Did you know? Rabbits are eco-friendly pets!

According to Forbes, 66% of households in the U.S. have a pet, as of 2024. That’s almost 90 million households! There are so many reasons why it’s great to have a pet—there’s nothing like having a loving companion to spend time with. Having a pet is also associated with lower stress, decreased blood pressure, and lower rates of depression.

We love all animals, but in our biased opinion, there’s something special about rabbits. The way their nose twitches, their soft fur, how they hop around in curiosity. We could go on!

One thing you may not know about rabbits is that they’re very eco-friendly pets to have. Obviously, this is not the only reason someone should consider adopting a rabbit, but it’s something to consider! Some people may be attracted to having a rabbit as a pet that aligns with their environmental values and then fall in love with them in other ways.

How are rabbits eco-friendly pets?

  • Rabbits eat a naturally vegan diet, which means their diet doesn’t contribute to the environmental impact of meat consumption.

  • Rabbits eat about 2 cups of vegetables per day; these vegetables can be sourced from your garden or a local farmer’s market, reducing the carbon footprint compared to pets who eat commercial meat-based foods. You can also grow your own vegetables as well!

  • Rabbits eat the stems and tops of most vegetables people eat too, further reducing waste! If you’re making a salad, soup, or pasta for your meal, chances are some of the leftover veggies can be given to your rabbit, such as dill, turnip greens, basil, thyme, and rosemary.

  • About 80% of a rabbit’s diet should be hay (such as orchard, timothy, or oat). Their droppings make excellent fertilizer for your garden. In fact, if you search websites like Etsy, you’ll find that some people will even pay for rabbit droppings to use as fertilizer! Rabbit droppings are rich in nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and other minerals that are excellent for plant growth.

  • If you use biodegradable litter (we like Cat Country’s wheatgrass litter or Integrity’s natural pine litter), you can throw the entire litter pan contents into your compost bin or use in your garden. In comparison, many cat litters can’t be composted. Additionally, waste from dogs and cats can’t be composted as they may contain harmful bacteria. People often also use plastic bags to pick up after their dog. 

  • Just like cats, a healthy rabbit is very clean and self-grooms, which conserves water. Unlike dogs, they do not need frequent water-intensive baths. A healthy rabbit also doesn’t need chemically formulated grooming products. 

  • To clean rabbit litter boxes and accidents, you can use warm water and vinegar, not cleaning products made with harsh chemicals.

  • Pet products generate millions of pounds of plastic waste each year. Many dog and cat toys are made of plastic, feathers, and other non-recyclable materials. In contrast, most rabbit toys aren’t made with plastic, and are instead made with biodegradable materials such as untreated willow, soft pine, jute, and seagrass. Rabbits love chewing them too! Most rabbit toys are made to be destroyed and broken down.

  • If rabbits have plastic toys, typically they’re baby toys, such as plastic keys or stacking cups, and not toys specifically made for rabbits. You can also find these toys for sale on Nextdoor or a Facebook group to save on cost.

  • There’s a variety of fun DIY toys you can make for your rabbit, using materials you already have on hand, getting additional use out of these items. You can make your rabbit a “dig box” using a repurposed Amazon box filled with shredded paper—you no doubt have plenty of credit card offers that can be shredded! Rabbits love to destroy cardboard—it’s fun for them to have something to tear into. Another great toy to make for your rabbit is to stuff a paper towel roll with hay and hide a treat (or two!) in the center. Your rabbit will love chewing through it. Toys like this are not only eco-friendly but are also cost-effective ways of keeping your rabbit entertained. 

  • There are many rabbit toy suppliers that are small businesses, and not larger manufacturing companies. Some of our favorites are BinkyBunny, Bunny Bunch Boutique, Fun4Bunnies, the Funny Bunny Toy Company, Napoleon Bunnyparte, and the Well Kept Rabbit.

  • And remember, spay/neuter your rabbit! Not only does this help prevent overpopulation, which causes an unnecessary environmental impact, it also helps with behavior issues and litter habits. Unfixed female rabbits also have a very high rate of developing uterine cancer, so there are health benefits as well.

Of course, there are many other reasons why people should consider adopting a rabbit beyond just their low impact on the environment! Just like dogs and cats, every rabbit has a unique personality. Generally, they’re very social creatures and enjoy spending time with people. For families and adults who have thoroughly educated themselves about rabbit care and have decided to share their home with a rabbit, we recommend adopting one from an HRS chapter, local shelter, or other rescue organization. No matter where you live, you are likely within 50 miles of a rabbit who desperately needs a safe, loving, indoor home. 

At House Rabbit Society, we believe rabbits are wonderful companions, but they’re not for everyone. If you’ve never had a rabbit before, we encourage you to spend time on our website, learning more about them and whether they would be a good fit for you, your family, and your lifestyle. We also recommend fostering a rabbit first so you can experience what it’s like caring for one before you make a lifetime, 10-year commitment to adopt!  
Fostering is a great opportunity to experience what caring for a rabbit is like before making the lifetime commitment to adopt. We encourage you to look at your local animal shelter or rabbit rescue to foster with them. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, check out our adoption and resource center in Richmond.

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