If you’re one of those parents who always gets nagged by your children about having a pet and you are thinking about what pet to get them then this advice is for you! Here is what you need to think about when considering a “cheap, easy rabbit” option!
Rabbits for children
Rabbits are often mistaken as cheap, easy pets and are still seen as an ideal pet for small children. However, they are often not a suitable pet at all so we recommend that they should be taken on as a family pet with an adult taking the ultimate responsibly for providing the required care. If you are thinking of getting a rabbit as a pet for your child we would recommend that you yourself have a genuine interest in keeping a rabbit too because you will be legally required by the law to care for him or her properly.
There are several things to remember when making a decision about purchasing a rabbit for your child.
One of the most common reasons a rabbit is given up is because the children have got bored of it. Evidence of this is ever present on the local classified adverts where you will see comments such as “only selling due to children have lost interest”. This is why we recommend that you make sure you are ready to commit to the full 8 to 12 possible years of the rabbits life.
Young children love to be able to cuddle their pet, but most rabbits do not like being picked up and often struggle, resulting in a fall and injury.
Rabbits can give a nasty bite and scratch when they are frightened.
Children will need to have lots of patience as building a trusting relationship with a rabbit takes time.
Rabbits are not ‘easy’ pets to look after properly. It takes time to provide the necessary care which includes keeping their accommodation cleaned daily in order to keep deadly parasites and infections at bay. It’s apparent that not many people realise just how time consuming rabbit keeping can be and this results in rabbits being advertised for rehoming because “we haven’t got time for him”.
Remember your pet rabbit will need your time, care and love for the rest of its life.
If you still feel that you would like to take on a rabbit as a family pet then ensure that you can meet the following basic requirements set out in the Animal Welfare Act:
A suitable place to live.
A healthy diet, including fresh clean water.
The ability to behave normally.
Appropriate company, including any need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals.
Protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
Our RSPCA page contains advice on all of the above so it’s a great way to get yourself prepared.
Lastly, if you are ready to provide a rabbit a home then please always adopt, don’t shop! Read our leaflet on why this is always a better option.