How to Raise a House Rabbit

Rabbits are intelligent, social animals that need affection, and they can become wonderful companion animals if given a chance to interact with their human families. Owners, however, should know some of the special concerns regarding care.

Bunny-proof Your House

The House Rabbit Society, a national nonprofit organization, recommends that you keep your rabbit in the house rather than outdoors. But it is natural for rabbits to chew on furniture, rugs, drapes, and, most deadly of all, electrical cords. Take these precautions:

Spaying and Neutering

Although most rabbits will use a litter box, hormones may cause unneutered males and unspayed females to "mark territory." Spaying or neutering your rabbit improves litter box habits, lessens chewing behavior, decreases territorial aggression and gives your rabbit a happier, longer life. Have your rabbit spayed or neutered between ages four to six months, depending on sexual maturity, by an experienced rabbit veterinarian.

House Rabbits and Dogs

House rabbits can get along fine with well-mannered dogs.

Adding a New Rabbit

This is easiest if the rabbits are neutered adults of opposite sexes, and they are introduced for short periods in an area unfamiliar to both rabbits. It is best to seek help from someone experienced with rabbits.

When to Consult a Veterinarian

Find an experienced rabbit doctor before a problem develops. Regularly check eyes, nose, ears, teeth, weight, appetite and droppings. Call your veterinarian immediately if you see:

When a Predator Strikes

If your rabbit has been harassed by a predator, take him to a veterinarian even if no injuries are apparent. When it is over, keep your rabbit cool with nearby wet towels or ice. Because the risk is so great for predators and heat stroke/chills outdoors, your rabbit is much better off staying indoors. Indoor rabbits are much healthier, too, as you are more apt to notice any subtle changes in habits.