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Rabbits Don't Always Make Good Gifts

By: Margie Wilson

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As tempting as it is to surprise a loved one with an adorable bunny, you should take time to think about this and talk to rabbit owners first. Rabbits can be great pets for the person who is well prepared and knows what to expect. As a surprise gift for someone not sure, a rabbit will likely end up being returned or abandoned.

Gifts for Children

Rabbits are not pets for youngsters, especially those under 10. Children want a pet they can cuddle and hold, and rabbits, when they mature, are definitely not that. They are independent, ground-loving creatures that are susceptible to being stepped on, dropped, or otherwise injured by the youngsters. Children, in turn, may be bitten if they force a rabbit to do things he does not want to do.

Children should never be the one responsible for the rabbit's care. If you ask any humane society, you will find that an overwhelming amount of rabbit surrenders come from parents of young children. Kids lose interest so quickly and cannot give a rabbit the care he needs. So many things can go wrong with a rabbit if he doesn't have the proper diet, environment, and exercise. Vet trips can be expensive, and parents are not able to just drop everything to take bunny to the vet.

Gifts for the Elderly

Often we want to cheer up an elderly relative with a bright-eyed adorable bunny rabbit. This may well do the trick, but first, there are many factors to consider. Be certain the older person wants a rabbit and is not allergic to him. It is sad to have rabbits returned to shelters after the first few nights because the new owner was allergic.

Second, be sure the older relative is able to carry, clean, feed, and exercise the bunny. Bunnies are not easy pets. They require time out of the cage daily, hay for fiber and chewing exercise, and this hay causes quite a bit of clean-up duties (sweeping, storing and changing the hay daily). Litter boxes must be cleaned twice daily, or the bunny will stop using his box. Grooming is another chore. Rabbits shed constantly and need to be brushed to prevent hair blocks.

And finally, make sure there is someone to care for the bunny should the owner become ill.

Gifts for Adults

If a rabbit were a gift for a husband, wife, or partner, that would probably be the best match. Again, the partner must want the bunny, must not be allergic to him, and must have an indoor area set out for the bunny. He/she must be willing and able to undertake all the care necessary for a happy bunny.

Important Questions to Ask Before Giving a Pet as a Gift

  • Will the person be able to care, feed, clean, exercise and drive the animal to the vet if necessary, and have the money to do so?

  • Is the person free of any pet allergies?

  • Is this a pet the person has talked about, researched, and is ready for?

  • Is this person an adult who will be the primary caregiver?

    If any of the answers are no, then do not choose a rabbit. They are the most returned pets at shelters and rescue groups. But if the answers are yes to the above, then research a bit more first, be well-prepared, talk to rabbit owners, and then use your wise discretion in finding the "right" bunny from a shelter whose life you will save by doing so.

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