Taking Rabbits to the Local Park?

Deborah S
by Deborah S
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QuestionI have a couple rabbits and I was wondering if was safe to take them to the park. There they like to nibble on tree bark and grass (and some weeds and/or clover). I believe the trees are maple (but not 100% sure). Apparently the parks aren't sprayed with any chemicals because one of the park representatives said that if there wasn't a little white sign on the grass or in the area that no chemicals have been sprayed. They've nibbled on outside vegetation/bark a few times and they seem fine. I was just wondering if it would be safe for continued occasional (2-4 X per week) exposure. (Keith Shannon - Wisconsin)

Answer

Rabbits are extremely social creatures and need daily exercise. Taking your rabbits on outings to the park is an excellent idea. Your rabbit’s diet needs to be primarily made up of forages, such as grasses, hay, leafy vegetables and herbs. Foraging for fresh grasses and legumes, like clover, in the park is as close to nature as you can get. Contact the city maintenance department to make sure that they don’t spray with herbicides or pesticides before allowing your rabbits to dig in, even if there is no sign present. It is important to keep them safe while they forage in public places. Always check tall grass for broken glass, as this can easily cut into your rabbit’s delicate skin. Rabbits are also very curious and may ingest dangerous objects in the park, such as cigarette butts and pieces of string.

Also, be aware of other animals in the park. Some dog owners don’t obey leash laws and a wandering dog may see your beloved bunny as something fun to chase or chomp! Keep the rabbits in a quiet area and under constant supervision. Even the laziest of rabbits can be quite fast so outfit each rabbit with a close-fitting harness and leash. Put the harnesses on the rabbits in the house and let them hop around for a week or so to get used to wearing the harness. This way, they won’t be shocked when taken outdoors on harness and leash. If your rabbit begins to fight on the harness, take care that he or she does not injure their back! Rabbit owners also can use a portable enclosure or baby’s play yard to help keep their rabbits safe outdoors. This prevents the rabbits from running off and protects them from wandering dogs; but still allows them to enjoy the sunshine and forages. Exercise is necessary for rabbits to be healthy physically and mentally. Half an hour or so several days a week is perfect.

Disclaimer: This service is meant to provide advice only and is not meant to replace an appointment with a registered veterinarian. Users should always seek a second opinion. Unfortunately we are only able to answer several questions per week so not everyone gets a published answer. And, unfortunately we can't answer by email.
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