The Ultimate Guide to Dwarf Rabbit Care
In this article, I use my own experience with my pet rabbit Ronja to discuss dwarf rabbit care. I'll cover rabbit toys, rabbit diseases, what to do about sudden wetness of fur in rabbits, rabbit diet, and more. I will also take a critical look at bunny trancing, something that is quite controversial at the moment.
There are a lot of things to learn when you get a house rabbit:
- which rabbit hutch or cage to pick for your bunny;
- what diet you should arrange for your rabbit;
- what diseases bunnies might get;
- how to groom your rabbit, and how to pick the right brush and nail clippers.
The information here is based on my own experience and many, many hours of research. I hope it will bring you some "Aaaaaaawwww, cute!" moments and a couple of laughs, as well as teach you something valuable about dwarf rabbit care. Hopefully, you will enjoy the read, and maybe you will even want to get your own rabbit or bunny.
What Is a Dwarf Rabbit?
Dwarf rabbits are small rabbits with eyes and heads that are big compared to the rest of their body. This makes them look like baby rabbits when they grow up as well as well as when they are young, something most people find very cute. Standard dwarf rabbits weigh up to 1.4 kilograms (approximately 3 pounds).
It Can Be Hard to Tell Their Gender
I got my baby dwarf rabbit Ronja in the summer of 2010, when he was only eight weeks old. I picked him out myself from a litter in a pet shop. It was so hard to choose; I really just wanted to take all eight or ten tiny rabbits home with me.
The pet shop owner and the vet that did his first Myxomatosis vaccination both told me Ronja was a female (hence the name, if any Astrid Lindgren fans are feeling slightly confused). It was only when he was approximately five months old that I suddenly realized that he was male. I noticed he had something stuck in his fur on his belly and I gently turned him over to sort it out. That is when I noticed that people had guessed wrong about the gender of my rabbit; it was only at the age of five months that he was developed enough that you could tell his gender with certainty. I asked the vet when I was there the next time and he confirmed that Ronja was indeed a male rabbit.
So, the first lesson on dwarf rabbits: it is really hard to tell the gender of your bunny when it is young. This is valuable information to consider if you were thinking of getting two rabbits. Unless you are careful, the two rabbits you thought were females will start breeding, and out of nowhere you will have baby rabbits all over the place.
Common Dwarf Rabbit Breeds
There are quite a few dwarf rabbit breeds out there by now. This a list of the most popular ones, but might not be comprehensive. If something is missing, feel free to add a comment!
These rabbits have short heads with full cheeks, almost square. Their ears are very short and set close together so they touch all the way to the top. Their fur is short and fine.
This breed is small, compact, and very docile. Their fur should be soft and dense and it should be a uniform white colour all over. One thing that sets Dwarf Hotots apart is the black ring of fur around their eyes, giving them a very distinctive look.
This is the only dwarf version of the very popular type of rabbit that goes under the common name of "lop." THe Holland Lop is playful and active but can be a bit skittish. It has a round head, short fur, and floppy ears like other lops.
This breed is a cross between the Netherland Dwarf and the French Angora. The combination has resulted in a small rabbit with long, soft fur. The Jersey Wooly is very playful, and can be a loyal affectionate companion if cared for properly. Furthermore, this bunny is one of the more intelligent rabbit breeds.
The Lionhead Rabbit gets its name from its signature mane, which looks like that of a male lion. Note that not all lionhead offspring have the double mane gene that gives them the extra fur, so be aware of this if you are purchasing a lionhead. These rabbits make very good pets if accustomed to human company from the time they are small. They are friendly and easy to handle.
This breed is very small, with a rounded full head. Their ears are short and close together. Netherland Dwarfs used to have a bad reputation for being aggressive; however with good breeding practices they have become more docile and with proper care from their owners they make amazing companions.
Are Dwarf Rabbits Good Pets?
The short answer is yes! I love my little bunny. In my opinion dwarf rabbits are one of the best caged pets you can get. They are small and low-maintenance, and they can become very loving and loyal. If you are looking for a small house pet I definitely recommend getting a dwarf bunny! However, there are some things you should be aware of, especially when it comes to dwarf rabbit care.
Can I Pet My Tame Rabbit?
Keep in mind that a bunny is not a relaxed animal. It is almost always active, and the slightest sound or movement will make it jump. They are also not naturally cuddly, although if you gain the trust of your rabbit then it can be very rewarding to have a tiny warm furball on your lap.
Can I Cuddle My Bunny?
Then again, rabbits like being petted (if they trust you), they are pack animals, and they are used to grooming each other. If you win the trust of your bunny and you are accepted into its pack you can even expect it to counter-groom your hands. (I am trying to get a video of this as it is super-cute.)
Can I Play With a Rabbit?
And rabbits are more playful than you would expect. Have a look further down the page for a video of Ronja playing and for some good ideas for bunny toys.
A few things to keep in mind.
- Rabbits do NOT like to be carried or lifted.
- Never, ever, pick a bunny up by its ears.
- Always support a rabbit's hind legs with one hand and rest the bunny against your chest, to upset your bunny the least.
- Rabbits are pack animals, meaning they are social animals. If you don't plan to spend a lot of time with your bunny then maybe you should consider buying two.
Rabbits, including dwarf bunnies, raise a lot of new questions for pet owners who've never had a rabbit before. The best thing you can do before you purchase a pet rabbit is to research and read about them. I'll recommend a book and then I'll go through some questions that might come up for a new rabbit owner.
Facts, Advice and Tips on Dwarf Rabbit Care by Monika Wegler
When getting a Dwarf Rabbit for the first time it is always a good idea to do some research first to find out if your new pet is compatible with your life style.
Dwarf Rabbits are relatively easy pets to care for, however there are still a lot of things that are good to know before purchasing one.
Dwarf Rabbits (Complete Pet Owner's Manual) is an excellent start for anyone new to dwarf rabbits and a solid guide for more experienced owners. It gives great advice on everything from bunny cages to health care and diet. Very importantly, it also gives tips on how to teach children to handle these rather fragile mini-rabbits. It tells how to distinguish pure-bred dwarf rabbits from mixed breeds and suggests ideas for an adventure playground for your bunny to keep it healthy and happy.
And it comes with many cute color photos of dwarf rabbits.
More Great Reading on Rabbit Care
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has great information on how to set up an environment for your rabbit and on how to deal with bunnies in general. And here's a good article on how to set up a great environment for your rabbit and how to deal with bunnies in general.
Why Is My Rabbit's Fur Wet All the Time?
After I had my dwarf rabbit for about two months, I saw that his fur was constantly wet and I didn't know why. It had me completely puzzled. He also stopped eating the fresh carrots and celery I offered him, so I got very worried. As the photo shows, the wet fur made my bunny look a bit sick, and you can maybe understand why I was concerned it was a serious disease.
I started reading up on rabbit diseases. After some research I got concerned that my rabbit might be suffering from a skin condition. The very next day, I took him to the vet to get everything checked out.
Luckily the vet was able to educate me and lessen my worry. Although the issue causing the wet fur was serious enough, it was also easily resolvable; it had to do with his teeth.
Rabbit Teeth and Malocclusion Problems
It turned out that my rabbit's upper teeth had simply grown so long that they were now curling inside and damaging the upper part of his mouth. The wetness of my bunny's fur came from the abundance of saliva he was producing due to this irritation.
Rabbit teeth keep growing through their lives. Due to the way dwarf bunnies have been bred, the bone structure of the head is no longer optimal. Because of their short snouts and round jaws, their teeth no longer grind against each other. So the teeth can sometimes grow very long and cause issues like my rabbit experienced.
Now I have my dwarf rabbit's teeth cut approximately every four weeks and he is no longer having any trouble.
This issue of too-long teeth is something to consider before getting a dwarf rabbit. I have a deal with my vet and they cut the teeth and claws for 15 euros a year; however that is still a fair bit of money. Keep in mind that your dwarf rabbit might need the same treatment and that it is not something you can skip.
If you feel comfortable, you can buy teeth cutters for bunnies and cut their teeth yourself. I tried this to cut down on the cost, however I did not feel happy with trying to cut the teeth of a squirming rabbit. I was too afraid of cutting his tongue or the skin around his mouth.
An Issue of Overgrown Bunny Teeth
As mentioned above, many dwarf rabbits have tooth problems because their teeth do not grind against each other properly and thus become overgrown. This issue is also referred to as malocclusion in rabbits.
On the picture below, you can see the length of my dwarf rabbit's teeth approximately 25 days after they were last cut. As you can see, they will soon start causing him trouble again and my bunny's teeth will have to be trimmed.
What Should I Do If My Bunny Breaks His Teeth?
Rabbit teeth do, in fact, grow back if they are broken. As mentioned above, rabbits' teeth keep growing all their lives.
My rabbit jumped down from the sofa and landed awkwardly face first, knocking out his lower teeth. I panicked a bit when I saw him sitting there running his paw over his snout over and over. When I was told that the teeth would indeed grow back, I felt better, and over the following days I just kept a close eye on whether he ate and made sure his gum did not become infected.
If this happens to your bunny, make sure you check that he still is still eating his food. If he doesn't, try replacing his normal food with something that is easier to chew: for instance, oats instead of pellets, and a piece of apple with no skin instead of a carrot. If your rabbit still doesn't eat, take him to the vet as they may have some special food for him.
Vets can make a bunny's teeth stop growing by damaging the roots in a special way. This is a rather intrusive procedure for your rabbit to have to go through and it is not something I would recommend. My vet suggested it as an alternative to having his teeth cut every month and I declined, as I could foresee that an operation like that on a small dwarf rabbit could be majorly upsetting to my pet bunny.
Take Care of Your Rabbit
You can trim your bunny's nails and teeth if necessary.
If you have a house bunny it is likely that you will need to trim his nails. As with cutting your bunny's teeth, you can get your vet to do this, but if you feel comfortable you can do it yourself.
Here are some things to think about when trimming a rabbit's nails:
Use a nail clipper specifically designed for bunny nails, as it will make the task easier and limit the risk of hurting your rabbit.
Make sure the nail clipper is not dull. The rabbit does not enjoy the procedure and it is much more difficult if you don't use proper tools.
Because the bunny does not like to get his nails trimmed, he will likely struggle. You can make the process easier by wrapping the bunny in a tea towel so it is restrained from kicking and can more easily be held still. Wrapping also makes it less likely that you will hurt your bunny while grooming him.
It is much easier if you have a helper, who can hold the rabbit while you cut its nails.
Don't cut the nails too short. It is much better to trim the rabbit's nails more often than to cause the tiny fellow harm by cutting into his veins.
You can also cut your rabbit's teeth yourself and if you have a dwarf rabbit you can often use the nail cutter for the procedure, HOWEVER, I strongly recommend having your vet show you how first, and also approve of the nail cutter you are going to use. You could hurt your bunny a lot if you accidentally cut its lips or tongue, so please do not go ahead with cutting your bunny's teeth if you are uncertain of how to do it.
A nice little trick to make it easier to cut your rabbits nails is to wrap the bunny in a tea towel. That way he is nice and snug and gets less stressed out by the procedure. Wrapping also helps your rabbit from kicking his legs while you trim his nails, and makes it less likely that you hurt your bunny while grooming him.
How to Cut a Rabbit's Teeth
This video shows how you can trim your bunny's teeth if your pet is suffering from malocclusion. Again I have to stress that if you are not 100% certain what you are doing, go to your vet first and have them instruct you.
When Rabbits Grind Their Teeth
There are several reasons why rabbits might grind their teeth. Sometimes you can guess the reason from the sound.
- Soft grinding. This sound means the bunny is happy and content. It is almost like when a cat purrs, and will often happen when you are petting and grooming your rabbit.
- Grating or crunching. This is much louder and should act as a warning to you. Your rabbit is in pain and needs to be examined by a vet. You will often be able to tell the bunny's condition from its general body language as well, as a rabbit in pain will be hunched over and its ears will be flattened.
- Loud grinding. This can be mistaken for the above, but it happens for a slightly different reason. The bunny is trying to grind down its teeth as they are overgrown and might be causing it problems. If this is the case, either cut the teeth for the rabbit or take it to the vet for teeth trimming.
Bunny Language: What Is My Rabbit Trying to Tell Me?
While rabbits and bunnies obviously cannot speak to you, they still will communicate with body language and sounds. Here is a list of the sounds your rabbit can use to talk to you.
- Grunts or growling. When your bunny growls at you it means that he is angry. It will often be followed by him either biting or turning his back on you.
- Oinking. Your rabbit may make this sound when he or she is content, or when he/she is in heat.
- Biting or nibbling. It can be a sign of affection, but more often it is your bunny gently telling you that it wants you to stop whatever you are doing at the moment. Ronja will usually start nibbling at me or my clothes, when he doesn't want to to sit on my lap anymore.
- Squealing. The rabbit is very scared. If you are causing the squealing by something you are doing, you should stop immediately. Bunnies can die if they are stressed out too much.
- Running in figure-eights or circles around you. If your bunny is doing this, it means he is trying to court you.
- Chinning. Rabbits have scent glands under their chins. If your bunny is rubbing its chin against you, then it means he is marking you as his. Congratulations, you now belong to your rabbit.
- Tooth grinding. As mentioned above, a low grinding sound means your bunny is happy and is the equivalent of a cat purring; louder grinding might be cause for worry.
- Licking. Your bunny is grooming you. This is a great honor to receive from a rabbit, as in nature lower bunnies groom the ones ranking higher in the hierarchy. If your bunny is licking you, then it either means that he accepts you as a superior, or he likes you so much that hierarchy doesn't matter. Ronja will usually groom me when I am petting him.
- Nose poking. The rabbit is showing affection and it wants you to pet him.
- Ears forward. Some sound has the rabbit's full attention. Your bunny is ready to run if the sound should turn out to be danger coming his way.
- One ear forward. Partly paying attention to something, but not 100% interested.
- Ears flat. This can mean two things. If the bunny is generally happy, it means that he is relaxed. If he is angry, it could be a sign that he is ready to attack and bite.
- Sitting upright on hind legs. The rabbit will do this when it is curious about its surroundings, often when it hears a strange sound that doesn't seem immediately threatening. It is basically just the bunny trying to get a better overview of the room.
- Thumping. Bunnies are pack animals and if your rabbit likes you, then you are automatically part of the pack. If your bunny is thumping its hind leg, then it is most likely trying to warn you (the pack) so you can escape from the danger it is sensing. When our fire alarm went off recently, Ronja went crazy with thumping until we got it turned off.
- Digging. Rabbits dig instinctively; they were born to do it. However, sometimes they will dig as a way of communicating. If you are holding your bunny on your lap and he starts digging, then he may be saying that he needs the toilet, or that he just doesn't want to sit with you anymore.
- Lying flat on the side with eyes half closed and hind legs stretched out. This is the ultimate sign of trust. Your bunny is super relaxed, happy and feels so safe with you that he doesn't feel the need to be ready to run. Ronja will do this from time to time when I am watching a movie and he is on the couch with me.
- Doing a "binky" (jumping and twisting in the air). If your bunny does this it is a sign that he is a really happy rabbit. See the video below for an example.
What to Call a Rabbit
The male rabbit is called a "buck."
The female rabbit is called a "doe."
Baby rabbits are called "kittens."
Should You Feed Carrots to Rabbits?
I think most people think of bunnies as carrot-eating machines. While most rabbits very much like carrots, carrots should not be the only thing they are fed. On the contrary, too much carrot can give the rabbit diarrhea.
Carrots, celery and other wet food are great once in a while, but in general you should feed your bunny dry food. Personally I buy a mix from a pet store. It contains seeds, dried carrot and dried herbs. If in doubt, ask your vet.
Your rabbit should always have access to fresh hay. Hay is super-important as rabbits need the fiber to avoid getting a bad stomach. A bunny with access to fresh hay will eat the amount it needs.
Timothy hay is a grassy sort of hay, with smaller and thinner straws than usual hay, and my bunny loves eating it. I use it for rabbit food and as part of the cage's bedding, as my bunny loves digging into the hay.
If the rabbit suddenly stops eating hay, you should get a little concerned. Ronja sometimes stops eating hay when his teeth get too long. When that happens, his excrement starts to get wetter and more sticky. This can lead to issues, as the bunny gets the sticky excrement stuck in his fur. That is one reasons why it is important to investigate if your rabbit stops eating hay.
Last but not least, make certain that there is always fresh water for your bunny. This is always super important, but especially when it is shedding. Rabbits can amass furballs much like cats do, from grooming themselves. However, unlike cats, they are not able to regurgitate. That is why water is essential at these times, as it helps keep the fur from collecting in the bunny's throat or stomach.
Do Rabbits and Bunnies Play With Toys?
Rabbits are naturally prey animals, not predators, which means that they do not chase sticks like dogs and they do not go crazy over a ball of paper like a cat. They do, however, still like to play.
You can get many different types of toys for rabbits, but mainly they fall into two categories:
- Things to chew on
- Things to climb on
Rabbit Chew Toys
As discussed above, rabbits' teeth grow very fast, and it can be helpful to give them something to chew on to keep the growth down. Also it is great for a rabbit to play with chew toys as it is combining fun time with self-maintenance.
A chew toy can be something as simple as an apple-tree branch; make sure it is not sprayed with anything, though. Look below for a fancier chew toy.
The bunny's claws, also, can also grow pretty long if it doesn't have access to digging. If you can get a chew toy that also has a way to activate the paws it is even better.
For Ronja I have some woven rice straw and grass packages. He has to bite and dig his way through the outer layer to get to the tasty grasses inside.
My rabbit is quite easily entertained, and if yours is too, you might be able to get away with toilet paper rolls as your rabbit toys. Please make sure that the roll is clean. If the roll is glued together, don't leave the rabbit alone with it, as it might eat the cardboard.
Ronja is very active and he loves playing with things. As you can see he is also very particular in how he likes his cage "furnished."
My Dwarf Rabbit Having Fun With Toilet Paper Rolls
It is important to make sure your bunny stays active, especially if it is a caged bunny that doesn't get to move around much.
Make sure you take it out of the cage frequently and let it jump around in your house (under your supervision). Also give it toys to play with when it is sitting in the cage.
Allow Your Bunny to Explore, Play and Hide With a Crinkle Tunnel
Rabbits dig tunnels in the wild, but house bunnies rarely have that luxury. Instead, you can make your pet bunny happy by giving it a crinkle tunnel that it can explore or hide in. Make your rabbit feel safe and at the same time give them a great item to play with and explore.
A fun game you can play with your rabbit is to hide treats inside the tunnel. It incentives them to explore and it's fun to see if they manage to find what you have hidden in there.
One of the reasons I recommend the is that it's machine washable which is helpful as it will get dirty. A good rule of thumb is to clean it out with a washcloth every week, when you are cleaning the hutch and machine wash it once every month to make sure it stays fresh. Kaytee Crinkle Tunnel
However, as with many other toys for bunnies it can take some time to find the right one for your specific carrot-muncher.
Some things you should consider before you choose a rabbit tunnel:
The Kaytee Crinkle Tunnel is made from cotton and polyester, but you can also get tunnels made from hay or cardboard. The latter are of course less durable and harder to keep clean, but it could be the perfect fit for your rabbit.
You can also get tunnels made of plastic, which are great if you are planning to place it outside.
This tunnel is is six inches in diameter, so perfect for a dwarf rabbit, but too small for their bigger cousins. Consider the size of your pet. You want to make sure the tunnel is big enough for them to move around in there without getting stuck, but you also don't want to buy one so big that your bunny doesn't feel it can hide in there.
Always check the materials of the tunnel you buy. Bunnies like to chew on everything, make sure that there's nothing in the tunnel that could cause damage to your bunny either by being poisonous to your pet or by potentially causing internal damage if bit into pieces and eaten.
Things to Climb on: Rabbit Hutches and Cages
Rabbits needs space to move around in and they love something to climb on.
If you do not plan on letting your bunny run free in the house (or, much better, let him run around in an outside pen), then at least make sure that you have a spacious cage. It needs to be big enough for the bunny to jump around in.
Ideally you can also add some extra levels in the cage so the bunny can jump around and keep an eye on things from different perspectives.
It is a really good idea to give your bunny a hutch, a small enclosure he can withdraw to when he gets scared or just wants to sleep.
Luckily I don't have much personal experience in this area. Aside from his teeth issues, Ronja is very healthy.
I do however want to mention myxomatosis, because it is quite common and can cause very rapid death. In order to prevent your rabbit from catching this disease, most vets offer annual or semiannual vaccinations.
Myxomatosis can be spread by a creature as ordinary as a house fly, so even if your rabbit is not kept outside and does not have contact with any other animals it is still at risk.
Have a look at Wikipedia for more information and make sure to contact your vet to arrange vaccination if you haven't already.
Is Hypnotizing a Rabbit Harmful?
Is It Okay to Trance a Bunny?
If you put a rabbit on its back, the bunny will become completely still and cease struggling against you. Up until recently it was common practice by both bunny owners and veterinarians to do this whenever they needed to restrain or immobilize the bunny. It was thought to be a great way of calming your bunny, for instance while you trim the rabbit's nails.
Hypnotizing the bunny by putting it on its back is called "trancing" a bunny, or "tonic immobility." The latter term has become more widely used over the last couple of years, as rabbit owners came to realize that what they thought was a calming experience for their pet bunny is really a very traumatic state. On his back, the rabbit is playing dead, hoping that the predator will loosen its grip and allow the bunny to escape.
Recent studies have shown that rabbit trancing is a very stressful experience for the bunny, and now it is discouraged unless necessary. Bunny hypnosis was the only way I could get my rabbit to take his medicine, but I really did not enjoy the experience, though, and I will be looking to avoid any form of rabbit trancing if at all possible.
My rabbit looks cute and calm during trancing; however, his stress level is actually very high which is not good for a little bunny. It is quite easy to tell that this is not pleasant for him,as you can feel his little heart beating very fast. He is NOT relaxed at all!
Read More About Why Trancing Is Bad
If you want to check some out some more information on bunny hypnosis and why it is bad, then check out these resources:
- Studies on Rabbit Trancing
Info on study performed on 5 New Zealand white rabbits who were tested for the effect of Tonic Immobility aka Rabbit trancing.
- Converns over Rabbit Whisperer
An article regarding the so-called Rabbit Whisperer and concern over the use of Bunny Hypnotizing.
- Tonic Immobility
Wikipedia on Tonic Immobility.
Rabbit and Bunny Grooming: How to Keep Your Rabbit Clean and Healthy
Some rabbits will take care of grooming themselves, while some need frequent brushing. Netherland Dwarf rabbits are generally very low-maintenance in terms of grooming, while bunnies with a longer coat of fur will need more attention. If you have a longhaired rabbit, investing in a grooming brush is a must. If you do not help keep the fur untangled and clean, there can be an added risk of your rabbit catching diseases.
Even if your bunny does not need you to help maintain its pelt, you might still want to buy a grooming brush as most rabbits loves to have their fur brushed. In nature rabbits will groom each other whenever they have a quiet moment, so the act of getting brushed is a very calming and enjoyable experience for your rabbit. A pure bunny Zen moment.
The ultimate sign of affection your rabbit can show you is if it returns the favour of grooming. The picture below shows Ronja trying to make my hand all prim and proper.
Get the Right Grooming Brush for Your Bunny
There is some debate on whether to use slicker brushes (also known as wire brushes) for grooming your rabbit. Some people with long-haired rabbits swear by them. Personally I would not use a wire brush on any type of bunny, as they can cause scratches and wounds on your rabbits' delicate skin. Bunnies have very, very thin skin, and even the slightest cut can create quite a bit of problems.
I recommend using a bristle brush and being very gentle when you groom your rabbit.
If you are having issues getting knots out of the rabbit's fur using a bristle brush, then try gently untangling it using a comb.
To get all the hair out easily, gently sprinkle a bit of water on your rabbit's fur. Then run your hands over your bunny a couple of times and you will see a lot of hair sticking to your hand.
The Dos and Don'ts of Rabbit Care
The information provided in this article might seem a bit overwhelming at first glance, so to summarize, I will provide you with a short list of the most important Do's and Don'ts of rabbit care.
These are things everyone should know before getting a bunny as a pet.
Dos of Dwarf Rabbit Care
- Give your bunny lots of attention.
- Let your bunny have lots of exercise.
- Feed your bunny hay for better digestion.
- Groom your bunny frequently to keep it healthy.
- Give your bunny chew toys to help keep its teeth at a good length.
- Give your bunny fresh vegetables like carrot and celery, but only once in a while.
- Love your bunny and it will love you back.
The Don'ts of Dwarf Rabbit Care
- Never lift your bunny by its ears.
- Don't force your bunny onto its back (unless strictly necessary for medical reasons).
- Don't play very loud music near your bunny; it causes stress that could kill your bunny.
- Don't feed your bunny vegetables all the time; it could cause diarrhea.
- Don't your bunny alone for too long. It is a social animal and needs company.
How Rabbits Get Along With Other Pets
I get asked from time to time whether rabbits can co-exist with other family pets such as dogs and cats.
It is a hard question to answer as it really depends on the circumstances and the personality of both the rabbit and the other pet in question.
My initial answer would be not to have both a rabbit and a cat or dog. If you do already have other pets, you should make sure to keep them separated from your rabbit, at least to begin with.
If you really want to have the pets in close proximity, ideally the rabbit and the dog or cat should grow up together, so they are used to each other from a very young age. That way it's more likely that the bigger animal will accept the bunny as a runty part of its pack, rather than a potential midday snack.
Never let the two pets be alone unsupervised. No matter how good friends your bunny rabbit and cat are, there is no telling when play might turn a bit too rough.
While speaking of playing: it might look cute when your kitten is padding at the rabbit with its paws, but remember that the bunny in nature is used to being hunted by predators. Having a tiny kitten poke at it, even if it's not physically dangerous to the rabbit, is very likely to cause high stress that could cause a heart attack.
In conclusion, yes, you can have other animals when having a rabbit as a pet, but make sure that if you do, you keep them separated, at the very least by a cage. Who knows, maybe it is the cat or dog that needs protection, as is the case in the video below where Ronja scares a poor curious cat.
Care for Your Rabbit: Your Bunny Needs You
All the advice above about rabbit teeth, bunny diseases, rabbit diet and rabbit toys is all important; however, there is one thing that is even more important.
If you get yourself a dwarf rabbit (or any pet for that matter) make sure that you care for it. Not just in terms of basic necessities, but with plenty of attention and love as well. Rabbits are social animals and they will get sad if they are left on their own.
If you do jump into the rabbit hole and get yourself a dwarf bunny, then I wish you all the best of luck. Hopefully, you will have as much fun with your pet as I have with Ronja!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
How much romaine lettuce can I feed my bunny?
It really depends on the size of your bunny and the rest of its diet. My best advice would be to start out very slowly with half a leaf and then observe your bunny's poop. If it starts getting runny, you should cut down.
Remember that there's a lot of water in lettuce, and if your bunny isn't used to it, it could upset their stomach. Also, remember always to have some dry hay available.Helpful 13