How To Prepare For A Rabbit Or Guinea Pig
Is this your first time getting a new rabbit or guinea pig? Before you bring them home there are a few things you need to prepare ahead of their arrival.
Before you bring your rabbit home
The first thing you should do is bunny proof your home, some rabbit owners keep their rabbits indoors and others have them in an outdoor area. We here at pet place are going to explore both of these options.
If you intend to keep your new rabbit outdoors you are going to need a safe and secure rabbit hutch with as much room as possible because rabbits like to hop around and need to exercise, if you don’t plan on letting it run around the garden freely then a rabbit run would be the perfect solution to this.
Other things to consider when buying a rabbit hutch, is it going to keep them warm in the winter but also protect them from the warmer months when the sun shines down? Make sure that an area of their hutch is covered to help protect them from both the sunshine and keep them warm during the colder months.
During the winter months, it is advised to have an area that is well insulated because rabbits that live in the wild usually live underground in a draught-free, dry, and reasonably warm space with a consistent temperature of around ten degrees celsius.
The weather isn’t the only danger your rabbit may be faced with when living outdoors, especially during the night. Foxes in particular can be a threat to your rabbit, again make sure they have a secure place they can hide and take shelter, making sure no animal can reach them. Keep an eye on its structure, making sure there are no gaps or weakening spots where the wire is becoming loose. One of the most important things to do is check if you’ve locked their hutch properly each night.
If your rabbit is going to be living outside then really they will need a companion, not only are they sociable creatures but their body heat will help keep each other warm all through the night and on colder days.
It is becoming more and more popular for people to keep their rabbits indoors and if you choose to do this then making your home a safe and secure space is crucial for these bouncy animals.
Apart from their lovely long ears, the one thing that sets rabbits apart from other animals is their teeth and they love nothing more than chewing with them. It’s important to hide or cover any exposed wires along with anything else your rabbit might find desirable such as houseplants or your favorite collection of books.
Whether or not you are giving your rabbit a free run of the house, it is a great idea to purchase an indoor cage suitable for your rabbit, it will need somewhere to sleep and feel safe.
Before bringing your rabbit to its new home
Before bringing your rabbit to its new home you will also need a safe and secure rabbit carrier. Your rabbit will most likely be a little anxious, this will be a big change for it and the chances of it being transported from its first home to its forever home is slim. Remember to line the bottom of the rabbit carrier with something absorbent because there could be a few toilet accidents on the journey.
Other things you will need to gather so that your rabbit can live a happy and comfortable life. Food and water bowls, along with a water bottle because they need to keep hydrated.
Hay because rabbits eat a lot of this stuff, they not only need it for their digestion but also for their teeth. As soon as a rabbit gets its set of adult teeth they will continue to grow. Therefore the need to chew is extremely important as this wears down the bone. Keeping them healthy and hopefully avoiding any serious dental issues.
Rabbits can be toilet trained and if you want to make sure they have a comfy and clean home. A litter tray is an excellent idea.
Dust extracted straw is great for a rabbit’s bedding, this will avoid a dusty environment and help protect their eyes.
Make Sure to find your nearest veterinary practice. So you can get your rabbit booked in for a health assessment and their vaccinations. If you are not sure where to find your nearest vet. Then why not go to Vet Help Direct. Which allows you to key in your postcode to find practices within your local area.
Settling in with your new rabbit – the first few weeks in their new home
Bringing a new family member home for the first time is very exciting but can be extremely overwhelming for them.
If possible on the journey home, have someone with you to reassure the rabbit, keeping a calm environment. Cover the carrier with a blanket to help your rabbit. If you have any of their toys with familiar smells it would be great to pop them inside the carrier to help your rabbit feel comfortable.
Once you arrive home, open the door of your rabbit’s carrier into its new space, when it feels ready it will come out and explore its new surroundings. Sit quietly and allow your rabbit to come over to you at its own pace if you begin to speak to it in soft gentle tones continuing to reassure it.
Reward it for any positive behavior, building the trust between yourself and this small creature. If you have other family members who are dying to get their hands on this new addition. Remind them of how the rabbit may be feeling. Restricting their access to a few short sessions a day. But only when you feel your rabbit is ready to interact with others.
As your rabbit’s confidence grows and your relationship develops you will find they are great fun. Encourage your rabbit with safe toys such as the boredom breaker Corn Rattle Rollers. Which your rabbit will love to toss and chew. Or Ancol’s food ball that can be hung inside your rabbit’s hutch providing lots of entertainment for your new pet.
Grooming is another way to bring you and your rabbit closer. Just make sure to find the right tools for the job.
Rabbits aren’t the only small animals that seem to be taking residents in a lot of human homes. Guinea pigs are the new kids on the block and they are most welcome in many homes.
Before you bring your new Guinea pig home
Like rabbits, before you bring your guinea pig home it is really important to prepare for their arrival.
Firstly you should register with a vet. Because you will want your guinea pig to have its first health check with you. Followed by its vaccinations. This is the perfect time to ask about any queries you might have regarding your new family member.
Some of the other things you will need to add to your checklist are food bowls and water bottles, and appropriate toys to keep it entertained. As well as the right-sized hutch because piggies need a lot of space to run and play in. The correct bedding is important for example dust-free hay that should be guinea pig friendly.
If they are located outside cover part of your guinea pig’s hutch. So they will have a place to go when they feel scared and want comfort. This will also protect them from any, other pets. Such as cats and dogs and predators that may be lurking in the night. As well as any bad weather because once the temperature starts to drop below fifteen degrees celsius. This can cause your guinea pig to become quite chilled and it may need to be moved to a suitable enclosed area.
Settling in with your new guinea pig – the first few weeks in their new home
Like a lot of pets, moving into a new home for a guinea pig can be quite stressful. So it’s really important that you as a new pet owner make this transition run as smoothly and calmly as you can.
Once you have ticked off your checklist and welcomed your new family member into the home. It’s time to get to know each other’s personalities.
It can take some time before your pig becomes comfortable. Like rabbits let your guinea pig approach you in their own time. All they need is a little patience and love.
Guinea pigs are sociable creatures if you have a good supply of toys and small tunnels. They can run through then this should keep your guinea pig happy. Guinea pigs are quite vocal so as time passes they will begin chirping and making delightful sounds.
As they are known to be sociable animals, if possible homing them with a second guinea would be great for the times that you can’t be there and during the colder months as they will keep each other warm. If this is something you want to consider, do the correct research and preparation because not all guinea pigs take an instant liking to each other.
As with most pets, rabbits and guinea pigs need to be given the time. To figure out how they fit into their new environment. If ever in doubt you can always contact your local vet or call one of our Farm & Pet Place stores for advice.