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.
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.
TIP: 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.
TIP: 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!
FACT: 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.