Supervised time outside allows your rabbit to explore and/or relax. Almi/Pixabay
Do you want your bunny buddy to be happy? To make your rabbit’s day? Certainly! You provide a safe, spacious home, nutritious food, plenty of interaction, and take your pal to a rabbit-knowledgeable veterinarian for checkups. Rabbits thrive in such an environment, but can you do anything more? Sure.
The following seven ideas include activities that add even more joy to your rabbit’s day. Some you can do every day, others less often. Take your cue from your bunny when choosing what to do. Some rabbits may enjoy one activity more than others, so opt for those your bunny buddy prefers.
1. Give Your Rabbit Extra Attention
You already interact with your rabbit daily, but try adding a little extra playtime or togetherness into the mix. Playing games like ball rolling, hide-and-seek, which-hand-has-the-hay, and others all increase your bonding and stimulate your rabbit’s mind. For more low-key interaction, try petting your rabbit, brushing him or her, telling your pal about your day, or just hanging out together.
2. Make Cleanup A Daily Habit
Of course you keep your rabbit’s habitat clean, but it never hurts to boost the hygiene level. Scooping used litter and gathering discarded food more frequently only add to the freshness of your rabbit’s home. And keeping food and water dishes clean can be a challenge, especially if you have a messy bunny. It’s not an activity your bunny actively participates in, but he or she will appreciate the results.
More frequent cage cleaning also gives you more opportunities to spy possible safety issues. Rabbits interact with their habitat, so what was a safe bedding item yesterday might now have a hole in it or loose threads that could cause a problem. Toys and other accessories also suffer wear and tear after time, so daily inspection of these keeps your pal safe.
3. Provide Different Toys
In addition to watching for wear and tear on toys, consider adding new ones and rotating toys every few weeks so that what’s old becomes new again. Offer different types of toys, too. Does your rabbit enjoy chewing, tossing, digging, problem solving, or something else? You can only find out if you offer chew toys, toss toys, dig toys, puzzle toys, noise/light toys, hideaways/tunnels/tubes, and more. Your rabbit might like them all or only a few. Pay attention, and offer varieties of the types your pal enjoys most.
4. Get A Buddy For A Lone Bunny
If you’re sharing your home with only one bunny, why not get your bunny a rabbit friend to offer companionship when you’re away? Contact a local rabbit rescue and see if it offers bunny dating. This is a meeting between your bunny and one or more of the rabbits at the rescue who need a home. Your bunny will be introduced to a potential rabbit friend in a neutral setting to see how they get along. The House Rabbit Society website offers a list of some rabbit rescues.
Rabbits are also available from other sources, such as friends or family, an ARBA-breeder, or others. Improve the odds of a happy bonding by taking introductions slowly and getting veterinary checkups for the newcomer and your bunny.
5. Go On Outings
What could be more mentally stimulating than leaving the house? The sights, smells, sounds, and textures all change. An outing with your rabbit can be as simple as supervised time in an exercise pen outdoors or in a safe, enclosed area. If your rabbit enjoys car rides, then think about trips to another home, park or other safe destination. Use a travel carrier and be prepared for any possible hazards, such as a breakdown in hot weather, animals that might attack, pesticides on grass, or other dangers.
6. Respect Bunny Privacy
Sometimes, a bunny just wants to be alone. If your bun hops away when you try to pet or lays back his or her ears, there might be a message there. Depending on the bunny, this likely won’t happen often, but when it does, give your bunny some space. Keep in mind that bunnies that are ill might act standoffish, so if you notice other signs of possible illness, contact your veterinarian. Signs of illness include a sudden change in appetite, change in water intake, change in other behavior, abnormal litter box deposits, or discharge from anywhere. If a bunny refuses to eat a favorite treat, it’s a sure sign that a vet visit is needed.
7. Offer Occasional Rabbit-Safe Treats
Bunnies are like people. Treats are always welcome! But the majority of a rabbit’s diet should be fresh, loose hay. This leaves little room for treats. A rabbit’s daily diet should only consist of 5 to 10% treats; never more. Rabbits will fill up on treats rather than eat hay, and this can make them ill. Hay is vital not only because of the fiber that keeps their gastrointestinal tract moving properly, but also because chewing it helps wear down the constantly growing teeth of rabbits.
Treats add flavor and variety to a rabbit’s diet, so offering limited treats is one way to make your rabbit’s day. The House Rabbit Society recommends a small portion of three types of rabbit-safe vegetables a day. Fruits are high in sugar, so treats of fruit are more restricted than vegetables. Choose rabbit-safe fruit and very small portions. Hey!Berries are a new treat for herbivores from Lafeber Company. They are made of 70% hay and have morsels of mango and papaya to add flavor, scent, and texture that encourages foraging.