Do Dogs And Rabbits Get Along?
Rabbits and dogs are both fun and social creatures that enjoy spending time with people and other animals.
Unfortunately, in some households, having dogs and rabbits co-mingling together can be risky, so it is important to make a slow and safe introduction.
If you’re trying to have a home where both your bunny and dog can spend time in the same room together, you will want to follow this article’s steps and advice for making a safe introduction.
By Allison Salonko.
Allison is a Veterinary Technician in the state of Indiana. She graduated from International Business College and Vet Tech Institute of Indianapolis with a degree in Animal Science and Technology in 2011.
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Can Rabbits And Dogs Get Along?
Dogs and rabbits can certainly get along with each other. However, if your dog has a strong prey drive, especially towards rabbits, then it may not be in your bunny’s best interest to have the dog around them.
Your dog’s behavior towards the rabbit is the key factor that will tell you if this is a good idea or not.
The most successful bunny and dog friendships come from relationships that were started when the dog was just a puppy.
That doesn’t mean that only dogs that were introduced to rabbits at a very young age will be gentle or socialized enough to be around them, but it really does help.
A calm or mild-tempered adult dog can be introduced to rabbits as long as it doesn’t become overstimulated or show aggression or a high prey drive.
Even if they are the best dog, it would still be a good idea to monitor them closely, especially at the beginning when your dog is first getting used to the rabbit.
Dog breeds with a high prey drive
Breeds better suited to rabbits
Poodles (Doodles too!)
How To Introduce A Rabbit And A Dog
As a pet owner, you want your dog and your rabbit to get along. So, how can you do that?
Well, teaching a dog to resist it’s natural desire to hunt prey, such as cute little bunnies, is a delicate process.
But it can be done!
Make Friends At A Young Age
Assuming that this is even an option for you, introducing your bunny to a puppy tends to be much easier than when the dog is a full-fledged adult.
A puppy’s behavior towards other animals can be molded when they are young, therefore teaching them that the rabbit is a friend and not food.
Have Rabbits and Dogs Meet Through The Cage Or A Gate First
It’s always best if a dog and rabbit can initially meet and see each other through the cage or a pet gate.
This is a safe way of introducing them without having the danger of an unwanted incident.
Use The “Scent Handshake”
This is a process I recommend for the introduction of any animals, not just making dogs and rabbit get along.
I like to use blankets or towels with each individual scent on it and trade, getting the dog used to the smell of the bunny and vice versa.
Watch Dogs and Rabbits Very Closely
If an appropriate response and behavior was noted with each animal during their safe introduction through the gate and cage, then you can move onto the process of really meeting each other.
Don’t just put the bunny and the dog in a room together and think that everything is great.
Stay involved and close by, carefully watching how the rabbit and dog interact with each other.
(It’s best to have the dog on a leash at first).
If the dog or the rabbit seems frightened or like they’d prefer to not be there, then you should remove them from the situation.
Ensure Your Dog Will Listen To You
Making sure your dog knows basic commands (and manners) is crucial when introducing them to any new animals, but especially our delicate little bunnies.
You need your dog to listen and focus on you if they are becoming overstimulated, that way you can control the situation and not let it get out of hand.
Keeping Your Dog And Bunny Safe
Your goal as a pet owner is to keep your animals safe, but we also want them to live life and have fun.
If you have a household of mixed pets like a dog and a rabbit, that’s totally fine!
Bunnies and dogs can be friends for many years as long as they are taught how to play safely and get along.
Photo by Gavin.