LOTS OF QUESTIONS! Sorry in advance!

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Feb 14, 2019
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Hello! I just got my first rabbit and I am embarrassed to say that I didn't do much research beforehand. (I have done a lot now!) I have an albino holland lop named Penelope! She is the light of my life. She is so sassy and is not scared of anything (except being picked up). She is about 11weeks old so she isn't fixed. I am planning to get her fixed when she is a little bit older.

I want to make her a full range house bunny so I was wondering if I should put multiple litter boxes around the house. She uses the one in her room currently VERY well. But I am wondering if her space is bigger, will she still run to her box when she has to go.

So I know rabbits shouldn't be in cages so she has a whole bedroom with tons of toys in there. She has wooden toys, tubes, hiding treat toys but she still chews the door frame and rips up the carpet. I have several boxes filled with newspaper and stuff for her to dig but I can't get her to stop.

Would it be a bad idea to get her a friend? She is still young and I would get her another female and eventually fix them both.

I also have a dog and cat. The cat chases her around but it seems like Penelope doesn't care. Her ears never go back and sometimes when the cat runs up to her she just lays down. Or Penelope chases her back. Sometimes they groom each other so I'm wondering if thats okay or I should always separate them. And Penelope and my dog just relax together so I feel comfortable with them (my dog is a chihuahua and Penelope looks like she might be bigger than my dog when she grows up.

I cannot seem to pick her up. I know they hate it but the only reason I want to pick her up is to cut her nails. I have no idea what to do about her nails. Lots of advice would be really helpful.

Any general advice would be helpful. I want to be the best pet/bunny/kitty/puppy mom in the world!
For picking up all rabbits will hate it in the beginning. You will just have to make it a positive experience and make it fun. When you have her in the arms give a treat (pellets/ green leafs/veggies ). I often use the pellets amount I have as treats for my rabbits.

If it extremely hard start with make her become use of getting touched and not move away. On the picture you can see the areas a rabbit should tolerate being touched for being picked up.


With positive reinforcement all rabbits will tolerate being handled for short moments. You will also need to find out how she wants to be carried and picked up. All 3 of my rabbits have different way to be picked up, wrong way and they will jump away or struggle. Right way they are comfortable and they will become cute angles, easy handling and relaxed. So you need to find out what she likes/ tolerates more.

A friend might help her with the pent up energy but she’s also a rabbit, and they have instinct to chew and dig. You can try to bunny proof the door frame. You can’t be sure a kit bond will hold later and work, so it will be hard. Maybe adopt a neutered buck and put them together, when she’s older.

Rabbits can spend time with other pets without a trouble, it all depend on the other pets and how they interact. She’s not scared of the cat, then I wouldn’t worry that much. So long the cat know a few boundaries, when it interacts with your bunny.

Don’t let her free roam until she’s 100% litter trained a bigger area too fast will make her go somewhere else. So wait until you are sure she’s litter trained and slowly expand her area. Myself did this mistake and try to limit the area during the teenage period, all my rabbits before spayed/neutered forced me to clean up a lot of places when they free roamed especially the couch and bed, so a lot of washing.

Myself only have 2 litter boxes in the house, one in the kitchen and the other one in my rabbits cage. So the litter boxes are placed on different sides of the house. My indoor rabbit free roams all the day except during the night. But all my rabbits know where to find the litter boxes in the house and will run to them when they have to go.

Good luck with your baby bun [emoji5]
My best advice would be to go sloooww. Do not be in any rush to give her more space. She is still young and still figuring things out. Giving her too much space is only going to encourage bad habits which will be that much harder to break. With rabbits, it is always much easier to train correctly form the start rather than trying to reverse naughty habits that resulted from too much freedom too soon.

So... having given her a whole room already is more than enough. It is great she's doing well with potty habits but once hormones kick in, even litter trained rabbits may forget that training and start piddling about. You definitely don't want her doing that in the room -- let alone in the rest of the house. Once urine gets in carpet, they tend to go back to the same spot over and over again.

As for getting her a companion --- waaay too soon for that too. Rabbits have to be fixed before they can be bonded. Wait until after she is spayed to consider whether or not you want a bondmate for her. If you do, that would be the time to introduce her to other fixed rabbits to pre-screen for potential compatibility. Rabbit bonding can be very stressful (for you and for bunny), and some rabbits refuse to bond, so don't rush into that. Definitely wait until after she is spayed and healed.

If she's chewing carpet, that could be because she isn't fixed yet. That is a habit you want stopped ASAP. Block off any places of carpet she is chewing. If she is chewing randomly everywhere, then get an x-pen and put a heavy duty tarp down to keep her off the carpet. If the carpet chewing doesn't stop, you will never be able to let her free roam. Don't let it become a habit.

Do not, repeat, do not allow your cat to chase your rabbit. It may seem innocent and harmless but it is not ok for the rabbit. They hide stress. I know of a couple people who thought their cat (or dog) was so cute playing with the rabbit (playing chase), and in those cases, the rabbits died very young -- I'm assuming from the constant stress. Cats and dogs are predators and they play by mimicking that predatory behavior -- play fighting, play chasing. Rabbits, being prey, do not play this way. My dogs get along with my rabbits, but they are never allowed to chase them.

I have info about introducing a dog to rabbit which may be helpful. Even though your dog seems to be doing fine, there may be some things you may not have considered. (It may also be useful applied to cats.) That info is here. Elsewhere on that site is info on bonding rabbits - much more complicated than many realize - and info on free roaming.
It sounds like Penelope does like your cat or she wouldn't groom her. Since she also chases her back, it's possible they are playing. Rabbits don't necessarily play chase games, but they will play a sort of 'I'll follow you, you follow me' game. If you wanted to post a video of it here, we could probably give you a better opinion on whether they are actually playing or if your rabbit is running because she's scared. One thing though, you never want to allow your cat to bite or scratch, even in play, as the bacteria cats carry can be very dangerous to rabbits causing serious infection. You also want to keep your rabbit from having access to your cats litter box.

Like blue eyes said, you have to block off things you don't want chewed. So the carpet you would need to cover with something- a tarp, ceramic tiles, a cut of textured linoleum, or if she is just going after the corners, block those with furniture, tiles, or xpen panels. Some people even use layers of plain cardboard(not the shiny colored kind) to block off things. This has the added benefit of giving your bun something to rip up. Though you would have to keep an eye on her ripping through it to the carpet, and replace as needed. You also need to make sure she is shredding and not necessarily ingesting much of it. Too much cardboard ingestion can sometimes cause a risk of a GI blockage.

The door frame you will have to cover with something she can't chew like those plastic or metal corner protectors, lexan or plastic sheeting, wire panels or mesh, or even tacking on a pine 1x4 that you don't care if she chews. It's possible as she gets older that the behavior could settle down, but rabbits are rabbits, it's natural instinct for them to want to chew and dig. Here's a link with some tips on rabbit proofing.

Here's a video on nail trimming that might work for you. If not, there is always taking her to the vet and having them do it.

As long as your animals seem chill with each other, let it happen. Rabbits are social creatures, and sometimes will take the chance to bond with other animals. Keep an eye on them and if something changes be ready to step in.

Hold off on making changes such as a bunny friend or free roaming until after she's old enough to be fixed. Rabbit horomones will sometimes drive your bunny to behaviour that may seem... out of character. All buns are different, but figure out what you're dealing with there first.

Bunnies chew, bunnies dig, and they will chew and dig at absolutely everything they can. Bunnies dont have hands, they have teeth, and they will use them to explore the world around them. However! For your walls and wood furniture, try putting clear tape (like moving tape, the wide stuff) over the spots your bun seems to like going for. Or just prepare for the worst and over everything. Most buns dont like the taste or texture of tape and will find better things. Other then that, get used to fixing, tossing, or living with chewed belongings.

Nail trimming can be hard, and if you're new at it I suggest enlisting help. One easy way to do it is have your assistant pin the bunny (gently) and slip your phone with the flashlight on under the paw. This will let you easily see where the veins in the nail are. Your bun should be a bit calmer without being held up but make sure your assistant knows to not let the bun move while you're cutting. Cutting the back paws this way is a little awkward but with the right positioning not difficult.

As a new bunny owner, just a reminder, your buns diet is super important and should consist of 80-90% hay. In fact a rabbit can make due with nothing but hay (but they wont be happy about that). Look up GI stasis and learn to spot the symptoms early. My favourite method is to snuggle my bun and press my ear to the side of his stomach. As long as I hear gurgles everything is awesome. Good luck!

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