Easter is just around the corner and people are thinking about rabbits. Many people think rabbits are low maintenance pets that are great for kids. This is not entirely true. For one thing, rabbits, like any other pets, need to be spayed or neutered. (However, most animal shelters spay or neuter rabbits as part of the adoption fee.) Rabbits teeth are constantly growing, so they need things to gnaw on, and occasionally require special dental treatment for malocclusion (buck teeth). All this costs money.
One big misconception is that rabbits don’t live very long. The truth is, rabbits can live anywhere from 8 to 10 years. Some live even longer. So if you get a bunny now, you can expect many more years with your furry friend.
Another important step is to get everyone in the home allergy tested, before bringing any animal into the home. You don’t want to make the mistake of getting a rabbit, only to find yourself allergic.
Are rabbits good pets for kids? It depends on the age of the kid, and on the size of the rabbit. Very small rabbits could accidentally get injured by children. Always supervise children around rabbits. Rabbits also need to be socialized, so that they learn that humans are not predators that need fending off with teeth and big feet.
You should also consider what other pets you have in the house, before deciding on a rabbit.
Pets are not disposable. They are not playthings, novelties, or holiday decorations, but living creatures with feelings.
If you believe a rabbit is right for you, get one from a shelter or rescue group, as opposed to a pet store. Try fostering one first. Then, if you decide a bunny is the right pet, you can adopt one. At the very least, you will have helped an animal find a permanent, loving home. You can find local shelters and adoption agencies through www.petfinder.com, or in the phone book. (You can find your local municipally run shelter in the blue pages.) You can also foster or adopt rabbits through an organization called Rabbit Rescue Inc. (www.rabbitrescue.org).
What if you get a rabbit, only to find yourself in a situation where you can no longer keep it? Remember, when you adopted a rabbit, you made a commitment to bring someone into your family. There are far too many animals in shelters, and you don’t want to add to the number of homeless pets. If you really can’t keep your bunny, then contact your veterinarian. He or she may help you find a home for your bunny, or direct you to an adoption organization. Never abandon a rabbit, or release it outside, where it could starve or get eaten by other animals.
I hope that this Easter is a happy one for both bunnies and people. Happy Easter to all my readers!