How Do I Know If My Rabbit Is Happy?
How Do I Know If My Rabbit Is Happy? Nowadays, rabbits are a popular choice for pets among those who would like to add a pet to their lives. For many years, people have kept rabbits as pets, and according to the 2019 PDSA Animal Welfare Report, there are almost 900,000 pet rabbits living in UK homes!
Statistics do indicate that keeping a rabbit as a pet is becoming more and more popular in the UK, despite the fact that this is still a small population compared to the 9.9 million dogs and 10.9 million cats! How can we tell if our pet rabbits are happy when more and more people choose to keep them as pets? In the simplest terms possible, healthy, well-cared-for rabbits who live in a secure and stimulating environment are happy.
If your rabbit is content, you’ll be able to tell because:
- Lie down and relax your body.
- Stretch out in a relaxed position when you lie down.
- Lay down calmly and with your body fully extended.
- jumping up and off the ground with all four paws.
- Possess a sound appetite
- calm and solitude
How can I make my rabbit happy?
Like other pets, rabbits thrive when given loving care by owners who are aware of their needs on a mental as well as physical level. Although they are little, friendly, and inquisitive, rabbits can be quite sensitive and wary, so it’s vital to always treat them with care as you would any other animal.
Here are a few strategies we’ll cover in this article to help you make sure your rabbit is content:
- The companionship of another rabbit, typically a neutered male and female, makes them happier overall.
- Picking up rabbits isn’t something they particularly enjoy, so try to avoid it.
- A 6 x 2 x 2 ft (1.8 m x 0.6 m x 0.6 m) hutch and an 8 ft (2.4 m) run are the bare minimum requirements for keeping rabbits.
- Rabbits like a calm, peaceful setting.
- The enrichment that rabbits enjoy the most includes tunnels, cardboard forts, and hay racks.
Because they are social animals, rabbits thrive when they have a housemate. To make sure they both have company for one another, we always advise having at least two rabbits—referred to as a bonded pair—living together.
Because they live in family groups called warrens, which ensure that they have safety in numbers to keep them out of danger all day and all night, rabbits depend on other rabbits to keep them safe in the wild. While we are aware that your rabbits are safe at home (as long as their outdoor run is fox-proof), bunnies aren’t always aware of this. They are more likely to experience anxiety and fear if they live alone.
Make sure the rabbits are both neutered before pairing them. Because of a variety of factors, including behavior, health, and unforeseen pregnancies, we advise neutering for all bunnies. The British Veterinary Association (BVA), the British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS), and the British Small Animals Veterinary Association (BSAVA) have written a fantastic essay in collaboration regarding matching rabbit groups. Despite being fairly lengthy, the piece is quite informative and worth reading.
Do Rabbits Enjoy Being Handled?
Even while you might want to give your rabbit a big hug every time you see him, this is not at all recommended. As prey animals, rabbits are susceptible to being startled and alarmed. Even by those they like, they don’t really like to be picked up and handled all the time.
Considering how vulnerable they are in general, rabbits are only ever picked up by a predator once it has captured them. There would be minimal hope of escape in this situation, and this course of action would typically be lethal.
Given this, it should be clear why rabbits dislike being handled excessively. You’ll need to learn how to handle your rabbit properly, but just like with any pet, you’ll also need to keep an eye on their health and examine their eyes, noses, ears, nails, and bottoms.
When your bunnies are young, we advise starting by handing them frequently so they become accustomed to it. Even the most relaxed rabbits might decide suddenly decide to leap out of your arms, so make sure you hold onto them tightly.
You’ll need to hold on to your bunnies tightly but try not to press too hard, as rabbits have very weak bones that are prone to breaking and causing a variety of dangerous problems. Get as close to the ground as you can before releasing him when you’re ready to set him back down. This will reduce the likelihood that they’ll jump out of your arms and hurt themselves if they do so from a height.
How do I Play with my Bunny?
You could believe that a hutch is all that your new companions will need to be secure and content if you get your rabbit from a pet store or from someone who isn’t as knowledgeable about rabbit care as they pretend to be. This idea is incorrect.
Rabbits want a dwelling space where they can spread out completely and move around freely, where they may merrily run and hop while being protected from outside predators. Similar to chickens, rabbits require an enclosed hutch space for sleeping and a run area for exercise. Make sure you have the area in your garden for such a setup before getting a rabbit, and that you are aware of the enrichment items you may place in the run.
What kind of sound do happy Bunnies make?
You might be a little taken aback when you first bring a pet rabbit into your life to discover the strange and lovely noises bunnies make! As veterinarians, we undoubtedly hear about it pretty frequently from frightened new rabbit owners; calls like “My rabbit is making this strange noise, is it normal?” are fairly typical.
The sounds that rabbits make vary depending on how they are feeling. Some indicate that they are joyful, while others express fear or annoyance. If you can identify these noises, you’ll be able to rapidly intervene if your bunnies are in distress or continue if they’re content.
You may hear the following noises and understand what they mean:
- Grunting– Males who have not been neutered frequently make this sound, which indicates that they are ready to mate.
- Chanting – This can sound like a rabbit hiccup; it’s a pleasant sound, like the bruxing sound that contented rodents produce. Though not frequently heard, it is most often heard when the rabbit is happy and contentedly eating or sleeping.
- Purring – When a rabbit is pleased and cheerful, it emits a purring sound similar to that of a cat.
- Sighing – Another joyful and cheerful sound, typically emitted when a rabbit is seated contentedly.
- Growling– Growling is a frequent sound across all animals, and rabbits growl to let you know when you’re upsetting them.
- Hissing – Although less often, hissing is a rabbit’s equivalent of growling. Hissing indicates a seriously unhappy bunny.
- Teeth Grinding – You must learn to distinguish between teeth grinding and bunny purring because they can sound the same. The majority of the time, tooth grinding occurs when your rabbit is in pain or discomfort.
- Squealing – This one indicates that your bunny is quite unhappy and uncomfortable, as you could expect. If you hear this noise, you should always look into it because it is unusual.
- Screaming – Investigate this noise whenever it appears to be a rabbit in distress.
- Wheezing – Wheezing typically indicates that your rabbit is having trouble breathing, just like wheezing does in other animals. This could be a sign of anything catastrophic or just a simple respiratory illness (like the common cold in people). To be safe, bring Bunny with you to the veterinarian.
- Coughing and Sneezing– Just like people, rabbits can sneeze and cough to open their airways. If this is a one-time occurrence, it is unlikely to be harmful, but if it persists, you may want to visit your veterinarian to make sure everything is alright.
- The Stomping of Feet – This is how Thumper acquired his name, although in contrast to the comical animation, the foot-stomping here is a warning of danger.
Happy Rabbits Are Healthy Rabbits:
You now have a thorough understanding of rabbit happiness and some excellent advice on how to take good care of your rabbit so that it leads a happy and healthy life. We advise against getting rabbits as a “starter” pet because they can live up to 12 years in the UK, which is the same lifespan as many pet dogs. Instead, purchase a rabbit as a well-planned pet that will be a part of your family for many years to come.
In our clinics, we see a lot of pet rabbits, and we advise routine vaccination against infections. We immunize against strains 1 and 2 of Rabbit Viral Haemorrhage Disease as well as myxomatosis. Although vaccines can’t ensure 100 percent immunity against the aforementioned diseases, vaccinated rabbits will show considerably milder signs of the sickness if they are unlucky enough to contract it, similar to how the flu vaccination in people works.
The vaccination can’t ensure complete immunity, but vaccinated rabbits will show considerably lesser symptoms, making it much easier to treat them. A parasite called E. cuniculi that targets the kidneys and the brain can infect rabbits. Although this parasite is easily treatable, it is also quite contagious, making early diagnosis crucial.