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Caring for Pet Rabbits with Kids

Rabbits make great pets for kids. Kids really enjoy helping take care of rabbits, but before you get a rabbit, explain to your kids that pet care takes time and energy. The rabbit is not a new toy to play with for a few weeks and then forget. It is a long term commitment. Explain the basics of rabbit care and, once you've done so, if your child still wants a bunny, you can make the decision about bringing a new pet home. Before you purchase a new pet rabbit, you may want to set up a pet rabbit care chart to delegate rabbit-care responsibilities. For older kids, you may want to enter into a fun, but serious pet care agreement detailing what they are getting into.

Basic Supplies to Purchase

  • Rabbit hutch
  • Litter
  • Corner litter pan
  • Recycled corncob or woodchips
  • Small animal brush
  • Small animal nail trimmer
  • Solid wood chew toys
  • Ceramic foot bowl
  • Large water bowl
  • Timothy Hay

Choosing a Shelter for Rabbits

If you cannot find an appropriate hutch, you can build one. Check books at the library or look online for plans on how to build a hutch any rabbit will love. Rabbit shelters should be decent sized and have a minimum of two rooms. The larger room must have room for the rabbit to jump around. Place the food and water in this room as it allows for maximum socialization. The second room is where your bunny will hide and sleep. When the bunny enters this room, leave him alone or your rabbit will get cranky. When setting up the shelter, don’t use cedar or pine bedding, some experts believe it can reduce the life span of your pet. Remember: One large room. One smaller room. Don’t disturb the bunny when he is in the smaller room. Avoid pine and cedar bedding

Caring for a Pet Rabbit

Be sure to look for feed pellet brands that offer both flavor and variety. You don’t want to eat the same thing every day and neither does your pet. Fresh vegetables and fruits should also be offered everyday to keep your pet healthy and happy. Use pure filtered water as this is better for pets than tap water. Finally be sure to keep Timothy Hay in your pet’s cage at all times. Your bunny’s teeth are continuously growing, and Timothy Hay will help your pet keep his teeth short. You may also use cardboard for this purpose; just be sure the cardboard doesn’t have a lot of ink which may harm your rabbit.

Things to Remember:

  • Rabbit pellets which provide flavor and variety
  • Provide plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Use pure filtered water
  • Timothy Hay and/or plain cardboard for chewing and dental health

Interaction with Your Pet Rabbit

Your rabbit needs attention just like any other living thing. Groom and play with him on a regular basis. If you don't, he may become depressed and angry. He won’t recover quickly either. If you wish to transport your rabbit, carry him as you would a football. This makes him feel more secure. Keep a firm grip when setting him down to prevent injury. When grooming or petting your bunny, don’t place your hands or fingers under his chin. He may think you want him to groom you and this can make him angry. Remember: Regular interaction is a must. Carry your rabbit like a football. Keep a good grip when setting him down. Never place your hands or fingers under his chin.

These are just the basics of rabbit care. Be sure to pick up a book or two and read them with your kids as they will offer more detail on proper pet care.