Many people are understandably reluctant to bring a new pet home when they know they’ll be away from the house for eight hours every day. You don’t want to feel guilty leaving your new pet home all day, wondering if they’ll be lonely. So what about rabbits?
If you work a typical 9 to 5 full-time job, rabbits are great pets that work with your schedule. Rabbits are typically sleeping during the middle of the day when you are away and active in the morning and evening when you’re home so you can socialize with them.
However, rabbits are social and active creatures that need time to socialize with people and get some exercise for multiple hours every day. If you are frequently away on business trips, or you tend to stay out until late at night, you may not be able to give a rabbit the care they need. So even though a rabbit’s natural lifestyle will work great with a full-time work schedule, you should examine all the aspects of your lifestyle before choosing to bring a rabbit home.
Important: This post contains affiliate links. As an associate to Amazon, Small Pet Select, and Chewy.com, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
Rabbits for full-time workers
Rabbits can absolutely be great pets for people who work full-time, but it does depend on the type of job you have and the amount of time you spend outside of the home for vacations, business trips, and socializing. Before adopting a rabbit, try asking yourself these questions to decide if a pet rabbit is right for you.
1. What hours do you work?
The most important thing to consider is the hours that you work. Being away from home in the middle of the day will make your schedule with rabbits a lot easier to maintain than if you’re away all morning and go to sleep in the early evening.
Rabbits are crepuscular animals, which means they are most active in the morning and evening and tend to sleep in the middle of the day and the middle of the night. Typically rabbits will be most active in the morning from around 6 am to 10 am and then they’ll get active again in the evening after 5 pm.
If you have a typical full-time schedule where you work 9-5, you’ll still be home for most of the time that the rabbit is active. You’ll still have time to socialize with them and make sure they get exercise during the ideal time of day.
However, if you have the type of schedule where you’re at work before the sun gets up and you end up going to bed early at night (or vice versa and you sleep until late in the morning), then you probably won’t be home and awake when your rabbit is active. So in these cases, a rabbit might not be the ideal pet.
2. Do you have frequent business trips?
Rabbits require daily socialization and should not be left alone for long stretches of time. Not only can some rabbits get sick easily, but they can also get depressed if they don’t get enough attention. If you live with a partner or even roommates, you can ask them to care for and socialize with your rabbit while you’re away. However, if you live alone and are often away, then a rabbit might not be the best pet for you.
If you have the occasional business trip, that’s completely fine. You can arrange for someone to come in to take care of the rabbit while you’re away. However, if you have a business trip more than once a month, it’s usually not an ideal situation for the rabbit.
3. What kind of social life do you have?
The other main question to ask yourself is whether or not you can realistically be home for your rabbit. I’m not saying you have to completely give up your social life if you get a pet rabbit, but if you’re spending every single evening away from your home, your rabbit is likely to get lonely and bored.
4. Do you have a quiet home?
While this does depend on the rabbit’s personality, most bunnies get scared and anxious in loud and hectic homes. If you frequently have large groups of friends over for parties and get-togethers, it may end up being a stressful environment for the rabbit. So in this case, a different type of pet may be better for you unless you’re able to find a more confident rabbit who doesn’t mind being around a lot of people.
How long can pet rabbits be left alone?
As a general rule, you shouldn’t leave a pet rabbit alone for more than 24 hours. I do not recommend going away for a weekend trip and not arranging for someone to come in and take care of the bunny.
This is mostly because rabbits can get sick pretty quickly. Rabbits have a tendency to hide any symptoms of illness. In the wild, this would have prevented them from being picked off as the weak link, but as pets that means we usually don’t even know our rabbits are sick until they are very sick and cannot hide the symptoms anymore.
When this happens, you need to get your rabbit to the vet as soon as possible because the rabbit’s condition can take a sharp turn for the worst very quickly. Conditions such as GI Stasis are fairly common in rabbits and can be fatal within 24 hours. If you happen to be away from home for the weekend, you won’t even see the signs of sickness before you leave.
What type of care do rabbits need?
Why does it matter how much time you are able to spend with your rabbit? This is because of the social needs and exercise requirements of pet rabbits. The common misconception is that rabbits are small cage-pets when in reality rabbits are active and social. They are much better off being treated like a companion pet similar to a cat or a dog.
When taking care of a pet rabbit, you need to consider these:
- Socialization for pet rabbits. Rabbits require multiple hours of socialization every day. This just looks like spending time in the same room with your rabbit as they roam around and petting them or playing with them when your rabbit comes over and asks for attention.
- Exercise time for rabbits. Ideally, rabbits should have 4-5 hours out of their enclosure every day for exercise. It’s best if this time is in the morning and evening when rabbits are active.
- Space for the rabbit habitat. A rabbit needs enough space to hop around a little even when they are not on ‘exercise time.’ I recommend getting a pet playpen instead of a cage because this will give your rabbit a lot more space.
- Rabbit dietary needs. Rabbits have a sensitive digestive system. They need unlimited access to hay, with one to two cups of leafy greens every day. Rabbits should also get dry food pellets, but only a small amount. Learn more about a healthy rabbit diet.
Tips and Tricks Newsletter
If you are new to caring for rabbits, check out the Bunny Lady bimonthly newsletter. Right after you sign up, you’ll receive a FREE pdf rabbit care guidebook. I put together a guide that goes over all the basics of rabbit care so you have it all in one place. Then you will receive tips and tricks about rabbit care straight to your inbox so that you know you’ll be taking excellent care of your new rabbit.
Recommended Products and Brands
Important: These are Affiliate links. As an associate to Amazon, Small Pet Select, and Chewy.com, I may receive a small commission from qualifying purchases.
The two brands that I use when buying food for my rabbit are Oxbow and Small Pet Select. These both have high quality rabbit products and are companies that care about the health of our small animals. If you are purchasing anything from Small Pet Select use the code BUNNYLADY at checkout to get 15% off your first order.
- Hay: Second Cutting Timothy Hay from Small Pet Select
- Pellets: Oxbow Garden Select Food for Rabbits
- Treats: Oxbow Simple Rewards
- Toys: Small Pet Select Natural Toys
- Enclosure/cage: A rabbit exercise pen
- Rabbit carrier: SleepyPod Mobile Pet Bed