Keeping a Dwarf Bunny as a Pet
Having a dwarf bunny as a pet can be a great experience. Both the life of the rabbit and the time you spend with it will be much better if you take the time to learn about this species’ needs and determine how you can meet them. Let’s take a closer look at this species and what type of care it requires.
What is a Dwarf Bunny?
A dwarf bunny is basically a miniature version of the full-sized domesticated rabbit. Many species of rabbit have a dwarf sub-variety, but dwarf rabbits are not recognized as their own species because they are capable of breeding with normal-sized rabbits. There is a certain gene which results in a dwarf-sized rabbit, and if two rabbits carrying the dwarf gene were to breed together, they could produce what is referred to as a peanut rabbit. This is a newborn rabbit that comes out the size of a peanut. Peanut rabbits usually do not live for more than a few days, and in some cases may live to be two weeks old. The typical dwarf bunny can weigh anywhere between one and a half pounds to three pounds.
The good news is that almost all species of rabbit have the same care requirements whether they are typical or dwarf in size. A dwarf rabbit is pretty inexpensive to feed. As rabbits are grazing animals, good quality hay should be their main food source. Timothy hay is an ideal grain and can be supplemented with rabbit pellets and vegetables. Pellets are more of a vitamin and mineral supplement rather than a true food source, so these should be given in minimal amounts every day. A dwarf bunny should have some chopped fresh vegetables every day. Kale and broccoli are terrific leafy vegetables, and root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips are also good options. Apple chunks may also be included as a treat for the rabbit. It is worth bearing in mind some vegetables are more likely to cause gas than others—much in the way they can for us humans—therefore the introduction of new vegetables should be monitored to determine whether they cause excessive wind for the rabbit.
Even if one intends to keep the rabbit as an inside pet, it is still necessary for the rabbit to have its own cage. This not only gives the owner a safe place to put the rabbit when they go out or are unable to keep an eye on it, but it also gives the rabbit a personal space where it can be alone should it become distressed or anxious. The recommended sized cage is 30 x 30 x 14. It is very important that the bunny is allowed plenty of room to romp about so that it can release any excess energy and keep its muscles toned and healthy. One should bear in mind when choosing cage material that rabbits LOVE to chew and have pretty powerful teeth. A cage made solely of wood probably isn’t a great idea, nor is a plastic cage. A wooden frame with mesh wire walls is a very popular design as it allows the rabbit plenty of airflow without posing as a temptation for chewing.
Litter Box Training
Many people do not realize that bunnies can be litter box trained much in the way a cat can. A standard kitty litter box will do nicely, which should be filled with shredded or pelleted newspaper. Ideally the “litter” should be changed every day to reduce bacterial growth as well as the unpleasant odor. Never use cat litter in a bunny’s litter box, though!