Taking Your House Rabbit Outdoors
Author: P.A. Smith
It is very tempting to take your house rabbit outside in the sunny weather, but be careful in doing so. Being domesticated means that rabbits do not have all of the skills to survive outside.
While taking your rabbit outside for short, structured and supervised visits, use the following tips:
- Know the area that you are taking your rabbit. Many areas use pesticides on grass and weedkiller in gardens, both of which can harm or kill your bunny.
- Predators are also a concern outside. Dogs, birds, raccoons and other creatures can harm your rabbit. Although they may not attack your rabbit, he/she may die from the stress of being frightened by a potential predator.
- Heat is a big concern when taking your rabbit for some outside fun. Be sure that you recognize the signs of heat stroke.
- Some plants may be poisonous to your rabbit
- Bugs! Mosquitoes and flies may bite your rabbit and can potentially transmit diseases. Check your bun for ticks and other bugs after being outside.
We highly suggest that if you plan on taking your bun outside that you construct a rabbit run. Ideally, the run should have four walls with a top and bottom. A bottom will keep your rabbit from digging his/her way out and keep predators from getting in. A top will provide shade and keep owls, hawks and other airborn predators out. The sides should be made of thick welded wire that is not wide enough for your bun to get out or predators to get in. An inexpensive way to construct a run is to use custom wire storage cubes and zip ties. Then you can easily customize the size and shape of the run.
Another option is to purchase a puppy exercise pen and set it up outside. You will need to take extra care to supervise your bunny in an exercise pen to ensure your rabbit does not dig a hole below the panels or jump over the panels. You will also have to be on the lookout for potential predators that may harm or frighten your bunny.
You can also purchase a harness (or walking jacket) and a leash to "walk" your bunny. Basically, "walking" a rabbit means you follow your bun whereever he/she hops.
Your rabbit may not like wearing the harness, however, and may try very hard to remove it. Make sure the walking jacket fits snugly on your bun, so he/she can not squirm out of it. Also note, your bunny may be frightened by the fact that you are constantly walking or running behind it. It may take some time for your bun to get accustomed to the idea.
The outdoors can provide a wonderful, exciting experience for your bun, as long as you take the proper precautions to keep your pet safe.