Most small pets have a very short lifespan of about 2 to 4 years and many people expect the same of pet rabbits. But surprisingly these little critters can live up to 14 years and more. If you want to own a pet rabbit you should be well aware of this commitment. In this article you will learn what determines the lifespan of a rabbit and how you can extend it through the right care
What does the lifespan of pet rabbits depend on?
Generally the lifespan of pet rabbits is somewhere between 8 and 14 years. There are some factors that come into play whether your pet will be on the lower or higher end of the range.
- The size is a very important factor when it comes to the lifespan of pet rabbits. It’s similar to dogs where we know that large breeds usually live a shorter life than small ones. Compared to rabbits this means that you can expect that your Flemish Giant only lives 8 or 9 years while your Netherland Dwarf can get in its teens easily.
- The breed has a significant influence on the age. Like described above one reason is the size that varies widely. But it is not the only one: Usually crossbreeds can get older compared to pet rabbits of true-bred with the same size.
- When pet rabbits die at a young age it is often because of poor care. There are many things you can do as a rabbit owner to ensure that your furry friend has a long and fulfilling life. At Koalapets you can learn more about rabbit care.
What to do to make your pet rabbit live longer?
Did you know that pet rabbits are becoming older and older over time? That is because our knowledge of what these pets really need is becoming better and better too. Veterinarians have learned about the right treatment of diseases in rabbits as well as food manufacturers developed better products. Apart from these general things there is also a lot you can do yourself that we want to address in this section.
Serving healthy food
While most pets need a wide range of different food to thrive, this is not for pet rabbits. The digestive system of rabbits is special and they need a high amount of fiber to stay healthy. The best way to ensure that they get enough of it is to feed hay, lots of hay. Actually you don’t really need to feed something else. About 80% of your rabbit’s diet should be hay.
No matter how complete and balanced a food claims to be, it should only be an occasional treat. If you make this food the main component your pet will become obese easily. However, there are some fresh vegetables like carrots that can enrich the diet.
Spaying or neutering
Rabbits are prone to cancer. Especially females can develop mammarine or urine cancer very early in their life but males can also get prostate cancer as well. The decision to neuter or spay your pet will significantly decrease these risks.
Veterinary care is essential when you want your pet rabbit to live longer. Even if rabbits are looking healthy it isn’t everytime the case. Chances are high that your beloved pet suffered a long time before you even noticed. Because of that it should see the vet regularly and at least once a year. Even small problems like too long teeth or nails can lead to serious issues if not treated right.
Rabbits are social creatures. Spending the whole day alone in a cage makes them sad and unhappy. You should play with your pet every day for an hour but that alone isn’t enough. When you keep two rabbits at the same time they will have somebody to play with all day even if you are not at home.
Boredom can occur easily in rabbits. You will notice that your pet is bored when it starts to chew on literally everything. Toys are a good solution and you don’t even need to spend money on them all the time. Often it’s surprising how much fun a rabbit can have with for example an empty roll of toilet paper stuffed with hay. If you prefer looking for toys in the pet store look what they offer for birds.
No matter how big your cage or hutch might be, your rabbits need much more space to run and explore. A playpen can be a solution but we recommend letting them roam freely in a room for 3 to 4 hours a day. But don’t forget to make it bunny-proof.
Stress it not could for humans and cause serious health issues and the same is for rabbits. If you own a get or a dog it is likely that these pets have an interest in your rabbit. Make sure that it can chew on its hay in peace. Of course the same counts for visitors, loud music and everything else that might be disturbing.
Depending on the breed pet rabbits can get 8 to 12 years old. Be sure to be aware of this commitment before getting one. The quality of your care has a direct influence on the lifespan of your rabbit friend and you should do everything for a happy life for your pet.