Welcome to our weekly 'Ask a Vet from the SF SPCA' feature on 7x7.com. Dr. Jeannine Berger, DVM, DACVB is a board certified veterinary behaviorist who counsels guardians whose pets’ issues are beyond the scope of training. Think of her as a pet shrink at your service. Ask your own questions in the comments.
Every year the San Francisco SPCA warns people that the only bunnies and chicks they should bring home at Easter are chocolate ones. What’s the reason for this? Many people don’t think ahead to what will happen after the holiday celebrations are over. Baby chicks quickly become full-grown chickens; and chickens are not good household pets.
What about rabbits? They do make great pets, but they need much more care and attention than many people realize. The popular belief that rabbits are ideal “starter” pets for youngsters is just plain wrong. In fact, rabbits and small children are not a great match. Rabbits are generally not passive and cuddly, which is what kids want. They become frightened when held or restrained. And, rabbits are ground loving while kids love to carry their pets. All too often, children lose interest when they realize a bunny can’t be handled like a stuffed toy. Then the rabbit ends up neglected or abandoned. But don't get me wrong, rabbits can make wonderful pets for the right household.
A few things to consider: an indoor rabbit can live an average of 7 – 10 years. And rabbits are not low maintenance - they need plenty of space and exercise, regular socialization and a proper diet. If you do think you can give a rabbit the time and care it needs, please don’t buy one, adopt from your local shelter like Animal Care and Control or a rescue group like Save A Bunny instead.