Rabbits are social and affectionate animals, making them popular pets for many people. They thrive in groups and don’t do well when left alone for long periods of time. Without interaction, they can become stressed and bored, leading to health issues.
While picking up your pet is one way of showing affection, it can be risky for rabbits. Being lifted in the air can make them feel anxious and scared, as they are prey animals and naturally cautious of heights.
However, there are times when you need to pick up your rabbit, such as for cleaning their cage or taking them to the vet. As an owner, it’s essential to learn how to properly pick up your pet to ensure their safety and comfort.
By taking the time to learn proper handling techniques, you can ensure that your rabbit feels secure and relaxed when being lifted, minimizing the risks associated with handling them incorrectly. Read on to learn more.
Why Do Rabbits Hate To Be Picked Up?
According to the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), rabbits usually dislike being lifted in the air unless they are trained since they are young. You must understand that rabbits do not have the same moods when playing with their owners.
Some rabbits love to be near their owners, and some want to be alone most of the time. You must know the character of your pet so you can assess if they like to be picked up every time.
PDSA also added that since rabbits are prey animals, they do not like to be vulnerable. They like to have control over their body, and when you lift them, they lose their sense of safety because they are up in the air.
Risks of Picking Up the Rabbit
Once you start caring for pet animals like rabbits, one of the responsibilities you should always do is to keep them safe from hazards, unhealthy diet, accidents, and much more.
But there are times when owners overlook some of the risks in rabbits. Although picking up a rabbit is not harmful, if you do not do it properly, it can result in some problems for your pet.
Here is the list of risks of picking up a rabbit to guide you better.
1. The Rabbit Will Feel Stressed
Rabbits can get distressed, especially if they have no control over situations like being lifted in the air. According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), rabbits are sensitive animals, which is why they get more nervous than other pets. A loud noise and strong smell can make them feel sick, and more if they are picked up without their consent.
2. The Rabbit Can Have Broken Limbs
Without knowing the proper way of picking up your rabbit, you can accidentally break its limbs when you pick them up. The bone anatomy of rabbits is quite vulnerable to other animals. That is why you need to be careful when handling them because securing them too tight is a risk for rabbits.
3. The Rabbits Can Suddenly Jump From a High Place
When rabbits get distressed, jumping away from the situation is one way to escape the danger. Since rabbits do not know how high they are when you lift them, they will just jump and land on the floor without thinking, which sometimes causes accidents in pets.
If you think your rabbit has a fractured bone upon landing, keep an eye out for possible changes in their behavior. Bring them also to your trusted veterinarian immediately for possible surgery and treatment.
Is It Okay For a Child To Pick Up a Rabbit?
If you buy a rabbit for your child and they suddenly pick up their rabbit, always keep an eye on them and guide them to avoid accidents. PDSA does not recommend that a child pick up their rabbit because the child tends to hold the rabbit tightly, which can lead to suffocation. Also, larger breeds are much harder to handle for a child.
Despite breeds or other factors, you still must advise your child to always be careful when holding their pet. You can tell them to play on the floor instead of lifting their pet in the air. The rabbits will be happier socializing with your child and playing on a flat surface than swaying in the air.
Tips For Picking Up A Rabbit
1. Ensure That Your Rabbit is Relaxed
A relaxed state of mind in rabbits is important when doing something new for them, like lifting them in the air. Again although picking up a rabbit is not ideal, there are times when you need to lift them. To decrease the chance of anxiousness in rabbits, ensure they are calm first.
You can call their name and pat their head. Gently introduce your hand so they can get used to your hand hugging their body. If you think your rabbit is now relaxed, slowly lift them and secure them using your hands and arm to avoid accidents.
2. Train Your Rabbit While They are Young
If you want to avoid the hassle of picking up your pet, train them while they are young. Building habits in rabbits is effective most, especially when they are young. In that way, they will have an idea about the feeling of being lifted into the air.
You will not have a problem when they get old because they are familiar with being hugged. But always take note to do the proper ways and tips when training a young rabbit since they have a much more vulnerable body.
3. Secure The Body of the Rabbit
When you safely pick up your rabbit, secure them using both hands. Ensure that one hand supports their breast and the other hugs the upper part of their body. Avoid hugging them tightly because you are afraid your pet will suddenly jump.
If your rabbit starts to become anxious, call their name or pat their head to make them feel safe. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) noted being as gentle as possible while securing the rabbit.
Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Taking Care of Rabbits
- Rabbits are sociable animals, so they love having a companion instead of being alone. That is why they also love bonding with their owners.
- One way of showing the affection of humans to their rabbits is by picking them up and hugging them. But some articles stated that lifting the rabbit into the air could be better. It can result in different risks for your pet.
- Rabbits hate to be picked up. Here are some risks when you are always picking up your rabbit; they will feel stressed, possibly have broken limbs or bones, and they can suddenly jump, leading to accidents.
- Veterinarians do not recommend a child lift a rabbit because it is more prone to accidents in pets. Also, children hug the rabbit tightly and can suffocate their pets. Instead of picking the rabbit up, encourage your child to play on the floor with the rabbit.
- Tips on picking up a rabbit, ensure that your rabbit is relaxed before picking them up, train them while they are young, and secure the rabbit’s body to avoid accidents and other risks.