Many owners tend to forget that playing is part of a rabbit’s lifestyle. Aside from keeping your pet’s body fit, it also makes them happy. According to the Anti-Cruelty Society, part of the rabbit’s personality is being active and playful. But they also added that rabbits differ from one another.
Like other pet animals, rabbits can have extroverted personalities. They are the ones who love playing and have outgoing personalities, while introverted rabbits are usually quiet and shy. That is why the Anti-Cruelty Society encourages owners to understand their pet’s personality to avoid negligence in the future.
Many pet rabbits spend most of their lives indoors. This environment is one of the safest places for them, as they are classified as prey animals. Their interactions with the natural environment are limited compared to wild rabbits. However, if a rabbit is raised in the wild from birth, they will develop instincts in a competitive environment.
However, recent reports imply captive rabbits also love to play outdoors. Rabbits are naturally playful and conscious of trying new things. In this article, we will go through how to ensure that your rabbit is safe while playing outside your house. If you want to know more about this topic, do not leave this article.
Reasons Why Rabbits Love to Play Outside
1. Playing Outside Maintain The Rabbits Weight
Most rabbits who spend their time inside their cage are susceptible to obesity. The National Library of Medicine (NIH) report states that an indoor lifestyle contributes to weight gain. Since your pet will not exercise daily from playing, their body will not release fats that cause obesity.
Obesity in rabbits is a serious complication because it can lead to further risk in their body. That is why most veterinarians would recommend encouraging daily exercise for your pet to maintain an ideal body weight.
However, some breeds are naturally heavier than others. You need to consult your doctor about the recommended weight for your pet to know the right lifestyle for them.
2. Playing Outside Let Your Rabbit Be Exposed to Direct Sunlight
Being exposed to direct sunlight can be helpful for the proper development of your rabbits’ bodies. Sunlight helps in the production of vitamin D in the rabbit’s skin, which is converted into an active form that aids in the absorption of calcium from food.
There are no specific rules or guidelines published on how long rabbits should play outside, but it can be safe to conclude that several hours in warm weather would be sufficient and beneficial.
3. Playing Outside Reduces Stress Levels in Rabbits
When rabbits lack exercise and stimulation, it can lead to increased stress levels, similar to humans. Like us, rabbits enjoy playing in their environment, and not having the opportunity to do so can cause anxiety.
NIH has noted that confinement can have a physiological impact on animals, potentially resulting in behavioral changes. Therefore, when caring for a rabbit, it’s crucial to consider all aspects of their life, including physical and emotional well-being, in addition to providing food and a clean environment. By addressing all these needs, we can help our rabbits live long and happy lives.
4. Playing Outside Provides Fresh Air in Rabbits
Letting your rabbit experience fresh air every day is important. Depending on where you live, you must provide them with quality time outside.
But you need to consider where you live first. If you are near a polluted environment, avoid your pet inhaling some of those dirty chemicals. If the weather is also extra hot, avoid them staying outside for too long. Ensure that you provide them with drinking water now and then after their daily exercise to keep them hydrated.
5. Playing Outside Will Let You Rabbit Instinct Working
You need to remember that instinct is an important element in every animal. This is how they react to certain things, like in dangerous situations or survival in the wild. Even if your rabbit is a captive pet animal, ensuring its instinct works is essential.
One thing to do is to let them play outside. Outdoor activities will stimulate the pet’s knowledge about the environment. You can increase the stimulation by introducing them to different surroundings, such as other houses or parks. Just ensure that your rabbit is ready and trained to prevent them from feeling stressed in the new environment.
6. Playing Outside Releases Pent-Up Energy in Rabbits
Another advantage of letting your rabbit play outside is decreasing pent-up energy. Many problems can occur to them if they don’t release that energy. This energy is described as suppressed energy.
House Rabbits of Society stated that aggression is one of the effects of a lack of exercise. Since your pet will become distressed from too much energy in their body, they will release it in another way. If there is one more rabbit in a single cage, the rabbit might fight because both are distressed.
How to Determine if the Temperature Outside is Safe for your Rabbit
Taking your rabbit outside during sunny weather can be exciting, but it’s important to be mindful of doing so. As a domesticated pet, rabbits need to be equipped to endure different outdoor environments.
While rabbits can regulate their body temperature, it’s important to be cautious as they can be vulnerable to complications from extended sun exposure. Keep a close eye on your rabbit and check the weather to ensure it’s not too hot or humid. Early morning or late afternoon is ideal for outdoor time to avoid direct sunlight during noontime.
Moreover, it’s essential to consider the possibility of hypothermia in rabbits during colder weather. Remember that both extreme cold and hot weather can be harmful to your pet’s health.
Caring for Rabbits When Playing Outside
1. Keep an Eye on Rabbits
One of the important things you should do when letting your rabbit roam outside is to observe them. Keeping an eye will prevent accidents and other problems for your pet.
When a rabbit is outside, it can encounter many potential dangers. Since they are prey and captive animals, their survival instinct isn’t as good as wild rabbits. In addition, some predators can harm your pet, especially if your area is located near a forest or wild animal’s territory.
However, you should not interfere with them every time because your rabbit will not enjoy their playtime.
2. Avoid Access to Toxic Things
Another thing to remember when you have a pet is to keep your toxic things in a safe place. Most households put some chemicals and pesticides used for gardening in their backyard. You need to know that rabbits love chewing on different things.
They don’t have the knowledge to distinguish what is safe and unsafe for them. Now, if your rabbit is roaming outside, they can go near those toxins and accidentally ingest them.
Moreover, house plants like hostas and poinsettias are also harmful to rabbits. So if you have those house plants keep your pet away from them. Your pet might think it is safe because it is a plant. Although a small amount can’t cause issues, overeating can cause digestive-related problems and diarrhea.
3. Put Up a Fence in the Backyard
Putting a fence around your backyard is one of the things you can do to prevent predators from harming your rabbit. Most especially if the rabbits spend long hours outside their cage, fences will keep them safe and secure. Also, there is a possibility that your rabbit will escape if there is no security fence around.
In addition, you can also ensure your garden plants. Sometimes, wild rabbits are the cause of distraction of plant crops. They will try fodder on your vegetation if they are hunting for food.
Once you decide to build, ensure that the height is high enough for rabbits to prevent them from escaping. Rabbits can jump high, so a regular height will not prevent them.
4. Provide a Body Harness or Leash
Leash or harness are commonly seen in dogs. But they can also be body accessories for rabbits, especially if you love to stroll them outside your house.
Walking with rabbits is an ideal activity you can give to your pet to release their energy. They will love a new environment aside from the usual house backyard.
However, your pet may dislike the wearing of a harness and may exert great effort to detach it from its body. Before you let them wear these accessories, ensure they are familiar with the leash. It’s ideal to train them on how it feels when a leash is put on their body.
Ensure the harness is comfortably worn to avoid a distressed pet. It may take a while for your pet to get used to leash walking, but training makes it easier every day.
5. Provide a Clean Drinking Water
Hydration is important in rabbits. According to a study by Michigan State University, about two-thirds of the rabbit’s body is made up of water. That is why it’s essential to always fill up those bodily fluids.
When rabbits play, they use so much energy that they become tired. But drinking water helps them regain their energy. This will keep them rehydrated and avoid risks to their health.
Once you see your rabbit breathing, rapidly offer them water right away. If more symptoms persist, like increased heart rate, shaky body, and lethargy, bring them to the vet immediately. There might be a more serious condition aside from tiredness. Treating your rabbit as early as possible is the best approach to prevent more complications.
6. Ensure Rest After Playing
Aside from playing, rest is also important in rabbits. After they spend time outside, bring them back into their cage and let them sleep for several hours. Similar to other animals, sleeping helps rabbits regain their energy. Note that energy is important because it assists your rabbit’s daily activities like eating, playing, and other things.
Lack of energy can deprive your pet of doing their daily lifestyle. If you notice your rabbit is still active even after playing, it can be a sign of underlying sickness. For peace of mind, you can always ask your doctor about that matter.
Other things you need to ensure when your rabbit is playing outside:
- You must also consider the presence of predators. Keep your rabbits far from foxes, birds, cats, dogs, and other animals that could startle and harm them. Even though they may not physically assault your pet, they can still cause it to get stressed because of their great fright of the predator.
- Heat is a major concern if you allow your pet rabbit to play outdoors. Your rabbit may experience heat stress. Be cautious about the indications of heatstroke and help your pet cool down.
- Avoid your rabbit from poisonous plants such as oak leaves, ivy, holly, and plants that flourish from bulbs.
- Inspect your rabbit for ticks as well as other bugs after playing outdoors. Flies, mosquitoes, and bugs may bite your pet and can greatly cause diseases.
Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Taking Care of Rabbits
Activities You Can Do for Your Rabbits
1. Chewing Toys
Rabbits love to chew. So one of the activities your rabbits can play is chew toys. Chewing has many advantages for rabbit health. It helps prevent boredom because their attention will be directed to the chew toy.
When choosing a toy for your rabbit, ensure its materials are safe for digestion. Some pet toys are made from plastic. Plastics are one of the toxic things that you should avoid contact with animals. It obstructs the stomach, which can be a leading cause of gastrointestinal stasis in rabbits.
But if you want more safe toys to play with for rabbits, you can make a Do-It-Yourself chew toy. It is more durable and safer since you will be the one who will assemble the chew toy. Just be reminded to avoid using toxic glues and other materials.
You can also let your rabbit enjoy chewing its food. Aside from their regular meals, giving them treats is ideal. This can serve as an alternative chew activity for them. Here is the list of safe foods you can let your rabbit eat.
2. Hide and Seek
Rabbits love bonding time with their owner. So make sure that when you let them play outside, you also engage yourself to increase trust between you and your pet.
One of the activities you can play is hide and seek. Rabbits’ noses have a great sense, so rabbits know their owner’s scent. But ensure that when playing this game, you do not make it complicated.
Hide in a nearby place beside your rabbit and call their name to guide them where your location is. Once your pet finds you, give them treats to imprint in their mind that they did a good job at finding you.
- Playing and being active is part of the rabbit’s lifestyle.
- Rabbits are naturally playful, so they love to inspect different things in their surroundings.
- Rabbits have different personalities. Some of them are extroverts and outgoing. And others are introverted and shy. So ensure that you choose the rabbit characteristics that also match your character. This will also help you know the right lifestyle for your pet.
- You must let your rabbit play outside their cage now and then to ensure they are happy and active.
- Here are the advantages of letting your rabbit play outside; maintain the rabbit’s weight, the pet will be exposed to sunlight, reduce the stress level in rabbits, provide fresh air, keep working their instinct, and release pent-up energy.
- Rabbits can regulate their body temperature. But you still need to ensure they don’t stay under the sun too long and during cold weather to avoid health problems.
- Caring tips for rabbits when they are playing outside; keep an eye on rabbits, avoid access to toxic things, put up a safety fence, provide a body leash, provide drinking water, and ensure that they rest after playtime.