Is A Pet Bunny Right For Me?
Before you purchase a pet rabbit, there are a few questions to ask yourself to help determine if a bunny is the right pet for you and your family.
Choosing to get a pet is a BIG decision that requires a serious commitment. It shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is a family decision so please make sure all family members are on board before inquiring or pursuing a pet bunny. As cute as they look in pictures, your bunny will require your time, money and emotional investment. He or she will require you to learn (and to keep learning) about the best bunny care possible!
Does your schedule provide enough time to feed/clean/exercise/socialize a bunny daily?
Contrary to popular belief rabbits are NOT low maintenance pets. They need more than just a cage to be happy and thrive. They need exercise, enrichment and your time. They are very emotional animals and can bond with their owners just like cats and dogs. I recommend at least two hours of time outside of their cage, EVERY DAY, making sure they have human interaction about half of that time. On top of this you will need to feed, water, groom and stay on top of cage maintenance.
Is this pet intended for your child?
Hollands are one of the top five breeds of rabbits recommended for children. I personally do not recommend rabbits as pets for very young children although, there are exceptions. Mine are raised around both young and older children but supervision is a must! Educating your children on the proper way to act around animals and limiting their playtime is also very important. Rabbits frighten easily so loud noises and fast movements are often just too much for them to handle and they can become overly stressed and unhappy. If they feel this way, you may never bond, and unwelcome behaviors such as biting, lunging or growling can develop. Our bunnies live in our laundry room/playroom so they are accustom to everyday household noises such as children playing, vacuum cleaners, the laundry and our dog. They actually don’t mind it one bit because they feel safe, have positive interactions with all of our family members and are genuinely excited to see and hear us. If your child is patient and learns gentle handling I think that a Holland Lop can make a great pet, if you have any doubts maybe waiting a few more years isn’t a bad idea either!
Another thing that many don’t know is that rabbits really dislike being held. They love attention, pets and love but bunnies want to keep their four paws on the ground at all times! As much as we want to scoop them up and cuddle them because they are so cute and fluffy, they have a great fear of heights. The reaction is usually a frightened, squirmy, scratchy bunny. Don’t get me wrong, there will be times they will need to be picked up and a proper way to hold them, but do it only if you must and for a short period. I use my pet carriers to transport a bunny safely outside or if going through multiple rooms for their comfort and safety.
Do you have allergies?
Hay (Timothy/Orchard) is the number one dietary requirement for bunnies and is also the main reason bunnies are surrendered to shelters. Please be sure that you or any of your family members don’t have an allergy. If you are unsure if you are allergic, I recommend spending time with bunnies. Some ways you can do this is by attending a rabbit show or volunteering at a shelter.
Are you financially prepared to pay for vet visits?
Your bunny will not require any vaccinations at the vet like other pets but neutering/spaying is highly recommended. This surgery averages around $250.00! Please be prepared to incur this expense. Altering your rabbit will help with litter box training, grumpiness once hormones kick in, and “overly friendly” behaviors, For females, it will reduce the risk of uterine cancer which unbred or unspayed females are more susceptible to.
Are you willing to commit seven or more years to a bunny?
Yes, bunnies are just about the cutest things ever but they are an animal that requires a serious daily commitment and love for a lot of years! The average Holland Lops life span in 7-10 years. The decision to add a bunny to your family requires some major thought and research. Please make sure all family members are on board and understand what will be required to provide a great life for your bun!
What Are Your Expectations?
If you are undeterred by the above information, I’d say your on the right track to bunny ownership! Bunnies make wonderful pets and can develop such a sweet, strong bond with their humans. As long as your can respect their fears and needs, interact with them on their level and be patient, the lifelong bond that can be formed is truly something special.