Pet rabbits should be housed in compatible pairs or groups

We’ve joined forces with BSAVA and BVZS to spread the word on the importance of providing companionship for pet rabbits. 

We’re also doing our own bit of myth busting by encouraging owners not to house rabbits with guinea pigs or around predator species.

#ItTakesTwo

What’s the issue?

Companionship is extremely important for the health and welfare of pet rabbits.

Traditionally, rabbits are prey animals that live in colonies in the wild for ‘safety in numbers’. This social instinct is still present in pet rabbits today.

Evidence shows that pet rabbits greatly benefit from living with other pet rabbits, with companionship having a positive effect on their health, behaviour, emotional wellbeing and regulation of body temperature.

However, according to the 2019 PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) report, 49% of rabbits in the UK still live alone with no companionship.

red and grey rabbits

We’ve developed the following positions:

Housing pet rabbits in pairs or compatible groups

Pet rabbits should be housed in compatible pairs or groups, and they shouldn’t be housed with guinea pigs. As much space as possible should be provided for pet rabbit housing and enclosure, both indoors and outdoors.

Housing pet rabbits policy

Get involved

Here’s how you can help us spread the word:

  1. Join in the conversation on social media, and spread the word that #ItTakesTwo

  2. Offer and promote pre-purchase consultation for prospective owners of rabbits to encourage them to keep rabbits in compatible pairs or groups

  3. Change your language in practice communications to get the message across – use the term ‘rabbits’ in the plural, not the singular, and use images of rabbits in pairs or groups

  4. Mark Rabbit Awareness Week (first week of June) in your calendar and join in with raising awareness of the theme for the year

Attend a BVA CPD course on rabbit health and welfare to brush up on your rabbit knowledge. Check out our BVA CPD Programme.

We’re also asking key stakeholders such as pet vendors and the UK governments to play their part by:

  • Vendors - making sure that hutches for sale can sufficiently house two or more rabbits and meet the minimum recommended measurements for suitable shelter.

  • UK Governments - stipulating that vendors must provide prospective owners with information about appropriate housing for rabbits, and must encourage owners to buy rabbits in compatible pairs or groups in pet vending legislation.