While dogs and cats are the most common type of emotional support animals, they certainly aren’t the only option. Just about any type of domesticated animal can provide emotional support to its owner, and as such, will work well as an ESA. Even your favorite floppy-eared friend would make an excellent emotional support pet. Rabbits make perfect ESAs for several reasons. Here are just a few of them.
1. Rabbits Are Loving and Gentle Creatures
Ask anyone who has ever owned a rabbit, and they will tell you that these adorably fuzzy creatures are gentle, affectionate, and docile by nature. Rabbits bond quickly with their owners, and their loving, caring nature makes them an ideal emotional support animal. Rabbits that have bonded strongly with their owners can recognize them by their voice and will eventually learn to come when their name is called.
Rabbits love to cuddle and be handled. They prefer gentle handling, though, so handle your bunny with care to avoid bites and scratches. They are very social and having another rabbit is great to keep them from getting depressed or stressed.
2. Bunnies Are Quiet
Does the thought of a barking dog make you shy away from the idea of having an emotional support pet? If so, a rabbit may be a good alternative. Bunnies are extremely quiet, and they are well-suited to apartment living. You’ll never have to worry about a noisy rabbit keeping your neighbors up at night, and the few squeaks they do make are seriously adorable.
3. They Don’t Require a Lot of Space
Another good thing about having a rabbit as an ESA if you live in an apartment or a small house is that they don’t take up a lot of room. A large-breed dog may require a large backyard to roam, but a rabbit just needs a relatively small space. Caging a rabbit is not recommended, but you can use an unlocked/open cage as a litter box and/or a feeding station.
If you live in a small space, make sure to rabbit-proof your home (hide and make unaccessible any exposed wires or cables) or even make a single room a bunny-friendly zone. Unlike other small emotional support animals – like rats or mice – you won’t have to worry about your rabbit going missing if it’s allowed to roam around your home.
4. Rabbits Don’t Need to Go for Walks
Also ideal for apartment dwellers is the fact that rabbits don’t need to be taken for walks. They are perfectly happy to remain safely inside their owners’ homes, and they can get plenty of exercise hopping around the house. Make sure your rabbit has at least a few hours every day to play, explore, and stretch his legs, and he will be perfectly happy.
5. Training Is a Breeze
Rabbits are surprisingly easy to train. Like cats, they instinctively know to use a litter box if one is placed in their living area. They may need a little guidance, for typically, house training comes naturally to these clean animals.
Bunnies respond well to positive reinforcement training and quickly learn to come when called and perform tricks. Provide carrots or chunks of banana or apple, and you’ll be able to train your rabbit in no time.
6. Rabbits Have Long Lives
Unlike pet rats that live 1-3 years, you can expect a pet rabbit to live 10+ years. This allows you to establish a long term bond with these cuddly creatures. Prepare for a long-term commitment if you are looking to adopt a rabbit as an emotional support animal.
7. You Can Adopt a Rabbit at Your Local Shelter
Animal shelters oftentimes have rabbits available for adoption. Adopting and raising a rabbit from a shelter can be challenging, but rewarding. Save a shelter animal’s life and make yours more robust.
8. Rabbits Are Full of Personality
One of the great things about animals is their ability to make us smile and cheer us up when we are feeling down. They can also help relieve our stress and provide the love and companionship we crave. Rabbits have fun, unique personalities that make them perfect emotional support animals.
They are also undeniably adorable. Is there anything cuter than a fluffy bunny with floppy ears and a twitching nose? For people who struggle with mental or emotional disorders or abilities, all that cuteness can go a long way toward making them feel better.
Rabbits may not be the first species you think of when you are considering an emotional support animal, but they are perfectly suited to their job. These easy-to-care-for, low-maintenance pets are ideal for apartment dwellers and anyone else who is looking for a cuddly companion that doesn’t require a lot of space. Just give your bunny lots of love and treats, and you’ll have a very happy companion.