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Is a Rabbit the Right Pet for You?

Rabbits are great, but they require a gentle touch and plenty of care

The Humane Society of the United States

rabbit with child

Photo by iStockphoto

Big ears, wiggly nose, cotton tail. Who can resist a darling rabbit, especially if you have kids who are pleading for one? 
If you're thinking about a bunny, make sure you know about their needs. And remember that shelters and rescues often have bundles of bunnies in need of good homes!
They may be small, but rabbits can have a big(-eared) impact on your life. Here are some questions to consider before you jump on the bunny-wagon.

Do you have enough space in your home?

Keeping a rabbit in a hutch outside is a big no-no; so is relegating a bunny to the basement or garage. Plus, those tiny pet store cages are way too small. You'll need an available area for a fairly large cage, plus at least one room in your home that has been thoroughly rabbit-proofed. Learn more about rabbit housing »

How rabbit-friendly are your kids?

Rabbits and very young children are generally not a great mix. Rabbits require safe, gentle handling and a quiet environment. As prey animals, rabbits can be easily startled and stressed by the loud noises and fast, uncoordinated movements that are typical of excited children. You may need to wait until your kids are older before adopting a rabbit.

Kids may be enthusiastic about the new bunny for the first couple of weeks, then lose interest when taking care of him interferes with their activities. If your kids are begging for bunnies now, just keep in mind other things they've begged for and remember that the pet may end up spending most of her time with you. Your kids may think they're ready for a pet, but you definitely have to be.

What's your budget?

The initial adoption fee for a rabbit may be small, but a rabbit's care costs can  add up. In addition to veterinary costs, these are some of the start-up items that new rabbit owners will need to purchase:

Do you have time for a rabbit?

Rabbits are crepuscular, which means they generally sleep during the day and night and are most active at dusk and dawn. Rabbits need regular interaction with you to stay socialized and happy. They also need at least an hour out of their cage each day for play and exercise.

A healthy rabbit diet includes fresh vegetables every day, so you'll need to go grocery shopping at least once a week. 

Your rabbit's enclosure needs to be tidied up every day and cleaned thoroughly once a week. 

Are you ready for the commitment?

Rabbits can live past 10 years of age, so a rabbit may be with your family for as long as a dog would.

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