Welcome to the ultimate rabbit care guide! Owning a house rabbit is an incredibly rewarding experience, but also comes with important responsibilities. Before hopping into rabbit parenthood, you need the proper essentials and a care plan suited to your bunny’s needs. We will explore must-have supplies for housing, feeding, grooming, and more that can help your rabbit thrive. From litter training to diet, this checklist covers everything you need to know to keep your long-eared friend healthy and happy in their forever home. Get ready for adorable snuggles, playtime adventures, and a loving bond with your new pet. Our comprehensive guide will ensure your fluffy family member lives their best life under your care!
A pet playpen is an essential item for any house rabbit owner. The playpen allows your rabbit to have an open space to run around, play, and exercise while keeping them safely contained. Playpens come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. Look for a tall playpen that is at least 4 feet high to prevent your rabbit from jumping out. The playpen should be large enough to allow your rabbit to take at least three consecutive hops.
Some playpens have a floor so your rabbit can have traction while playing. Others require you to place a blanket or yoga mat down to prevent slipping. Set up the playpen in a high-traffic area so your rabbit feels like part of the family activities. Make sure to bunny-proof the playpen area by covering cords, removing houseplants, and blocking access behind furniture.
When placing your rabbit in the playpen, provide them with toys to keep them engaged. Hide treats in cardboard boxes or tubes for mental stimulation. Rotate different toys into the pen each day to prevent boredom. Always supervise your rabbit during playpen time. As your rabbit gets accustomed to the space, you can allow longer play sessions. Aim for at least 3-4 hours of daily exercise outside of their enclosure. The playpen allows them to meet their physical and social needs.
Rabbits are prey animals, so having access to a hiding house is important for them to feel safe and secure. Hiding houses come in all shapes and sizes – you can buy premade houses, or easily DIY your own from cardboard boxes or storage containers. The ideal hiding house allows your rabbit to completely conceal themselves inside. Look for a hiding house big enough for your bunny to turn around in but cozy enough to feel protected.
Place your rabbit's hiding house in their enclosure so it's their special space to retreat to. Provide ample hay inside the house for snacking and nesting material. Avoid disturbing your rabbit when they are inside their hiding house so it stays a stress-free zone. If your rabbit stops hiding, it could signal they don't feel well and need a vet checkup. Make sure to give your rabbit enough time in their open playpen daily so they're not spending all their time hiding away. The more your rabbit feels safe in your home, the more confident they will become.
Food and water bowls
Having the right food and water bowls is vital for your house rabbit. Select heavy ceramic bowls that cannot be tipped over easily. Stainless steel bowls are also an excellent option if your rabbit tends to chew bowls. For water, use a bowl or bottle with a wide opening to accommodate your rabbit's face. Monitor the water level daily. Change water out frequently to prevent bacterial growth.
For food, use a bowl wide enough to contain greens and vegetables without spillage. Wash food bowls with soap and hot water after each use to prevent food buildup. Do not give your rabbit pellets in a bowl, as this can lead to excess pellet consumption. Instead, hide pellets around their living space in puzzle toys or cardboard tubes to encourage foraging. Avoid using plastic bowls, which can harbor bacteria.
Place bowls low enough to the ground so your rabbit can access them comfortably. Ensure they cannot be contaminated by litterbox waste or digging. Separate food and water bowls to prevent cross-contamination. Having the right bowls keeps your rabbit eating, drinking, and healthy.
A proper rabbit carrier is a must-have for transporting your pet safely. Look for a sturdy plastic carrier that opens from the top and the front. The carrier should be large enough for your bunny to stand up, turn around, and lay down comfortably inside. However, too much extra room allows the rabbit to slide during travel. Optimal sizing helps prevent injury.
Line the bottom with a soft blanket or towel for traction and comfort. Never carry a rabbit loose or by their legs. Always use a secure carrier for any car travel, no matter how short. Restrict food and water 2-3 hours before the trip to prevent motion sickness. Place a small amount of bedding and hay in the back of the carrier for security and snacks.
Buckle the carrier securely whenever in transit. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. Talk softly to your rabbit and avoid abrupt movements to minimize stress. Use the carrier methodically to help your rabbit become accustomed to the process while staying safe. Proper carrier use makes travel much easier for both owner and bunny.
Hay bin (optional)
While not essential, a hay bin offers convenience for rabbit owners. Hay bins are enclosed containers used to store and dispense your rabbit's hay neatly. Choose a bin made from sturdy plastic or wire mesh for durability and ventilation. Rabbits tend to be messy eaters, so a hay bin contains loose strands within their enclosure.
Ideally, a hay bin has a wide opening allowing your rabbit easy access to hay. Some models have holders to attach hay bags or racks to replenish supply. Place the hay bin in a convenient spot near your rabbit's food and litter box. Make sure it is secure enough not to easily tip over when accessed.
Use a hay bin to limit waste and clutter in your rabbit area. The bin keeps hay clean and off the floor, while still being readily available to your pet. Just monitor the level and refill as needed. The right hay bin reduces your cleaning chores while keeping your rabbit happily munching their favorite food.
As a staple of your rabbit's diet, providing fresh hay is a top priority. Hay aids digestion and wear down constantly growing teeth. Look for raw timothy hay or other grass hays – these have the proper balance of fiber and nutrients for healthy house rabbits. Avoid alfalfa hay except for young, pregnant/nursing rabbits.
Hay should make up 80% or more of your adult rabbit's food intake. Shop for hay from a reputable producer and check that bales look fresh and fragrant. Store extra hay in a cool, dry area to prevent spoilage. Place ample hay in your rabbit's enclosure to allow free feeding. This mimics their natural grazing behavior.
Hay maintains proper digestion when fed continuously. Scatter hay on the floor of the enclosure, put it in cardboard tubes, and stuff it in toys. You can never feed too much hay! Provide new hay at least twice daily. Toss any uneaten portions that look soiled or stale before adding more. Keeping your rabbit well-supplied with fresh hay is the biggest step toward good health.
Fresh leafy greens
Leafy greens provide essential vitamins, minerals, and hydration for your rabbit's diet. Introduce greens slowly, starting with a few pieces a day. Gradually increase the amount as your rabbit's digestive system adjusts. Romaine lettuce, kale, parsley, cilantro, carrot tops and arugula are great choices.
Aim to feed your rabbit a variety of greens daily. Rotate through different types to add diversity. Avoid sudden changes that can upset their stomach. Introduce any new greens slowly mixed with their regular choices. When preparing greens, wash thoroughly and dry well before serving. Never feed your rabbit wilted veggies or leaves.
For most rabbits, optimal greens make up about 15% of diet. Break or chop greens into pieces for easier eating. Provide a few different types at each meal. Pellets and treats should only be a small portion compared to greens and hay. With lots of greens every day, your rabbit gets outstanding nutrition just like their ancestors in the wild.
While fresh hay and greens provide your rabbit’s bulk nutrition, pellet food offers balanced key nutrients. Purchase a pellet formula made specifically for adult rabbits, not other life stages like kits or pregnant does. Avoid pellet mixes with grains, seeds, nuts or fruit. Select a plain timothy-based pellet without colorful pieces or added sugars.
Slowly transition to a new pellet formula over 2-3 weeks if needed to prevent GI issues. Provide each rabbit 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh pellets daily, split into 2-3 feedings. More than this allows unhealthy overconsumption. Place pellets in puzzle toys, cardboard tubes or scattered in bedding to encourage foraging rather than bowl feeding.
Store unused pellets in an air-tight container away from humidity and pests. Check expiration dates and discard any old pellets. While hay and greens provide the fiber and volume, a measured amount of quality pellets gives balanced nutrition without excess calories. This combination leads to a healthy diet and weight.
Oxbow’s Critical Care is an important supplement to keep on hand for rabbit owners. This powdered mix can be made into a slurry or soft mash for feeding to your rabbit if they develop digestive issues. It contains key nutrients critical for recovery. The gentle formula is easy to digest and provide support during illness.
Having Critical Care ready to go can make the difference in getting a sick rabbit back to health quickly. It can be used short term for situations like GI stasis, tooth problems,recovery from surgery, or parasitic infections. It can also be used long-term for chronically underweight rabbits who won’t eat a normal diet. Talk to your vet about the proper dosage and usage if troubles arise.
Mix Critical Care powder with water until it reaches a thick, pudding-like texture your rabbit can lick or be syringe-fed. Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 24 hours. Critical Care helps your rabbit maintain weight and get critical nutrition when they need it most. Having it available can help resolve many medical situations.
Treats are a nice occasional bonus that brings joy to both rabbit and owner. While not essential, the right treats in moderation make for happy bonding time. Look for commercial treats made especially for rabbits, or choose healthy homemade options like a small piece of banana, strawberry top, or fresh herb sprig.
A general rule is to limit treats to 1 teaspoon sized portion per 2 lbs of body weight, maximum of 2 times per week. Over-treating can lead to obesity and related issues. Introduce new treats slowly to avoid digestive upset. Only offer treats to healthy rabbits; never give treats if your rabbit is ill. Offer treats by hand for an extra bonding moment.
Healthy nibbling promotes positive associations and lets your rabbit use their natural foraging instincts. Try treats during training sessions for positive reinforcement. Scatter treats in cardboard tubes or toys to add fun and challenge. While optional, the right treats shared mindfully make a nice addition to your happy rabbit’s routine.
Toys provide rabbits with mental stimulation and opportunities to display natural behaviors. Appropriate toys engage your rabbit's own instincts to sniff, nibble, dig, toss, and arrange items. Offer a mix of plastic baby toys, hard wood chews, and DIY cardboard creations. Rotate selections to prevent boredom. Popular items like willow balls, stacking cups, and tunnels delight most rabbits. Try different options and observe which become favorites. Monitor playtime to ensure toys do not pose injury or choking risk due to damage.
Scatter or hide toys around your rabbit's living space to spur activity and exploration. Stuff hay or treats inside toilet paper tubes, boxes, or paper bags for extra enrichment. Change up placements regularly so toys stay interesting. Be sure to regularly clean hard plastic or wood toys to prevent bacteria or mold. Selecting suitable toys provides your rabbit important mental exercise and reduces stress. Playtime is an essential part of their daily routine.
Cardboard makes an ideal safe chew toy for rabbits while doubling as a creative home enrichment activity. Provide your rabbit with empty plain cardboard boxes, toilet paper and paper towel tubes, and phone book pages. Avoid any boxes with plastic coating, staples, or ink, as these could be ingested. Monitor playtime to prevent choking on shredded bits.
Rabbits receive several benefits from cardboard chewing. It wears down ever-growing teeth and promotes healthy digestion. Cardboard also satisfies natural foraging instincts. Scatter tubes and boxes around their living space filled with hay or treats to spark curiosity. Change up the cardboard items to add novelty. Rabbits who chew cardboard tend to avoid destructive chewing on inappropriate items. It is mentally stimulating and less messy than wood chewing. Simple free cardboard boxes make outstanding rabbit toys!
Cat Tower (optional)
For rabbits who enjoy climbing and an aerial view, a cat tower makes a fun optional accessory. Look for sturdy towers designed for larger cats that can safely support your rabbit's full weight. The perches need to be large enough for the rabbit to fit comfortably. Cover ramps and perches with carpet or towel to prevent slipping.
Entice your rabbit to climb on their new tower by placing favorite treats on the perches. Position it near your rabbit's favorite lounging spots for easy access. Monitor them closely when first introducing a tower to ensure safe use. With supervision and training, many rabbits take eagerly to climbing their cat tower.
The vertical space and vantage point provides enriching mental stimulation. Towers with tunnels or hideaways add extra opportunities for active play. For safety, trim your rabbit's nails regularly to avoid getting caught on the carpeting. Cat towers provide secure vertical space for athletic rabbit breeds to show off their agility.
Tunnels make a fun optional toy for daring rabbit adventures. Choose soft foldable fabric tunnels or rigid interlocking tube sets made for pets. The diameter should allow your rabbit to hop through comfortably without the tunnel collapsing around them. Start with short tunnels and gradually build up to longer sets as your rabbit gains confidence.
Most rabbits take to tunnels instinctually and enjoy darting through. Watch your pet's reaction closely the first few times and discontinue use if they seem distressed. Reward with treats for tunnel bravery! Place tunnels with openings near favorite lounging spots to tempt exploration. Collapse sections or change layouts periodically to create novelty.
With supervision, tunnels satisfy a rabbit's natural tendency to seek safe hidden spaces. They also encourage healthy activity and problem-solving skills. An engaging tunnel setup provides enriching mental and physical stimulation. For shy or fearful rabbits, build trust by going in the tunnel with them at first. With patience, most bunnies become brave tunnel travelers.
A proper litter box is essential gear for house rabbits. Rabbit-savvy vets recommend using a cat litter box with high sides versus corner pans or smaller varieties. Look for a box measuring around 18"x24" to allow ample room. Some boxes have a cut-out section in front for easy entry and exit.
Fill the box with about 2 inches of paper-based or additive-free clumping litter. Avoid cedar, pine, and clay varieties. Place soiled litter and waste in a closed bin immediately to prevent odor. Thoroughly scrub boxes weekly with unscented soap and water.
Ideally provide 1 more box than the number of rabbits, with a minimum of two boxes. This allows multiple potty sites if one is being guarded. Proper litter habits reinforce good bonding and handling. The right setup leads to neat and tidy rabbit care.
A handy pooper scooper tool helps keep your rabbit area clean. Choose a scooper with closely spaced tines wide enough to accommodate significant rabbit droppings. Metal works better than flimsy plastic models. Long handles save your back during extended scooping sessions.
Use your scooper daily to remove all urine-soaked litter clumps and stray feces. Keep a lined bin nearby the enclosure to efficiently transfer waste. Thorough daily scooping keeps odors at bay and encourages litter box use. Avoid scolding during accidents, but be sure to praise your rabbit for proper box habits.
Check under beds, behind furniture and in play areas for stray poops. A complete daily sweep with your scooper tool takes just minutes but makes a huge difference in cleanliness! Develop a quick routine and pair it with scheduled litter swaps and enclosure cleaning for easy maintenance. Your scooper is the first defense against mess.
Paper litter provides an optimal choice to line your rabbit's litter box. Paper pellets made from recycled materials absorb urine well while allowing waste to collect on top. Look for unscented, dust-free paper litters specifically marketed for rabbits. Avoid clay, clumping, or scented varieties that may be unsafe.
Use at least 2 inches of litter in corner pans, or up to 4 inches in standard cat litter boxes. Spot clean daily by removing soiled clumps and waste with a scooper. Add fresh litter as needed to maintain adequate clean layers on top. Do a full litter swap at least weekly, or whenever ammonia odors arise. Soiled litter should go straight into the trash.
Proper litter is key to developing good bathroom habits. Many rabbits enjoy nibbling paper-based litters, so provide ample healthy hay as an alternative. The right litter absorbs well, deters digging, and gives your rabbit a consistently clean place to relieve themselves in their home.
Pet-safe cleaning spray
A good pet-safe cleaner is a home necessity for tidy rabbit care. Use a natural enzymatic spray formulated to break down urine, fecal matter, and odor safely around rabbits. Avoid any cleaning products containing harsh chemicals, bleach, ammonia, phenols or strong perfumes.
Spray problem areas after removing surface waste. Allow the cleaner time to soak in and work before wiping. Rinse thoroughly with just water afterward. Good enzymatic cleaners tackle waste enzymes and prevent recurring accidents in the same spots. Use your spray to wash litter boxes, wipe up stray urine, and freshen flooring in the rabbit living space.
Having the proper cleaner ready makes cleaning up occasional messes and routine maintenance much easier. A quality rabbit-safe disinfectant eliminates odor, discourages repeat soiling, and promotes a healthy living environment. Just be sure to keep all cleaning products sealed and stored completely out of your rabbit's reach. The right cleaners are indispensable for responsible house rabbit care.
Lidded trash can (optional)
While optional, a lidded trash bin reserved for rabbit waste makes litter cleanup more convenient. Use