The most important thing to do before you start the process of buying a rabbit is to decide if you are really ready for the commitment. It’s easy to get excited when you see a sign advertising “rabbits for sale” and get carried away, buying your new pets there and then. But you need to be ready to look after them properly.
Many people think of rabbits as an easy option when it comes to having a pet. This is not necessarily the case. Rabbits need to be cleaned, fed and groomed regularly. They also need a lot of love and attention. On average, rabbits live for around 7-8 years, so looking after them is a big commitment!
Where to find rabbits for sale
If you decide that rabbit are right for you, then you need to decide where you are going to get them from. There are often baby rabbits for sale in pet shops, but unless the pet shop can tell you about the history of the rabbits it sells, this option may not be the best for you.
Instead, you could find a reliable breeder where you can go and see their facilities. A breeder will also be able to tell you all about your new pet’s family history.
Many animal shelters also have rabbits for sale. If you would prefer to adopt an adult bunny then this is a good choice. It’s a good thing to give a shelter rabbit a home!
Once you have decided where to get your pet from, there are a few more things you need to think about…
One rabbit or two?
Rabbits are social creatures and they love company. For this reason, when you are looking at rabbits for sale in a pet store, from a breeder or from a shelter, it can be a good idea to choose two.
If you do choose to have two rabbits then the best combination is a spayed and neutered male and female.
Of course, this means you need to make sure that you have enough space for both rabbits in your home. If you choose to adopt your bunny from an animal shelter you may find they will only let you adopt two rabbits and not one by itself. If you do decide to buy a single rabbit then you need to be prepared to spend a lot of time with it and keep it entertained.
Preparing for your rabbit’s arrival
Ideally it’s a good idea to prepare your home for your rabbit before you buy it. In order to do this you will need to know what size the rabbit is and buy a suitably-sized hutch or pen.
If your rabbit is going to live in your house with you, then you won’t need a hutch. However, you should still think about buying some sort of home for your bunny to get some alone time.
You also need to make sure that your home is bunny-proofed. Remember: anything that could be dangerous for your rabbit needs to be removed from any area it has access to. This includes wires which rabbits could chew. They should be kept out of your rabbits reach or boxed in.
Of course, you also need to make sure that you have some food for your new pet. Around 70-80% of a rabbit’s diet should be made up of fresh hay. You should also include around half a cup of pellets for every two pounds of rabbit, each day. It’s also a good idea to include some fresh vegetables in your rabbit’s diet, such as carrots. These should be included in small amounts.
You also need to buy items such as food dishes, water bowls or bottles, and rabbit toys (chew toys are a good choice).
What to ask the breeder or shelter
As we said, it’s usually best to check out rabbits for sale at a shelter or reliable breeder. Some shops are reliable but you need to make sure they know all about the rabbits they are selling. You should ask a breeder or shelter questions like:
- What is the rabbit’s history?
- Is there any record of illness, such as dental problems, in the rabbit’s family?
- Depending on how old the rabbit is, does it have all its vaccinations up to date?
- Again, depending on the age of the bunny, is it neutered or spayed?
- Is there any policy for what happens if the rabbit gets sick or dies soon after you buy it?
How to choose your rabbit
No matter where you buy your rabbit from, you need to make the right choice of pet for you.
It’s a good idea to ask to hold a rabbit you are interested in if you can. You should also spend time watching the rabbit; is it inquisitive, playful and friendly? Remember to watch out for signs that the rabbit may be ill. For example:
- Watery eyes
- Dull and thin fur
- Dirty bottom
- Overgrown teeth
You can never be absolutely certain that you are choosing the right rabbit, but if you choose one that appears healthy, is bright and alert, and gets on well with you, then you are doing all the right things to find yourself a healthy and happy pet.