How to take care of a dwarf rabbit
Dwarf rabbits are unique animals. As such, they need an owner who is a loving and patient playmate, ready to spend time with them playing and taking care of them.
Here is an overview for you on how to take care of your dwarf rabbit.
Set up a safe house
There are several options for housing a dwarf rabbit indoors. In fact, rabbits can comfortably live free around the house in one or more rooms if they are organized in a rabbit-proof way.
Alternatively, they can be housed in a large cage, in a fenced area or even in dedicated apartments. If kept in a cage, however, their space should be wide enough for them to jump and move freely. Moreover, they should be allowed to roam for a few hours in a room in order to get some exercise.
Finally, it is important to ensure that the dedicated area of the house you have reserved for the rabbit is close to you and your family and not too isolated. For example, the perfect place in the house could be the living room or the lounge.
Learn more about how to keep a dwarf rabbit at home in the article How to keep a dwarf rabbit at home.
Rabbit proof house
Rabbits need space to run and explore. If you want to create a healthy and safe space for your rabbit while preserving the objects you have at home and are attached to, I recommend creating a real “rabbit-proof” area. This means covering all the electrical wires in the room with plastic channels or flexible tubes, or simply moving them high enough so that your rabbit cannot easily reach them.
If you don’t want the baseboards to be ruined, you can simply cover them with plastic or fabric strips. Another tip is to completely limit certain areas of the house, as rabbits like to hide under the bed. But be careful also with books, plants, and rugs. In practice, you will need to understand that even if well-trained, especially as a puppy, your rabbit will chew on everything it finds around.
But don’t worry, I have thought of all the tricks I used in my experience. Learn more about a Rabbit-Proof Home.
Organize the litter box
Don’t worry too much about your house: rabbits, in fact, have a natural inclination to always do their business in one place. You can take advantage of this instinct and set up a medium-sized litter box or a simple low-depth plastic container for your rabbit. The important thing is to place it in their designated area, near their food and fresh water.
I suggest putting plenty of pellets (not the ones they eat) and some hay on the bottom of the litter box. Many still recommend old newspapers, but these can be harmful due to the acidic inks that would come into contact with urine. So they should be avoided if possible. All cat litter products, which are unsuitable and dangerous, should be absolutely avoided.
If you want to learn more about litter training, read the article How to litter train a dwarf rabbit.
Get fresh hay
Your rabbit’s diet should be based on hay. Hay should always be available, but above all, it should always be fresh. For a young rabbit, I recommend Alfalfa hay as it is richer in protein and calcium, while for an adult rabbit, Timothy hay, oat hay, or the more common grass hay will do.
Using a large feeder will allow you to contain an adequate amount of hay while keeping it fresh and separate within the rabbit’s area.
Learn more about the importance of hay, the different qualities, and where to buy it in Hay for rabbits: the foundation of their diet.
Get fresh seasonal vegetables, fiber-rich pellets, and fresh water
In addition to abundant hay, it’s good for your rabbit to have access to fresh seasonal vegetables, fiber-rich pellets (not in excessive quantities, especially for adult rabbits), and fresh water every day.
Learn more about what food is suitable for a rabbit in What Does a Dwarf Rabbit Eat?
And if you have a green thumb, a beautiful garden, and a desire for truly fresh vegetables, learn more about how to organize your garden in Feeding the Dwarf Rabbit: Home Garden.
Take the rabbit to a vet
Rabbits have the natural characteristic of being prey animals, so their first instinct is to hide any kind of discomfort or illness. Therefore, you must always keep an eye on your rabbit and make sure they eat, drink, and go to the bathroom regularly.
If you notice any changes in your rabbit’s behavior that may be relevant to their health, it is essential to call their veterinarian immediately.
Learn more about the most common rabbit diseases in the Health section.
In addition, to prevent illnesses, it is necessary to have your rabbit checked regularly for a check-up. The veterinarian will certainly check the ears, throat, legs, eyes, and teeth to make sure your rabbit is doing well.
Finally, I suggest considering the opportunity to sterilize your rabbit. Sterilization reduces aggressive behaviors, improves their already natural inclination to use the litter box, and prevents various diseases.
Learn more about sterilizing a dwarf rabbit (tips and info).
Understand your rabbit's language
Rabbits have very different behaviors from other pets such as dogs and cats. That’s why it’s essential to understand their habits and behaviors in order to live a long and happy life together.
Keep your bunny happy and busy
Rabbits can easily get bored. Not only do they need space to run and exercise, but they also require mental stimulation to develop and apply their intelligence.
A clever trick I learned in case of an emergency where you don’t have a wooden or logic game at hand is the cardboard castle. Your rabbit will spend hours building or rather demolishing their castle.
Learn more about How to build a cardboard castle for your rabbit.
Alternatively, you can also get a wide variety of toys to keep their interest alive and make them happy while playing.
Bathing your dwarf rabbit
Rabbits are naturally clean animals as they clean themselves frequently. However, it’s important to take care of and wash your rabbit regularly. A couple of times a year, rabbits undergo fur loss, which is why it’s essential to brush your rabbit so that excess fur is removed. The risk of not performing this simple operation is that the rabbit may ingest an excessive amount of fur and then have digestive problems.
Learn more about these procedures in How to Wash a Dwarf Rabbit.
Equally important is to monitor and regularly trim your rabbit’s nails as they could ruin your clothes or inadvertently scratch you. In extreme cases, they could even pose a real risk to its health.
In the article How to Trim a Dwarf Rabbit’s Nails, I have gathered all the tips on how you can learn to take care of it on your own.