Rabbit Companionship

Rabbit companionship

Why does a rabbit need a companion? What rabbits should you keep together? How should I care for my rabbit when I’m on holiday?

In this section we’ll look at:

  • The ideal approach to company for your rabbit
  • Suitable companions
  • Who should care for my rabbits if I go on holiday?
  • Research
The ideal approach to company for your rabbit

The ideal approach to company for your rabbit

Give your rabbit a playmate to keep them happy. Rabbits are highly social: picture wild rabbits in a field and a warren full of family. Rabbits kept on their own get lonely and stressed and their behaviour may change.
Suitable companions

Suitable companions

The best combination is usually a neutered male with a neutered female. Un-neutered males and females shouldn’t be kept together, as they will breed and it can be difficult to find homes for the young. 

A note on neutering: Un-neutered female rabbits reach sexual maturity between 4 and 5 months of age and un-neutered male rabbits between 5 and 8 months of age. Smaller breeds may reach sexual maturity earlier than larger breeds. PDSA strongly recommended that you neuter your rabbits. For more information, see our page on Neutering.

Ask a vet, vet nurse or other qualified pet care specialist for advice on rabbit companionship and how to safely introduce a second rabbit to your existing one. 

It’s best for your rabbit to have another rabbit to keep them company: they’ll have the same needs and communicate in the same way. Just imagine how lonely you would feel if you lived all alone in a world full or rabbits. If you only have one rabbit, it needs companionship from you as it trusts you. You should interact with it for several hours every day. 

Don’t keep rabbits and guinea pigs together. Rabbits can bully and injure guinea pigs. They both need their own kind for company.
Who should care for my rabbits if I go on holiday

Who should care for my rabbits if I go on holiday?

You’ll need to arrange for someone responsible to care for your rabbits. It’s best if a friend, neighbour, family member or a professional “pet-sitter” looks after them. 

If a friend or “pet-sitter” is looking after your rabbits while you’re away, make sure they know about your rabbits’ requirements. Leave them a list of information, such as how much food and exercise your rabbits needs, any medication they might be on and how to give it – and your vet’s contact details for emergencies.

Research

Research

The PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report

Since 2011 we’ve surveyed over 53,000 pet owners, veterinary professionals and children, giving us a huge insight into the wellbeing of pets in the UK.
Here are the findings for rabbits and their need for company:

Overview

Companionship for rabbits scores the lowest in the entire PAW Report: it’s one of the most neglected of all the welfare needs. Rabbits, like other social animals, can suffer chronic loneliness and boredom when living alone. Many more rabbits need the companionship of another compatible rabbit.

You can read our full PAW Report here.


Key findings from our most recent report:

The lonely life of UK rabbits – over 540,000 rabbits crave a suitable companion.

  • 45% of owners report that their rabbit lives alone. As a highly social animal that needs the company of its own species, this is a significant failing.
  • While 43% of owners have ensured their rabbits have another rabbit for companionship, only 73% of have had all their rabbits neutered. This can lead to unwanted litters – and increase the likelihood that they’ll fight each other.

Top Tip...Seek advice from a vet, vet nurse or qualified pet specialist if you’re thinking of getting a companion for your rabbit. You can then introduce the new rabbit safely, prevent them from fighting and ensure they’re neutered to avoid unwanted litters.

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