We all want our pet to live a long and healthy life and, by now, the lifespan of cats and dogs is fairly common knowledge. But when we are talking about Rabbits, they are a little trickier, though they do have an average lifespan just like other animals.
How The Average Rabbit Lifespan Is Explained
Domestic rabbits, which are the common breeds we have in our farms, usually live between 8-12 years, in contrast to the wild rabbits, which may only live a few years because they deal with disease, starvation, and predators of all various kinds (Mentioned by the director at the San Diego House Rabbit Society) .
Though we have several varieties of rabbit breeds, it’s difficult to determine whether some specific breeds can live longer than others. However, some larger breeds often have a shorter lifespan than the common smaller rabbit breeds.
Talking Overall, rabbits are living longer these days thanks to a combination of specially trained veterinarians and better knowledge of how rabbits should live and what they should eat.
How to Make Your Rabbit Live Longer
Rabbits aren’t as low-maintenance as they seem and much of a rabbit’s longevity depends on how well an owner cares for them. Many of the tips to help your rabbit live a long life fall into four important areas:
1. Food: The majority of a rabbit’s diet should be loose hay, and not the commercial pellets that used to be popular in the past. Rabbits need a high-fiber diet full of leafy greens like endive and kale. Treats should be given sparingly (and think twice before you grab a colorful box in the grocery store).
2. Housing: A rabbit-proofed room or a large pen is a must-have. Pierce recommends a 16-square-foot pen, but notes that rabbits should still have plenty of time to be active outside of the pen, about three or four hours a day. But before you let your rabbit roam freely in your home, cover all wires, move books from bottom shelves, and make sure your rabbit won’t have access to any special furniture. Ensure your rabbit can’t access stairs or high places, as they can jump up but often injure themselves trying to get back down. Keeping your rabbit indoors is also key. While it’s true that wild rabbits live outdoors, they usually live fewer years than domesticated rabbits.
3. Veterinary care: Another reason rabbits are living longer today is that veterinarians simply know more about them; many have special training to care for rabbits. We often recommends taking your rabbit to the vet as soon as you get it and returning for yearly check-ups, as long as there are no apparent health issues, in which case you may need to see your vet more often. Frequent veterinary visits are especially important for elderly rabbits, which can experience rapid changes in a small amount of time. Spaying and neutering can also increase life expectancy, as females are at high risk for uterine and mammary cancer.
Common Causes of Death in Rabbits
One common cause of death in rabbits is gastro Intestinal (GI) stasis, which can kill rabbits quickly. GI stasis can have numerous causes, from stress to dehydration to a blockage. Pierce said signs to watch out for include a rabbit that’s not eating or has smaller droppings than usual. Other frequent causes of death include heatstroke (for rabbits that are outside), injury, poisoning, infectious disease, cancer, and heart attacks due to stress.
Overall, it’s important to pay attention to your rabbit’s health and consult your veterinarian if something seems wrong. “Rabbits tend to hide their illnesses, so when you notice a rabbit isn’t doing well, it probably hasn’t been doing well for a while.
“It’s important to be very in-tune with your rabbits.”