Children are not especially good with rabbits, and many rabbits don’t get on well with small children, meaning you should think twice if your child has asked for a pet rabbit. When trying to choose a pet for the whole family, give some thought as to what type of animal would make a good choice, and some other pets are definitely more appropriate for children, especially older kids.
Whereas some animals like to be held and petted, most rabbits don’t like to be held and cuddled, contrary to the picture of cuddly rabbits that we have. Rabbits are quite fragile, and it isn’t uncommon for them to get hurt, or even break a bone while trying to get away from someone’s clutches. They can inflict painful scratches with their sharp nails, and often fight and kick if you try to hold them.
Most small children like to run and play, and can often get quite loud, and this also makes a rabbit an unsuitable pet, as rabbits tend to be timid and quiet, and easily scared. A suddenly startled rabbit can even suffer from a heart attack. However, rabbits can be sociable and like to be around people, and a rabbit will typically approach a child who is sitting reading or playing quietly.
Many parents think that buying a pet rabbit makes sense, as it will teach their child responsibility, and while this is an admirable reason, you still have to keep in mind that rabbits are not the best pets for small children. If you buy a pet rabbit, you should be prepared for your child to simply get tired of caring for the rabbit, and you may end up taking on that important responsibility yourself.
Owning and caring for a pet rabbit comes with several chores that need to be carried out regularly, and these can be an effective way to teach children to be responsible, especially older kids. Keeping the litter box clean is an ideal chore for a responsible and older child, as is teaching the rabbit to be litter box trained.
You may want to assign an adult to oversee this chore, at least at first, but many teenage children are able to carry out the task responsibly. If you have a pet rabbit, keep in mind that you will also need to groom your pet regularly, clip its nails, provide fresh water and food, and generally spend some time playing with it.
A pet rabbit isn’t a play thing and because rabbits are frail and easily scared, you should carefully consider whether it’s the right pet for your family, although if you have older children, caring for a rabbit may be the perfect fit. Never leave the care of a pet rabbit to a child who simply isn’t mature or responsible enough to properly care for it; rather, the rabbit should be regarded as being everyone’s responsibility. A pet rabbit can bring joy and happiness to your home, but it is essential to consider the points above before rushing out to buy that cute bunny. Talk with your children to make sure that they really are ready for the commitment of caring for an animal.