Famed for being cute and cuddly, rabbits quite rightly hop into third place when it comes to Britain’s favourite pets. I myself am allergic, but that doesn’t stop me wishing I wasn’t when I see how friendly they can be.
Rabbits are naturally sociable, and many treat their owners with as much affection as dogs or cats do. This made the news that 75% of pet rabbits aren’t being properly cared for by their owners particularly hard to take in.
According to recent findings, most rabbits are kept in cramped hutches and fed the wrong diet for their delicate digestive system. Vets are also reporting that they see many rabbits which are bored and unhappy, often suffering from obesity or rotting teeth.
It is thought that this problem is largely due to misconceptions about the care rabbits require and poor advice from shop assistants in pet shops.
Rabbits need daily attention and often become lonely or bored in a cramped hutch at the bottom of the garden. Many are also feeding them the wrong type of diet, and forgetting that there are many foods that rabbits just cannot digest. This is leaving many uncomfortable, unhappy and perhaps the saddest of all – forgotten about.
Many people are also not told of the costs of rabbits before buying. Rabbits require vaccinations to ward off common illnesses and regular vet check-ups to ensure their teeth, claws and digestive systems are in check, which is usually not considered when people are first buying a pet. This can be costly, and I cannot help but worry that rabbits aren’t getting the proper care because people do not want to spend money on pet insurance to reduce vet bills.
Pet shops need to start warning people about the real costs and responsibility involved in pet rabbits. It takes some money and a lot of time to properly care for a rabbit – so please read up before bringing one home.