BunnyPeople does not approve outside housing of rabbits. The reasons for this policy are:
- Maggots, warbles, and heat stroke as well as other health issues are a real threat to rabbits housed outdoors. This topic will be covered under the “Health” section of this site.
- The interaction between you and your rabbit is very limited when your rabbit is housed outdoors. How much time will you spend outdoors with your rabbit in hot, humid or very cold weather?
- The rabbit you adopt is to be a family pet, not a farm animal, and must live and interact with you and other family members.
We require a dog crate at least 42” Long x 23” Wide x 26” High as a cage for a medium-size rabbit. This is large enough for a corner litter pan and for your rabbit to stretch out fully. A large rabbit (8+lbs) requires a 48” Long dog crate. Wire-bottom cages are NOT acceptable as they cause sores to develop on rabbit’s feet, discourage litter pan use and are difficult to keep clean. We recommend you place folded flat sheets or bath towels on the bottom of the crate, simply change and wash them regularly. Even though rabbits need sunlight for good health, and they enjoy basking, NEVER place a rabbit’s cage where it is in the sun all day without access to shade within the cage. This is critical in the summer months and in homes without air-conditioning. If a rabbit overheats, it could die in a very short time!
Remember, you can easily litter train a spayed or neutered rabbit! BunnyPeople recommends either “Yesterday’s News” available at most pet stores or “wood pellet litter” available at most feed/farm supply stores. These are safe alternatives to other unsafe litters, and they are good odor control products. NEVER use clumping or clay cat litter. Your rabbit will most likely eat it, causing a fatal blockage in its digestive system. Also, NEVER use pine or cedar shavings in or around your rabbit; they give off a gas that causes liver disease, which leads to an early death.
Water dishes should be heavy enough so that your rabbit can’t tip them over. A ceramic crock or a dish that clamps/clips onto the side of the cage works well. Sipper bottles are not recommended because they are difficult to keep disinfected and usually leak. A non-breakable food dish is best, as rabbits like to throw their bowls around. (Great fun!) It is recommended you serve your rabbit’s salad on an uncoated paper plate.
Never use harsh cleaning solutions around your rabbit. Rabbits are very sensitive to chemicals and can develop health issues if exposed to many common household products. BunnyPeople recommends a solution of ½ water and ½ white vinegar in a spray bottle. It’s inexpensive and safe for your rabbit, your family and the environment. Vinegar is also the best product to remove urine build up from plastic cage bottoms and bottoms of litter boxes. Just spray the vinegar, let it sit a few minutes, and it will wipe right off!
Bunny Proofing -
A very important part of housing your rabbit is deciding where in your home your rabbit will live. Whichever room you choose, it must first be properly "bunny-proofed." Rabbits enjoy chewing, so you must take precautions by covering all wires with PVC pipe or any other type of hard plastic tubing. An alternative is the tubing used in fishponds; it’s reinforced with wire and comes is several sizes. Also, protect wood baseboard and wood furniture legs. Be aware that most houseplants are poisonous to rabbits so remove them from "bunny’s reach"! You can obtain a list of poisonous and safe houseplants from BunnyPeople upon request.
Rabbits need a minimum of 1-2 hours a day out of their cages to exercise. Introduce your rabbit to its free-run space slowly. Start giving it a small area to run with ready access to the litter pan, and enlarge the free-run area only when you’re sure it’s continuing to use the litter box and not the corner of the room! Never let your rabbit unattended during run-time until you’ve observed its behavior over a period of time and you’re very sure it will be safe. Besides, this is a great time to interact with your rabbit!
Other animals in the house -
If you have other pets, be sure your rabbit is protected from unwanted and dangerous interaction with them. Cats, dogs and rabbits can get along in some circumstances, but some breeds of dogs – especially Jack Russell Terriers, for example, are just not suited to cohabit with rabbits. If a rabbit is very small or very young it may appear as prey to another animal. Generally an older cat is a safer bet around a rabbit than a younger cat.
It is important to supply safe toys for your rabbit to play with; boredom can sometimes lead to misbehavior. There are several items you can give your rabbit for safe chewing fun. Untreated and uncoated scrap wood from your local hardware store and, insecticide FREE branches from willow and apple trees are excellent choices. Rabbits like to toss objects, chew, and rearrange things. Their toys can be very simple and inexpensive, even free. Empty paper towel and toilet paper tubes, paper bags, cardboard boxes (remove all staples), hand towels, empty oatmeal boxes, and certain cat toys such as a wire ball (remove the toy inside and fill with hay before giving it to your rabbit) or, a plastic multi-colored drum with jingle bell inside. In general, toys that are safe for newborn babies are safe for rabbits. Watching your bunny play will bring hours of enjoyment to you and your family. Remember, rabbits can’t throw up like cats, dogs and people, so ingesting anything that is harmful or that can’t be digested like carpet or pillow and toy stuffing is likely to be fatal!
It is illegal in Pennsylvania, and in most states, to keep wildlife as pets. If you have questions about wild rabbits, call 570-739-4393 or a licensed rehabber in your area.
Still interested? Read about Health