For some pet owners, the more animals the better and, in some situations, the more species the better as well. While I’m not the type of pet owner that would go that far, I do still enjoy having a couple of species around the house. As a rabbit lover and owner, however, no matter what second pet I decide to get, he has to get along with my rabbits. After all, they were in my house first.
Many pet owners think as I do, which is why a question that I hear a lot about rabbits is this one? Do rabbits get along with dogs?
Frankly, as a pet owner of more than 30 years, all I can say to that is some rabbits like some dogs and some dogs like some rabbits. It really is as simple as that. For the more complicated answer, however, read on.
What is your rabbit’s temperament like? – The main thing you should look at before you decide to introduce a dog into a home with a rabbit, is what is your rabbit’s temperament like? Is he calm, laid-back and relaxed, or is he highly-strung, easily frightened and timid?
In most cases, a rabbit would probably get along with a dog if he has the first type of personality, whereas in the second case he probably wouldn’t. That’s why you should assess your rabbit’s temperament carefully before you decide to get a dog.
What is the dog’s temperament like? – Before you decide to add a rabbit to the pets you already have at home, make sure you choose the right one for the situation. Ideally, that means choosing a dog that couldn’t care less if you have a rabbit or not — in fact, he’d rather completely ignore it. Yes, indifference makes the perfect second pet here.
Does the dog chase? – One good indicator that a dog isn’t a particularly good companion for a rabbit is whether the dog is a chaser or not. If he is, and loves nothing more than chasing your rabbit around the living room, he’s really not a good candidate to live in a home with a rabbit. Not unless he’s a puppy and he might soon calm down.
That’s because the dog sees your rabbit as ‘prey’ and, in the most extreme situation, he could actually kill him. Or your rabbit could also end up having a heart attack, simply out of stress and fear.
Is it doggy love? – Of course, you may get a situation where the dog you add to your home is absolutely enamored of your rabbit and in a good way. He snuggles up to him, sleeps with him and follows him around all day long. That’s a perfect situation and one your rabbit would probably love.
If this does happen, however, do be sure to watch the odd pairing for at least a few days, as you don’t want one of them to suddenly turn nasty and start biting or chasing. And yes, it can be your rabbit that ‘turns’, just as easily as it might be the dog you just brought into your home.
Test before getting – If you’re not sure if a dog you’ve found would be the perfect addition to your home, you should ‘test out’ any dog you are considering getting before you make a commitment. If you don’t, you could soon realize you can’t leave your rabbit and your dog in the same room together as one of them is likely to die.
Ask the kennel or pet shop if you can take the dog you like home for a couple of days to see how he behaves with your rabbit, as some places will allow this. If you do, what you’re looking for is indifference rather than interest, or lying relaxed at each other’s side rather than chasing each other frantically around the house.
Just remember, some animals hate each other on sight, while others take a few days to settle in. Give the odd pairing enough time to work, or not, before you give up and take Fido back to the pet shop.
Meanwhile, watch this very cute video from Budget Bunny that shows exactly what can happen if you are lucky and end up getting a dog that is obviously a rabbit lover.