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Bonding Pet Rabbits

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How to get Rabbits to get along with other Rabbits & other Pets

Bonding:  Rabbits Need Friends Too!

Rabbits, like people, enjoy the company of others. Companionship
helps to fill the hours while owners are away at work or out of
the home. A bored rabbit may get into more mischief than a rabbit
focusing attention on a companion.

Rabbit to Rabbit

The first thing you will need to do is find a companion for your
rabbit. Male with female pairs seem to work the best for
compatibility but female to female can also work. Male rabbits
seldom get along with other male rabbits unless started as
littermates. All rabbits should be spayed or neutered before
introductions begin.

Start the bonding process before the rabbits are allowed to
interact. Place the rabbits in separate cages in sight of each
other. Let them get used to the presence of another rabbit for
several days before actually letting them meet.

Rabbit introductions should be done in a neutral territory. This
is a place the existing rabbit has never entered. The room should
be large enough for the rabbits to move around yet small enough
so the rabbits can interact.

Newly introduced rabbits may go beyond hand shaking; they may
fight. You should have a water spray bottle and towels handy to
break up any fighting. Do not break up fighting with your bare
hands, as the rabbit may not differentiate whom he is attacking.
Discontinue bonding session before bites result in injury.
Rabbits may chase and show dominance behavior (mounting) during
the introductions. These are normal activities to determine which
rabbit will be the leader.

It is very rare for the rabbits to start grooming or lying
together during the first bonding session. The bonding should be
limited to 20-30 minutes the first few sessions. If all is going
well you can extend the time spent together and increase the
space. Some bondings may take a few days and others may take
weeks or even months. One or two litter boxes should be available
in the bonding space. The rabbits may mark territory with fecal
pellets at first but once the leader is determined this should
lessen or subside.

Once the rabbits are comfortable with each other and no fighting
occurs you may want to let them explore one another's cages. Keep
them separated at night until you are sure they will not fight.
When both rabbits are comfortable with each other they can be
kept in the same cage and your bonding is complete. The rabbits
may occasionally show dominance behavior even though they are
successfully bonded.

Rabbit to Cat

Rabbits and cats can become friends in your home. Kittens may be
more difficult than adult cats to introduce to your rabbit. As
long as your cat is not a hunter they should get along. Rabbits
and cats tend to play different games than rabbits play together.
Some will play chasing games with the leader switching several
times. Many cats and rabbits will groom each other and cuddle
next to each other. Supervise all interactions until you're sure
the pair will tolerate each other. Be sure to keep your cat's
nails trimmed.

Rabbit to Dog

Rabbit to dog introductions need more supervision than with other
house pets. It is important to know your dog and determine if the
pair will be compatible. Dogs should be obedience trained to ease
the introduction. If your dog does not do well with cats he may
be difficult to introduce to a rabbit. Rabbits like to run and
some dogs like to chase.

Start out with the dog on a leash lying down next to you and let
the rabbit explore the area. Keep the dog lying down while the
rabbit investigates. Try this for five minutes. Put the rabbit
away and praise the dog. Try these short introductions for
several days. Let the dog have a little more freedom while still
on the leash. If the dog lunges or the rabbit gets spooked
discontinue the introduction for that day. You may want to try
with the dog lying down again. If the interactions are
progressing, you may want to continue for several days and
gradually increase the time spent together. If the dog is
behaving you may want to try introductions without the leash.
Always be prepared to control the dog if necessary.

During the first month after you have completed the introductions
do not leave the dog and rabbit together without supervision.
Some dogs may never reach the point where they can be left
unattended with a rabbit. Err on the side of caution because in a
bad situation your rabbit will always lose.

Rabbit to Other

Rabbits are able to live with other species as well as cats and
dogs. Supervision is always necessary when introducing new pets
to your rabbit.

Guinea Pigs

They have slightly different dietary requirements but can live
together peacefully. Guinea pigs need Vitamin C in their diet but
rabbits do not. Both need grass hay and vegetables. Rabbits can
carry Bordetella bacteria which is harmful to Guinea pigs. Guinea
pigs can be vaccinated for this and then are able to live in the
same environment as the rabbit.


They have similar dietary needs. Chinchillas like to climb so a
tall cage is necessary.

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