How to Encourage Your Rabbit to Exercise?

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How to Encourage Your Rabbit to Exercise?

No matter how small and cuddly your rabbit is, they are still not meant to lead idle and sedentary lives. Lack of physical activity and regular exercise can lead to several health issues, including obesity.
Obesity can cause further health complications in bunnies. This may affect their heart, digestive system, and develop arthritis. Hence you need to give your bunnies ample space and time for them to be their true curious selves.
In the absence of adequate playtime and exercise, a rabbit can face medical issues like -

-Obesity
-Sore hocks or pododermatitis
-Weakness of bones
-Muscle loss
-Renal failures and urinary tract problems
-Gastrointestinal issues
-Depression and behavioral anomalies
-Loss of appetite


There can be several other problems, all leading from something as basic as a sedentary lifestyle.
Now, it can be difficult to get your rabbit to exercise at first.
If you get your bunny as a kitten and make them practise from the beginning, there is a better chance of success. But some bunnies who were kept in a small cage before you adopted them, tend to sit around all day because they never had the space to hop around. Now that they have enough space, they just do not know what to do with it.

How Much Exercise is Ideal for Your Rabbit?
Rabbits should have at least 3-4 hours everyday to roam and hop around an open space. If you do not want to let them explore your house or take them to your backyard, arrange for an enclosure or a playpen with at least 32 square feet of floor area.
If you do let your rabbit out into your apartment, make sure to rabbit-proof it first. It would be safe for your pet as well as convenient for you. In case you take them outside to the backyard or front porch, keep an eye out for predators and other potential threats.
You can schedule their playtime at dawn or dusk, as these are the hours when bunnies are most active.
If your bunny leads a sedentary lifestyle and you want him to have some workout, here are a few ways you can ensure that your bunny moves his lazy butt.

1. Get Them Toys
There are varieties of toys available for bunnies, starting from puzzles to mazes to chewing toys. Chewing toys are great because it allows your bunnies to nibble on them and they do not ruin your clothes or carpets. Also, this helps to strengthen their teeth.
Puzzle toys are perfect for hiding treats for your bunny. Both of you will have a fun time with a puzzle and it will allow you to interact and bond with your pet as well. You can also get your bunny hanging toys and they can jump up and down and play with them.
You can either buy bunny toys from the stores, or you can also craft them yourself. DIY pet toys are quite the rage among owners. You can use old cardboard boxes and thick pipes to create rabbit tunnels at home. Boxes can also be used to create stimulating maze games, which are great for both physical and mental health of the bunnies.

2. Create a Rabbit Run Tunnel
We already mentioned you can make a rabbit tunnel at home. You can get a bigger one for an outdoor play enclosure from a shop as well. This is especially fun for rabbits if there are two or more of them. They can get the exact feel of living in the wild with their companions, but remain safe and protected at the same time.
Since bunnies can easily go into shock from fright, make sure that you keep a close watch on them when they are playing outside. Your rabbits can easily escape the rabbit run if left open and unsupervised, and get lost; or worse, can get attacked by a predator like a dog, or a cat, or a raccoon.

3. Let Them Explore the House

Just like cats and dogs, let them run around freely around the entire house. This will allow them to rest and exercise as much as they want. It will allow your rabbits to feel freer and more comfortable in your home and get accustomed to the environment.
But before letting our bunny run loose, first bunny proof your entire house or the part of it where you wish to let your rabbit explore. Make sure that there is nothing that can pose a danger to your bunny. This will also ensure that your house stays safe, while you are not there to keep a watch on them.

4.  Let Them Do Digging and Foraging
Rabbits by nature are diggers and foragers. Allowing them to do so even in a domestic setting will keep them engaged and also busy in activity. How can you get them to dig and forage specific things and not just your couches and carpets?
Take a cardboard box or unused basket and stuff it with crumpled old newspapers or tissue papers. If it is a medium to large-sized box, your bunny can spend days digging the papers and having fun. You can hide small treats within the folds of the papers so your bunny can have an occasional surprise and be motivated to do more digging and foraging.

These are some of the ways you can push your rabbits to exercise and stay fit or shed those excess pounds they have put on. However, the exercise schedule can vary from one pet to another depending on their breed, size, age, and personality. Elderly bunnies especially have a tough time exercising or even moving, if they are heavily geriatric.
You have to take your time with them and slowly encourage them to move from their base and walk around a bit. Motivate with treats if you have to. Get on the floor with your rabbits and interact with a personal touch.

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West Des Moines Office

Monday
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tuesday
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wednesday
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thursday
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Friday
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday
8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Sunday
Closed