What do I need for my house rabbit?
Will your rabbit have free run of your house 24/7 or will they have some sort of a safe place to be when you’re not home? If it’s the latter, you’ll need an exercise pen, a condo, a bunny gate, or some other sort of housing set up for them. Visit our Housing FAQ to find out about some options for housing for your bunny. Don’t forget a soft rug or blanket for them to lay on (but make sure they don’t chew on it!), or other flooring that’s easy to wash or clean.
Food & Water Bowls
Buy two heavy bowls for food and water. You’ll also need something to hold your rabbit’s hay; you may want to put the hay into their litter box, or may want to try one of the many cool hay feeders on the market today.
You’ll want a hard-sided, top and front opening (non-collapsible) carrier to bring your rabbit to the veterinarian and any other place you may travel. Keep it someplace easily accessible in case of emergency. And don’t forget to put a nice soft blanket in it for comfort!
We recommend the House Rabbit Handbook, the first, and still the best, book on house rabbit care in the world. Written by Marinell Harriman, the founder of House Rabbit Society, it is based on over 30 years of collected knowledge of Harriman and dozens of House Rabbit Society fosterers.
Depending on how large your home is, and how much space in your home your rabbit will have access to, you should plan to have at least two litter boxes; one for inside of your rabbit’s “home base,” and at least one for outside of it. Plan to clean them as often as they get dirty.
Avoid litters made of clay and litters made of soft woods. Check out this great flyer of safe litters for your rabbit!
You’ll want to buy good quality rabbit pellets, made of either alfalfa or timothy, with no added treats or snacks. Learn more about rabbit food.
Your rabbit must have an unlimited supply of timothy, orchard, meadow, or other fresh hays! Hay must make up a major part of your rabbit’s diet, and must be fresh and high quality. Learn more about the importance of hay.
Your bunny should get fresh veggies every day. See our bunny-safe veggie list to get you started.
Bored rabbits are naughty rabbits. Visit our toy FAQ for ideas on toys for your rabbit!
Rabbit Proofing Supplies
Rabbits chew and your house, or the parts of your house that your rabbit will have access to, will need to be bunny proofed. Split clear plastic tubing and insert telephone cords, wires, etc., or buy pre-slit “cord tamers” in storage sections of home improvement warehouses or the computer section of other stores. Visit our rabbit proofing FAQ for more good ideas.
Grooming and Cleaning Supplies
You’ll need a nail clipper, a brush, and perhaps a comb, styptic powder, Revolution or Advantage (kitten strength) for fleas (if you live where fleas are a problem), and a flashlight for back-lighting nails, especially if your rabbit has dark nails. For cleaning, white vinegar (still the simplest and best way to clean up urine), and a broom or whisk broom and a dust pan for accidents.
It’s a good idea to have a bunny first aid kit with emergency supplies on hand in case you aren’t able to get to a rabbit veterinarian right away.
Remember, a first aid kit is not a replacement for going to a rabbit-savvy veterinarian when there is an emergency. A first aid kit can help you keep your rabbit stable until they can see a vet.
In case of emergencies, it’s a good idea to have the following items on hand:
- Digital thermometer (a rabbit’s normal temperature is 101-103°F) – practice taking your rabbit’s temperature before it’s an emergency!
- Water-based lubricant, like KY Jelly, to lubricate the thermometer
- Stethoscope, to listen for gut sounds
- Heating pad or disc, and cooling pad/ice packs, to keep your rabbit warm/cool, if needed. Only heat/cool a rabbit after taking their temperature!
- Blanket or cuddle pod to safely secure your rabbit for syringe feeding and/or medications
- A recovery food, like Oxbow’s Critical Care, for syringe feeding if your rabbit stops eating
- Canned pumpkin (not pie filling) to mix with Critical Care, if needed
- Infant gas drops (simethicone) – While simethicone may not do anything if a rabbit has gas, it is unlikely to hurt, and anecdotally some people feel it helps their rabbit.
- Oral syringes (1mL syringes for medicine and 35 mL catheter tip syringes for feeding)
- Pedialyte (unflavored), or apple juice for hydration
- Hydrogen peroxide, to clean blood off fur or check for blood in urine, seeing if it fizzes
- Pet-safe wound care spray, like Vetericyn
- Neosporin or Polysporin for minor cuts and bite wounds (not the kind with “pain relief,” generic ok)
- Q-tips and cotton balls
- Gauze and self-adherent bandages, like VetWrap or CoFlex
- Tweezers to remove debris
- Blunt scissors to safely trim fur away from a wound or mats (we like children’s Fiskars safety scissors)
- Small flashlight to look in ears, eyes, examine wounds, and to backlight dark nails for nail trims
- Styptic powder or cornstarch to stop bleeding if a nail is cut too close to the quick
- Saline solution or veterinary eye wash to flush eyes
- Washcloth to do a warm compress for a weepy eye or abscess
- Bulb syringe to clear mucus out of nostril or administer an enema
- Rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl) to clean thermometer after use, or to apply to ears of an overheating rabbit (temp over 104)
- Hand sanitizer (for humans only, if soap and water aren’t available)
Get help from your local House Rabbit Society chapter or HRS Educator for how to handle minor health emergencies or to do ongoing care and of course be sure to get to your closest rabbit veterinarian for help!