Not including fish, rabbits are the third most popular pet in the United States behind dogs and cats, according to Pet Keen.
Although people generally think of rabbits as “low-maintenance” pets, rabbits require a specific diet and daily exercise to ensure they stay healthy and live long, happy lives, explains WebMD’s Fetch.
Whether you’re a new pet owner or have had a rabbit for years, there are several ways to ensure your pet can live life to its fullest, starting with their diet and daily routine.
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How long do rabbits live as pets?
Most domestic rabbits can live eight years or even up to 12 years, according to Fetch by WebMD. Unlike wild rabbits, which face risk factors including predators and stress in the wild, domestic rabbits have safe places to hide and a constant supply of food.
According to Fetch by WebMD, just like dogs, different breeds of rabbits have different life spans. In general, larger rabbit breeds are shorter-lived than dwarf breeds, and purebred rabbits are shorter-lived than mixed-breed rabbits. However, there are exceptions and every rabbit is different. How you care for your rabbit will play a bigger role in its lifespan than its genetics.
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What should I feed my pet rabbit?
Ensuring that your pet rabbit has a healthy diet is an important way to ensure that it lives a long and happy life. Rabbits need a specific diet to stay healthy; otherwise, your pet may become ill or become stressed, according to Fetch my WebMD.
Your rabbit’s daily diet should consist primarily of hay, a smaller amount of vegetables and a small amount of pellets, says VCA Animal Hospitals. High quality grass hay is the most important part of your rabbit’s diet and should make up the majority of your rabbit’s daily intake. Grass hay, which is high in fiber, keeps your pet’s digestive tract healthy.
Young rabbits can eat any type of grass hay, but adult rabbits should not be given alfalfa hay due to its high levels of calcium and protein.
Can rabbits eat carrots?
While you may be tempted to feed your rabbit carrots, you may want to reconsider or limit your supply. Too many could be bad for your rabbit.
According to the RSPCA, carrots should not be the main source of food for rabbits. Rabbits don’t naturally eat fruits or tubers like carrots, so they shouldn’t make up the majority of their diet. Carrots are also high in sugar, so they should only be used as an occasional treat.
How can I keep my pet rabbit healthy?
In addition to a healthy diet, your pet bunny will also need plenty of exercise. If you use a cage for your rabbit, make sure it is a large one with plenty of room for them to move around. Also be prepared to budget for the time each day your rabbit can spend outside of its cage in a room that is safe for it to roam freely, according to Fetch by WebMD.
This allows your pet to exercise, stretch their legs and play. If your rabbit doesn’t get exercise, it can cause obesity and heart problems that shorten its lifespan.
According to Fetch by WebMD, other ways to care for your rabbit include cleaning their cages every week and removing any feces or soiled bedding every day, taking your pet to a small animal veterinarian, and getting your rabbit treated if suffers from some disease. You’ll also want to spay or neuter your rabbit to ensure it stays healthy.