Rabbit Quick Care Guide

Do rabbits and bunnies need veterinary care?

Yes, veterinary care is very important for all animals. But rabbits, especially, can hide their illnesses pretty well, so seeking veterinary care and annual wellness exams is really important.

Dr. Molly Kase
Brook-Falls Veterinary Hospital

How do I transport my rabbit to the veterinarian?

They have a lot of small animal carriers similar to cat carriers that work really well for rabbits.

What do bunnies eat?

They need quite a few different things. The mainstay of their diet is hay, grass-based hay in unlimited quantities. Some fresh veggies and a small amount of bunny pellets are good. Staying away from seed mixes and highly sugary stuff, like fruits and treats, is good.

What do bunnies need, and what should I have at my house for my pet bunny?

Bunnies should have a large enclosure like an exercise pen or a room. Inside of that, maybe put a little Heidi Hutch that they can hide in if they wish. Litter boxes are great, and you should have some hay and litter in there. Obviously, they'll need food and water bowls and lots of toys and stimulation. Maybe have some little cardboard castles, things like that, in addition to the carrier.

Are rabbits smart?

Rabbits are smart. They can figure out lots of stuff, and they definitely need a lot of stimulation. They're going to get bored if they're just sitting there, so they need lots of interaction, lots of bonding, and things like that to help with their mental stimulation.

Do rabbits and guinea pigs get along?

We don't recommend having rabbits and guinea pigs together. They can spread some diseases back and forth, and then they just have very different kinds of social interactions. So we do recommend keeping them apart.

Do bunnies bite?

Bunnies bite. They obviously have lots of teeth in there. Sometimes it can be a cute little love nibble, but other times if they're unhappy, they will let you know with their teeth.

Do bunnies need vaccines?

They do, yes. It's relatively recent to the United States, but rabbit hemorrhagic disease does have a vaccine that we are recommending for all rabbits. It's a two-part series annually.

Do rabbits need to be spayed or neutered?

Yes, we do recommend that, especially spaying. Many adult rabbit females will get uterine cancer as they get older, so spay them as early as possible. Neutering just helps to prevent cancer there, but it also decreases any unwanted behaviors.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (262) 846-6006, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media https://www.facebook.com/brookfallsvets/, https://www.instagram.com/brookfallsveterinary/?hl=en

Rabbits Care - FAQs

Dr. Molly Kase
Brook-Falls Veterinary Hospital

What do I need for a rabbit cage, and how big should it be?

The rabbit should be able to spin around and stand up, things like that. It's definitely very important that they have an area outside the cage where they can roam. A big exercise pen or a rabbit-proof room that they can roam around in is perfect. Make it as big as it can be, as long as it's rabbit-proofed, so no cords and no carpeting. Carpets can be a little tricky for some of them.

Can a rabbit live in a hutch outside?

Technically, they probably can. A long time ago, that was kind of the way that it was, but we are definitely a big proponent of house rabbits and keeping them indoors, especially in Wisconsin with all the seasons and the extreme cold, heat, humidity, and all of that, which can wreak havoc on their bodies. So keeping them in an as consistent as possible area indoors is definitely recommended.

Do rabbits make good pets?

I think they do. As long as you're well-educated about their needs and their wants, they can definitely make great pets. Just make sure that you educate small children and that all goes well. I think they can make great pets. They're a lot more affectionate than I ever thought they could be.

Are bunnies easy to take care of?

They're not hard to take care of, but once again, it comes down to education and making sure that they have room to roam, the appropriate foods, the appropriate toys, litter boxes, and things like that. They can be very straightforward.

Do I need to groom my rabbit?

Yes, brushing your rabbit is fantastic, especially during the shedding and molting season. Because of cleaning themselves, they can ingest a lot of that hair, and that can be problematic. So yes, helping them along, especially the Angoras, by just brushing them daily is perfect.

Does a rabbit need its nails and teeth trimmed?

Nails definitely need to be trimmed, just like any other animal and us. With teeth trimming, it depends. Some rabbits, unfortunately, have genetic predispositions where they do need them trimmed, but in general, the average rabbit should be able to keep their teeth worn down just by eating hay. That is definitely a professional matter. If your veterinarian says that it needs a tooth trim, it's done under anesthesia.

How do I know what to feed a rabbit?

There are lots of good guidelines out there. We definitely have a nice big rabbit how-to if you come in and see us, but in general, unlimited grass-based hay is essential with access to water. Sometimes, a little bit of a rabbit pellet, leafy greens, and things like that in small amounts can be good additions to their diet.

Is there a document or website where I can find Bunny Care 101 or a rabbit care guide?

We've made one at our hospital. Otherwise, the House Rabbit Society is a great resource for rabbits. If you go to our website, we're trying to upload a bunch of husbandry-based guidelines for a couple of different species.

How do I safely pick up a rabbit, and can you pick it up by its ears?

Definitely not by the ears. The old rabbit-in-the-hat trick is not recommended. Basically, the safest way is if you just kind of lean over the rabbit back to front and then pick them up from underneath. Be sure to support their shoulders and bums carefully, and then they're facing outwards so that if they get upset and kick, they're not kicking against anything. It's safer for their back because sometimes, if you have them turned around and they kick against you, they're just so strong that they can injure their back that way.

How do I know if I have a sick rabbit?

Rabbits are great at hiding their sickness, unfortunately, so any little changes that you notice in behavior, appetite, and lethargy, even if you wake up and they are normally on the bed, but they're on the carpet, little things can be an indication. So if you notice anything, bringing them to the veterinarian immediately is important.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (262) 846-6006, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media https://www.facebook.com/brookfallsvets/, https://www.instagram.com/brookfallsveterinary/?hl=en

Rabbits Nutrition - FAQs

Dr. Molly Kase
Brook-Falls Veterinary Hospital

What do rabbits specifically eat and drink?

They drink water, for sure, and they eat a lot of hay and a little bit of pellets, some veggies, and things like that.

What can rabbits not eat?

They can't eat meat. We want to decrease high sugary things. Many fruits and things should not be fed.

What do baby bunnies eat?

Initially, they're going to drink some milk from their mothers, and then once they transition onto the hay, we want them to have just a little bit more calcium in their hay, so they can eat some alfalfa hay as opposed to adults, which eat more grass-based hay.

How do I give my pet rabbit water?

We recommend having both a water bowl and a hanging bottle so they can pick which one they prefer at different times. In case your water bottle plugs up, you've got the bowl there. That way, they have an option and can do either/or, and they can continue getting that water in. That's important for digestion.

What vegetables can rabbits eat?

Lots of vegetables, like leafy greens, are really good. You can do small amounts of higher-sugar ones, like tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers, but leafy greens, cilantro, romaine, and red and green leaf lettuce are all good ones.

What fruits can my rabbits eat?

As long as it's very small amounts, maybe once a week as a little treat, they could have little pieces of banana or apple. We really want to keep the fruits to a minimum.

Are rabbits herbivores, or do rabbits eat meat?

They're herbivores, so we don't want to feed any meat to our rabbits.

Do rabbits eat hay, straw, or alfalfa?

Great question. I mentioned alfalfa hay for the baby ones and then grass hays, but they don't actually eat straw. It can be good for them to lay on in a straw bed in some circumstances, but they're not going to eat that.

Do rabbits like carrots?

Most rabbits love carrots, akin to the cartoon of Bugs Bunny. We just, once again, want to make sure it's in small amounts.

Do rabbits eat any of the following:

  • Grass? Grass hay, yes. Just be careful if you're picking grass outside, and make sure it's not treated with anything.
  • Tomatoes? In very tiny amounts.
  • Pineapples? Pineapples have a lot of sugar, so we probably want to minimize that. There is an old wive's tale that some people swear by that it can decrease hairballs and stuff in their stomachs, but we're really finding that all the sugar in there can actually be bad for their GI tract, so I would minimize that.
  • Strawberries? Tiny mouth, tiny amounts.
  • Apples? Tiny amounts.
  • Celery? Celery's okay; it's a good veggie. Sometimes the strings can be a bit weird, but it's okay for them in small amounts. It depends upon your specific rabbit and what they can tolerate.
  • Corn? We don't want to give corn to rabbits, please.
  • Cucumbers? Small amounts of cucumbers.
  • Petunias? It's safe for them, and they can eat a little bit of the flowers, but once again, just be careful that it's not been treated with any growth supplements or weed killer or anything like that. Every rabbit's digestive tract is a little different. Some rabbits can have a little bit of all this, and other rabbits have an issue. So definitely listen to what your rabbit is telling you and their guts are telling you. The poop tells a story.

What supplement should I give my rabbit?

As long as they're on a great grass hay diet and maybe a few pellets and greens, there shouldn't be too many supplements you'll need to give, unlike some of the other small mammal species. There are cute little treats that are made for digestion or for urinary health, things like that. Those should be pretty safe, but they're not necessarily necessary.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (262) 846-6006, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media https://www.facebook.com/brookfallsvets/, https://www.instagram.com/brookfallsveterinary/?hl=en