We get it. Rabbits can be so irresistible that some people give in to the impulse to get one without thinking much about how to provide for their new pet. If you plan to add a rabbit to your family, you have to research how to properly care for your new companion and the essentials you should have on hand. A living space tops the must-have list. But what do rabbits need in their cage?
Let’s dig into the details, shall we?
How to Prepare Your Home for a Rabbit
Start the process by deciding where you will keep your pet. You have several options. Some bun parents let their rabbits roam free. Your furry friend will love this setup, but it comes with a few problems. Being adventurous creatures, rabbits can get into trouble if you don’t rabbit-proof their living space, like chewing carpets or walls. You’ll also need to consider where your pet will poop and whether he’ll get underfoot when you have visitors.
Other rabbit owners opt for indoor or outdoor housing. Your pet will thrive in whichever of the mentioned setups you choose. The important thing is to provide a space where he can rest comfortably and feel safe. That means a cage.
What do rabbits need in their cage
Even if rabbits are social animals, they still want some privacy. So providing a cage for your pet is crucial to his health and happiness. But a pen is just a physical structure. You’ll have to turn it into a cozy and livable space that your rabbit will want to have as his home.
Here are the things to consider when setting up a rabbit cage.
It’s easy to underestimate the size that’s right for a rabbit, and some new bun parents make the mistake of getting a cage that’s too small for their fur baby. Rabbits need enough room to move about. Being inside a tiny enclosure can lead to stress, which won’t be healthy for your pet.
The cage should be 4 times the size of your rabbit. That’s the minimum. Of course, bigger is better. Also, include in the size calculation the space needed for a resting or sleeping area and litter tray. Your pet should be able to stretch comfortably with some room to spare.
Appropriate Flooring Material
Wire bottom cages may be easier to clean but can hurt your rabbit’s feet. The skin on their feet is thinner, making them prone to cuts and infections. Because the wire is stiff, standing on it can lead to sore hocks in rabbits. The first sign of this condition is a raw and inflamed sole. If left untreated, sore hocks can lead to more severe health issues.
If you’ve already bought a cage with a wire bottom, don’t worry. You can solve the problem by covering part of the area with a grass or cotton mat so your bun can have something comfortable to stand on.
Food and Water
Rabbits love to eat, so aside from providing nourishment, food can also help turn your fur baby into a happy and healthy bunny. Make sure he has access to food and water at all times. Also, remember to change the contents of his water bowl or bottle daily.
Here are the types of food your rabbit should have:
- Hay: This forms the foundation of your bun’s diet. Hay not only fills his tummy with the fiber that’s good for his gut, but it also files down his perpetually-growing teeth. Give your bun as much hay as he likes. Don’t worry, it won’t lead to weight gain for your pet.
- Fresh leafy greens: Although hay should form the majority of your rabbit’s meals, he’ll also need some leafy green veggies for extra nutrition. Good veggies for your pet are bok choy, celery, carrot tops, cilantro, and lettuce.
- Fruits: Rabbits love sweets, but eating foods high in sugar won’t be healthy for your pet. As such, you can give your bun some fruits like pineapples, grapes, bananas, and watermelon but only as treats and offer only small amounts.
- Pellets: These provide some extra nutrition and are an essential part of their diet.
Litter Box and Litter Material
You can litter-train your bun to only eliminate in one spot. For this, you’ll need a litter box for your pet’s use. However, it’s better to start litter-training after spaying or neutering your rabbit, as buns usually mark their territory with their waste. This makes it harder to keep your pet’s cage clean.
The type of litter you use makes a difference to your rabbit’s health. Some materials can be harmful and may lead to liver damage. Go organic as much as possible, and for this purpose, you can use the following:
- Shredded paper
- Aspen shavings
- Compressed sawdust pelleted litter
Avoid pine or cedar wood shavings. The phenols in the wood can cause liver damage to rabbits.
Buns are intelligent. Thus, they need mental stimulation. Otherwise, they can get bored or lonely, which sometimes leads to destructive behavior. Providing a wide array of toys will help keep your pet entertained and happy.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on rabbit toys. Your pet won’t know if you bought his toy from a shop or if it came from stuff you use around the house. Some ideas for DIY toys include:
- Used toilet paper tubes stuffed with hay
- A shoe box filled with shredded paper
- Paper bags of various sizes
- Dried pine cones
- Untreated wicker baskets
- Cardboard boxes with rabbit-sized holes cut on the sides
- Egg crates with treats inside
Rabbits need to chew. Although your pet will surely chew the DIY toys we mentioned, you can toss in a few sturdy chew toys inside his cage.
If you can’t get another rabbit for your pet, no problem. Your rabbit can live alone. However, it means you’ll have to provide the companionship he needs. Don’t leave your pet on his own all day. Interact with him regularly to keep him from getting bored or lonely. If you have another pet, such as a dog or a cat, you can introduce it to your bun. But don’t leave the two alone together. Always supervise their interaction to be on the safe side.
Rabbits are lovable companion animals who will provide you with plenty of affection and companionship. But before you get one, ensure you can provide the things your pet needs so you won’t have a depressed and unhealthy bunny in your care.
There’s more rabbit help in these posts!
- Can Rabbits Eat Cat Food?
- The Orange Holland Lop
- The Dwarf Lionhead Rabbit
- Do Rabbits Eat Meat?
- Blue Mini Rex Rabbit: History, Facts, Care & More
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