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Welcome to your new Rabbit

Our advice for bringing your new rabbit home

Outdoor Rabbits

Rabbits can live very happily outdoors. They like the fresh air and enjoy running around in the garden if possible. If your new rabbit is going to live outside, you will need a rabbit hutch with as much room as possible. Rabbits like to hop around and need the exercise so if you don’t have a garden, at least ensure there is a rabbit run for your pet to run around in. There should also be a covered area for your rabbit to keep warm and out of the sunshine when it’s hot. If you have more than one pet rabbit, they should be quite happy sharing a hutch. Do bear in mind that you will need to get them spayed or neutered if they are to live together. keep an eye on it to make sure there are no gaps in the wiring or weak spots in the wood. 

Indoor House Rabbits 

It is possible to keep your new pet rabbit indoors. You may want your rabbit to have free run of the house, allowing them to roam freely. In order to keep them safe, you will need to take precautions against wiring and other dangerous items your rabbit is likely to chew. For most rabbits, it’s best to start off at least with an indoor cage. This gives your bunny somewhere to sleep and allows you somewhere to put him or her when there are guests in the home or you need to keep them contained for a period of time. The cage can serve as a sleeping area, position a litter tray next to it and your rabbit will learn to use that area as a bathroom too. It’s advisable to position litter trays around the house so your rabbit has plenty of options. 

Your Pet Rabbit’s Diet 

Diet is an essential element in keeping your rabbit healthy, one that can be quite easily overlooked. It is recommended that their diet is composed of: 

  • rabbit pellets- 5% 
  • hay- 70-80% 
  • leafy green vegetable leaves such as cabbage- 10-20% 

Pellets are preferable over muesli to prevent selective feeding – the process whereby rabbits eat the bits they like and leave the nutritious, but not necessarily appealing, parts behind. Selective feeding makes providing a balanced diet almost impossible. Rabbits need to gnaw to keep their ever-growing teeth worn down. This is something that they will do instinctively so it’s important that they have enough hay to nibble at. A continuous supply of fresh water is essential. 

Neutering Rabbits 

In terms of neutering, male rabbits (Bucks) tend to be territorial, aggression can also be a problem. Neutered males tend to be happier and more relaxed and nearly all will stop spraying urine even if the operation is performed in later life. However, the ideal time to carry out the procedure in bucks is when they are about four or five months old. Having female rabbits (Does) spayed is even more important. Most females become territorial and aggressive from sexual maturity onwards (4-6 months) They can scratch and even bite their owners as well as attacking other rabbits that are housed with them. Spaying removes the uterus and ovaries of a female rabbit, usually around the age of four or five months. Spayed females are likely to live longer than their un-spayed sisters.


Your rabbit needs to be regularly vaccinated throughout life, even if kept indoors. Contagious diseases are transmitted by insects such as fleas and flies and can affect house rabbits as well as those kept outdoors. One single fly dirt is enough to transmit disease and so we need to protect all our pet rabbits.  

Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD) are the diseases we vaccinate against. This can now be done in one vaccination lasting 12 months. RHD has 2 strains of disease, both of which are covered in the new vaccination. Both diseases have no treatment and are usually fatal if caught, hence our recommendation to vaccinate every rabbit once a year.   

Fleas and Flies 

Fleas carry many of diseases and we can provide protection.  

Flies can lay eggs on rabbits, particularly if they are overweight, unwell or kept in dirty conditions, resulting in attack from maggots, or fly strike. Fly strike can be prevented. It is a good idea to use a product as a preventative in the spring and summer months, please ask member of staff for more information. 


We strongly recommend you do insure your new kitten this can help greatly towards unexpected costs such as emergencies or even long-term medication. Although we are unable to recommend an insurance provider, please look into a policy that suits your pets needs.

Otter Vets would like to congratulate you on your new rabbit. We are here with the aim of keeping your rabbit happy and healthy. If you have any queries or concerns, our staff will be happy to help, please get in touch with us.