Rabbits are popular pets that can live up to 8 to 12 years with proper care and nutrition. Here's what you need to know to give your pet rabbit its best life.
We all love having pets, but let's face it: Sometimes, with everyday life in the way, it can get hard to keep up the maintenance of having a pet. The chores of refilling water and food dishes, buying pet supplies, and giving your furry friend adequate playtime and social interactions can be tough enough, let alone cleaning a rabbit cage, litter box, or living space.
Admittedly, if you have a small pet in your living room, like a pet rabbit or anything that'll fit in a small animal cage, the pet habitat and living area can be a little less-demanding. (Like a smaller pet house!) And rabbits are irresistibly cute, so let's hop on the bunny train -- Here are 10 tips to keep your bunny cage clean, safe, and fun.
1. Set Up a Weekly Cleaning Routine
Yes I know, no one likes cleaning their rabbit cage or rabbit hutch, but to provide your pet rabbit with a happy home, cleaning is one of those necessary evils. We recommend a weekly cleaning schedule -- While there are no set rules on how often you need to be cleaning your bunny house or bunny hutch, sticking to a schedule will make it less of a chore and easier on yourself.
So, go ahead and set that reminder on your phone... Your bunny will thank you.
2. Clean the Litter Box
Cleaning the litter box is perhaps the chore that most people find the most unpleasant. Again, it's a necessary evil that needs to get done. Litter boxes should be checked and cleaned daily. Since rabbits usually keep their, um, mess to one area in the pet cage, simply scoop out the soiled litter. Do a thorough cleaning by replacing all litter with fresh litter and soaking the litter box with a vinegar and water mixture once a week.
3. Replenish the Water Bottle
It's vital for your pet rabbit's health to have a daily supply of fresh water. Refill the water bottle at least once daily, and also be sure to wash the water bottle thoroughly at least once a week with hot water and soap to kill and prevent any bacteria growth. A bottle brush will make this easier.
4. Remove Any Leftover Food
It goes without saying it's equally important to keep your bunny's food dish filled and clean. According to The Spruce Pets,
"Remove any uneaten fresh foods from the cage daily. Ideally, do this twice daily, once in the morning and again at night."
You should also be washing the food dish at least once a week.
5. Empty the Cage
After putting your bunny in a safe place, empty the cage or hutch by removing everything from it so you can give it a deep-clean. Throw out any old food, litter, hay, newspaper, or old bedding. We recommend this to be done at least once a month.
6. Clean the Cage Walls
After you've emptied and cleaned out everything in the rabbit cage, you can do a thorough deep-clean of the cage walls from top to bottom. Again, a mixture of vinegar and water works well in this situation - Not only does it disinfect your rabbit home, it is also the safest disinfectant as commercial products can be harmful to your bunny.
Wipe down the cage walls carefully. You might even have to put in a little elbow grease and scrub away any stains. If you have a wire cage, make sure to scrub them as they can be a likely source of bacteria. Whether it's an outdoor rabbit cage or outdoor rabbit hutch, or an indoor rabbit cage or even an indoor rabbit hutch, easy access rabbit homes make for easy cleaning.
7. Wash Bedding
If your bunny has any blankets, sheets, or just uses any fabric for bedding in their animal house, you should also throw them in the washing machine from time to time. Just be sure to use hot water in combination with an unscented detergent formulated for sensitive skin. This way, you can ensure your furry friend won't be exposed to any harsh chemicals or scents.
8. Clean or Replace Toys
During your monthly deep-clean, go ahead and clean or replace any old toys too, especially if your rabbit has a playpen. Because rabbits love to dig or chew, many DIY bunny toys are made out of a simple cardboard box or just some paper. Be sure to replace these once old or dirty, especially if there is moisture that can be harmful to rabbits' health.
9. Clean Around the Cage
Sometimes a quick sweep around the cage will do the trick. Rabbits can be quite messy animals, so it's always a good idea to clean around the bunny's habitat. If your pet rabbit has a pet playpen, be sure to vacuum the spacing around that and the rabbit cage as well.
10. Pick a Good Cage for Your Bunny
Last but not least, a safe and clean pet starts with choosing the right cage. Whether you have a wooden rabbit cage or metal cage, your bunny needs to have the right living space to thrive happily. We recommend metal cages or those with a plastic base, as those are the easiest to clean. Wooden rabbit cages carry the risk of bacteria buildup as the surface is porous and can trap moisture, bacteria, and germs.
We love the Wabbitat Deluxe Rabbit Home, by Midwest Homes For Pets. The line of Midwest Wabbitats (we also just really love the fun name!) provides a great home for your rabbit, and they are also suitable for other pets like ferrets, guinea pigs, and chinchillas.
Live with a rabbit and know any other good tips? Share on our Wide Open Pets Facebook!
This article was originally published November 19, 2020.