Did you know you don’t have to keep your rabbits locked up in a hutch all day? In fact, it’s important that you don’t!
You must give a lot of careful thought to your rabbits environment to make sure you’re giving them somewhere that’s right for their natural needs & behaviours.
So, think about whether you want a House Rabbit or an Outdoor rabbit.
It is getting increasingly popular to keep your rabbit indoors. Rabbits can live in the house with you much the same as a cat or dog would. Most people are shocked to learn that a rabbit can become as much of part of the family as either of the other popular pets, and will happily share your living space, sit on the couch with you, and watch Eastenders! They can be incredibly affectionate and interactive when given the opportunity.
In fact, keeping a rabbit indoors can often make it easier to meet the essential welfare needs of your pet, including space, exercise, companionship and stimulation. A rabbit, given the conditions of the “run of the house” can often show more natural behaviours than their hutch-stored counterparts.
It’s important to be prepared though, and there are things you need to consider before bringing your rabbit indoors.
Choosing a House Rabbit
Any rabbit can make a good house pet. It doesn’t matter what breed, size, gender or age they are, a rabbit will easily and happily adapt to your home if you prepare well for it.
Giant breeds, such as the British Giant, Continental Giant, French or German Lops and various others, are becoming the most popular breed for house pets largely because their size makes them comparible to a cat or dog, but it really isn’t important. Literally any rabbit can make a good house pet.
Training Your House Rabbit
Yes, it can be done! But just as with any pet it takes a bit of work, and perseverence is the key!
Rabbits are usually very easy to litter train though, as this is essentially their natural behaviour. We often advise that it can be easier to litter train a rabbit than it is a cat. Some rabbit may even just “train themselves” to use the tray!
A tip though, particular for baby rabbits:
- Cover the floor of their cage or the area of the house you want to have the litter tray. Put the litter tray in place, topped with a handful of hay.
- Try to confine your rabbit to the area/cage for 48 – 72 hours. Move any stray droppings or urine soaked newspaper into the tray.
- Once he is reliably using the litter tray, let him out for gradually increasing periods of time, spervising closely.
Bunny Proofing your Home
You probably don’t want your rabbit to chew the legs of that antique dining table you have, but to your bunny it’s just a chew toy, so it’s going to take some effort on your part to stop him from chewing things he shouldn’t.
Move house plants out of reach, and cover or remove all cables (rabbits love chewing through cables!). Books, magazine, clothes are all attractive chew toys for your bunny, so unless you want to be constantly at the shops replacing items, keep them out of reach.
TOP TIP! If you rabbit attacks your carpets or wall paper:
- Prevent access. Can you block the area off from your rabbit?
- Prevent damage. You may want to consider covering your carpets or walls with protective sheets. Most office suppliers can provide carpet protection rugs (clear plastic sheeting). Or you could consider buying cheap carpet doormats or rugs specifically for your rabbit to “work on”. Seagrass doormats are an excellent choice for your rabbit.
- Provide lots of distraction by offering your rabbit other options. Toys, cardboard boxes, wicker baskets, even toilet rolls stuffed with hay!
Other House Pets
You needn’t be put off having a house rabbit just because you have other house pets. House rabbits often enjoy the company of other creatures, and it’s not unheard of for them to live happily alongside the family cat or dog. If carefully introduced, as you would any pet, other pets will usually accept a new house rabbit.
Don’t leave them unattended until you are absolutely, 100% certain it is safe to do so! Some dogs, in particular, may never get to the stage where they can be left alone with the rabbit (they’ll behave when the boss is there, but when your back is turned….)