Growing up, you may have seen bunnies at your friend’s houses stuck in outdoor hutches or in cages. Not much attention being paid to them. Being a novice bunny owner, it is often thought bunnies are relatively low maintenance.
Somewhat similar to how you would leave a pet cat to do their own thing around the house. While cats enjoy their own company, bunnies are the exact opposite and love attention and a social life.
You should spend as much time as possible playing and interacting with your bunny. That should be at least one to two hours daily. There is no such thing as too much. If you live a busy lifestyle, it is best to make sure your bunny has a bunny friend so they can play and socialise together.
A recent 2016 study in The Veterinary Nurse states “sadly, the social needs of pet rabbits are often not being met by owners.” This highlights the importance of playing and giving as much attention as possible to your bunny.
How Do I Play With My Bunny?
Playing with your bunny is different than how you play or give attention to your dog. You can’t chase and play fetch with your bunny. However, you can show your bunny plenty of love through lying on the floor and being at their level. Petting, scratching, massaging, and grooming your bunny are ways you can show your bunny that you love them.
Having toys and props make play time much more exciting for your bunny. Chew toys such as cardboard boxes and tunnels will provide your bunny with plenty of environmental stimulation and have them running zoomies around your home.
In our experience, tunnels make the best toys for bunnies to play with. They love the enclosed, dark spaces and they will end up in and out of their tunnel. You may even catch your bunny taking a nap in there!
If you have an outside area that is closed off, letting your bunny play outside is also a great option. We let our bunny outside every morning and leave the door open throughout the day.
As soon as the door is opened in the morning, Grooty runs outside and performs zoomies back and forth in the yard. She’s even left a large hole in the garden from her favourite digging location!
Later in the evening, you can watch your favourite TV shows and have your bunny lie next to you while you pet and groom her. If your bunny lets you, you can pick her up and cuddle her on your lap.
How Many Hours A Day Should I Spend With My Bunny?
The simple answer to this is… as much as possible! Bunnies generally love attention as long as it’s on their terms. That means letting your bunny come to you when they want attention.
You may read you should give ‘x’ number of hours of attention to your bunny. Remember, there is no time limit. You can give as much love and attention to your bunny as your bunny wants.
When Is The Best Time To Play With My Bunny?
Bunnies are most active in the morning and evening. That doesn’t mean you can only play with them during these times. It all depends on your bunny. Don’t go trying to play with your bunny when you want to. Rather, your bunny will dictate when you play.
Your bunny will likely sleep for most of the day in the corner of the room they’ve claimed as their sleeping spot. But if they decide they want to be active that day, that’s the perfect time to join your bunny for some play and attention time.
How Do You Know When Your Bunny Needs Attention?
Learning your bunny’s social cues is important as you grow together. Often, you may get frustrated at your bunny chewing your house or furniture to pieces.
While you may do everything in the book to deter them from chewing such as clear packing tape, bitter apple spray or providing actual toys to chew, your bunny may not stop.
This is usually a sign they want attention or are bored. Simply lying on the floor and spending some quality time with your bunny can be enough to make them happy and stop them chewing your house to pieces.
Sometimes your bunny may dig or nip you. This usually isn’t a sign for more attention but can be your bunny letting you know that it is time for food!
What If I Don’t Have Time To Play With My Bunny?
Sometimes we can go through busy periods in our life. Could be work or just general life problems. In this case, consider getting your bunny a friend.
If you don’t already have a bonded pair, this would the best reason to get another bunny. Then your bunny has a friend to play with when you’re too busy to give lots of attention to them.
Ideally you should get your bunny friend at a time when you are not so busy. That way you will be able to dedicate time to bond them. Never buy a bunny friend and leave them together without going through proper bunny bonding strategies.
Even if you have a bonded pair, you should still try to give some of your spare time to giving them attention. Even if it’s only 5 minutes here and there throughout the day. Giving your bunny small bursts of attention and play is better than giving them none at all.
Don’t underestimate how important attention and companionship is for your bunny. A 2016 study in The Veterinary Nurse states “a rabbit’s need for companionship is an important element of their welfare.” Meaning, bunnies need social interaction to keep them healthy.
When To Play With Your Bunny If They Stay In A Cage
Ideally, your bunny should be free roam. If you bunny stays in a cage or playpen, you should let your bunny out to roam and play as much as possible. Any time you are home, your bunny should be out of their cage so they can stretch their legs and play.
If you are using a cage currently and need to keep your bunny enclosed, opt for a playpen instead as they provide more space for your bunny to move. See the Best Enclosures & Playpens for Bunnies.