OnFocus – With Easter approaching this weekend comes the annual reminder that live bunnies do not make good easter gifts.
“Generally speaking, giving pets as gifts is not recommended,” said Holly Henschke, Marshfield Area Pet Shelter (MAPS) Medical Coordinator. “Of course, there are always exceptions, but unless a family or friend has made a decision to prepare their home for a new animal family member, it is best not to ‘surprise’ someone with an animal.”
Henschke added that though rabbits can make excellent pets, they have needs that are not typical of other pets such as a cat or dog. Things to note about rabbits include:
- A rabbit’s teeth grow continuously! If they do not get a proper diet, their teeth can become overgrown and misaligned and must be ground down by a veterinary professional, under anesthesia.
- A rabbit must be provided fresh hay daily. Although pelleted rabbit food is available, it should only be used as a supplement to hay and some leafy greens.
- Typically, rabbits live to between 7 and 10 years, but this can vary based on living conditions and breed of the rabbit.
- A pet rabbit should have their living area cleaned daily! They are not “low maintenance” and require daily attention to their diet, health, and living area.
Another thing to consider before bringing home a rabbit as a pet is whether your veterinarian sees rabbits.
“Not all veterinarians provide services to rabbits. It’s important to find this out before you get your furry friend home,” said Henschke.
As with any pet, a family must decide whether the care and maintenance of an animal is something that is able to fit into their daily schedule. Talk with your veterinarian and make an informed decision as to whether a pet rabbit is right for you!
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