts to hunt or herd could be awakened. Even in play, the rabbit could end up seriously injured or worse. Introducing a new rabbit with a current rabbit family member needs special consideration beyond a slow introduction. Please read our detailed information regarding bonding rabbits. Guinea Pigs, cats and birds are some possible animal family members, but consideration must be given to their personalities and behaviors. A bird imitating a hawk or being excessively noisy can cause stress to a rabbit , which will affect the rabbit's health and personality. Rabbits, like people, have very distinctive personalities along with likes and dislikes.
You should locate and have onboard a rabbit knowledgeable vet in your area before welcoming a rabbit into your family. Emergencies are always unexpected and the best way to handle them are to be prepared as much as possible ahead of time! You could reference our Bunny Basics, which can be found on our web site at www.rabbithaven.org, check the National House Rabbit Society's list of recommended vets on their web site at www.rabbit.org or check your local Yellow Pages. Regardless of your choice, you will need to interview any potential vet. Locate at least a couple of perspective vets and schedule a time to actually go in and meet them. Ask a lot of questions and don't hesitate to ask detailed, personal ones. Once you have made a decision. It is also a good idea, once adopting a rabbit into your family, to schedule an appointment with your vet so everyone can get familiar with one another and to set up a spay or neuter if your rabbit isn't already altered.
If anyone in the household has fur or hay allergies, rabbits will not be an acceptable addition to your family. If you are unsure, it would be in everyone's best interest to visit a local shelter to see whether or not any allergies are triggered.
If after considering the previous information you feel a rabbit would be an appropriate and wonderful addition to your family, please consider adopting from a local shelter or rescue organization. There are many wonderful rabbits waiting in shelters hoping for a loving, adoptive family of their own.
Check out our Rabbit Facts for even more information.