Rabbits are popular house pets because of how cute, quiet, and gentle they are. They’re great for both small apartments and larger homes since they won’t take up too much space. Bonding with them is very rewarding, and you’ll enjoy their company as much as they’ll enjoy yours once you learn how to take care of a rabbit properly.

However, one common misconception among new or would-be rabbit owners is that they’re low maintenance pets. There’s actually a lot more preparation and mindfulness needed to give a rabbit a happy and healthy environment. Here’s a short guide on how to take care of a rabbit, including helpful information for how to care for newborn rabbits, how to care for a sick rabbit, and how-to instructions for elderly bunnies.

Lorem Ipsum Lorem Ipsum  
AmazonBasics Pet Habitat AmazonBasics Pet Habitat
  • Jumbo small-animal habitat for pet rabbits
  • Includes non-drip water bottle
  • Iron wire upper frame and PP plastic base
Check Price on Amazon.com
Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting Timothy Hay Pet Food
  • Highest quality
  • Well balanced nutrition
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
Check Price on Amazon.com
SONGMICS Pet Playpen Includes Cable Ties, SONGMICS Pet Playpen With Cable Ties
  • Cable ties and non-slip mats added in
  • Spacious with a good design
  • A cage for all
Check Price on Amazon.com
Kaytee Timothy Biscuits Baked Apple Treat
  • Supports dental health through natural chewing activity
  • Ideal for bonding and playtime
  • Great enrichment and foraging for small animals
Check Price on Amazon.com
Oxbow Essentials Bunny Basics Young Rabbit Food
  • This is a 10-lb bag
  • Promotes good digestion
  • With basic vitamins and minerals to maximize their health
Check Price on Amazon.com
Supreme Science Selective 4+ Mature Rabbit Food
  • Nutritionally balanced, high in fiber
  • Promotes wellbeing and vitality
  • Promotes healthy digestion
Check Price on Amazon.com

How To Care For A House Rabbit

It’s essential that you’re well-prepared and well-informed before you take a new rabbit home. Bunnies require specific care in order to thrive and enjoy their new life in your house. Below are a few tips that will give you an overview of how to take care of a rabbit.

1. Make Sure Your House Is Safe For Rabbits 

First, you’ll need to decide on an area where your new rabbit will live. It’s recommended that you choose a location where they can easily see and interact with your family, such as the living room, so they can become familiar with everyone. 

Keep the area safe for your new family member by covering all wires with sleeves or tubing or by lifting them a few feet off the floor. It’s in a rabbit’s nature to try chewing everything they find, so make sure they can’t reach important belongings or access areas that would be unsafe for them.

2. Prepare A Safe Indoor Pen For Your Rabbit

Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting

AmazonBasics Pet Habitat

Some type of rabbit housing is recommended to give your bunny a safe place to relax and rest. A rabbit cage, an enclosed pen, or a multi-level condo will work as long as it’s large enough to allow your bunny to stretch their legs and hop around for a bit. They should also have a hidey house or covered area where they can retreat if they need privacy. 

Encourage your rabbit to use a litter box by placing it near their hay feeder and water/food bowls. Place some rabbit-safe litter inside and then add hay on top. Since rabbits like to munch on hay while pooping, this will make it easier for you to keep their pen clean.

AmazonBasics Pet Habitat
AmazonBasics Pet Habitat

A jumbo small-animal habitat for pet rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, or chinchillas.

3. Provide A Healthy, Fiber-Rich Diet

Your rabbit should have access to fresh hay and water at all times. A water bottle or bowl will make it convenient for your rabbit to drink as much as they want.

Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting "Perfect Blend"

Small Pet Select Timothy Hay

Leafy vegetables and nutrient-rich pellets should also supplement your rabbit’s diet. These should be given inmoderation compared to hay, especially pellets, to keep their diet balanced and their weight within safe ranges.

Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting "Perfect Blend

Highest quality - premium Timothy Hay for rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas.

4. Give Your Rabbit Fun Things To Do

Kaytee Timothy Biscuits Baked Apple Treat

SONGMICS Pet Playpen

Rabbits are fun-loving animals. They’re constantly on the lookout for things to do! You should oblige by ensuring they get enough mental stimulation from chew toys, paper tunnels, or cardboard castles. There is plenty of fun stuff you can create for your rabbit to play with using safe, low-cost materials.

More importantly, they need to get some exercise every day. You can let them play in a larger indoor pen or a covered outdoor hutch for a few hours so that they don’t get bored inside their cages all day.

SONGMICS Pet Playpen Includes Cable Ties

Cable ties and non-slip mats added in. Cable tie enclosure ensures good stability.

5. Play With Your Pet Bunny But Don’t Overdo It

Kaytee Timothy Biscuits Baked Apple Treat

Kaytee Timothy Biscuits Baked Apple Treat

Befriend your rabbit and make them feel comfortable in your hands by gently handling them for a few minutes every day. Always move slowly and calmly when picking them up and stay close to the ground in case they get jittery and panic. Never forcibly grab them when they try to hide or run from you, especially when your rabbit isn’t used to human contact yet. You can try to entice them by offering a small treat such as a slice of carrot when they do approach you so they can associate your touch with good things.

As cuddly and cute as your house rabbit might look, most bunnies will get tired and stressed from being handled too long. Pay attention to when they start trying to escape your grasp and let them return to their safe space. 

Kaytee Timothy Biscuits Baked Apple Treat
Kaytee Timothy Biscuits Baked Apple Treat

This delicious treat supports dental health through natural chewing activity.

6. Groom Your Rabbit And Clean Their Cage Regularly

Though rabbits will naturally groom themselves, you’ll still need to make sure to get excess fur off their body and habitat, since it can cause digestive problems if ingested. This is part of learning how to take care of a rabbit. Regularly trimming their nails is also a must and should be done at least once a month. 

Clear out your bunny’s litter box daily and clean its cage at least once every couple of weeks to ensure a healthy living environment for your pet. Don’t use any chemical cleaning liquids that may be harmful to rabbits; you can use white vinegar and hot water instead. Only return your rabbit back to its abode when everything’s dry and fresh.

7. Bring your bunny to A Vet If Their Behavior Changes

Annual visits to a veterinarian specializing in rabbits are a must so you can stay on top of any potential health hazards. However, you’ll still need to pay attention if your rabbit is behaving unusually or its droppings or pee look and smell differently. Rabbits tend to hide any symptoms so they might have been feeling under the weather for a long time before you notice if you’re not keeping a close eye. 

How To Care For Newborn Rabbits

Newly born rabbits, or kits, require delicate care for them to grow into active young bunnies. If you find out that your female rabbit is pregnant, it’s necessary to get ready beforehand by learning how to care for newborn rabbits. Rabbit moms are able to tend to their babies instinctively though, so you’ll mostly be there to ensure that the kits are healthy and warm. 

Here’s how to help a rabbit about to give birth and how to care for newborn rabbits.

1. Prepare A Nesting Box For The kits

Newborn kits will be spending their first two weeks of life within their nest. You can help their mom build it by placing a cardboard or wooden box, around 5 inches high and at least 9 inches wide, inside her pen. Add bedding with a layer of newspaper or paper pulp and then sprinkle some soft hay on top. 

Rabbit moms should recognize what it’s for and start customizing it with more hay as well as some of her fur to make it warmer. When it’s time, your rabbit will take care of birthing the litter herself, and you’re likely going to find a new bunch sleeping there in the morning. Be a quiet supporter, as she knows best how to take care of a rabbit – in fact, she’s an expert.

2. Check If The Kits Are Feeding Every Day

The first thing you should do after a new litter is born is to check if there are any kits that didn’t survive, which you should immediately remove from the nest. You’ll need to pick each one up and examine them for any physical injuries and if they’re warm enough. It’s also advised to start weighing them daily to observe their progress during this critical time.

A kit only needs the mother’s milk for the first couple of weeks. They’ll onlyfeed twice per day, and their mom won’t need to stay the rest of the time.Rabbit mothers usually feed their babies at night, so part of your daily morning routine should include checking if each kit has fed. Their bellies will look round and plump.

If the kit’s tummy looks wrinkled or a bit concave, it’s likely a sign that it’s not feeding. You should take all of them including their mother to a vet right away.

3. Give Them Solid Food Once They Start Exploring

Oxbow Essentials Bunny Basics -

Oxbow Essentials Young Rabbit Food

Once a baby rabbit opens its eyes, usually ten days after its birth, it’ll start getting curious about the world and begin moving around. You can now introduce them to some alfalfa hay and protein-rich pellets to help them gain weight. After three or four weeks they will be ready to drink water, so place a shallow dish they can sip from. 

After six weeks they’ll slowly wean off of mother’s milk until they’re ready to survive from purely solid food and water. Don’t feed them any veggies until they’re eight weeks old since their digestive systems won’t be fully developed yet. 

Oxbow Essentials Bunny Basics - Young Rabbit Food

All rabbits need high fiber to keep their digestive systems working properly and this product is just perfect for that.

4. Find New Homes For The Baby Rabbits If Needed

Unless you have enough space to house more rabbits, you’ll have to think about finding new homes for the young bunnies once they’re eight weeks old. At the very least you’ll have to separate the litter from the mother. Male rabbits, in particular, can become sexually mature at this age and will start mating right away. 

If you have the space for more rabbit pens or cages, great! Otherwise, there are plenty of families looking to welcome rabbits to their homes, and there are local shelters willing to accept them too. Make sure they know how to care for a house rabbit and try to give the kits in pairs since they’ll be happier living with a companion. 

How To Care For A Sick Rabbit

Sometimes even the most caring of owners will find that their rabbit has gotten sick for any number of reasons. The most important thing in learning how to take care of a rabbit is to learn how to tell if your rabbit is sick since bunnies have a tendency to pretend that nothing’s wrong. 

Here are a few symptoms that indicate a sick rabbit:

1. They have lower energy levels or less appetite than usual. Keep track of how much food and water they consume to see if there’s any progress.

2. They’re pooping less or excessively. Gastrointestinal stasis is a common rabbit condition and will affect their stools. Parasites or bacteria in their tummies will also upset their digestion and result in diarrhea.

3. They develop poor grooming habits. Bunnies typically groom themselves very well, so matted fur, slobby hair, or fur loss can all indicate that something’s wrong.

4. They sneeze, cough, or breathe through their mouths. Rabbits only breathe through their noses, so cold symptoms like these require immediate veterinary help.

5. Their head leans to one side too much. A sudden case of head tilt might be afflicting your poor bunny, affecting their overall balance and coordination.

You’ll need to recognize if your beloved pet is showing signs of illness, in which case you should immediately bring them to a vet. Listen to their instructions on how to care for a sick rabbit carefully and follow as dutifully as you can. In case your vet or clinic isn’t open yet, make sure to keep your sick rabbit warm and hydrated in the meantime.

How To Care For A Rabbit That’s Getting Older

So, how to take care of a rabbit that’s getting older? A rabbit’s typical lifespan is around 8 to 10 years, but they can live as long as 18 years. Once your pet celebrates its fourth birthday, you’ll soon notice some signs of aging such as their coat getting coarser or thinner, their sleep times getting longer, their weight significantly increasing or decreasing, or their movements becoming sluggish.

Here are a few steps on how to care for a house rabbit that’s getting older:

1. Take Your Senior Rabbit To A Vet Regularly

Annual visits to the vet are a must even if your rabbit isn’t showing any sign of illness. They can perform routine blood work analysis and check-ups to determine whether your bunny is developing any untoward condition. Make sure to read the section above on how to care for a sick rabbit so you know when to make impromptu visits.

2. Monitor Your Rabbit’S Overall Condition

In addition to the signs listed above for both sick and aging rabbits, you should also pay more attention to their potty time. Older rabbits may soil their bottoms while peeing due to incorrect spine posture, and if it continues, they can get urine scald. This will inflame the bunny’s skin and result in fur loss, and it will require a specific medication from their vet. You should also check their paws for sores or cuts as these will prove painful if left untreated.

3. Adjust Your Elderly Rabbit’S Diet Appropriately

Supreme Science Selective

Supreme Science Selective 4+ Mature Rabbit Food

Ensure that your rabbit’s hay feeder and water bowl or bottle are never empty. They should have unlimited access to both in order for their digestion to work properly. Timothy hay is recommended, and you should supplement it with veggies and pellets appropriate for their weight. 

Confirm with your vet the optimal body weight your rabbit should have based on its age and follow their recommendations in adjusting your bunny’s diet depending on whether it’s under or overweight.

Supreme Science Selective
Supreme Science Selective

Promotes well being and vitality. Nutritionally balanced, high fiber food for rabbits.

4. Encourage Your Bunny To Exercise

Exercise is essential to keeping a rabbit’s muscles strong and healthy. You should allow them sufficient time in a playpen or enclosure to hop about and stretch their legs. If they seem to have difficulty moving, don’t force them to do so. Instead, have their vet check them for possible arthritis or inflammation.

5. Give Your Aging Rabbit As Much Love As You Can

Always remember to play with your bunny every day, as your affection and attention matters. Cuddle it gently and let it go if it wants to go elsewhere. Another great way to keep your rabbit well-loved is to provide them a companion. Rabbits are social creatures and will definitely enjoy the company of a playmate.

Rabbit Care Summarized

A happy bunny is a healthy bunny. The shortest way to tell you how to take care of a rabbit is to shower it with love and affection. Of course, that advice does require some specifics to go along with it, so make sure to consult this guide on how to care for a house rabbit. 

Sharing is caring!

Miranda Hawkins
Miranda currently lives just outside Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband, 8-year old son, and what she lovingly calls her “zoo.” Miranda grew up in the Midwest and always had animals around while growing up. After graduating from college, she married her husband Sam and they moved to the mountains of Colorado where Miranda became very involved with the regional rabbit rescues.

Currently, her “zoo” includes two dogs, one rambunctious cat, and three indoor rabbits. Oliver, a delightful Black Otter Holland Lop, and Juniper, a gorgeous Opal Satin Angora, are a bonded pair and have been together for three years.

She had the pleasure of adding an energetic Fawn Flemish Giant to her family one year ago, named Sir Gregor. He had been abandoned outside a pet store and was put up for adoption. Miranda feels very blessed to have this lovable lagomorph living amongst her family and is a strong advocate for educating people about rabbits and how special they truly are.

Miranda has put together a team of rabbit lovers and breeders from across the country and hopes you will find the information and resources on the JustRabbits.com site beneficial. She loves to hear from her readers and looks forward to seeing many more people become loving responsible bunny parents.