Rabbits are loving, playful, and beautiful, and they can be wonderful companions, just as much as dogs and cats can. However, they have different needs.
Since there is a lot of misinformation about them online, we decided we’d create a list of some of the most common myths out there. Check them out below!
- Rabbits don’t need veterinary care like other pets
This is simply untrue. While it is generally acknowledged that veterinary care for small animals, including rodents, doesn’t cost as much as that for dogs, for instance, that doesn’t mean that your pet rabbit doesn’t need a vet.
Pet rabbits have infectious diseases, parasites, and a variety of medical conditions that they can develop for a range of reasons. But since their life span is generally shorter than that of dogs and cats, you will have to take your pet to the veterinarian more frequently.
While for dogs, it’s recommended that you take them for checkups once or twice a year, you might have to do this for pet rabbits three or even four times per year.
- Pet rabbits are easy to care for
It’s true that pet rabbits don’t have to be taken out for a walk at 5 am in the morning, but they still need some degree of care and maintenance. As such, you will have to do your best at cleaning their cage once every several days, and you have to provide them with a varied diet composed of leafy vegetables, nuts, and dry food.
Furthermore, finding a veterinarian who’s specialized in small animal medicine can be a challenge in itself.
- Pet rabbits love the outdoors and should spend most of their time there
While rabbits do like to spend time outdoors, they can’t be left outside in the hutch for a long time. On the one hand, they might escape if they burrow and if you haven’t secured the enclosure. On the other hand, if you don’t pay attention, they can quickly become the victims of predators such as foxes.
Cold weather can be dangerous health-wise for rabbits, so if you accidentally forget about them and leave them out when it’s raining, they can quickly get sick.
- Small pet rabbits don’t need a large cage
It’s quite likely that this is one of the most common myths out there. All animals that live in enclosures need as much space as possible, whether they are birds or pet rodents.
In general, it’s a good idea to get a cage that is at least five to six times bigger than the size of the rabbit you own. Small rabbits, meaning those that weigh less than 8 pounds, can do well in a cage that measures at least 24 by 36 inches, but if you could afford to get a bigger one, that would be even better.
- Pet rabbits are harmless and won’t ever bite anyone
One of the biggest mistakes that pet guardians can make is thinking that their pets aren’t animals. And animals have to defend themselves, so if someone picks up your rabbit too quickly or too roughly, expect him/her to react.
Aggressive behaviors can be more common in rabbits that are looking to mate.
- Rabbits can be left alone if you have to travel
Believing this can be particularly dangerous as rabbits have to be kept in certain conditions in order for them to maintain their health. Moreover, rabbits eat more frequently than other animals, and they also need consistent access to clean water.
If your rabbit doesn’t get the nutrition he or she needs for more than 24 hours, this situation can quickly turn into a potentially life-threatening issue. Plus, the ideal temperature for a pet rabbit is somewhere around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. They can be comfortable in colder temperatures if they have the appropriate housing.
- Any bedding is fine for pet rabbits
There are good and bad beddings, and some of the worst are softwood shavings, such as those made from pine and cedar wood. By contrast, the best bedding for rabbits are those made from recycled paper or aspen shavings.
Another note that we must make in this respect would be for you to avoid getting scented bedding. It can contain unnecessary chemicals that could irritate your pet’s respiratory system, leading to complications that would make you both end up at the vet clinic.
Clay litter, corn cob litter, as well as clumping litter are all a no-go in this case. These days, you can even get oat and alfalfa-based litters. We also advise against using newspapers or shredded documents as the chemicals in the dye could present certain health risks.
- If you have just one rabbit, it doesn’t have to be spayed or neutered
Males will go into heat, so they will start exhibiting behaviors such as spraying if they are not neutered. Unsterilized female rabbits can develop reproductive issues such as cancer of the uterus if they are not spayed.
- Rabbits can’t coexist with predator pets such as cats
You would be surprised to find out just how many homes there are in which cats or even ferrets perfectly coexist with pet rabbits. Naturally, you have to keep an eye on things to make sure that your pets are safe at all times.
Keep your rabbit secured in his or her enclosure when you aren’t watching.
- Rabbits can’t be trained to use a litter box
Although some people might think that rabbits don’t have the same learning abilities as other animals, this is false. It’s often been suggested that older rabbits can be litter box-trained even better than young ones as they can learn better and faster.
If you spay or neuter your pet rabbit before reaching the age of 4 to 6 months, you aren’t even going to manage any mishaps such as spraying. A neutered or spayed rabbit is far more likely to learn how to use the litter box than an intact one.