How to Choose the Rabbit That's Best for Children
There's probably not a kid out there who wouldn't love a pet bunny, but rabbits and children can be a tough combination. To make the match a happy one, follow these steps.
You will need
- A rabbit rescuer or breeder
- Rabbit books
- and websites for research
Step 1 Realize your responsibilities Realize, first of all, that you’re the one who should care for the rabbit—not your children. Kids can help with a bunny’s care, but as with a dog or cat, a grownup needs to be in charge.
Step 2 Forget pet-store bunnies Make a resolution not to consider pet-store bunnies, no matter how cute they are. Rabbit rescuers and rabbit breeders have a much better sense of their animals’ personalities, and will spend more time helping you decide which rabbit to choose.
Be aware that many rabbit rescuers and shelters won’t place their bunnies in homes with young children.
Step 3 Don’t buy on impulse Never get a rabbit on impulse! Rabbits need almost as much care as cats or dogs. So do your homework. Research bunny breeds and bunny needs in books and magazines and online.
Step 4 Assess your kids’ personalities Make a realistic assessment of your kids’ personalities. If they’re excitable or intensely active, a rabbit might not be a good choice right now. If they’re calm and good at taking directions, a bunny should fit in well.
Step 5 Get the right rabbit Look for an adult rabbit that’s large and mellow, not a baby that’s small and skittish. In general, bigger bunny breeds are more relaxed than dwarf breeds, and less easily stressed out by busy families.
Both male and female rabbits will be calmer and easier to care for if you have them spayed or neutered. Taking this step is necessary for a happy, healthy bunny.
Step 6 Warn kids not to pick up bunny No matter how mellow a bunny is, she won’t like being picked up and carried by your kids. While you’re conducting your search, remind your children that it’s okay to pat a bunny but not to pick her up.
Step 7 Bunny-proof your home Taking the time to find the right bunny will make her arrival much smoother. When you’ve located the right rabbit for your family, start preparing. Bunny-proof your home, lay in a supply of hay, and get ready for a very hoppy time!
In addition to being easy to housebreak, rabbits can be trained to come when you call, to fetch objects that you throw, and even to play tag.