Rabbits can be playful and loving, and make a great addition for a loving household.
Aside from their cute cuddly natures, it’s important to take note of their diet and environment.
General Dietary Care
Avoid sustaining your rabbit on a diet of solely carrots - despite what some cartoons may portray, rabbits should not be fed carrots alone
Avoid feeding your rabbit corn - the hull of corn kernals is made up of a complex polysaccharide that rabbits cannot digest
Avoid overfeeding your rabbit Alfalfa hay after he reaches 6-months old - start transitioning your young rabbit to first cut Timothy hay by mixing 60% - 40% of Alfalfa to Timothy hay in the daily portion when your rabbit is reaching 6-months old, to ensure your rabbit does not reject eating timothy hay later
Avoid topping-up without replacing - this applies to both hay and pellets, based on a general 24-hour guideline (or less) for continued fresh supply of food instead of mixing with stale food
Avoid giving your rabbit too much high fat or high sugar content foods like dried fruits and nuts - take care to give in moderation
Provide unlimited fresh first cut Timothy hay for its high fibre content, with stalks (stems) that aid in reducing the risk of malocclusion of the rear molars - this should make up at least 80% - 90% of your rabbit’s daily diet
Provide an accompaniment of pellets specifically formulated for rabbits - this should not be prioritised over feeding your rabbit hay daily
Provide teeth-wearing treats that can allow for the front incisors to be worn
If your rabbit is picking eating pellets over eating hay, reduce his pellets intake for a day, or remove them, providing fresh Timothy hay instead
Remove hay if moist or damp e.g. soiled by spilled water or urine
General Grooming and Habitat Care
During the first week of your rabbit being introduced to his new home, ensure you allow him to familiarise with you gradually - allow him space and do not attempt to grab or carry him abruptly. Rabbits generally enjoy being stroked on their heads from above the nose upwards, with a gentle head rub. When you carry your rabbit, ensure his bottom is securely cradled but do not grip his rear legs.
If your rabbit is allowed to freely roam, ensure all electrical cords and wires are kept safe from your rabbit
Avoid bathing your rabbit in water (where possible) - wet rabbits can suffer a drop in body temperature
Place your rabbit’s food near his toilet without direct contact to prevent soiling and contamination
Avoid using straw, wood shavings or materials for the floor of your rabbit’s cage that can cause moisture build-up or breathing difficulties in the long run
Ensure your rabbit’s nails are trimmed every 4 to 6 weeks - overgrown nails can be detrimental to your rabbit’s health as he will not be able to have proper weight distribution when moving about, and can in turn place unnecessary stress on joints in the long run. Seek rabbit grooming services if you do not feel confident handling your rabbit on your own for grooming at home. If you’re able to do so on your own, ensure that the nails are trimmed and brushing is done regularly
Avoid using detergent or cleaning agents when cleaning your rabbit’s habitat - use a pet-safe disinfectant like F10SC instead, to disinfect bacteria from surfaces. This is also commonly used by veterinarians in vet clinics
Ensure your rabbit’s cage is at least 4 times his size, and allowed to roam outside of his cage at for at least 1 to 2 hours daily (unless boarding, for health and safety reasons)
Avoid leaving your rabbit’s toilet unattended - a soiled toilet will cause your rabbit’s bottom to be matted and soiled, and matted fur is detrimental to your rabbit’s health in the long run. It is generally preferred by some owners to empty out and refresh rabbit toilets daily.
Avoid placing your rabbit near areas of the house where there is direct sunlight, low ventilation, cooking fumes / smoke or constant loud noises. These conditions can stress a rabbit and are not ideal for their health