Rabbit body language can tell us a lot about how they feel toward us. You can often know if your rabbit loves you by how relaxed they are around you (learn more about how to know your rabbit loves you). But we all love our rabbits here, and we want to know if they can understand that we love them. Rabbits are social and intelligent creatures. They’ll know that you love them; you just have to learn how to say “I love you!” in a way they’ll understand.
You can show your rabbit you love them by giving them gifts such as toys and yummy treats. An even better way to connect with your rabbit and show them how much you care is to spend time socializing with them every day. Take the time to understand your rabbit’s body language so you can understand what makes them happy.
There are as many ways to show a rabbit you love them as there are rabbits. What it comes down to, is understanding what makes your rabbit happy. If you’re observant and take the time to treat your rabbit in a way that makes them happy, then they will understand. Rabbit’s are far more intelligent than people believe, and they will be able to understand and reciprocate your love.
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1. Give your rabbit yummy treats
The easiest way to a rabbit’s heart is through their stomach. Rabbits have a massive sweet tooth and will love all the treats you can give them. If you just want to let your rabbit know how much you love them, simply give them a small piece of their favorite fruit or vegetable. Small pieces of apple, banana, bell pepper, and carrot are often good treats to try. It’s sure to make them super happy.
To really tell your rabbit you love them, you do need to keep the treats to a minimum though. Too many sugary fruits and vegetables will end up causing health problems in the long run, so it’s best to keep the treats to only 1-2 Tablespoons per day. This helps to keep the treat-giving a special occurrence too. This way your rabbit won’t come to simply expect it, but will understand that the treats are a gift of love from you.
If you’re not sure what treats to get for your rabbit, I recommend the dried banana from Small Pet Select. Unlike many grocery store brands, these don’t have any added sugar, making them much healthier for rabbits to eat. My rabbit’s favorite are the banana chips!
2. Pet your rabbit
Rabbits love to be petted. They’ll purr by grinding their teeth together while you give them pleasant scritches on the forehand and behind the ears, and they’ll melt into the floor while you give them massages along their back. Some rabbits will even hop into your lap and stay there for hours if you keep petting them.
In fact, petting a rabbit is very similar to the way rabbits in pairs and groups groom each other. In these situations, grooming is a sign of affection between rabbits. They’ll groom each other to keep each other clean, comfort each other, and simply as a way of interacting when they want to show they care. When you pet your rabbit, you’re telling them the same thing. It’s the most direct way to tell your rabbit you love them.
If you have a young rabbit, they might still be too energetic to settle down while you pet them. Usually rabbits will calm down by the time they are about 2 years old (I have known a few exceptionally energetic older rabbits too though). They’ll be delighted to stay with you for any length of time while you pet them and give them a wonderful massage.
3. Spend time with your rabbit
Like with any relationship, spending time together is also a way to show affection. Spend time every day devoted solely to your rabbit. Sit on the floor with them, so they can readily interact with you, and try not to get too distracted by your phone or the TV. The attention will make your rabbit feel happy and it will help to meet their need for socialization.
Rabbits will show you affection in the same way. The more time they’re willing to spend with you, the more they are telling you they love and trust you. A rabbit who avoid you, may need a little more wooing with treats and other gifts before they are willing to give you their affection.
Rabbits are actually very social animals. In the wild, they would live with a large family of rabbits, and have a number of close friends. As pets, they still have these social instincts, and love to spend time with the other members of the household. Make sure to schedule parts of your day to give attention to your rabbit. The time and attention will not go unrecognized by your rabbit, and they’ll know how much you love them.
4. Give your rabbit fun toys
What is any loving relationship with the practice of gift giving? Rabbits love to play with toys, and they are great for your rabbit’s mental enrichment. You can give them a wide variety of toys to chew on and dig into. There are even many DIY toys that you can easily make from cardboard that are a lot of fun for rabbits.
Unfortunately, rabbits can be picky about the toys you give them. It can take a while to find the toys that your rabbit likes to play with most. You can check out my article going over the many different kinds of toys to try giving your rabbit, to find the ones they like best. After you find a few different types of fun toys that your rabbit likes to play with, try rotating them in and out so your rabbit never gets bored of having the same toys all the time.
Alternatively, I highly recommend getting a sampling of toys from my favorite online shop, Small Pet Select. They have a wide variety of natural toys that use different types of wood and hay, making them very healthy for rabbits to chew on. I’ve been getting toys from this shop for years, and have come to really trust the quality. My rabbits really appreciate them too!
5. Copy their behaviors
Sometimes the best course of action is to learn your rabbit’s own love language. You can copy their behaviors when they are happy and affectionate to say I love you in a way they’ll understand.
For example, rabbits will show that they have a high level of trust and comfort around you when they willingly lay down on the ground next to you. When rabbits sprawl out, they need to take extra time getting on their feet when they get up again. It’s time they wouldn’t have with a predator, so they’d never lay like that if they felt threatened.
You can show your rabbit the same trust by purposefully going next to them and laying on the ground. They’ll understand that you see them as a trusted friend, and will understand the love and affection in your actions.
Use the same logic with other behaviors that your rabbit uses to show affection. Gently grind your teeth when they groom you, to communicate that you are happy with what they’re doing. Or you can do a silly wiggle when you approach your rabbit to try to replicate a binky. Other people in the room might judge you as weird, but your rabbit will know you’re happy to see them!
6. Let your rabbit explore
Rabbits are curious creatures, and they love having the chance to explore new places and vantage points. This, of course, means giving your rabbit plenty of time to exercise and explore the room, but you can do even more than that.
Give your rabbit pieces of furniture to help them satisfy their explorative nature. Short cat towers (so your rabbit won’t fall), and cat tunnels are great gifts for your rabbit that let them explore and see the room in different ways. You can even use plain old cardboard boxes to give your rabbit someplace to hide and explore.
Another step you can take is to take the time to rearrange the room occasionally. Even small changes can be big explorative opportunities for little bunnies. They’ll be excited to check out the differences and you’ll probably notice that they are much happier and more energetic on the days when you make these kinds of changes.
7. Play games with your rabbit
A great way to show your rabbit how much you love them is to make time for play. A lot of people don’t know this, but rabbit’s do enjoy playing with humans, it’s just a matter of learning the ways in which they’ll enjoy playing the most.
Games that encourage the mischievous side of a rabbit’s personality are a great way to have fun together. Reverse fetch and tug of war will give your rabbit the chance to use their strong jaws and teeth while playing together. Or you can make yourself into an obstacle course, by letting your rabbit hop onto your back or through a tunnel beneath you.
You can even train your rabbit to do some cute tricks. This is an excellent way to both bond with your rabbit and give them some mental enrichment that will keep them happy and mentally healthy.