Rehoming your rabbit
Any pet should be a life-long commitment, and there are very few situations that cannot be worked with to keep a pet by your side. Millions of pets are abandoned every year, and thousands of animals are euthanized because people did not want to keep a pet they obtained within the last 5 years. Please carefully consider, research, and plan before obtaining a new pet. Pets do not understand why the people that they've bonded with suddenly disappear, and from an animal's perspective, it is extremely traumatizing. Pets are not disposable.
If you have adopted your rabbit from a shelter or rescue or bought it from a breeder, please check your contract on whether or not you are mandated to bring your rabbit back to them in the case you need to rehome it.
The following links contain additional tips to keep you from rehoming your pet.
- All Creatures Rescue & Sanctuary, Tough times, tough choices – tips to keep from surrendering your pets
Rentals that allow pets are available if you give yourself enough time and work to find them. Do not give up that easily. Widening your search area can also help; while you may need to drive further, you get to keep your pet.
If you cannot find pet-friendly housing, try directly talking to the landlords to see if they are open to making an exception for you. Many of these landlords usually only worry about cats and dogs. Write up a resume for your rabbit to try to address any concerns a landlord may have. Promise to confine your rabbit to one room or a cage or suggest to pay a higher security deposit or have a trial period for your rabbit. Encourage the landlord to meet your rabbit to demonstrate its good behavior.
If you only have a temporary housing issue, look for fosters or pet boarding services experienced with rabbits to temporarily care for your rabbit. Typically, these services can range from weeks to months.
Below are some links with more information about renting with rabbits.
- Libby Moore. (1997). Landlords and Lagomorphs
- Elizabeth TeSelle. Saying Yes to Rabbits
Not enough time
Pets require time and effort, but especially for a rabbit, it is minimal. Rabbits only require daily exercise outside their cage, food, and some social time with you. If you have a pair of bonded rabbits, they can easily amuse each other; you only need to let them out in a bunny-safe room to exercise for a couple hours a day.
Having a baby
It is possible to have pets and children. While you may have less time to take care of a rabbit and play with him, it is still multitudes better than turning his world upside down with a new home and unfamiliar people.
Check to make sure that is it the rabbit itself that is responsible for your allergies. Other common causes are hay, straw, and sawdust from your rabbit's food and litter. Alternatives can be found for most of these. Hay can be replaced gradually with different types, and some may trigger less allergic reactions than others. Grass is also an alternative, and it tends not to be as dusty as hay. Straw and wood shavings and pellets as litter can be replaced with paper-based products such as Yesterday's News or Carefresh.
If your rabbit has been confirmed as the root of the problem, contact your physician for a remedy for your allergies. More frequent cleaning and grooming can also help with the symptoms. If you are allergic to your rabbit, keeping it out of your bedroom where you sleep is also a good idea. Thousands of people with allergies still have pets. Giving up your pet for adoption could be a last option, not the physician's first. Please do everything possible within reason before determining that you must give your pet up for adoption.
If your pet is badly behaved, what are the reasons for anyone else to take the pet on? Please try to work to managing bad behaviors before trying to rehome your pet.
- Spaying and neutering can improve rabbit behavior tremendously when the rabbits do not have to fight with hormonal frustrations. Issues that spaying and neutering may solve include spraying and territorial aggression.
- Aggression is often a behavioral and not a genetic problem. See Aggressive Rabbits for more details.
- Rabbits can easily be litter trained to reduce the mess they make. See Litter Training for details.
- If your rabbit is chewing and destroying everything in sight, please consider bunny-proofing any location that your rabbit has access to and provide plenty of toys. See Bunny-Proofing and Toys for more details.
What to put on an ad
- A good picture. Consider the background and lighting to show the rabbit at its best.
- Basic physical characteristics - age, weight, sex, color, breed (if known)
- Is your rabbit spayed or neutered?
- Is your rabbit litter trained?
- Ask for a small rehoming fee to weed out people who are just looking for a cheap pet or a pet for nefarious intentions.
- Give details about the personality of your rabbit to help market the bun.
- What are its favorite toys?
- What are its favorite foods?
- Is your rabbit friendly with people and loves pets? Cuddly? Can it be handled and picked up?
- Has your rabbit been an indoor or outdoor rabbit?
- Has it had experience living with children and other pets such as dogs and cats?
- Include if you are also giving away its cage, food, hay, and other supplies.
Places to post ads
Try all of these following available outlets, not just one or two. You want to gain the largest audience you can for your pet.
- Bunspace, Rabbit Rescue and Adoption
- relevant reddit.com subreddits (e.g. /r/Rabbits and the appropriate location subreddits)
- RabbitsOnline, Rescue Me!
- Veterinarian offices (regular or exotic).
- Shelters, rescues, and humane societies. Try both rabbit rescues and cat/dog-only rescues to ask for a courtesy listing. The worst they can say is no. See Adoption Listings on locating some near your location.
- Craigslist, Kijiji, Hoobly and other online classified ad sites.
- Grooming salons. Even though rabbits are not usually serviced at these locations, they have a clientele of animal lovers that may be able to help.
- Pet stores. This does not mean that you should sell or give your rabbits to a pet store or patronize a location that does so with rabbits. Instead, you should use them as another resource to post ads for a relevant audience. Pet stores are out to make a profit, and do not typically have the welfare of the rabbits in mind when they sell them. If you cannot get a rabbit rescue to take your bunnies in, keep them with you and properly rehome them yourself.
Military personnel & Hospital patients
If you are in the military or will have a hospital stay of a month or more see if PACT for Animals can help.
"PACT for Animals is a champion of the Human-Animal Bond. PACT gives peace of mind to hospital patients and military personnel by placing their pets in temporary foster homes until their owners can be reunited with the companion animals they love."
"Every year thousands of companion animals are surrendered into animal shelters due to temporary crises. By providing access to safe foster homes for animals until their human companions can take them back, PACT reduces the number of animals in animal shelters and gives the owners peace of mind that their best friends will not be lost, abused, or euthanized." - PACT for Animals
Sample adoption forms
Look into the adoption forms at rabbit rescues to have an idea on what questions to ask potential adopters.
- House Rabbit Society, Finding a Home for an Unwanted Rabbit
- House Rabbit Society, Finding a New Home for a Rabbit
- Indiana House Rabbits Society, Guidelines for Finding a Safe Home for your Rabbit
- RabbitWise, Inc., How do I find a new home for my rabbit?
- Georgia House Rabbit Society, Thinking of Giving Up Your Rabbit?
- Missouri House Rabbit Society, Finding a New Home For Your Rabbit
- Rabbit and Pocket Pet Adoptions, I need to place my pet(s) in a new home, what do I do?
- Luv-a-Bun Rabbit Rescue, Surrender
- Los Angeles Rabbit Foundation, Finding Homes for Rabbits and Other FAQs
- Red Barn Rabbit Rescue, Surrendering Your Pet Rabbit
- Cat McIntire, Finding A Home For Your Rabbit
- Sweet Binks Rabbit Rescue, Inc., Re-Homing Your Rabbit
- Dana Krempels, Ph.D., Guidelines for Finding a Safe Home for your Rabbit
- Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund, Rabbit Rescue: Guidelines on finding good homes for unwanted rabbits