Can I Walk My Pet Rabbit on a Leash?

Find out if you can walk a pet rabbit on a leash in this Howcast video featuring bunny lover Amy Sedaris and rabbit expert Mary E. Cotter.

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Rabbits make wonderful pets. If you're thinking of getting one, check out these videos: Actress Amy Sedaris, who is a loving mom to her own pet bunny, helps rabbit expert Mary E. Cotter, Ed.D., LVT answer all your questions about how to take care of a pet rabbit. It's not always easy, but it's worth the work.

 
 

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Amy: Mary, can people take their rabbit out on a leash? Because I've seen a lot of people do this. Mary: Yeah, I have too and it really scares me. It scares me because years ago I started collecting stories from people who sent me emails about why their rabbit got hurt or some rabbits were killed that were taken out on leashes with harnesses. And people want to be out in public with their rabbit. They love when people stop them and say "oh, look at you, a rabbit on a leash" and it gets the owner a lot of attention. It's really not good for rabbits because rabbits can hear things for example that the owner can't hear. The rabbit could hear a plane going overhead long before an owner can. A sudden lawn mower starting up, a dog barking, a child shouting. Amy: Anything. Anything. Again, they're prey animals they always think they're going to be eaten so they'll make a jerky, you know, movement and their spines are so sensitive, that boom, dead. Mary: That's right. There's one rabbit owner whose rabbit was terrified by something, I honestly don't remember what in the environment, but something and the rabbit started spinning around and got completely tangled in this leash and cut off his airway, his own airway in his attempts to get loose. Very sad tales. Amy: Um-hmm. Mary: So, bottom line, it's really not the safest thing to do. People will do it, and we know in Europe it's very popular. But if people ask me, my opinion is that it's much safer to keep your rabbit off a leash, off a harness, inside the home really. Amy: Yeah. Better safe than sorry. Mary: Yeah. So, yeah.

Expert

  • Mary E. Cotter

    Mary E. Cotter, M.A., Ed.D., LVT is the founder of the NY-based Rabbit Rescue & Rehab. She serves as chapter manager of the NYC House Rabbit Society and is vice president of the International House Rabbit Society. Involved with rabbit rescue since 1982, she speaks and writes frequently on rabbit-related topics, addressing owners, veterinary professionals and shelter workers. Mary is an adjunct assistant professor in the veterinary technology department of LaGuardia Community College (City University of New York) and co-manages a 7,000-member Internet mailing list focused on rabbit health, care and behavior.