Easter is just around the corner, and some families may be considering celebrating this holiday, so often associated with bunnies and chicks, by getting a live, furry addition to their home.
“Please resist the temptation of picking up a rabbit at the pet shop just to surprise your kids on Easter Sunday,” warns Bob Van Tongerloo, CEO of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. “Baby rabbits are adorable, but purchasing or adopting one is a serious decision, and, like any other animal, they shouldn’t be bought on a whim, or as a surprise gift.”
Each year, humane societies are flooded with Easter rabbits, bought to celebrate the holiday, often to surprise young children, but unwanted weeks or months later.
Domestic rabbits can be great pets: they can be litter trained, are playful and can bond with members of a family. But, like all other companion animals, owning a rabbit entails certain financial and time commitments. Rabbits, for example, should have regular veterinary exams and should be spayed or neutered – this will not only prevent unwanted pregnancies, but can help prevent certain diseases. Rabbits also need their nails trimmed regularly, and should be given appropriate chewing toys or blocks to file down their teeth, since rabbit teeth never stop growing. Rabbits also need human contact, and should have playtime outside their cage. Also keep in mind, domestic rabbits can live to be 7 to 10 years old.
Giving your children a chick is almost never a good idea, unless you live in a rural area and already have the proper environment to house a growing chicken. In fact, may municipalities do not allow the keeping of chicks in urban areas.
If your family has seriously considered obtaining a rabbit as a pet, and you are ready to commit to the animal’s needs, the CFHS encourages you to visit your local humane society. Many people are often surprised to hear that animal shelters have a wide variety of animals for adoption: in addition to cats and dogs, many shelters also accept rabbits, hamsters, mice, rats, guinea pigs, birds and others.
(Article exerpt courtesy of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. Please visit www.cfhs.cafor further information.)