The oldest agricultural exhibition in the U.S. is fast approaching, and it is a tempting place for people who don’t know enough about pet rabbits to make the mistake of buying one. Cuddly looking bunnies of all shapes, sizes and colors will be on display at the Topsfield Fair between September 28th and October 8th. A Massachusetts veterinarian, Dr. Elizabeth Bradt, has written an article in the Salem News with excellent information for local fair-goers as well as anyone who is considering a house rabbit for a pet:
The Topsfield Fair is just around the corner. Inevitably, unsuspecting parents wander into the Rabbit Hall with their kids. The hall is filled with hundreds of breeds of very cute rabbits in every size and coat color. There are baby bunnies and bunnies that look a lot like Peter Rabbit. They all have big wide eyes and cute twitching bunny noses. Without really thinking too much about it, a parent can easily cave in to both the pleas of the kids and the devastating bunny adorability and make an unexpected purchase.
Here are a few things to consider before you get to the Topsfield Fair or purchase a bunny anywhere. Are you ready to have a rabbit for 10 years? They can live that long with proper care and feeding. They bond closely with their primary caretaker. One adult in the family has to sign on as primary caretaker. This means being in charge to make sure the bunny receives daily exercise, food and water. Rabbits need food and water and hay available at all times or they can become severely ill.
Is your entire family on board with the decision? Everyone has to commit to cleaning the rabbit pen, providing fresh water and food including fresh vegetables and timothy hay daily. The entire family must work to provide an exercise space free of plastic toys and objects that the bunny might chew. The family must understand that there will be rabbit hair, hay and the occasional stray rabbit dropping where the bunny gets its exercise.
Can you find time to spend with your rabbit every day? Rabbits are extremely social creatures. Rabbits that are caged need two to three hours of exercise and play every day. Small children should be supervised when the rabbit is exercising. Rabbits picked up and dropped can easily suffer a broken back.
Are family members willing to interact with the rabbit on its terms? Most rabbits do not like to be picked up or held. They like to spend time with a person and approach the person rather than be chased.
Dr. Bradt’s complete article is online at http://www.salemnews.com/lifestyle/x240467602/Vet-Connection-Are-you-really-ready-for-a-rabbit
Hoppington Post is delighted to see the above information getting out to the general public. Although rabbits do make wonderful house pets for some families, they are not good for every family. When folks who think they want a rabbit adopt one without knowing all the facts, the potential exists for them to become so unhappy they end up getting rid of their bunny, and too often that means dumping it to fend for itself. We believe the solution to this problem is education, so we encourage our readers to spread the word about house rabbits whenever possible.
Photo courtesy of Benimoto