Rabbits need to have regular exercise to remain physically fit and healthy. If your fur friend lives in a cage or pen, you need to find ways to exercise your pet rabbit safely. Bunnies that lack movement may suffer from osteoporosis and poor muscle tone. In addition, physical activities excite them. Activities also stimulate brain activity and keep them learning. It is also an opportunity to bond with their owners and other rabbit companions. Here are seven fun ways to exercise your pet rabbit!
Rabbit Agility and Jumping
Rabbit agility, also known as show jumping, is a good way to exercise your pet rabbit. Aside from strengthening their joints, it is also a mentally stimulating activity. To perform rabbit agility, the rabbit wears a harness. At the same time, the owner leads it by jumping on the ramps and going through tunnels.
Your rabbit doesn’t have to join the agility shows to experience the training. You can create its agility course in your garden. But make sure that you have proper ramps, tunnels, and harnesses. Asking a vet can help you design the course. As a reminder, not all rabbits are for agility training since some don’t have the temperament or condition to do it.
When training your bunny, you must practice positive reward-based methods. It is an effective way of changing or shaping your bunny’s behavior. You can give toys, praise, and treats to reward the excellent conduct of your pet. As much as possible, never punish or shout at your bunny since they may get stressed and frustrated.
You can also let your bunny compete in agility contests as long as it is in good condition. If you have a bunch of bunnies, choose the one that is friendly, energetic, and easy to please. Training your bunny for agility also helps strengthen your relationship with your pet.
One of the best exercises you can teach your rabbit is jumping hurdles. It can boost your pet’s confidence and help them have fun while doing some exercises. You can use pointer training to teach your bunny how to jump on the hurdles. It will follow the spot where you have pointed the stick. Once your pet gets used to it, you can teach it using verbal commands.
Some owners use clickers to train their bunnies quickly. It is also used for dog training. Preparing the set of hurdles that your bunny will jump on is crucial. You can also create using cardboard boxes, wood, or PVC pipes. To prevent injuries, you must ensure that the hurdles can drop every time your rabbit bumps them.
Begin the training with low-level hurdles. As your rabbit improves, increase the height of the hurdles. You must not make the activity so exhausting since your pet may get injuries. If it starts lying down, give it some rest and continue the training the following day.
Also, not all bunnies can jump on the hurdles. Old and obese rabbits need more simple exercises since they are prone to injuries. As much as possible, train your bunny once they are over four months old. Young rabbits have lots of energy to spend. Exercises like jumping on hurdles also lessen their destructive behaviors.
As prey animals, rabbits love to explore and hide in tunnels. Aside from their hiding place, tunnels also encourage them to exercise. You can place it inside your pet’s hutch so that it can have indoor exercises. A rabbit tunnel must not be too small to make it easier for your pet to move. It must not also be too large since bunnies feel more secure in tight spaces.
Besides its size, the rabbit tunnel must also be durable enough. Since bunnies love to chew, they may try to gnaw the tunnel. Some tunnels are lightweight and easy to move. If you want to save space, look for rabbit tunnels that you can compress. You can choose a portable or stationary rabbit tunnel, depending on your preference.
Portable rabbit tunnels are less expensive, and they help in saving space. However, bunnies quickly chew them. On the other hand, stationary rabbit tunnels are shorter than portable tunnels. But they are more durable since they are made of wood. You can also use cardboard boxes or PVC pipes to create your tunnel to save money.
Hint: Some bunnies love to just relax in the tunnel. If you are using it to help exercise your pet rabbit, consider setting up some treats for him to follow around the area, too.
Exercise your pet rabbit using his natural love of jumping!
Rabbits love to hop around, so providing them with some platforms is a good idea. Standing on platforms eases their anxiety since it helps them look out for predators. Jumping in high areas also strengthens their bones and keep their body healthy. You can install the platform in your pet’s hutch or outdoors.
Crates, strong cardboard boxes, and tree stumps can be used to make a rabbit platform. To create a safe rabbit platform, ensure your pet can reach its height. It must also be made of non-slip material, and it can withstand the weight of your bunny. If your pet has limited movements for a long time, you must ask your vet what platform to use. It is because they may suffer from fractures because of poor bone strength.
You can use your furniture as their platform if you have an indoor rabbit. But make sure that the platforms are steady enough to prevent them from falling. It must also be free from valuables since your bunny can chew them. Your pet would love to hop on different levels of platforms.
Walking on Harness
If you want your bunny to explore the town, you can walk it on a harness. However, this activity is ideal in a rural and quiet environment. Since rabbits are prey animals, they are frightened of loud noises. They may turn aggressive once they feel threatened. Before walking your pet outside, ensure that the harness is secure enough. It will prevent the bunny from escaping.
To keep your bunny comfortable, you must choose the most suitable harness. The H-style harness is the most comfortable one. It is usually found in the cat section. Never put a figure-eight harness on your bunny since it may snap your pet’s neck. The same is true with a simple collar. Also, the harness must perfectly fit your rabbit- not too loose or tight.
You can also walk your bunny to forage on the grass inside your lawn. But make sure that the grass is free from pesticides. Also, keep away your toxic houseplants since your pet may ingest them. Remember, never leave your bunny unsupervised while it is wearing a harness. Your pet may get entangled, leading to injuries.
Also, not all rabbits want to walk on a harness. If the new exercise stresses your rabbit, you must let it roam freely in your yard. Forcing a non-cooperative bunny may only result in injury or frustration. However, some bunnies love new experiences, and wearing harnesses is fun.
Setting up an exercise yard is also one of the ways to keep the bunny healthy and happy. Letting your bunny play in a fenced yard may sound good, but it has many dangers you should be aware of. Your bunny may ingest toxic plants or chew electric cables without proper supervision. Also, it can be attacked by predators or infested by parasites.
You can set up an enclosed garden with fencing that covers the yard from bottom to top. With ample space, your bunny can roam around without your supervision. However, it may cost you a lot. Other options are walled playgrounds and a closed courtyard. You can also create a large meadow enclosure or a playpen within a fenced yard. Converting the top of their bunnies’ hutch into a playpen is also possible.
Since rabbits don’t sweat and pant, you must provide the pen with enough shade if you choose to exercise your pet rabbit outside. Too much heat may result in heatstroke. You must also check if there is a hole since your bunny can be attacked by predators or escape from the pen. Repair the holes immediately.
Digging and foraging
Yes, his natural insticts also help to exercise your pet rabbit!
Digging and foraging are some of the activities that bunnies love to do. As natural burrowers, they are used to digging in the wild. Instead of letting your bunny explore under your carpet, you can create a spot where it can burrow. Place tissue papers or old newspapers in a medium or large cardboard box. Undoubtedly, your bunny will go to the box to burrow. You can also put some treats to encourage your bunny to dig more.
You can also place digging spots outdoors. It does not only encourage your bunny to exercise, but it also trims its nails. This activity also helps them to relax when they feel bored or frustrated. But make sure that you don’t leave your bunny unsupervised. They may eat toxic chemicals while foraging or escape from your yard.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the risks if a rabbit lacks exercise?
Rabbits that barely exercise are prone to osteoporosis and poor muscle tone. Aside from that, they may suffer from a spine injury or cardiac failure if you let them have some exercise. It is because they have weak hearts and fragile bones. As much as possible, let your pet have physical activities while it is young and energetic.
How many hours should you exercise your pet rabbit?
The average hours that a bunny should exercise is a minimum of four hours. You can split the exercise periods into the morning and the afternoon. However, some active breeds need more than four hours of exercise daily. They may have at least 32 feet of space to play and roam around.
How often should I let my rabbit out of the cage?
You should let your bunny out of the cage at least once daily. Keeping it in a cage for 24 hours will make them bored and stressed. Bored bunnies are destructive since they may keep chewing their furs. It may result in woolblock or GI stasis.
Jump into some fun with your rabbit!
Exercising keeps a bunny healthy and happy. There are lots of fun exercises that you can do with your pet. It will also strengthen your bond with your bunny. However, you must take precautions to prevent your furry pet from getting injured. Choosing the right equipment and methods makes the exercises exciting for your pet.