As a pet, rabbits are definitely lovable. If you already have one, you want it to live as long as possible. However, rabbits have a lifespan that you need to understand. It’s also important to know their primary needs to maintain their health and vitality, so that they can be playful as always.
The short answer
Usually, domesticated rabbits can reach 8 years old with no trouble, but many of them will live longer for up to 12 years. It’s all thanks to the fact that they’re well protected in a safe place and have an adequate supply of food, unlike their wild counterparts who live under the constant pressure of the law of the jungle.
Does breed impact lifespan?
Most rabbits make great pets, but just like dogs, different breeds translate to different character and personality traits. Moreover, the breed of a rabbit determines – at least to some extent – their lifespan.
Generally, larger breeds have shorter lifespan, while smaller breeds live longer lives. Life expectancy is also longer in mixed breeds than in purebred rabbits. That being said, every rabbit is unique. A mixed-breed dwarf rabbit may have a lifespan of up to 8 years, while a giant purebred one may live longer for 10 years.
How can you extend a rabbits lifespan?
The diet and exercise you give your bunny play a more important role than breeds in determining how long they live. Rabbits are actually fairly high maintenance pets and require daily care including a good amount of physical activity and nutritious food.
In addition, rabbits should be kept in a large hutch with plenty of room to move around and play. For a giant rabbit, the cage should provide them with at least 5 square feet of living space, and they should use a run for additional space.
Rabbits also need a safe environment in which they can play for a certain period of time every day. Don’t let them be too passive, as that will make them gain too much weight and be susceptible to disease, which leads to a shorter lifespan.
In terms of diet, rabbits are obligate herbivores. With their constantly growing teeth, they always need pure timothy hay or orchard grass. Not to mention that their diet should also be supplemented with various leafy greens, veggies and high-fibre pellets.
It’s not recommended to feed your rabbit carrots and fresh grass, as they can do more harm than good to your pet. The reason is these foods are too high in sugar and can trigger digestive problems. Poor nutrition can negatively affect your pet physically and mentally, causing them to fall ill.
How to Take Care of Your Pet Rabbit
Proper food and exercise are good for a rabbit’s health, but there are also other things that can contribute to their overall wellbeing. Follow the tips bellow to increase the lifespan of your precious bunny.
Clean out cages regularly
Due to their playful nature, it’s easy for rabbits to be messy. That’s why regular cage cleaning is necessary to make sure that it’s always dirt-free. Get rid of poops and stained bedding every day. Clean their cage thoroughly every week to keep infectious disease at bay.
Spay or neuter your bunny
Spaying or neutering your rabbit is among the things you can do to keep them healthy. If you don’t do it, they will have an increased risk of uterine, mammary and ovarian cancers. These diseases are quite common in rabbits.
Look for a rabbit vet
Rabbits are one of the most popular types of pets you can have. They fall into the category of small and adorable animals. They’re easy to get but not so easy to understand, which is why you may want to seek help from a professional veterinary who is specialised in rabbits.
Diseases frequently found in rabbits
No matter how well you take care of them, rabbits are like other animals, they can get sick sometimes. When it happens, you should get proper treatment for them immediately. It will help them recover as soon as possible from the illness. Here are some health problems commonly found in rabbits:
1. Overgrown incisors
When there are not enough things to chew on, rabbits may have overgrown teeth. This is a serious problem as the pointy incisors can hurt your bunny’s mouth. They won’t be able to eat and drink comfortably. In the worst case scenario it will make them die. If you notice your pet having overgrown incisors, you should take them to a vet for grinding.
Dirty cages can cause rabbits to develop pasteurellosis or snuffles. While it has symptoms similar to a common cold, it’s actually an infection caused by bacteria. It can also lead to acute otitis media and abscesses. It takes antibiotics to treat and cure this disease.
3. Uterine adenocarcinoma
This is the most common type of cancer found in rabbits, especially the female ones who haven’t been spayed. The disease develops in their uterus and can be life-threatening for them. Spaying or surgery can cure it. In most cases, no further treatment is necessary.
Being outdoors for too long can make rabbits susceptible to myxomatosis, deadly disease carried by mosquitoes or flies. Pets contacting it will suffer swelling and eye discharge. With this risk in mind, it’s better to keep your rabbit indoor or protect them with mosquito netting if they have to go outside.
It’s important to check your rabbit’s health regularly. If you suspect they’re sick, you should immediately contact a vet specialist for medical help.