Caring for your rabbit

There is no one way to care for all rabbits because every rabbit and every situation is different. Rabbits are now increasingly kept indoors as house pets as well as outside. It is up to you how you look after your rabbit, but you must take reasonable steps to ensure that you meet all their needs.


Provide your rabbits with a secure living environment that is large enough for them all to exercise in and stand up fully on their back legs without their ears touching the roof. You should provide both a large living area and a secure shelter where your rabbits can rest, feel safe and are protected from predators and extremes of weather and temperature. Ensure all areas of your rabbits' environment are well ventilated, dry and draught-free.

Provide enough bedding to keep your rabbits warm. Bedding should be safe for your rabbits to eat, e.g. dust-free straw or hay.

Give your rabbits regular (ideally constant) access to a suitable place where they can go to the toilet. If you provide litter trays, use newspaper, hay/straw, shredded paper and/or natural wood or paper-based non-clumping, non-expanding cat litter. The toilet area(s) should be separate to where your rabbits sleep; a hay rack can be placed over the litter tray to encourage them to eat hay.


Provide your rabbits with safe toys to play with and chew, and regular opportunities to play with other friendly rabbits and/or people.

Make sure your rabbits have constant access to safe hiding places where they can escape if they feel afraid.

Make sure your rabbits have opportunities to exercise every day to stay fit and healthy. Make every effort to ensure your rabbits have access to a large area to exercise during their most active periods (early morning, late afternoon and overnight).

Provide your rabbits with suitable materials that allow digging behaviour (such as a sand box), and areas to mark their territory with chin secretions, urine and droppings.

If your rabbit's behaviour changes or he/she shows regular signs of stress or fear, seek advice from a vet or a qualified animal behaviourist.

Health and welfare

Get your rabbits neutered.

Check your rabbit for signs of illness or injury every day, and make sure this is done by someone else if you are away. Consult a vet immediately if you suspect that your rabbit is in pain, ill or injured.

Front teeth and nails should be checked at least once a week as these can grow quickly. Only a vet should correct overgrown or misaligned teeth.

Take your rabbits for a routine health check at your vets at least once each year. Get your rabbits vaccinated regularly against myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD), as advised by your vet. Only use medicines that have been specifically recommended for your individual rabbit by a vet. Some medicines used for other animals can be very dangerous to rabbits.

Ensure your rabbits' coats are kept in good condition by grooming them regularly. If you are unsure how to groom your rabbits properly seek advice from a pet care specialist.

Make sure your rabbits can be identified, ideally via a microchip.


Provide fresh clean drinking water at all times. Check the water supply twice a day. Make sure water does not freeze if your rabbits live outdoors in winter.

Good quality hay and/or grass should make up the majority of your rabbits' diet and should be available at all times.

You can feed a small amount of commercial rabbit pellets, but hay and/or grass are much more important. If pellets or mix are provided, follow the manufacturer's instructions. Don't keep topping the bowl up as this may result in your rabbits not eating enough hay and/or grass.

Find out which plants are safe to feed your rabbits. Offer safe, washed leafy greens or weeds every day.

Only give root vegetables like carrots, or fruit, in small amounts as a treat. Don't feed any other treats as these may harm your rabbits.

Adjust how much you feed your rabbit to make sure he/she does not become underweight or overweight.

Monitor the amount your rabbit eats and drinks. If your rabbit's eating or drinking habits change talk to your vet straight away as he/she could be seriously ill.