9 things to know before adopting a dwarf rabbit
Adopting a dwarf rabbit is one of the most wonderful experiences ever. However, it’s pointless to deny that we’ve all had some questions about this cute adventure companion.
Whether you’re here looking for answers to your curiosities about your four-legged friend or simply to learn more about dwarf rabbits, let’s begin right away with this list of questions and answers. Enjoy reading!
Which rabbit should I choose and where to get it?
Which rabbit to choose? Many people ask me for advice on age, gender, or breed. The truth is that each rabbit has its own personality and each breed has its own physical and behavioral peculiarities. So, I suggest you choose the rabbit with which you feel the most empathy from the very beginning. Sometimes, instinct is the best tool for choosing.
However, if you want to delve into the origin of the various breeds, you can read the article The Breeds of Dwarf Rabbits.
Where to get one? There are many places and it depends on personal preferences. You can decide to buy your rabbit or adopt it. Look for a rabbit breeder in your area and consider that it’s sometimes possible to adopt one (almost) for free. Furthermore, there are several organizations or associations that shelter abandoned rabbits and seek new families to take care of them.
If, instead, you are looking for a rabbit of a particular breed, especially a young one, I recommend that you turn to a specialized rabbit shop or breeder in your area.
Advantages of adoption
The associations that deal with adoptions often host rabbits of various breeds, ages, and genders. So if you are looking for a particular type of rabbit, such as a female dwarf lop, I am sure the chances of finding one are always very high.
But it’s not to say that you won’t fall in love with an older rabbit who has been abandoned and needs to trust someone again. Regardless of the possibility, the choice to adopt in these cases brings other advantages.
- One of the advantages is the possibility of finding rabbits that are already trained. Volunteers at these facilities often spend a lot of time training dwarf rabbits to live indoors, starting with litter box training. This means that you will spend much less time teaching your rabbit how to behave.
- Another advantage is related to the fact that rabbits who spend their first few months of life in these environments will be more used to living with other rabbits and in some cases even with children and teenagers, if the breeding is family-run. This will make it easier for them to adapt to a similar condition at home.
- Another advantage not to be underestimated is that adopting a rabbit can save you time, effort, and money. Associations and breeders who also deal with adoptions often have direct contact with local veterinarians. Your rabbit is likely to already be spayed or neutered.
- A similar advantage is related to vaccinations and the development of common diseases such as malocclusion. This is a very annoying health condition. The rabbit is not able, if afflicted with this disease, to properly close its bite. The two arches of the dentition are not aligned and do not allow it to close properly. When adopted, rabbits have already undergone the necessary checks and any treatments.
- Furthermore, breeding and volunteer associations are the perfect place if you want to adopt more than one rabbit. Maybe a couple or even, as some do, a group of three. It will be much easier to choose littermates or rabbits already used to living together. Even though it may seem the opposite, I recommend adopting more than one rabbit if you work full-time and won’t be at home all day. Rabbits will keep each other company. I assure you it will make their lives more lively and their relationship with you more serene.
- The last advantage, also not to be underestimated, is that if the rabbit suffers from particular diseases, this will not be hidden from you. Volunteers have no interest in hiding a disease from you, and if correct, they will rather indicate to you what the possible treatments are and you will be free to decide whether to adopt that particular rabbit or not. If you think you are not capable, as it is natural to happen, do not take on the responsibility. It could be very stressful for both you and the rabbit. Finally, if you adopt a rabbit, you will be followed every step of the way, and you will probably be given many indications on how to understand their behaviors or needs and how to make them happy.
If you are considering the opportunity to take more than one rabbit, maybe a couple or a group of three, this is a great idea. Rabbits are social animals, they love to be in a group. It could be a great solution, especially if you spend most of your time away from home. The rabbits could keep each other company and play with each other while you are away.
If you are not sure, why not try talking to one of the volunteers at the association? They will certainly be able to advise you based on your needs and your family situation.
How many months should a rabbit be before being moved to a new home?
Generally, in order to be adopted or sold, puppies must be at least between 6 and 8 weeks old. It is of utmost importance that young rabbits are not weaned and sold/adopted on the same day.
Too much stress at once is a recipe for, at best, diarrhea and, at worst, death. An interval of 6 to 8 weeks allows for both weaning and stress reduction.
How to prepare for your first dwarf rabbit
Bringing your dwarf rabbit home for the first time will be an exceptional event that you will remember for a long time. That’s why I’m sure you’ll want to be ready for the first moment it crosses the threshold and hops into your home. To help you get started with the basics, you’ll also find some tips and tricks and a list of useful things for everyday life here. In addition, before rushing to the breeder and adopting your puppy, it is important to reflect on some points to understand if it is the right animal for you and your family.
Rabbits are perfect pets for indoor companionship. They are clean, calm, quiet, and adorable! But before deciding if it’s the perfect animal for you, I recommend that you research and try to understand a little about how their world works. Let’s see together the 9 things to know before adopting a dwarf rabbit at home.
First of all, make sure you have calculated how much of your monthly budget you can spend on taking care of your rabbit. Costs will include the adoption or purchase fee, vaccinations, sterilization, essential items, and food.
Over the ten years of the rabbit’s life, costs may vary and sometimes increase if you consider vet check-ups, vaccine boosters, and possible illnesses to treat. To get a more detailed idea, you can simply read How much does a dwarf rabbit cost?
2. Space in the house
Before deciding to host a rabbit, you should reflect on the fact that it is not a cage animal that can stay locked up all day. Your rabbit will need space to exercise, hop, and dance.
Dwarf rabbits are sociable animals, and they need space in the house. You can arrange a fence or an entire room according to your needs and possibilities. However, always remember that rabbits need space to run and exercise, even if they are in a fence. Therefore, they should be released for a few hours to have fun. Additionally, they love to relax and be with us. Ideally, you should place the fence in a central room of the house so that your dwarf rabbit can interact with family members or rest quietly without feeling excluded. You can use a fence to create a dedicated area for them in the living room or lounge. If well organized, a fence can be the best compromise between necessary objects inside and space to move.
Also, having real doors, you can decide when to give your rabbit the opportunity to leave the fence and take a walk around the room. Rabbits have a great need for interaction, both with each other if you decide to take a couple, and with humans. For more information and some useful tips on how to organize their area inside the house, take a look at How to Keep a Dwarf Rabbit at Home.
3. Secure your home
Once you have decided which room will be dedicated to your rabbit and organized its area, you will need to make it “rabbit-proof”. All electrical cables must be covered or positioned at a height that it cannot reach (at least 1-1.5 meters).
Your dwarf rabbit will also be attracted to your wooden furniture, books, documents, remote controls, and anything else that can be chewed. If you don’t want valuable or sentimental objects to be destroyed, I recommend moving them to areas of the house where your rabbit won’t have access.
Your rabbit will always find a way to get where it wants, so it’s up to you to keep it under control and make the environment safe for both your belongings and its health.
Otherwise, you’ll have to keep an eye on it every time you let it out of the enclosure for its daily exercises. To discover some tricks on how to organize your home, you can read A Home Proofed for Dwarf Rabbits.
By getting to know your rabbit better, you’ll discover a hard truth. Rabbits, if bored, always get into trouble. And sometimes, they get you into trouble too. They will have fun chewing everything they find if you don’t provide them with the right entertainment.
But don’t despair, the solution is really simple. You can decide to buy chew toys. Or if you want to make a DIY game, you can find out How to Build a Cardboard Castle for Your Dwarf Rabbit.
If you decide to adopt a rabbit, it’s very likely that it’s already trained to use the litter box. However, if you decide to buy a puppy, you’ll have to train it to do its business in the right place. Nothing too complex. In fact, rabbits instinctively do their business in a certain place, and we can take advantage of this instinct.
At first, it may be frustrating not to see results, but with a little patience and a lot of consistency, you’ll achieve your goal. If you want to learn how to do it, just apply the tricks you can read in the article How to train a dwarf rabbit to use the litter box.
From the beginning, it’s important to know the diet of your dwarf rabbit. This will allow you to avoid mistakes and not put its health at risk. The right foods, and especially the right amount for each, are the key to its diet. The basis of the diet is fiber. Your rabbit should always have fresh hay available.
For this reason, it’s important to assess any allergies you or members of your family may have to pollen before buying or adopting a rabbit. To know in detail what a dwarf rabbit eats, you can read the article What does a dwarf rabbit eat? (complete list).
If you want to know more about the basis of its diet, i.e. hay and the different varieties, you can take a look at Hay for rabbits: the basis of the diet.
Many rabbits easily become attached to humans. However, the personality of each individual and the relationship we are able to build must always be considered. The more we are open and meet their needs, the more our four-legged friends will love us. You may be interested in learning more about How to Make Your Dwarf Rabbit Happy.
Always consider what their habits are and what they might enjoy. For example, contrary to popular belief, rabbits do not like to be picked up. As prey animals in nature, they do not enjoy heights and your rabbit may become very upset every time you lift them up. It all depends on their personality.
Rabbits prefer that you lower yourself to their level instead. Unfortunately, this is often not understood by children who understandably want to hold and cuddle them.
Rabbits can become very stressed when they are forced to travel or move to other homes. Therefore, if you plan to go on vacation frequently for short periods, the advice is to ask a trusted person, friend or family member to take care of your rabbit in your home. If you are instead moving to the seaside, countryside, or mountains for a long period such as the summer, you can decide to take your friend with you.
But make sure that the journey does not become a source of excessive stress for your rabbit. If you decide to embark on a long journey and cannot leave your rabbit at home with someone, then carefully consider every aspect. From transportation by car, sea, or air to authorizations for staying in the destination country.
Laws and customs often vary from nation to nation, so it is essential to plan everything in detail to minimize stress, both for you and your dwarf rabbit.
9. Rabbits and children
Rabbits can live up to ten years or more, so adopting or purchasing a dwarf rabbit is a long-term commitment. As we have seen, they are not low-cost animals. Therefore, I recommend that you make this decision a family decision.
All members of your family should be aware of the advantages, small inconveniences, and responsibilities. For example, if you decide to give a rabbit as a gift to your child, the new family member will live long enough to be cared for over the long term, even if your child moves away due to university or work.
Moreover, rabbits have a particular relationship with children, which is not always positive. Therefore, I recommend that you carefully read the article Are dwarf rabbits suitable for children? before adopting one if you have children at home.
Last advice, but not least important. Do some research on what it means to adopt a rabbit before deciding to do so. On this website, I try to provide you with the best tools based on my daily experience. You can take a nice tour of the site in search of answers to your doubts.
And if you are sure to start this wonderful adventure, as I hope, take a look at what you need to take the first steps in this new world.