It’s not always easy to rehome a rabbit. Your local vet can suggest a rescue centre, but the process isn’t always straightforward. Here’s how to give your pet the best chance.
Why Do People Need to Rehome?
Most of us intend to give our pets a forever home. But sometimes circumstances arise that make it impossible. A sudden serious illness, losing your home, or another catastrophe can mean that your beloved bun will need a new place to live.
If that happens, it’s good to know how to give your pet the best chance at a happy new life.
How to Prevent the Need for Rehoming
Other reasons people may rehome rabbits include behavioural issues, conflicts with other pets, and simply being unprepared to deal with the needs of rabbits or the costs involved.
Making sure you can provide a suitable home before you adopt a bunny can prevent the need for rehoming later.
For more information, check out our articles:
If You Do Need to Rehome Your Rabbit
Sadly, circumstances may arise that are beyond the control of a rabbit owner. In these cases, it’s important to do everything you can to find your bunnies suitable new homes.
It may take longer than you think to find your pet a good home. There are a lot of reasons for this. Many people know how to take care of a pet dog or cat, but are unfamiliar with rabbits. Also, not every rescue centre is prepared to take in every animal in need, especially on short notice.
To find the best new home for any pet, it’s important to start looking as soon as you think you may need to rehome.
Contact Your Vet
Vets can be a great source of assistance, should you need to rehome your pet. Your vet can suggest a local rescue centre, and may even know which rescue has space for another animal, or if a certain rescue should be avoided.
Your vet — and other vets — may also allow you to put up a sign in their office. They may even know if one of their patients is looking to adopt another animal, and if that person would give your rabbit a good life.
Choose a Reputable Rescue
An internet search will probably turn up several pages of rescue websites. However, not all rescues are created equal.
Some organisations simply raise money to help rabbits or raise awareness about issues affecting rabbits. Your nearest rescue may not actually take in unwanted rabbits.Rabbits aren't disposable pets, but some people think of them that way. Click To Tweet
Other rescue organisations may be well-intentioned but poorly organised and/or poorly funded. If you decide to rehome your rabbit with a rescue that isn’t prepared to look after it, then your bunny may go from a bad situation to a worse one.
A reputable rescue will be happy for you to visit and to see their facilities and the animals in their care. They will have a plan for how they will find a new home for your bunny, and can share success stories about the animals they have successfully placed.
Use Word of Mouth
Word of mouth can be an excellent way to find a home for your rabbit. You never know where you might find a rabbit lover looking for a new friend. Speak to neighbours, friends, family members, and people in any community organisations with which you’re involved.
The more people hear about your rabbit, the better your chances of finding it a good home.
Make Your Rabbit as Adoptable as Possible
To increase your chances of seeing your rabbit safely to a great new owner, make sure it’s as adoptable as possible.
First, make sure your pet is spayed or neutered. A spayed or neutered pet has fewer health issues and is better company for other rabbits.
Also, if your rabbit has any behavioural issues, it’s time to work on them.
Make sure your rabbit is up to date with its vaccinations, and have a copy of its health records to hand over to the new owner or a rescue.
Don’t Give Your Bunny Away
Unless you know the person offering your pet a home, ask for an adoption fee. This will prevent your rabbit from becoming snake food, dog fighting bait, or meeting another unkind fate.
Never Abandon Your Rabbit
Pet rabbits are descended from wild ones, but they’re not the same. They can’t live on their own. An abandoned pet rabbit will have a short, violent, unhappy life.
Don’t abandon your rabbit at a pet store or school, either. Rabbits dumped at pet stores often end up as meals for snakes. And schools are unprepared to take in unwanted pets.
Vetting Potential Adopters
So, you think you’ve found a new owner for your rabbit. Great! But make sure they’re the right fit before you send your rabbit on its way.
Here are a few questions to ask any potential adopters.
Where Do You Plan to Keep This Rabbit?
Their answers to these questions will give you an idea of how well the potential adopter understands a rabbit’s housing and social needs.
Who Will Be Responsible For Care?
If a potential adopter says they intend to leave all care to their child, that’s a big red flag. If they don’t have a ready answer, that’s another.
Look for someone who is ready to assume responsibility for your rabbit’s care, and understand what that entails.
Do You Know What to Feed the Rabbit?
A rabbit’s sensitive digestive system means that the right diet is essential. Any potential adopters should know what kinds of food a rabbit needs, and what sorts of food to avoid. Discuss any special diet your rabbit might need, also.
Can You Recognize the Signs of Illness?
Because rabbits are prey animals, they hide illness and injury from their humans. If your potential new family doesn’t know what to look for, they should at least be willing to educate themselves.
Are You Willing to Pay a Vet Bill When Needed?
Rabbits aren’t disposable pets, but some people think of them that way. And when a large vet bill arrives — which is a distinct possibility, as rabbits are considered exotic pets — some owners aren’t prepared to pay it.
Any potential rabbit owner should be aware of possible veterinary expenses and either able to pay them, or willing to buy pet insurance.
Can I Visit From Time to Time?
This will weed out anyone who doesn’t intend to keep your animals as pets. Alternately, you can ask for regular photo updates.
Many rescues do a home visit before releasing their animals to adopters. You can do the same.
How Long Will it Take to Rehome a Rabbit?
That depends. But the better prepared you are, and the earlier you start, the better your chances for a successful rehoming.
What’s the Process?
Again, this depends on a number of factors. Rescue centres may have a specific process. If you rehome informally, that process may be different.
Are There Rehoming Costs?
Some rescue centres ask for a donation to offset the costs of taking in additional unwanted rabbits.
Where Can I Give Up My Bunny?
Look for rescue centres that specifically take in unwanted rabbits. Then contact them to make certain that they have space for additional animals.
Does the RSPCA Take In Rabbits?
Sometimes. The RSPCA’s focus is preventing animal cruelty, as well as taking in abandoned and abused pets.
Different branches approach this mission differently. Some may take in surrendered pets under some circumstances. Others may not.
It’s best to contact your local branch to find out whether they can help. If they can’t, they may suggest other rescue centres that can.
Rehoming is Never Easy
It’s never an easy decision to give up a pet. But sometimes it’s the only decision available.
If you need to rehome your rabbit, start looking early. Enlist the help of your vet, your friends and neighbours, and anyone else that you know. Contact rescues well ahead of time, and make your bunny as adoptable as possible.
Have you had to rehome your bunny? What was the process like?
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