You must have seen many domestic bunnies living their entire lives inside a house, and that too, a healthy one. But recently, in a study, it was suggested that direct sunlight may be very beneficial for the development of a rabbit’s teeth and bones.
Just like human beings, even animals need sunlight for the vitamins; Vitamin D will be absorbed by the skin and then transformed into an active form that helps animals absorb calcium from the food.
Well, there is no set rule that you need to keep your bunny outside for a certain amount of time, but it’s safe to keep your rabbit outside for a few hours per day in warm enough weather as a few hours won’t cause them any harm.
You might be getting some questions like; do I need to walk my rabbit? How much time should I let my bunny spend outside? Do they even want to go outside or not?
It is very normal to ask such queries; you will get all your related answers below. You know the drill, right? Keep reading!
Do Indoor Rabbits Need To Go Outside?
Traditionally, rabbits are ”outdoor” pets/animals, but like any other owner, you might get worried for your bunny that it might get heatstroke or catch a cold or what if some giant animal attacks your little friend?
You could just take your bunny outside for some time to expose them to some Vitamin D – Sunlight! This is not only good for their bones and teeth but also it will provide your bunny with a different environment to live, enjoy and play.
Well, both indoor and outdoor rabbits can have a healthy and happy life discarding the question about where they should invest most of their time; outside or inside.
So, it’s all up to you and your bunny to decide and come to the decision of living outside or inside or maybe both.
How Often Should An Indoor Rabbit Go Outside?
You must have heard of the phrase “It is best to do things at a certain time.” Right now you might be asking, how is that relevant to this topic?
It is because it is okay to take your bunny outside, but it’s also best to keep this in mind: when is the right time to do this?
Your rabbit will start to shed their winter coat towards the end of winter i.e. end of February and somewhat at the beginning of March. So, by mid-spring, they will be sporting a new coat, and guess what? Now they are ready to be taken outside.
As the weather begins to warm up, you can begin to introduce your rabbit to the outdoors. Rabbits are very sensitive creatures, they might get shocked or get stressed easily, so to make sure that your rabbit doesn’t shaken up, you can take your bunny out for two days per week.
It has always been said that if you want to try something new and want to continue doing that, make it into your routine.
So, to take your rabbit out for his run or a walk, you can just set a time for one hour in the morning and one in the evening. You will love to watch your rabbit explore!
Is It Cruel To Keep A Rabbit Indoors?
Once you buy a new bunny or find one roaming in your yawn, you decided to take them home, but now what? You might be wishing that it’s better if you provide a small house for your pet too, right? But when you go to buy something, you might come across ‘small cages’.
Keeping your rabbit in such tiny cages might cause them physical as well as mental issues which include many health problems, obesity, and even deformities if they are not able to roam around naturally. It is cruel.
Bunnies are very social, smart, and highly curious creatures and here you are snatching all this from them. What will you expect? It will definitely start to show the symptoms of stress and depression.
They love to explore new things, they are highly active creatures and also love to run and jump.
If you want to keep your bunny inside, according to the House Rabbit Society, the house must be at least 8 square feet with not less than 24 square feet of exercising space, which they can have access to for at least 5 hours per day. And if you wish to provide your rabbit its own house, just say no to cages!
Should I Take My Rabbit For A Walk?
Rabbits are free-spirited creatures. They are social, smart, and love to explore new things with the perfect amount of fun. When you start to take your bunny outside, they are going to love to do things in their own way.
The most important form of exercise for your rabbit is “freedom,” in its own space where it can run, jump, and play. They usually don’t prefer a more “organized” walk.
Well, it is very possible to train your rabbit on a leash, but as mentioned above, it is better to prefer a free-roaming exercise.
Even then if you want to train your bunny on a leash, start with a proper harness.
An H-style harness will work, but you will not find that in the rabbit section so try searching the cat area, in the rabbit area, you might find a comfortable harness that would still work.
While fitting a harness, make sure that it’s not a “figure-eight” variety as they can snug the rabbit’s neck and can cause injury; also avoid a simple collar for the same reason.
It should not be too loose or too tight (which might make it uncomfortable and even cause injury). The one thing you need to remember is that if your rabbit is on a leash, it needs human attendance. Don’t think that it is okay to leave it alone on your lawn or in your yard.
Because this can result in plenty of bad events – the bunny can get lost while running and jumping outside, can get tangled in the bushes which might result in choking, or in the worst-case scenario, it can get attacked by a predator.
Are Rabbits Happier Inside Or Outside?
Usually, rabbits are “outdoor” animals, whether they are domestic or wild. In the case of wild rabbits, being outside is their necessity, to find food or to find some safe space.
But when we talk about a domestic rabbit, the word domestic refers to the fact that they mostly live inside.
But Rabbits love to explore new things and love to have fun and jump around all the time, so why not give them more space to do this?
And also in a study, it is found that exposure to daily sunlight is good for their bones and teeth.
They also benefit from time spent outside so that they can get fresh air and also enjoy fresh grass. This sudden change of temperature- going from a warm house to the cold grass outside might cause them a big shock.
So, to avoid this, try to give them regular access to the outside as the season changes. You can start this in spring, they will love it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much exercise do rabbits need each day?
As an owner, you should keep in mind that rabbits’ bodies are built for speed, and they need to be active for the sake of their health.
Rabbits must have at least a 3-hour run every day outside their “cage”. They need at least 24 square feet of free space to run around. It is even better if you take them outside in the fresh air under warm sunlight for the exercise but if you want to make them exercise inside, they will be happy with this too, just remember the amount of space required. Exercise should be done at dawn and dusk because it is when rabbits are naturally most active.
Don’t take your rabbit’s freedom, if they want to exercise outside or even inside, respect their opinion and provide them enough space. If you fail to do so, they might get physically weak or become stressed and depressed.
In the winter, should I move my outdoor rabbit inside?
It is not at all abnormal for you to worry about your outdoor rabbits getting cold in the winters, which might give you the thought that it is better to move them inside, in a warmer environment.
The best opinion is to move them into a garage or a shed, especially if the temperature is dropping below freezing. If you decide to take them inside, keep in mind that it will take them at least 2-3 days to get adjusted to your house, the space, the environment, and obviously the sudden change of temperature.
So, it is best to make them first move into the sheltered area for a few days and then, into your house which will give them enough time to adjust to the higher temperature. A porch, shed or a garage will work.
Rabbits are social animals. They need time to explore their surroundings play, to enjoy their time.
It is not a rule that they should go outdoors or should always stay inside. Rabbits are known as outdoor creatures. They can explore the outside world when they are four weeks old.
They should go outside to become competent enough to survive by their own methods. Indoor rabbits will surely enjoy spending time outside as they will get some fresh air and will even get some fresh grass to munch on.
If you want to take them out, don’t forget that they get affected by a sudden change in temperature. So, start slow and make a routine. Now, go and enjoy watching your rabbit happily hopping around your lawn!