Are rabbits good pets for kids? This is the question most parents who want to adopt a bunny for their little one probably ask a lot. The short answer is that most bunnies aren’t good pets for young children. Although rabbits are adorable and seem like the perfect pet for small children, they’re delicate animals. Not only do they have fragile bones but they also require a lot of care, something that can overwhelm a small child. This article answers in great detail whether rabbits are good pets for kids and what you need to do when you already own a bunny or intend to have one as a family pet.
Reasons why bunnies are not suitable pets for kids
Kids can be noisy
Since rabbits are timid animals, children playing loudly around the house can easily scare them off. Bunnies usually prefer when you approach them calmly, other times they prefer solitude, especially when they’re taking a nap. Unlike an adult, a child is less likely to interpret a rabbit’s body language.
Rabbits are a full-time commitment
Adopting a rabbit as a pet is a long time commitment since they have a lifespan of 8 to 12 years depending on the breed. They need fresh food and water, proper grooming, and their hutch or cage cleaned on a daily basis. Indoor bunnies also need adult supervision if you don’t have a playpen or you haven’t rabbit-proof your home. Since children often get easily bored or go to school, you should be fully prepared to take full responsibility when your kids are out of the picture.
It’s hard for kids to tell whether a bunny is sick or healthy
As rabbit owners being able to pinpoint some of the common ailments that affect a bunny is essential for your pet’s longevity and overall well-being. A child is most likely not going to know when a bunny needs to go to the vet. Bunnies are prey animals who are instinctively good at hiding their symptoms, a common defense mechanism to prevent predators from targeting them.
Rabbits need gentle hands
When it comes to handling rabbits, kids often don’t know how to do so. As a result, your bunny will most likely kick or scratch when picked inappropriately. Additionally, a bunny has delicate bones compared to most pets, hence struggling to escape when held can leave them with fractures.
Rabbits need a healthy consistent diet
Since bunnies need to feed consistently and healthily. A child is likely to feed a bunny less or too many sugary treats which can lead to serious health problems. Rabbits need a healthy consistent diet because they have a sensitive digestive system that needs a constant supply of food. For instance, a rabbit that fails to eat within 24 hours is at risk of developing intestinal blockages, a deadly condition known as GI stasis.
Factors to consider when your kids want a pet rabbit
There are two exceptions when it comes to adopting a rabbit for your kids. The first one is to ensure that you’re always around to supervise your kid’s interaction with the bunny and the second is to be willing to take full responsibility for the pet. Since pet bunnies tend to have a longer lifespan taking care of them is typically a full-time responsibility. Below are some of the factors to consider before adopting a rabbit around your kids.
Your child’s personality
A kid’s personality greatly determines the type of rabbit breed that’s better suited for them. For instance, a child that’s calm and cooperative is definitely going to get along with most rabbit breeds. On the other hand, if your child is loud or aggressive then rabbits are not good pets for your kids, since building a bond with the bunny will be next to impossible.
Your kid’s age
In most circumstances, kids under 7 years are usually unruly which can be stressful for your bunny. On the other hand, children older than 7 years, who are calm and docile will not only get along with bunnies but they’ll most likely build a special bond with them.
A bunny with longer fur is definitely going to need frequent grooming at least twice a day, unlike a shorthaired breed. It’s therefore essential to consider a rabbit’s coat in relation to grooming when you want to adopt them for your kids. Either way, your choice of the breed to adopt depends solely on your availability to supervise your kids and your commitment to ensuring they’re properly groomed.
Rabbit size and temperament
Most giant breeds are calmer, gentler, and less timid compared to standard-sized bunnies. They also have a sturdier bone structure and are heavier for a child to pick up, which prevents any injuries. For instance, the Flemish Giant is a gentle, affectionate bunny that’s less timid when compared to most dwarf rabbits.
Adopt a neutered or spayed rabbit
It’s always recommended to choose either a neutered or spayed bunny especially when you want to adopt it for your child. These particular bunnies are calmer and more tolerant, also they are less aggressive and territorial compared to those that haven’t been neutered or spayed.
Teach your kids how to handle rabbits
Teaching your child, the proper way of handling a rabbit is essential for both the well-being of your child and the rabbit. They shouldn’t pick a rabbit by the ear or tail. Also, most bunnies don’t like cuddling or being touched on the tummy. Lastly, when petting a rabbit, gently stroke them since their bone structure is delicate. Most importantly, teach your kids basic rabbit body language.
Be willing to take full responsibility
Even when you get a rabbit for your child, it’s your responsibility to make sure the pet is properly fed and groomed. Also since bunnies, a good at hiding illness, look out for changes in their behavior or feeding. When you have a large family ensure that everyone in the household at least knows how to handle your bunny. In other words, rabbits are a full-time commitment that needs adult supervision.
Rabbit maintenance cost
Rabbits just like any other pets need proper feeding, housing, and medical care. The annual cost of a rabbit ranges between $ 500 to $ 800.Before you consider adopting a bunny for your kid, ensure that they have proper housing, either a pen, indoor cage, or outdoor hutch. A rabbit should be properly groomed, and have a constant supply of hay, pellets, and fresh vegetables. Lastly, be ready to foot their medical bills when they fall ill.
Best rabbit breeds for your kids
Each bunny has a different personality however, generally speaking, some rabbits are easier to handle than others. If you’re adopting a bunny from a shelter or rescue group, then you have a broad breed variety to choose from. If possible, get a bunny that has been neutered or spayed, since it reduces their aggression levels and also makes them less territorial. Below are some of the rabbit breeds that are docile, friendly, easier to train, and ideal for kids.
Despite their large size, Flemish Giants are gentle pets. This particular bunny is docile, laid back, and also friendly with children. They are also affectionate, love attention, and are generally easier to train.
The French Lop is another kid-friendly rabbit that loves interacting with humans. It’s affectionate with an even temperament. This particular bunny is also quite playful and can easily get along with children when properly handled.
This giant breed is generally calm with a docile temperament. They are also active and quite playful. In other words, Checkered Giant rabbits require more exercise and are essentially a good choice for well-behaved kids.
Sussex bunny is another docile and friendly bunny that’s easy to train. This particular breed is also cuddlier and affectionate making it an ideal pet for kids. Sussex are also intelligent and easier to train. It’s worth mentioning, however, that they’re rather curious and playful hence the need to bunny-proof your house.
This breed is another ideal bunny for kids. It is naturally docile, friendly and can easily create a strong bond with its owners. Although they are usually shy at first, after a while they are not only fond of children, but they also make the best family pets.
A Chinchilla rabbit has a gentle docile nature and is also quite friendly. This particular breed is one of the best rabbits for children due to its playful nature. Additionally, the Chinchilla rabbit is also an intelligent bunny that’s easy to train and will perfectly do fine in a large family setup.
The Himalayan bunny is one of the oldest and calmest breeds that are also intelligent and friendly. They are affectionate towards their owners and are generally a great breed for children. When handled properly from an early age, they can grow a strong bond not only with your kids but the entire family.
Tips for introducing a rabbit to a child
For starters, it’s always advisable to let your rabbit settle in its cage or hutch before you introduce it to your child. Rabbits are instinctively prey animals that easily get frightened. Let them first get used to their safe haven and also feel comfortable around your child. Once they’re comfortable enough, let the bunny approach your child to build trust. Next is to let your child gently pet the bunny on top of the head and back as a friendly gesture. After a few weeks or months depending on your bunny’s personality and how well-behaved your child is towards their pet, a bond between the two is likely to form. Again, always ensure that you teach your kid the basic rabbit body language if you want a harmonious relationship between them.
Kids should be helpers and not the main caretakers of rabbits. It’s a parent’s sole responsibility to teach the child how to take care of the rabbit. Unfortunately, most kids often get bored with rabbits as they do with their toys. Just ensure that you’re up to the task of taking care of these adorable pets who have a longer lifespan of close to a decade or more. Hopefully, this article answered the question of whether rabbits are good pets for kids or not.