How To Care For Your Rabbit

Written by Oxbow

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February 3, 2022🞄

Your rabbit is a cherished member of your family and we know you want to provide bun bun with everything he needs to be happy and healthy every day.  That’s why we’ve put together this collection of essential rabbit care tips.

In this article, we’ll cover the following important topics:

  • Feeding your rabbit
  • Rabbit behaviors
  • Enriching your rabbit’s world
  • Housing your rabbit
  • Your rabbit’s health

Feeding Your Rabbit

Hay For Your Rabbit

Your rabbit should have unlimited access to a variety of quality grass hays. Among many benefits, hay helps prevent obesity, boredom, and dental and gastrointestinal disease. Replacing the hay in your rabbit’s habitat can encourage picky eating, so we recommend changing it only when soiled.  Offer a variety of types of grass hay to further discourage unhealthy picky eating habits.

Young (less than a year old), pregnant, nursing or ill animals can benefit from eating alfalfa hay in addition to grass hay because of the higher nutritional content (including higher levels of protein and calcium). Otherwise, alfalfa should only be given occasionally as a treat.

Hay Selection

Keep in mind that grass hay should make up the majority of your pet’s daily diet. Offer a variety of hay to your rabbit to promote optimum health. Since hay is a natural product, each bag will look and feel different. Use our Taste & Texture Guide located on every hay package to determine your pet’s taste and texture preferences.

We have many all-natural, farm-fresh hays to choose from including Western Timothy, Orchard Grass, Oat Hay, Botanical Hay, Organic Meadow Hay, and Hay Blends – Western Timothy & Orchard. Also, check out our Harvest Stacks line of compressed hays for extra enrichment.

Your Rabbit’s Food

Providing a daily recommended amount of high-fiber, age-appropriate fortified food will help ensure that your pet receives essential nutrients not found in hay.

How to Select the Right Food for your Rabbit

Always choose an age-appropriate, uniform food formulated specifically for rabbits.  Oxbow offers a number of quality food lines to meet the unique preferences of all rabbits.  Not sure which to choose?  Check out this article outlining the unique characteristics of each of our food lines.

Greens For Your Rabbit

Fresh greens are an important part of your rabbit’s daily diet.  Greens help keep your bunny hydrated and offer important vitamins and minerals, as well as enrichment.  Romaine, bib, and red leaf lettuce are good greens to offer, but avoid foods in the onion family such as leeks, chives, and onions.  Learn more about the best greens for rabbits.

Treats For Rabbits

Treats (including fruits and veggies) are great for encouraging interaction between you and your pet, but they should only be given after basic daily foods have been eaten.  Offering too many treats can cause your rabbit to refuse his healthy, essential foods.  It’s important to remember that not all treats are created equal!  All Oxbow Simple Rewards treat varieties are designed to be as wholesome as they are delicious.

Rabbit Behaviors

Rabbits are inquisitive and curious by nature.  Many rabbits don’t like to be picked up or carried.  The best way to interact with your rabbit is to get down to his level and play with him on the floor.  This is especially true for new pet parents and families with small children.  Be sure you are always with your rabbit when he is out for playtime; many rabbits are adept at getting into trouble if left alone!

Some rabbit behaviors can seem rather strange.  For example, you may see your rabbit eat its own poop.  This is normal, healthy behavior that provides essential vitamins and nutrients.

Enriching Your Rabbit’s World

All rabbits are wired to engage in a set of core instinctual behaviors each day.  These behaviors include chewing, playing, hiding, and exploring.  Intentionally encouraging these behaviors in healthy ways is called enrichment.  Support all four behaviors in a variety of ways each day to support your rabbit’s mental and physical health.

Housing Your Rabbit

It’s easy to make rabbits feel at home inside your house.  As prey animals by nature, all rabbits (even those with a free run of the house) need a safe place where they can spend time and escape potential environmental stressors.  Choose a spacious, quality habitat with a solid floor and set it up near household activities, but away from drafts.  Your rabbit’s habitat should be outfitted with environmental essentials such as a hay habitat (Timothy CLUB Bungalow or Tunnel), a litter box lined with litter, multiple chews, grass hay, a food bowl, and two sources of fresh, clean water.

Your Rabbit’s Health

Many rabbit health problems are a result of nutrition, diet, digestive and dental issues.  Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Loose, soft, or lack of stool
  • Small, dry, or infrequent stools
  • Blood in the urine
  • Sneezing or trouble breathing
  • Hunching  in a corner or lack of activity (lethargy)
  • Overgrown front teeth
  • Observed difficulty with chewing
  • Bald patches in the fur
  • Sores on the feet
  • Abnormal eating or drinking

Still have questions about how to best care for your rabbit? Our experts are here for you!