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CHOOSING A PET

Picking the right rabbit for you

 

With getting ANY animal this should always be thought through completely and never a spur of the moment decision. You are dealing with another life that requires consistency and not to be passed around. Rabbits need to have ONE owner. All aspects of having this pet should be thought through, researched, and budgeted out.

How to choose a breed

First, figure out what size rabbit will be best for you. Lionheads and Mini Rexes are small rabbit breeds. Belgian Hares and Silver Martens are medium breeds. English Lops and Silver Foxes are large breeds. Any breed with an average adult weight of at least 12 lb (5.4 kg) is considered ‘giant’.

Choose a breed with a sociable disposition. Do a little research on the breed you’re interested in. Sociable rabbits are more likely to let you pick them up. French Lops and Silver Foxes are a couple large breeds that tend to be friendly and sociable. You may want to consider a Mini Plush Lop if you want a smaller breed that is sociable and affectionate. This is especially important if you have children.

Temperament is an individual trait. Each individual rabbit is different. While there are a some breeds that have a certain reputation, don’t let that affect your decision making. You don’t need to avoid any particular breeds. Just make sure you spend a little time with the rabbit and make sure it’s a good match for you.

Research common health problems. Some breeds are prone to specific health problems. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you’re getting into. French Angoras, American Fuzzy Lops, and many Giant breeds require special diets which can be a bit more expensive. Some family friendly breeds like Mini Lops are prone to frequent ear and dental issues. Avoid rabbits with health or care issues unless you’re financially and emotionally prepared.

Where to get your rabbit

We recommend getting your bun from a shelter or rescue. First off, shelters and rescues tend to have a deeper knowledge of rabbits and rabbit care than pet stores. The rabbits at rescues and shelters are usually better socialized as well. Adopting from a shelter or rescue provides a home for a rabbit that needs one. Although the initial cost for an adoption can sometimes be more expensive than buying a rabbit at a pet store, rescue rabbits are usually already de-sexed, vaccinated, de-wormed, and microchipped, which can save you money in the long run. MORE INFO…

Avoid pet stores. Pet stores usually get rabbits from mass-breeding suppliers with a focus on profit over health or happiness. While this isn’t always the case, buying from pet stores encourages mass-breeding. Because pet store rabbits are usually under stress and fed an inadequate diet, they are more prone to digestive issues. If you do go to a pet store, be sure to ask lots of questions. If you don’t recieve satisfactory answers, look somewhere else.

Look into the reputation of breeders. Breeders can be a good place to get a rabbit, but some have the same profit over health focus as mass-breeding suppliers. Check with local veterinarians and other experts in your area regarding the reputation of any breeder you’re considering. Ask the breeder a lot of questions about care and feeding and check the cleanliness of the facility before choosing a rabbit. Once again, if you’re not comfortable with the breeders answers or care, go elsewhere.

How to pick ‘the one’

Make sure the rabbit is old enough to be seperated from it’s mother. Rabbits should be at least 8 weeks old to ensure that they are fully weaned and able to eat solid food. No reputable breeder or seller would offer rabbits that are under his age or fully weaned. If you are willing to take a baby rabbit from a rescue or shelter, make sure they provide you with detailed instructions on the special care required.

Check for signs or symptons of illness. Any reputable source will usually only offer healthy rabbits, but it’s best to check for signs of illness. Ask the staff or a veterinarian to explain how to evaluate the rabbits health. Some key things to look for are a runny nose or trouble breathing which can be a sign of respiratory infection; a tilted head that can indicate an ear infection; cloudy or goopy eyes; improperly aligned teeth; or a stool that isn’t dry and firm. MORE INFO…

Consider getting two or more rabbits. Rabbits are very social and do best in groups of at least two. Not all rabbits get along, so it’s best to get rabbits that have already been socialized together or make sure that you can have a trial period. Although many experts recommend male-female pairs as long as both have been spayed and neutered, same sex pairs can work also. When introducing rabbits, you should do so in a neutral setting that neither rabbit will consider their turf.

Get your rabbit altered. There are major benefits to getting your rabbit spayed or neutered. Females are at an 80% risk of contracting uterine cancer which goes up to 90% with age. Males go through other health and behavioral issues that can all be avoided by getting them neutered as well. Only fixed rabbits should be placed together. If there is a rabbit that isn’t fixed, the original rabbit who is in the home can smell the hormones coming off this new rabbit and can start to become aggressive/territorial. For this reason it is best to only introduce a new rabbit into your home if the original(s) are fixed or if you’re able to separate the rabbits by different floors of your home. This way your rabbit(s) will experience the least amount of stress when bringing in a new family member. MORE INFO…

When you find your perfect bun, make sure you have all the initial supplies. Generally this will include a roomy enclosure with more than one lever and a nesting box for sleeping; food, a food dish, water bottle, and a few chew toys; a litter box with a scoop and litter; and bedding which usually consists of aspen chips, paper, or straw to line the floor of the enclosure. Food should include pellets, hay, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

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