Rabbits as Pets – Pros and Cons

We all know the common house pets, such as ferrets, dogs, cats, fish, even lizards and snakes. But if you are considering a rabbit, there are a few things you should know.

Whether you are looking for an animal that needs less maintenance, or you are looking for something that is simply adorable to look at, there are many pros and cons to owning a rabbit, so let’s dig in. 

 

Pros of having a rabbit as a pet

Well… just look at them!  Rabbits are simply some of the cutest creatures. Having an adorable pet is definitely something that in the “pro” column.

But what other characteristics of these Easter favorites make them popular pets?

 

Pro #1 – Rabbits are voiceless, so they won’t be barking at the neighbors or the mailman. 

Some people prefer to be warned that there may be intruders, but if you’ve ever had a dog that barked at a slight shift of the wind… then perhaps you prefer your pets to be a little quieter.

Rabbits don’t have voices, and while they won’t be letting you know the neighbors just got home, they are still expressive. 

A drawback to the voicelessness is that rabbits won’t be able to tell you if something is wrong, or they are uncomfortable either. Something to think about if you are wondering if a rabbit is right for you. 

Pro #2 – Rabbits can Lower Your Stress Level

According to Grower’s Planet, studies have found that rabbits and other pets have significant therapeutic effects on humans. 

Maybe it’s the fur, or maybe it is just the feeling of having an animal that is dependent on you, either way rabbits can help if you struggle with depression or other emotional issues. 

If we’re playing devils advocate though, rabbits aren’t as interactive as some other pets, so don’t be disappointed when they don’t want to play hide and seek or chase the ball.   

Pro #3 – Rabbits can help reduce food waste

Rabbits help reduce food waste because they’ll eat the parts of the fruits and veggies we don’t eat. 

A favorite is carrot tops, or celery hearts.  If you’re looking for a downside here, 

Then again, if you don’t eat a lot of fruits and veggies, your rabbit will need plenty of them, so the downside for you would be the added veggie cost. 

Cons of having a rabbit as a pet

The maintenance of your pet rabbit is fairly minimal, but it does come with its own set of challenges.  While your rabbit won’t be barking at the neighbors, you will have a few things that challenge you as a rabbit owner.  Let’s take a moment to discuss these. 

 

Con #1 – Rabbits are dirty?

No, not really dirty… just messy.  Hay seems to get everywhere, so be prepared to add sweeping to your daily chores. 

Additionally, rabbits do a heavy molt twice a year, and a light molt twice a year. 

So, rabbits shed quite a lot. 

And of course they chew to maintain their teeth, so make sure you rabbit-proof your home. 

The upside to this is that you can maintain the shedding with proper brushing and grooming, and many owners find this an enjoyable experience. 

The mess with the hay, as long as you keep up with it, isn’t too much of a problem. 

Con #2 – Do rabbits learn tricks?

No.  Just no.  If bugs bunny taught us anything, it is that while rabbits can be fairly expressive, they don’t follow commands. 

Rabbits are fairly intelligent, but many people assume that since they don’t hop when they’re told to… they’re dumb.  This simply isn’t true. 

Rabbits are more independent animals, and like cats, they prefer habits and rituals to commands and tricks.  The Rabbit House provides some pretty amazing resources to help new rabbit owners understand the way rabbits communicate. 

The positive here, is that if you’re willing to learn how a new pet rabbit communicates, they can become some pretty amazing companion animals. 

Con #3 – Rabbits aren’t for kiddos, they’re better pets for adults.

There are 3 main reasons that rabbits aren’t ideal pets for children:

  • According to the UK Blue Cross, rabbits can live between 8 and 12 years… and your kids can’t take their rabbits with them to college.
  • Kids loose interest in animals that aren’t clingy, or trainable
  • Rabbits are escape artists, meaning that kids that aren’t paying attention may loose their pet

Rabbits as pets – conclusion

Rabbits can be very enjoyable pets but are more for mature pet owners than children. They do require some maintenance, although it isn’t a lot. 

Many of the cons of owning a rabbit can be overcome with simple changes to habit and routine. 

At the end of the day, rabbits can be extremely rewarding pets, and great companions.