Rabbits as Easter Gifts
As common symbols of Easter advertising and lore, live rabbits are frequently purchased on impulse this time of year, often as pets for children. The decision to introduce a rabbit into your family carries long term responsibilities and should only be made after necessary research is performed and many important factors are considered.
The sad reality for many rabbits purchased around Easter is surrender to local humane societies and rescues or, worse, abandonment. For rescues with limited funding and resources, the annual influx of surrendered rabbits around Easter time is difficult to manage.
If you are considering adding a rabbit to your family, we encourage you to carefully consider the following important factors prior to making this important decision.
Factors to Consider When Contemplating Rabbit Ownership
A Rabbit is a Long-Term Commitment
Groups such as the House Rabbit Society are dedicated to educating potential rabbit owners about the realities and responsibilities of caring for a rabbit. Among many important messages conveyed, rabbit advocate groups remind potential pet owners that a rabbit is not a gift or a toy, but a long term commitment (in some cases, up to ten years or more) with specific care and nutrition needs every day.
Understand a Rabbit’s Daily Needs
Rabbits are herbivores with specific nutritional and environmental requirements, including a diet consisting primarily of high quality hay and a safe living environment equipped with healthy enrichment opportunities. Refer to Oxbow’s Rabbit Care Guide for detailed information on how to best meet these needs.
Children and Pets
Despite what Easter time advertising would lead one to believe, rabbits can become easily stressed and generally do not like to be held or handled. They prefer to interact on their level – the floor. An adult should always be the primary caregiver, but children can still be involved and have rewarding interaction with the family pet. Teaching responsible pet care to children requires diligence, including careful supervision and attention by an adult. Oxbow’s Children and Pets article discusses important steps to ensure a healthy and safe adjustment of a rabbit into a family with children.
Humane societies and rabbit rescues are dedicated to finding forever homes for neglected and abandoned pets. Rather than purchasing a rabbit from a pet store or breeder, consider adopting one of the thousands of rabbits in need of safe, loving homes.
If, after conducting research into the responsibilities (and the rewards) of bringing a rabbit into your home, you do choose a rabbit as the pet for your family, Oxbow is proud to be your long-term partner in nutrition and care for your pet. We offer a full range of nutritionally-complete, vet-recommended foods, forage, and accessories to support a long, healthy life for your new companion.
If you decide a rabbit is not the right pet for you at this time, consider supporting the Make Mine Chocolate campaign this Easter.
Click here to learn more about rabbit nutrition and care.