Hailing from the family of Leporidae, rabbits are furry mammals, which are reared as pets and also found in the wild.
There are different breeds of rabbits, so there may be a slight difference in personality, size, and color from one rabbit to another.
One thing that rabbits have in common is that they are all cute and love to eat a lot.
As such, when you get a rabbit as a pet, you should be prepared to feed the little guy enough food because this has a direct impact on the pet’s health and lifespan.
Just like most animals that are reared domestically, rabbits have an average lifespan, which may vary depending on several factors.
Before we look at some of the factors that may lower or increase the lifespan of your rabbit, let us find the answer to the question below question.
How long do pet rabbits live?
According to researchers and professional rabbit breeders, domesticated rabbits can live for a maximum of between eight to fourteen years, depending on the type of care that they get. Some rabbits may go beyond this age limit, so it all depends on how you take care of the animal.
However, their cousins in the wild may live for a shorter period due to food scarcity, harsh weather conditions, and predation.
In the wild, a rabbit that is fortunate enough to reach five years is considered to be extremely lucky since all the odds are always against them.
The good thing with pet rabbits is that you can help them to live longer because they are rared in an environment that is not only safe but also conducive.
Also, some breeds tend to live longer than others, so ensure that you research before settling on a particular breed of rabbit.
Things that can shorten the lifespan of your rabbit
Just like humans, rabbits can be affected by stress and this can greatly impact their health. A rabbit that is stressed may appear nervous and overly watchful of his/her surrounding.
Some rabbits may also get jumpy when they are stressed, so you should know how your pet reacts to stress since this will help you know when there is a stressor in the environment.
Plus, rabbits are very sensitive and can easily die from shock when they are frightened by a dog or cat.
A rabbit’s immune system is not one of the strongest, meaning that your pet may get different diseases if proper care is not given.
Diseases that affect rabbits are life-threatening, so the best way to keep your furry friend safe is to avoid the disease-causing pathogens by raring the rabbits in a hygienic condition.
GI (gastrointestinal) Stasis is also another serious health problem that you should look out for since this is one of the conditions that can cut the life of your rabbit short.
How to Prolong the Lifespan of your Rabbit
Regular Veterinary Check-ups
By taking your rabbit to a vet on a regular basis, you will be able to prevent some health conditions before they affect the health of your rabbit.
This particularly applies when dealing with elderly rabbits since they are more susceptible to diseases and other health complications.
Most vets recommend that you take your rabbit for health check-ups annually to determine if any underlying health problems that may harm your pet in the future.
As such, ensure that your furry buddy visits the vet at the right time to get his/her vaccination shots.
Keep the Rabbit Mentally Stimulated
As mentioned above, rabbits don’t respond well to stress, so try as much as you can to keep your furry buddy mentally stimulated.
You can do this by giving the rabbit toys that he/she can play with. Alternatively, rabbits can also keep their minds active by chewing on small branches and twigs.
Ensure that you source the branches from non-toxic trees to avoid poisoning your pet.
Rabbits are herbivorous animals, so their diet should mainly consist of plant materials, which are rich in fiber and natural nutrients.
For a rabbit to stay healthy, its diet must be balanced, so you have to see to it that the pet is getting enough minerals, vitamins, and proteins.
Additionally, you can consider giving your rabbit treats such as carrots once in a while and with moderation.
This is because carrots are rich in natural sugars, which can potentially harm your rabbit if consumed excessively.
A good diet should also be inclusive of clean water since it helps in digestion and also cools the rabbit when the temperature is extremely high.
Give the Rabbit enough room to Exercise
Rabbits like to jump and run around, so ensure that your pet has enough room to stay active.
Caging your rabbit all day long may seem safe, but this will harm the animal in the long run since this slows down the digestive functions, thereby predisposing the animal to GI Stasis.
Lack of exercise also predisposes your rabbit to health complications that may come about as a result of being obese.
Get the Rabbit a Companion
Rabbits are social animals, so they thrive when they are in pairs. With that being said, ensure that your pet is not lonely since this may cause anxiety.
This also makes the rabbits feel safe because they can find solace in each other when under stress.
With proper care, some rabbits have managed to live up to sixteen years and your pet could be next in line. All you have to do is to give your rabbit adequate care as stated above.
When handling female rabbits, you have to spay them when they reach a certain age since this lowers their chances of getting uterine cancers.
More to this, always keep a close eye on your rabbits for any weird change in behavior since this may be an indication of an underlying illness.
For the safety and well-being of your rabbit, only work with professional veterinarians who have experience in handling rabbits.
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