Pet rabbit

rabbits fighting

All you need to know about fighting rabbits.

There are several indications in rabbits that you misunderstand as if they are fighting.

Misunderstanding bonded rabbits’ behavior towards each other is concerning.

If you stop your pet rabbits imagining they are fighting while they were merely playful, you will unnecessarily stress your pet rabbits.

By knowing why your rabbits are fighting, you can prevent them from injuring themselves, which is what I am going to discuss in this post precisely.

Rabbits are prey animals and do not show aggression at all.

But if your pet rabbits, even your bonded pet rabbits start fighting with each other, it is the rabbit guardian’s responsibility to interpret why they are fighting and how to prevent it in the future from happening again.

Without knowing the reason behind the fight, you cannot rebond the rabbits ever again.

Why do rabbits fight with each other?

Rabbits are soft furry animals. Being quiet and cuddly doesn’t mean they can’t be aggressive.

Rabbits are very territorial, and likewise wild rabbits, domestic rabbits like to build dominance if there are several rabbits in your house.

Rabbits will generally fight to establish dominance.

Assuming you own a single pet rabbit. One night before going to bed, you decided you will bring a new bunny friend for your pet rabbit. Doing so is an excellent idea. However, you adopted a new bunny and brought it home only to find out that your older bunny is trying to mount the newcomer.

You see, as I have told earlier, rabbits are territorial animals. Once they see a newcomer inside his/her territory, the rabbit will attempt to establish dominance.

They establish dominance by mounting on each other.

Therefore it is said to follow rabbit bonding steps before you place two rabbits inside a hutch.

Bonding rabbits are essential. And bonding two strangers requires a neutral territory.

Rabbits are susceptible to smell. When you place a new bunny in the older rabbit’s territory, the smell of the newcomer will bother the older rabbit.

As a result, the smell of the newcomer in the older rabbit’s territory will trigger a fight.

In most cases, the older rabbit will mount the newcomer. Mounting is a way of fighting.

The scenario will be worse if you introduce unneutered/unspayed rabbits.

Rabbits fight when their hormone level is high.

If you introduce unspayed/unneutered rabbits, it is likely they will start fighting someday.

Understand the fact that neutering/spaying a house rabbit is essential.

It is not only to prevent rabbits from fighting, as well as to keep your rabbits healthy.

Adopting a single rabbit or a pair is a pleasure. Nevertheless, I reckon you are not willing to breed rabbits.

You may say what if you adopt a pair of female rabbits. So there will be no problem with rabbits giving birth. Many rabbit owners are not willing to spend money on spaying/neutering as it is expensive in places.

Owning a pair of unspayed female rabbits will stop your rabbits from breeding, and you can call yourself a proud owner.

But one beautiful morning, you wake and notice signs of injury in one of your female rabbits.

Can you guess what happened?

You rabbits might have been fighting while you are sleeping in peace.

Can you guess what might have triggered the fight?

The probable reason for your rabbits to fight is the presence of a high level of hormones in your rabbits. The reason for being too hormonal is your female rabbits are unspayed.

As they don’t have a way to keep their hormone level at normal, they are anxious. I believe you can already understand what may happen when you hold two anxious animals inside a cage for a long time?

They will fight and will injure each other until you stop them and keep them separate.

The same circumstances will follow if you decide to raise two male rabbits together.

Male rabbits might even fight with each other to death.

Small cages.

Raising rabbits in a small cage is the most sickening thing a rabbit guardian can do.

Any responsible rabbit guardian will not prefer to keep its pet rabbits in a small cage.

Keeping rabbits in a small cage that restricts their comfortable movement will upset a rabbit.

An upset rabbit will get grumpy. Unable to move inside a small cage because there are several rabbits inside the cage will cause gatherings to fight.

Even if the rabbits are bonded, and the cage is not comfortable enough for one grumpy rabbit, the grumpy rabbit will push the other rabbit to one corner of the cage.

If the rabbit has signs of injury and is scared to move at all within the cage, then you can guess your rabbits are fighting because the space you provided is not enough.

Not enough space means the rabbit has a lack of freedom and exercise too.

Rabbits need to run around, hop around to exercise, and remain healthy.

Not able to run and exercise, the rabbit will try to spend their extra energy on other rabbits. Pet rabbits may find fighting as recreation. However, if your rabbits are fighting, either recreational or not, you must stop them.

Because if they have injuries, you will have to visit the vet and spend time on their treatment.

Hence I always say to raise rabbits in a free-range environment. If you can’t raise rabbits in a free-range environment, at least try to construct a running space for your pet rabbits attached to your hutch.

Rabbits will fight due to changes in their environment.

Assuming you took my previous suggestion and decided to place your rabbits in a free-range environment abruptly.

Yet you have contributed to another fight in your pet rabbits. I am not saying it is happening inevitably.

But a sudden change in the rabbit’s environment can cause stress in rabbits.

Perhaps you liked raising your rabbits inside a hutch in your garage. One beautiful morning you chose to bring your rabbits indoors and let them play in the living room.

What may happen is, caged rabbits will be overwhelmed by their freedom.

Now, the rabbits will be determined to establish dominance and mark their territory.

And in the process of doing so, even bonded rabbits may start fighting.

Not just that, a sudden change in the environment will change a rabbit’s mood. As a human guardian, you may not interpret their mood correctly.

Sick rabbits will fight.

I believe anyone might understand why a sick rabbit will fight. If you can’t guess, let me explain it to you.

It is usual for any creature to be unhappy when they feel sick.

Similarly, rabbits don’t feel happy when they are sick, and they feel irritated by the presence of other rabbits.

Rabbits usually do not show any signs of sickness until they can’t hide it anymore. Rabbits are fighters. I don’t mean they like fighting with other rabbits, but they fight their pain all by themselves. They do not wish to show weakness.

AS a result, when a rabbit is sick and feels very weak, the rabbit tends to fight with other rabbits inside their running space.

A sick rabbit prefers to be left alone; hence the rabbit may feel annoyed by a companion rabbit. To avoid further disturbance, the sick rabbit will fight other rabbits and keep them away from him/her.

They will fight if they feel a threat from predators.

Threat from predators is a more common factor in wild rabbits. Domestic rabbits raised indoors have very few danger from predators.

However, placing rabbits outdoors even inside a hutch makes them weak to predators.

But once a rabbit senses danger, the rabbit will fight. I am giving this example because no matter what the threat is if any rabbit feels a menace, the rabbits will surely fight.

If they feel a threat from a new rabbit in his/her territory, the rabbit will fight.

Do rabbits fight to the death?

Yes, rabbits fight to the death, but it is not as common as you may think. Wild rabbits may fight to the end more commonly than house rabbits.

Fighting to the death in rabbits is possible if the rabbits are unneutered and unspayed.

The probability for two unneutered male rabbits fight to the death is higher than two unspayed female rabbits.

And domestic rabbits are always suggested to be de-sexed before adopting.

If you can’t de-sex rabbits before adopting them, then de-sex them as early as possible after you bring them home.

However, the wild counterpart is neither neutered nor spayed.

Therefore more prone to fighting with each other to the death.

All the reasons mentioned above for rabbits fighting with a high level of hormone can contribute to a deadly fight in rabbits in the wild.

How to know your rabbits are fighting?

To understand whether rabbits are fighting or not is quite complicated.

Some behaviors of rabbit affection are similar to a rabbit fighting.

Therefore it is often confusing. Rabbit guardians interfere, believing they are preventing a fight where they only block the rabbits from being affectionate.

So understanding the difference in rabbit behavior is crucial. Only a rabbit guardian can understand it better when their pet rabbits are fighting, and when they are loving.

However, there few general signs for rabbit fight comprehension, such as:

  • Biting fur;
  • Biting ears;
  • Nipping;
  • Lunging;
  • Swiping with claws;
  • Bumping nose;
  • Mounting

Rabbits fight in different ways depending on the situation and their motive behind the fight.

Mounting is a common way of showing aggression to establish dominance.

Biting fur and ears is a common sight if two rabbits are not happy together. Consider nipping as a way of fighting as well as displaying affection.

Nipping is the most complicated sign to interpret. A rabbit gently bites another rabbit to present the love it has for the other rabbit.

AS well as this soft biting can also initiate a fight in rabbits. So it is the rabbit keeper’s judgment that will stop rabbits from fighting and not prevent them from loving.

Lunging at another rabbit, or bumping at each other is also very common among unbonded rabbits. A rabbit may bounce at another rabbit if the rabbit feels irritated.

While accommodating rabbits in a small cage, a rabbit may lunge and bump the other one to one corner of the cage and create space within the enclosure.

If rabbits are swiping with claws at each other, that’s when a fight can become deadly. If rabbits are throwing punches at each other, you must intervene before the rabbits severely injure themselves.

Should I ignore when my rabbit fights?

As I said, you must intervene when your rabbits are throwing punches and swiping claws at each other. Not just that, if your rabbits show any signs of aggression towards another rabbit, it is your duty to prevent the situation from escalating further.

Although rabbits will not always kill each other during a fight, indeed they can injure each other severely.

That is why never introduce a rabbit abruptly without following the bonding stages first.

In a situation, if you notice where your bonded rabbits are not going well along with each other, you can immediately step in and place two rabbits in two different cages.

How to stop rabbits fighting?

You can stop rabbits fighting by separating them. If you notice two bonded rabbits are struggling, then you must scare them by making a loud noise.

Like you can call them loudly by their name, which might scare them off and leave each other.

Most of the time, scaring them off with bang works because rabbits are sensitive to loud noises.

If their fight continues and either one of the rabbits is not willing to give up, you have to use your hands to pull them apart.

Before doing so, you must wear gloves. Rabbits don’t usually bite their guardian. However, if the rabbit is in a severe fight and you try to pull them apart, your rabbit might dig its teeth in your fingers. Similarly, while trying to pull them apart, you can get swiped by their claws.

Regardless of your rabbit does this intentionally or not, you must wear gloves before you step into a rabbit fight.

How to prevent rabbits from fighting?

Rabbits may start a fight for many reasons. Knowing the reasons behind a rabbit fight will enable you to prevent more conflicts in the future.

I have explained above why rabbits may fight with each other. It is easy to understand why a rabbit fights a newcomer. Hence, bonding rabbits is crucial.

But if bonded rabbits are fighting, unless the rabbit guardian figures out the reason, you will fail to prevent injuries in the future.

If you notice your bonded rabbits are fighting because one of the rabbits is sick, then it is essential to take your ill rabbit to the vet.

If you understand your rabbit is fighting because it is stressed. Figure out ways to keep your rabbits stress free in the future.

A rabbit will be stressed if it doesn’t have enough exercise.

A bigger hutch with a setup of sufficient running space will enhance the rabbit’s mood.

The rabbit will be happier, healthier, and likely stay away from future fights.

Nevertheless, changing your rabbits’ territory frequently and abruptly will cause stress in rabbits. So do not relocate your rabbits often.

Finally, rabbits fight and mount to establish dominance. If they feel a newcomer as a threat in their territory, they will fight. Your old rabbit will not accept the new rabbit easily without proper bonding takes place beforehand.

Without bonding, the older rabbit will attack the newcomer and try to eliminate any kind of threat.

If the new rabbit is submissive quickly, then it is okay. However, it is not always the scenario. If the newcomer doesn’t submit, then the fight will continue and escalate to deadly conflict.

Rebonding rabbits after a fight.

Rebonding rabbits after a fight is not ideal. Yet, if you are willing to rebond your rabbits after they fought and separated, you must be extra cautious.

Introducing them again may trigger a fight suddenly. But once rabbits are separated, they forget each other very soon.

Being apart, rabbits quickly forget it’s partner’s smell. And separating a bonded rabbit pair after observing aggressive behavior, rebonding them is quite tricky.

Rebonding separated rabbits after a fight brings back a bonded rabbit to stage one.

Yet, I can’t assure you that these rabbits will remain bonded without having a conflict again in the future.

What do you have to do once your rabbits fought and were separated?

You have to set and X-pen for the rabbits and keep them close. Close enough, they can get used to their smell, far enough so that they cannot reach for each other.

And you have to do this in neutral territory.

If you do not follow the steps in neutral territory, you will contribute to a territorial dispute?

Because if you start the bonding process in one rabbit’s territory, the boss rabbit in that territory will not be very welcoming of the new rabbit.

Remember, as I said, they will forget each other’s smell?

Therefore the newcomer will be seen as a threat in the territory.

As well as do not rush the rabbit bonding steps, especially after a fight. Because rushing through the steps might not provide sufficient time for the rabbits to rebond. As a result, when you place two rabbits together, they may start their fight suddenly again.

It is further common than you may imagine. Initially, after rebonding, rabbits may fancy their companionship. However, similar conflicts like in the past may trigger a deadly fight in your rabbits.

You may wake up one day and find out one of your rabbits is severely injured, and even worse, a rabbit is dead.

Why do rabbits fight in spring?

In general, rabbits tend to fight when their level of the hormone is high. Spring is the peak time for rabbits to mate. Hence in spring, rabbits in nature have a high level of hormone.

Rabbits in the wild are intact, and with a high level of hormone present in rabbits, they act more aggressively than healthy rabbits.

I am not saying the high level of the hormone is abnormal during spring. It is the wild rabbits’ natural behavior.

However, if you see your bonded rabbits are fighting in spring, the likely reason for that condition is the high level of hormone. Therefore it is suggested to neuter and spay domestic rabbits before adoption.

Unneutered/unspayed rabbits fight with each other more often than neutered and spayed rabbits.

Neutering and spaying a rabbit will keep the rabbit hormones in balance. With a balance in hormone production, domestic rabbits are less likely to act aggressively.

Neutered/spayed rabbits will be less hormonal even at their peak mating season. Hence a fight in bonded rabbits is not expected.

Neutering/spaying a rabbit not only prevents them from fighting, but it is also easier to bond with de-sexed rabbits.

Want your rabbit to be happy and healthy?

Click here to order the ebook How to raise healthy & happy rabbits!

Need other things for your rabbit?
Click on the links below for:
Rabbit food
Rabbit Toys
Rabbit supplies
Rabbit cages and houses
Rabbit health and hygiene

Read more

  • Do Rabbits Need Shots?
    All pet owners want their pets to have long, happy, healthy lives. The same goes for those who own rabbits. However, there is one concept that can be very complicated for rabbit owners: Vaccines. Do bunnies require vaccinations? Are they even safe? These questions pose a real concern for bunny owners. We all want our …

    Do Rabbits Need Shots? Read More »

  • Can Rabbits Eat Pumpkins?
    Pumpkins are believed to be rabbits’ second-favorite orange vegetable, right after carrots. These winter squashes are mostly used as holiday pies, but they’re also packed with nutrition that’s important in a rabbit’s diet. Pumpkin is not toxic for rabbits but they should not be fed with it too often or in larger amounts. If you …

    Can Rabbits Eat Pumpkins? Read More »

  • Can Rabbits Eat Bell Peppers?
    Picking the appropriate fresh vegetables to supplement your pet rabbit’s diet can be an excellent way to turn out their nutrition. While bunnies receive most of their nutrients from fresh hay, attaching a regular supplement of fresh greens and veggies will equip them with vital vitamins and minerals. While most vegetables can aid in keeping …

    Can Rabbits Eat Bell Peppers? Read More »

  • Can Rabbits Eat Cilantro?
    Cilantro gives a touch of fresh taste to a variety of foods. Just like any other spices, cilantro also carries antioxidants that can remove dejected and unwanted metal particles in our bodies. It has also been proven that cilantro carries an element that can fight off Salmonella. Thus, providing its partaker a more salutary digestive …

    Can Rabbits Eat Cilantro? Read More »

  • Can Rabbits Eat Corn?
    Fresh, dried, or cooked corn, all of them are not safe for your bunny. It is very unfortunate to say because some bunnies love to munch on fresh and sweet corn very much. While the hull of corn kernels carries complex polysaccharides. Normally, rabbits find it hard to digest complex polysaccharides. So, corn is considered …

    Can Rabbits Eat Corn? Read More »

bonding two female rabbits

Bonding two female rabbits: Is same-gender bonding possible?

Bonding two female rabbits is not an impossible task if the rabbit guardian does it the correct way.

Having two female rabbits can cause a deadly fight in the scene if proper measures are not taken like described in this post.

In this post, I wrote about how to bond two female rabbits without complications and allow them to live in harmony.

Can two female rabbits together?

Yes, two female rabbits can live together. It is necessary to bond the two female rabbits first. If a new female rabbit is introduced to your female pet rabbit abruptly, then you might contribute in a deadly fight.

Rabbits are very territorial animals. Regardless of gender, rabbits can be very territorial, and a newcomer in their territory will not be accepted.

Thus if two female rabbits bond together, only then can they live together.

But bonding female rabbits come with some other complications. Several measures must be taken before trying to bond female rabbits, such as spaying the rabbits.

I have seen several house rabbits living and playing together. And surprisingly, I have seen pairs that are both females, and they are chasing and grooming each other.

Is spaying essential before bonding female rabbits?

Regardless of gender, it is best to desex rabbits before bonding them with each other.

Spaying/neutering a rabbit will aid in a healthy life for rabbits. Desexing a rabbit contributes to a longer lifespan in house rabbits. Likewise, after a few weeks from desexing, as the hormone will slowly wear off from their body, the rabbits will become less aggressive.

It is tough to bond unneutered/unspayed rabbits because the hormones in their body will keep them aggressive towards the other.

And female rabbits are even more territorial than male rabbits. Therefore if your female rabbits are unspayed, indeed, the older rabbit will not tolerate a new rabbit in her territory.

If the older female house rabbit is more prominent in size and shape, your new rabbit will suffer as soon as you bring them together.

You might wonder what if only one rabbit is spayed and not the other?

I know spaying a rabbit can be costly in some places as they can’t be treated with ordinary veterinarians. But the best practice is to spay both rabbits before the introduction process begins.

I cannot positively say the bonding process will work if one of the female rabbits is unspayed.

How to bond two female rabbits?

Assuming you own a pet rabbit that is a female. Your cute pet does not have any bunny friend. So, you want to present her with a new bunny friend.

There are rabbit owners that cannot spend adequate time with their pet rabbits, which results in a lonely rabbit.

I have seen rabbit owners that have one rabbit initially, and they enjoy the rabbit’s companion.

Similarly, the house rabbit enjoys the companion of their guardian.

Rabbits are not lonely at all if the rabbit guardian spends adequate time with the pet rabbit.

Nevertheless, in some cases, the rabbit guardians may get busy with work and can’t manage enough time to play with the rabbit.

That may cause loneliness in rabbits, and the rabbits will suffer.

Hence many rabbit guardians, once they realize they are spending sufficient time with their pet rabbit, buy a new rabbit.

However, trying to bond a male rabbit and a female rabbit is an excellent idea.

Because the process will be a lot easier, unlike bonding rabbits of the same sex. The situation will be a lot worse if the rabbits are not desexed.

However, the topic of this article is about bonding two female rabbits, and I will not discuss anything which is not related to the issue here.

What are the steps for bonding two female rabbits?

Let’s think of it like this:

You already own a female rabbit and raise it in a free-range environment.

A free-range environment such as the pet rabbit has access to most rooms in your house and has a cage where she goes to relax only.

Rabbits growing up in such conditions consider most of the house as her territory.

Although your rabbit is litter trained, occasionally, she will poop here and there within the house to mark her territory.

I am using this example because bonding such a female rabbit will be the most complicated of all.

Why is that?

Because most of your house is the rabbits running space and she considers it as her territory.

If a rabbit stays most of his/her life inside a hutch, then only the hutch will be the rabbit’s territory.

Thus trying to bond a free-range female rabbit will be considerably hard because a new member in her territory will not be taken lightly.

On the contrary, it will be difficult for you to find a neutral territory to introduce the older rabbit with the new one.

STEP 1

The first thing to do is when you get your new female rabbit, you must visit a vet to spay her and ensure her longer lifespan.

Likewise, if the older rabbit in your house is unspayed, you must take her to a vet to do the same task.

Until today if you have believed your female pet rabbit behaves nicely then, you might be wrong. As your pet rabbit had no competitor in her territory, and she did not feel any threat. Therefore she had no one to fight.

Hence, spaying your older rabbit is crucial because if she is unspayed and meets a younger female rabbit, she will bring down wrath on the newcomer.

So Step 1 is ensuring the female rabbits are desexed, and at least a couple of weeks have passed after the desexing.

STEP 2

Now the introduction process must start assuming both female rabbits are spayed.

At this stage, what you must do is find a place where the older rabbit never goes.

Consider that location as neutral territory.

If the older rabbit is in neutral territory, then she has no reason being territorial.

You must do that so that both the female rabbits at this stage will not consider the other one as a threat.

In this neutral territory, you must set an x pen. The simplest way to create an x pen is by using a DIY rabbit playpen. Use the DIY rabbit playpen to create two separate enclosures.

And keep the two female rabbits in two separate enclosures.

Set the enclosures at least several inches apart.

Do not set the cages so far that the rabbit cannot communicate and not so close that they can grab each other to fight.

STEP 3

Give these female rabbits new litter boxes with fresh hay. Do not give them any litter box that has the smell of older rabbits.

New litter boxes will prevent the older rabbit from acting territorial.

Now there is a trick you can do.

You can interchange the litter boxes every two days during the bonding process.

I mean, you can take the litter box from the older rabbits cage and shift it to the newcomer’s cage.

Similarly, take the newcomer’s litter box and place it in the older rabbits cage.

That way, they both will get used to the smell of each other. And being in neutral territory, they will not count each other as a threat.

STEP 4

Now it is your turn to observe the rabbits. You have the rabbits in the cage doesn’t mean you are done with the process.

You have to keep your eyes on the rabbits.

Do not allow the rabbits to stay on the opposite side of the cages. If they are sitting on the furthest corner from each other, then it means they don’t like each other’s companion.

It is a sign for the female rabbits that they can’t stand each other.

Consequently, if you notice such behavior, bring the rabbits close to each other inside the cage.

Do so for at least a week. By this time, observe their behavior.

You can at least assume now that the rabbits are used to each other’s smell.

Yet do not judge that they will bond with each other unless you see them inside one cage.

STEP 5

Now, the next step is to let the rabbits outside of the cage together. Do this in the neutral territory, and keep eyes on them. You can let them out together for hours in the beginning.

You must slowly increase the time they spend together.

First, let them spend 15 minutes together and observe their behavior during the period.

See if they are aggressive or they are staying far from each other.

IF they start to fight with each other, immediately stop them and place them back into the individual enclosure.

At this stage, if a female rabbit is yet acting territorial, highly likely, it will be the older one. So keep an eye on the older one so that she behaves appropriately with the newcomer.

The older rabbit may mount the younger rabbit to prove her dominance and claim her territory. She might spray urine and poop around this unclaimed territory.

If she does not, then you must place them back into their x pen and go back to STEP 4 again.

Allow the rabbits to stay close to each other. Compel them to get used to with each other’s smell by frequently shifting their litter boxes.

Also, pet them frequently one after another.

That way, the rabbits will get used to the smell of the other female rabbit’s smell from your hand.

They need to be comfortable with each other. 

If you fail at step 5, do not give up yet. Bonding same-sex rabbits are intricate work.

If you have chosen to complicate things by bringing two female rabbits home, then you have to take the hassles.

STEP 6

Step five might take you back to step 4. In case you pass level 5, now you may allow the rabbits out of the cage frequently.

Allow the female rabbits to play with each other. And slowly increase the time they spend with each other.

Always be observant of their behavior. You are the guardian, and if you notice anything unusual, take them back to their cages.

But give them more time to play together gradually. Suppose start by 15 minutes everyday, and progressively raise to 30-40 minutes and 1 hour.

The whole process may sound very complicated before you work on it.

But once you see your female rabbits living with each other in harmony, you will realize the time commitment has paid off.

Conclusion.

Bonding two female rabbits is not impossible, but the task is intricate.

If you follow the steps, indeed, you can bond two female rabbits.

Nevertheless, bonding rabbits require patience and time of the rabbit guardian.

Usually, bonding rabbits may take only two weeks. All the steps I described above can be completed within two weeks.

However, trying to bond two female rabbits may take longer than usual. It might take up to six months to get your female rabbits to like each other.

Think of it like this:

If a human meets another human, it may take a while for person A to befriend person B.

They will need some time to become friends at first. Then after a few more dates, they will become close to each other.

And casually, they will create a bond, and person A will become friends forever with person B.

The same is applicable for bonding rabbits, regardless of gender.

Although in most cases, two female rabbits will get used to each other within a month or two, in more complicated cases, it will take up to six months.

Want your rabbit to be happy and healthy?

Click here to order the ebook How to raise healthy & happy rabbits!

Need other things for your rabbit?
Click on the links below for:
Rabbit food
Rabbit Toys
Rabbit cages and houses
Rabbit health and hygiene

Read more

  • Do Rabbits Need Shots?
    All pet owners want their pets to have long, happy, healthy lives. The same goes for those who own rabbits. However, there is one concept that can be very complicated for rabbit owners: Vaccines. Do bunnies require vaccinations? Are they even safe? These questions pose a real concern for bunny owners. We all want our …

    Do Rabbits Need Shots? Read More »

  • Can Rabbits Eat Pumpkins?
    Pumpkins are believed to be rabbits’ second-favorite orange vegetable, right after carrots. These winter squashes are mostly used as holiday pies, but they’re also packed with nutrition that’s important in a rabbit’s diet. Pumpkin is not toxic for rabbits but they should not be fed with it too often or in larger amounts. If you …

    Can Rabbits Eat Pumpkins? Read More »

  • Can Rabbits Eat Bell Peppers?
    Picking the appropriate fresh vegetables to supplement your pet rabbit’s diet can be an excellent way to turn out their nutrition. While bunnies receive most of their nutrients from fresh hay, attaching a regular supplement of fresh greens and veggies will equip them with vital vitamins and minerals. While most vegetables can aid in keeping …

    Can Rabbits Eat Bell Peppers? Read More »

  • Can Rabbits Eat Cilantro?
    Cilantro gives a touch of fresh taste to a variety of foods. Just like any other spices, cilantro also carries antioxidants that can remove dejected and unwanted metal particles in our bodies. It has also been proven that cilantro carries an element that can fight off Salmonella. Thus, providing its partaker a more salutary digestive …

    Can Rabbits Eat Cilantro? Read More »

  • Can Rabbits Eat Corn?
    Fresh, dried, or cooked corn, all of them are not safe for your bunny. It is very unfortunate to say because some bunnies love to munch on fresh and sweet corn very much. While the hull of corn kernels carries complex polysaccharides. Normally, rabbits find it hard to digest complex polysaccharides. So, corn is considered …

    Can Rabbits Eat Corn? Read More »

rabbits and dogs

Rabbits & Dogs: Can the prey be safe around its predator?

Let’s discuss the challenges of owning rabbits and dogs today.

Despite which species of dog you have as a pet in your house, learning about the challenges will ease your problems.

I can’t say for sure, these two species will bond together, but there are techniques in this article that will ensure the safety of having rabbits and dogs together.

I will start by explaining the characteristics of these two animals first.

Qualities of rabbits.

Rabbits are small, cuddly pets. They are delicate and get nervous quickly.

Rabbits belong at the bottom of the food chain. Being prey animals, they tend to be scared very easily.

Even a loud bang can scare a rabbit very much. Trying to pet a rabbit by raising your pet rabbits in the wrong way will escalate stress in rabbits.

Stress in rabbits contributes to deteriorating their health condition. If you own a rabbit for some time, you might already know a tiny change in their environment can cause a rabbit to become sick.

Traits of dogs.

Dogs are loving animals. The loyalty of dogs towards their keeper is unquestionable.

Loyalty in dogs has made them loving pets in most residential houses today.

Apart from that, dogs are predators. Belonging at the top of the food chain, dogs have an instinct to attack danger in their territory. Not merely a threat, however, any prey animals that are smaller in size can bring out a dog’s natural ability. What is a dog’s instinct?

It is to protect, guard, and hunt. A dog will not hesitate to put itself in danger to protect the owner.

Although in the end, all traits of dogs rely on one point:

How his/her guardian raises a dog.

Do rabbits and dogs get along?

Owning rabbits and dogs together is not a new thing. Many households have dogs and rabbits living together in harmony.

Nevertheless, every pet owner will answer you differently because everyone’s experiences are not alike.

There are multiple cases where a pet dog has severely injured a rabbit.

Although the pet dog was friendly with the rabbit somehow, the dog hurt the rabbit. It might have been an accident by the dog or perhaps intentional.

We, as guardians, can’t comprehend what has happened if we were not present in the scene.

On the contrary, some guardians own rabbits and dogs together, and for years, these two pets live together. In years rabbits and dogs being from two different species have created a strong bond for each other.

Thus the answer to the question you seek cannot be given by merely saying YES or NO.

The answer is a lot more complicated, and a responsible pet owner has to do his/her research before introducing these two pets.

Your experience might be different from others owning rabbits and dogs together.

I don’t know which animal you currently own, and which animal you are going to adopt. Although I don’t know what your intentions are precise, I will do my best to give you a proper answer.

I have mentioned early in this post that rabbits are prey animals and dogs belong to the predator’s species.

Accordingly, I believe you already understand that trying to bond these animals is not an easy task nor impossible.

Are rabbits scared of dogs?

It is a common question by dog owners willing to adopt rabbits. Understand the characteristics of both these animals before you bring a bunny in your dog’s territory.

Dogs are predators and territorial animals. It is typical for a dog to protect its guardian and its territory.

How about a rabbit’s character?

Belonging at the bottom of the food chain, a rabbit tends to keep them safe from predators. Rabbits like to relax in burrows where predators cannot reach. Similarly, rabbits get nervous quickly if they feel danger.

Thus it is reasonable to say a rabbit is certainly scared of dogs.

Hence, I can assure you this introducing a rabbit to a pet dog is dangerous.

The first bonding of dogs and rabbits is essential.

Imagine the consequence of introducing a dog to new rabbits without proper training.

Your dog will most certainly try to attack the rabbit. Though you keep your dog in a leash, the mere sight of an attacking predator is dangerous for rabbits.

It is common for rabbits to die from shock.

How to train a dog not to attack rabbits?

Training dogs to not attack rabbits is crucial. Without proper training and not following the steps for bonding these two animals can create a violent scene.

Bonding rabbits and pet dogs are the most complicated of all. Moreover, after you follow the bonding steps, I can’t say these two animals inevitably will create any bond.

If you fail to create any bond, it is best not to own these pets in your house together.

And if you insist on owning house rabbits after you own a dog, keeping them apart is the best option.

I will describe some necessary steps to follow before you continue with the bonding process.

Step 1: Evaluate the personality of your dog.

Many dog owners think adopting a rabbit will not be a problem as they own a dog which is a smaller breed.

Yet, the truth is the size of a dog doesn’t matter. Regardless of the scale, dogs are predators, and their typical behavior is to attack prey.

Hence, considering the size of your dog as a positive thing before adopting a bunny is a wrong concept.

Is your dog friendly? If your dog’s predatory drive is high, then it is a dangerous sign. A very active dog with unpredictable behavior is not the type of dog that will bond with rabbits.

Ultimately it all comes down to the rabbit guardian. If you have raised your dog as a guard dog, then the right thing is to avoid bonding such a dog with rabbits.

Ask yourself, how does your pet dog act when it sees an unwanted guest in the territory?

If your dog is old and not very active, then perhaps you can try to bond this animal with a domestic rabbit.

If your dog does not show any interest in other small animals because you have raised him like that, bonding such a dog is a good idea.

Those pets dogs which are very active outdoors can cause harm to pet rabbits because of their busy lifestyle.

STEP 2: Neutering and Spaying.

It is necessary to keep your dog’s predatory drive low by neutering/spaying before activating the bonding steps.

Willing to bond rabbits and dogs without desexing both parties is predetermined to fail.

Both of these animals are territorial. However, while bonding a prey and a predator, the likely victim is the prey animal.

Unneutered or unspayed pets are very hormonal. Having a high level of hormone in their body makes the animals aggressive. Territorial animals are more protective of their territory in this condition.

Thus bonding an aggressive predator with a territorial house rabbit is impossible.

None of the animals may give up their territory so quickly.

STEP 3: Test their reactions in front of each other.

If you have attended the first two steps and determine it is time to move on, then follow the instructions here.

It is time to test the reactions of the two animals when they see each other.

In the first two steps, the dog and the rabbit must not meet each other.

In step three, you can introduce the rabbit and the dog to recognize their reactions when they see one another.

Be very careful with rabbits, because rabbits get sensitive pretty quickly.

If your dog barks at the small pet and the rabbit is scared, then it will be traumatized.

If the rabbit is traumatized during the first introduction, then the rabbit will never consider the dog as a friend.

Likewise, if the dog’s reaction is predatory, it is wise not to continue further.

Any kind of interest in your dog towards the rabbit is dangerous.

Both spirited and rapacious drive by your dog is dangerous for a small pet like rabbits.

How to organize this first meeting of your dog and rabbit?

The first meeting of rabbits and dogs is a component of this third step.

You can organize the meet by placing your rabbits in a cage. The cage must also include a room where the rabbit can hide immediately sensing danger.

If you do not give a place for the rabbit to hide, then the rabbit will be critically stressed.

Next, leash your dog and walk by the cage. Do not walk with your dog so close to the cage.

Close enough so that the dog can smell the rabbit, far enough so that both these animals can see each other.

It is crucial at these steps to not scare the rabbit away. Maintain a distance that will make your rabbit feel safe enough, although it is inside the cage.

Perform this introduction in neutral territory like every bonding process.

Now, observe the behavior of both animals while they sense the existence of each other.

Especially observe your pet dog. Is the dog showing any kind of interest towards the rabbit in the cage?

If the dog is overly excited and tries to reach for the rabbit in the cage is a bad sign.

You may not comprehend why your dog is trying to reach for the rabbit. The reason for that may be good or bad.

The dog may want to play with the small pet or simply attack the rabbit.

On the contrary, if your pet dog doesn’t consider the existence of the rabbit in the house, it is a good sign. Lack of interest in the rabbit doesn’t ensure the safety of your pet rabbits ultimately.

Lack of any excitement means you can move on to the next step.

But you have only observed the behavior of your dog, how about your rabbit’s reaction?

I suppose you haven’t forgotten about your rabbit.

Observe your pet dog at the same time, witness your rabbit’s reaction.

If the rabbit is too nervous and runs for his hiding place, then the introduction is not working very well.

If your bunny is scared during the first meet, which is typical for a prey animal, then certainly moving on to the next step is not ideal.

Nevertheless, some pet rabbits are not bothered to see a dog immediately. They wait for the predator to react, and then they are ready to run.

In a scene where the rabbit’s first impression is not nervous, you can move on to the next step.

STEP 4: Test their reactions more than once.

You have already introduced your rabbits and dogs. Hopefully, you are satisfied with their first meet reactions.

If you are not satisfied, then do not proceed further.

By satisfying, I mean the rabbit and dog reacted as planned and not unexpected.

So once you have seen them reacting well in front of each other, you have to test their reaction several times.

Did you just think you completed the bonding stages? Not at all.

Step 3 was only the beginning. Step 4 is repeating step 3 numerous times.

It will help you to recognize any unpredictable behavior in both of these animals.

If the first meet was a success does not mean the next event will be successful.

Assuming after a few meets that it is safe to raise rabbits and dogs together can be very dangerous.

Terrible things may happen even when rabbits and dogs are friends for years in a household.

How much worse can it be if dogs and rabbits are only at the initial stage of their bonding?

Therefore assuming their relationship has grown enough will have adverse consequences.

To ensure safety, you have to repeat step 4 many times.

Are you willing to take all these troubles just to raise dogs and rabbits together?

If you are not enthusiastic to follow all the instructions, I suggest contacting a professional in your area who can conduct the pet training.

That way, you will ease your hassle, and both of these pets will be in safer hands.

STEP 5:

Once you or your pet trainer is convinced, it is safe to allow these two pets to live in the same household.

But observation is essential. Just because it seems these two pets are friendly doesn’t necessarily mean the dog will not harm the rabbit.

A dog might kill the rabbit by mistake or by intention.

After all, the dog is a predator.

STEP 6:

To strengthen rabbits’ and dogs’ relationship after step 5, you can often take them out for a walk together.

It all depends on how you have raised your dog. If your dog is developed as a friendly dog and thinks of the guardian as his/her alpha, then this task will be a lot less complicated for you.

First, you have to buy a rolling cage for your rabbit. It is available in pet stores, as well as you can purchase online.

Now that you have a rolling cage, you can walk your dog and rabbit at the same time.

When you will go out, leash your dog and place your rabbits in the rolling cage.

You might ask someone else’s help to move the rolling cage beside you while you walk the dog on a leash.

If you walk your dog and rabbits together often, the dog will start to believe that the rabbit is a member of the pack.

As you are the alpha for your dog, the dog follows you. As well as the rabbit walking alongside you, when the dog is walking, it will help create a positive image of the rabbit in the dog’s mind.

The dog will follow the alpha and will prevent itself from harming another member of the pack.

Do rabbits like to play with dogs?

Rabbits like to play with any creature they have a bond with. Suppose your rabbit has a friendship with a cat, then it will play with the cat.

If you succeed in building a friendship between a dog and a cat, they will enjoy each other’s companion.

However, unlike a dog, when a rabbit is happy, it will do bunny binkies. Rabbits like to groom other rabbits to show their affection.

Those are a few ways how rabbits prefer to play with their companions, which is different from dogs.

Now I do not think rabbits will groom dogs to show their affection.

Because dogs are predators, and dogs do not groom each other to show their affection.

Thus it is unlikely to see them playing with each other by grooming.

To our eyes, recognizing the signs of affection and playfulness between a dog and a rabbit might be unclear. Similarly, an over-friendly dog is dangerous to rabbits.

If a rabbit is very excited and likes to play often with the rabbit, that relationship needs observation from the guardian. A big friendly dog bonded with a small rabbit is dangerous.

A large dog that is playful and always excited might injure your pet rabbits only by showing affection. A dog’s way of devotion is different from rabbits and is not suitable for delicate pets.

Hence I do not suggest much about bonding rabbits and dogs.

If you fail to recognize their signs, whether they are playing or not, you will misunderstand their relationship too. Misunderstanding their relationship will result in more danger to the rabbits.

Rabbit friendly dogs.

There is nothing like rabbit friendly or unfriendly dogs. Everything comes down to how well their guardian raises a dog. We are speaking of bonding a prey with its predator.

Thus if the dog is not well trained or not well disciplined by its owner, it will probably kill the rabbit.

People may think larger breeds are unsafe around rabbits. However, even a smaller kind of dog can be dangerous for house rabbits. Unless the dog is smaller in size than your pet rabbits, I genuinely wonder how these two pets behave around each other.

It will be a lot easier to bond a mannered dog with a rabbit regardless of their size.

Dogs are unbelievable loyal pets, and rabbits are cuddly loving pets. They just require proper training to be each other’s friends.

Rabbit safety with dogs.

Ultimately I do not prefer bonding prey with its predator. However, some rabbit owners insist on raising dogs and rabbits together.

There might be many reasons why a family wants to adopt a dog.

Hence I have explained how much effort you must put into bond rabbits and dogs.

In many households today, these two animals live happily and without causing any trouble for their guardian.

Although, after you put a lot of effort into bonding rabbits and dogs, it is essential to follow safety measures forever.

I suggest always observing these two animals ensure safety.

I know a rabbit guardian can’t keep an eye on his/her pets twenty-four hours.

Therefore keep your rabbits most of the time separate from your dog. Let them have a good time together only when you are there.

When you are not there to observe, keep your bunnies in cages.

And indeed, this comes after you sincerely follow all the bonding steps I have mentioned above.

One other thing a rabbit guardian can do is to choose an older dog. Having older dogs around rabbits is safer than having a lively dog.

A lively dog may hurt a rabbit merely out of excitement.

On the contrary, older dogs are usually lazy and tired due to age. Thus they don’t show much interest in their surroundings. Keeping a rabbit in an older dog’s surroundings will not bother the dog much. An older dog has less predatory drive; likewise, it will not be very active around a rabbit out of mere excitement.

A rabbit guardian can follow these preparations to raise rabbits and dogs together by ensuring safety.

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