Any time you already have a pet at home, adding another to the mix can bring about some concerns and special considerations, and it is no different when bringing home a new pet bunny. Whilst rabbits are fairly social creatures and get along well with many other critters without being a threat to them, some pets can be a threat to your rabbit. Some of the most basic pets can see a bunny as prey, which can lead to some dangerous situations. Take a look at some of the most common household pets and what you should know before bringing a bunny home as part of the family.
Dogs are one of the most popular pets in Ireland with as many as 49 percent of households having a dog, according to the Irish Independent’s Life Family Newsletter. If you have a friendly canine who seems docile most of the time, you may think that having a rabbit will be no big deal. However, having both a dog and a rabbit as pets will mean you have to be mindful as the owner.
There are some dog breeds, such as most of the hound breeds, who were initially bred to hunt small prey like rabbits, squirrels, and other furry creatures. Even a seemingly calm dog with this trait in the bloodline can attack without warning–oftentimes their natural instincts triggered by something as simple as the bunny darting across the ground. If you do choose to bring a bunny home in spite of already having a dog, it is crucial that you do not leave the two unattended and keep your rabbit safely contained in its hutch, whether indoors or out, when the dog is around.
Cats are well known as animals of prey, but most feline owners will only ever see their cat go after small animals, like mice or birds. However, if given the opportunity, your kitty could just as easily find your rabbit attractive and pounce on it, so you do have to be cautious about having both in the same area.
If you plan to keep your new bunny inside the house, invest in an indoor hutch so you can keep it safe when you are not at home. If your bunny will be an outdoor pet, never leave it outside in its play area without supervision if you also have an outdoor cat.
Guinea Pigs and Other Small Pet Mammals
While cats and dogs may be the most popular pets in Ireland, many households have other small mammals as well. Guinea pigs, hamsters, and pet mice are just a few examples. For the most part, these small pets will not pose a threat to your rabbit. Some pet owners even choose to house some of these pets with their rabbit, even though it may not always be the best idea.
If you have a guinea pig, hamster, or other small mammals, your biggest challenge with bringing home a rabbit will be to ensure both pets get an appropriate diet. Whilst these animals can have similar dietary needs, there are differences in what they should and should not eat. Do keep in mind as well that even though rabbits are not carnivores or predatory, they can injure smaller animals by biting or kicking them, which is one reason you should not house these pets together or leave them unsupervised.
Your new pet bunny can live in harmony with other pets for the most part, but make sure you do take the time to get familiar with varying animal behaviours so you do not inadvertently bring your rabbit into a dangerous situation. To find out more about housing a rabbit indoors and out, check out our learning section on Rabbits.ie.