Should you give a pet rabbit as a Christmas gift? We’ve all seen pictures of children opening a gift with a puppy, kitten, or rabbit inside. Those images always show such joy!  But is that always a story with a happy ending?

 

Should You Give A Pet Rabbit As a Gift?

 
give a pet rabbit as a gift

Should you give a pet rabbit as a gift?

Many people think of rabbits and ducks as Easter gifts. Puppies and kittens are often given at Christmas. But more and more families are choosing smaller pets over dogs and cats for practical reasons. Smaller homes without a fenced yard, apartments that don’t allow dogs, and busy lifestyles cause many to consider rabbits, cavies, and other small pets.

So naturally, giving a gift of a long-awaited fur friend seems like a perfect way to introduce a new pet. We envision the delight and joy that the child or even an adult shows when opening that gift and holding their new pet. 

But what happens after that 5 minutes of joy? Does the new bunny get set aside, allowing the gifting to move on to the next present? Before you decide to tie a bow onto that adorable bunny, let’s consider the pros and cons of giving a pet rabbit as a gift at Christmas or any other time.

 

 

 

 

Why consider a pet rabbit as a gift?

Rabbits make excellent pets for all ages.  They are lower maintenance than dogs and quieter than most other pets. Most are easily litter-trained like a cat and learn to walk with a harness and leash.

Pet rabbits offer companionship. In fact, most bond quite closely with their families. As a result, they become family members, just as a dog might.

A big reason— rabbits are extremely clean! If their pens are kept clean when needed, your friends won’t know you have a pet. That is, until you bring the bunny out to show his newest tricks!

Rabbits show incredible intelligence, usually matching that of other pets such as dogs and cats. This makes them easy to train, too. And they readily learn tricks.

You can find more information on these traits in these articles.

 

Moreover, while we often consider rabbits pets for children, many adults find them perfect pets.

Some examples include:
  • young adult couples with or without children
  • single adults wanting a pet that is less demanding than a dog
  • college students who want a furry study companion
  • people unable to get out of the home much or at all (shut-ins)
  • physically challenged (handicapped)
  • emotionally stressed people (yes, rabbits serve as emotional support animals!)
  • elderly, including those with dementia

 

Other Reasons
  • Although they can vocalize, rabbits are almost always quiet unless they are very afraid or are being attacked.
  • Properly handled, rabbits rarely scratch or bite. Of course, they can, but pet rabbits are usually easily taught to be nice.
  • As mentioned above, but worth repeating is that rabbits are extremely clean animals. While cats might be considered just as clean, their litterboxes are quite a different matter.
  • Except for the long-haired varieties, rabbits require minimal grooming.
  • Rabbits are vegans. They can help you with those scraps of greens, carrot tops, and broccoli stems. Of course, the product needs to be good quality, not spoiled.
 
pet rabbit as a gift

First, let’s consider the PRO’s of giving a rabbit as a gift.

In addition to the reasons given above as to why to give a pet rabbit as a gift, consider these:

 

  • If the recipient has wanted a pet rabbit, the gift might be most welcome.
  • For people who feel lonely, the rabbit might brighten the holiday and beyond.
  • A gift of a rabbit allows for other gifts to be given that will be needed, such as a pen, toys, and accessories.
  • Rabbits make great pets (see the previous comments about why a pet rabbit).
  • The rabbit may be placed in a more secluded room while the festivities continue, to allow him to settle in.

Reasons to Avoid Giving a Pet Rabbit as a Gift (Cons)

As with any gift, it’s important to look at the reasons to avoid giving a rabbit as a gift, at least during the holidays. Some of these include:

 

  • Holidays often are energetic and filled with activities. This might not leave time to properly care for the rabbit and often is too busy to allow the rabbit time to settle in with the family.
  • The recipient might prefer to choose the rabbit for themselves. What if the given rabbit does not appeal to the person or they do not bond easily?
  • The recipient might not want a pet rabbit at this time in their life.
  • Consider the ability of the recipient to care for and also to afford to keep a pet rabbit. While a rabbit won’t eat like a great dane, they do require good food and clean bedding. Some people are either physically or financially unable to provide the needed care. Find out how much to budget for rabbit expenses in this article.

 

The first reason is often the one cited most. And with good reason.

All too often, pets that are given as gifts end up in shelters or given away within weeks of receiving them. It’s a terrible fact, but it does happen. One study found that about 6.2 million rabbits live in shelters in the USA, with about 75% coming from owner surrenders.

That is a startling enough fact to cause us to think carefully before giving a pet rabbit as a gift. Imagine that adorable gift becoming a shelter animal, waiting for his next home.

Creative Ways to Give the Gift without the problems

Over the years, I have actually given live animals as gifts, with proper consideration. It takes some creativity at times, but is workable.

For instance, one year we took our kids to visit some pups that we were considering. One puppy bonded right away with them and they played for some time. I then thanked the owner and told him we’d let him know after the holidays. The kids were disappointed but seemed to understand that it was not the right day to take a puppy home. I sent my husband back in to get “something I had dropped.” He understood and made arrangements to pick up the chosen pup on Christmas Eve. Those kids and the pup were inseparable from the moment he arrived!

This worked very well because we didn’t have big plans for Christmas at our home. The pup was already crate trained and so could be left to nap while we ran to Grandma’s for a couple of hours on Christmas. Success!

 

Another way to give a pet gift
A friend explained how she managed the Christmas surprise. Her daughter really wanted a pet rabbit. They discussed the possibility and she knew the type of rabbit her daughter, then 7 years old, had her heart set on. But they had family coming in for the holidays for a few days and she didn’t believe it would be a good time to bring in a new bunny. Imagine poor bunny–new home, lots of people including younger children who might want to hold and grab the bunny. 
 
Instead, my friend decided to wait until after the holidays and let her daughter choose her rabbit. Then she got creative. Her daughter really wanted a Holland Lop type rabbit. It didn’t have to be purebred, but should look like the lops she had seen.  So her mom found an adorable stuffed animal that looked similar, including the floppy ears. She wrapped up the “stand-in” rabbit with a note indicating that this rabbit was a place-holder.
 
It worked perfectly! Her daughter was thrilled with the stuffed rabbit and promptly named him. She practiced taking care of him until the household calmed down and she was able to go choose her pet. That was several years ago. They are still buddies today!
 
 

Is it the right time to present a pet rabbit as a gift?

 

Of course, this might be the perfect time to offer a pet rabbit as a gift to a very fortunate recipient. Maybe your elderly mom is not able to get out much and longs for a pet she can manage. Or perhaps your friend needs an emotional support animal to help him through the holidays and beyond. In such situations, a pet rabbit might prove quite special.

In times like that, giving that pet rabbit might be a perfect idea. Of course, don’t forget the add-ons like the pen, food, and supplies. But with proper planning, it can work beautifully!

 

But what if it’s not?

However, if it’s not the right time, consider a more creative way to offer the gift at a better time. One of the examples I gave might help. Or perhaps you try another means. If you do, please leave us a comment in your creative way!

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