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How Much Exercise Do Rabbits Need? (Why It Is Important)

Do you own a rabbit and wonder how much exercise rabbits need?

Rabbits are social and affectionate animals that are often mistaken as low-maintenance pets. However, rabbits require as much time and attention as cats and dogs, possibly more.

Rabbits are incredibly energetic pets that require regular exercise to keep them fit, healthy, and happy.

Continue to find out how much exercise rabbits need, how to exercise your pet inside and outside safely, and whether you can use exercise equipment for rabbits!

How Much Exercise Do Rabbits Need?

Rabbits need a minimum of 3 hours of exercise every day. If your rabbit lives in a small cage or hutch, you will need to provide them with more exercise to prevent them from becoming bored or restless.

a rabbit feeling relax

Exercise not only provides your rabbit with mental stimulation but also keeps your rabbit fit and allows your rabbit to burn off excess energy.

This is incredibly important for their health!

Rabbits who are not given the option to exercise will likely become bored, depressed, and reduced heart conditions due to inactivity. [1]

Your rabbit will probably act out if it isn’t provided enough exercise, leading to biting and aggression.

You can exercise your rabbit inside or outside, so you don’t need to worry if you don’t have a garden for your pet to hop around in!

If you are using a run for your rabbit to exercise in, make sure it is large and spacious. The minimum size for a run should be around 8 ft x 8 ft or 240cm x 120cm.

There are many different rabbit runs to choose from, such as Apex runs and wire runs, so pick the one you prefer most.

Some rabbit owners use puppy pens as runs or play areas for their rabbits as these are typically inexpensive!

If you use a room to exercise your rabbits, make sure it is safe and secure. You should ensure it cannot be accessed by other animals and clear away any hazards, such as electrical cables and plastic.

Additionally, small nooks and crannies your rabbit could squeeze into should be blocked off.

Whether you’re exercising your rabbits inside or outside, make sure you never leave them unattended. Your rabbits should always be supervised when not inside their cage or hutch.

Watch this video to know rabbits’ exercise requirements.

READ: How Often Should You Clean a Rabbit Cage

Allowing Your Rabbit to Exercise Outside

a rabbit doing exercise, how much exercise do rabbits need

Exercising your rabbit outside when it’s warm and sunny is a great way for your rabbit to get some vitamin D.

They will enjoy the fresh air and grass too!

It would be best to use a run or playpen when exercising your rabbits outside to keep them safe.

If your rabbit has never been outside to exercise before, make sure you build them up and increase their time out gradually to prevent them from becoming too stressed.

Rabbits love to dig, so letting them outside to exercises allows them to do this activity (and burn off some steam).

Ensure you keep an eye on your rabbits when they are digging so that they do not escape their run/playpen.

Notably, a few factors should be considered before letting your rabbit play outside.

Precautions Prior to Letting Your Rabbits Exercise Outside

Before letting your rabbit outside to exercise, there are certain precautions you should take to keep your pet safe.

Make sure the temperature outside is not too hot or cool.

Temperatures should not exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit (around 26 degrees Celsius) and should not be lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). [2]

The weather should also be dry. If it’s windy, raining, or snowing, don’t let your rabbits outside!

It would be best if you used a run, playpen, or other types of sturdy enclosure for your rabbit to exercise in.

It’s not recommended you let your rabbit free roam outside as they could escape, chew on dangerous plants or materials.

Ensure that the enclosure you are using outside is safe, secure, and robust. You should also make sure the top of the enclosure has a cover or has high enough walls to prevent your rabbit from jumping out.

Rabbits like to dig, so be on the watch for this if their run/playpen is on grass or near the soil. You don’t want your rabbit escaping!

You should put away any dangerous materials/objects (like plastic) and ensure your rabbit cannot access any poisonous plants.

Poisonous plants include Holly, Lilies, Ivy, Milkweed, and Chrysanthemum. It’s a good idea to make sure your rabbit can’t get into any flowers or plants unless you know they are 100% safe.

The grass outside should be completely dry before you let your rabbits outside. Walking on damp grass can make your rabbits unwell.

Additionally, you should ensure the grass has not been treated with any pesticides or chemicals. These could seriously harm your pet if ingested.

Ensure your rabbits have access to shade and fresh water when exercising outside. A hideaway is a good option as it also provides your rabbit with a safe area to retreat to if they feel scared or threatened.

Be on the lookout for predators, such as cats, hawks, and foxes. Rabbits are prey animals and can be an easy target when outside, especially if their enclosure does not have a top/cover.

Lastly, always supervise your rabbits when they are exercising outside. It would help if you never left your rabbits alone out, not even for a second.

READ MORE: Do Rabbits Stink?

Allowing Your Rabbit to Exercise Indoors

how much exercise do rabbits need

Letting your rabbits inside to exercise is ideal when you don’t own a garden or cannot let your rabbits outside due to bad weather.

You could use a playpen to exercise your rabbit inside, or you could use a safe and rabbit-proof room for them to play in.

It would help if you aimed to give your rabbit at least 3 hours of exercise each day. Even if your rabbit lives in a large and spacious habitat, they still need exercise outside their cage or hutch.

If your rabbit lives in a small cage, then you will need to make sure they get exercise to allow them to burn off steam.

More than 3 hours of exercise may be more adequate if your rabbit lives in a small habitat.

Of course, a few factors should be considered before letting your rabbit play indoors.

Precautions Prior to Letting Your Rabbits Exercise Indoors

Before letting your rabbits exercise inside, there are safety measures you need to take.

Before letting your rabbits exercise inside, make sure you put away any dangerous materials, such as plastic, electrical wires, etc.

It would help if you also blocked off any small gaps your rabbits could potentially squeeze into, as well as make sure there are no long drops your pet could fall from.

If you are using a room to exercise your rabbits, make sure it is rabbit-proof and cannot be accessed by other pets. Similarly, if you use a playpen or another enclosure to exercise your rabbits inside, make sure no animals can get into it.

Provide your rabbits with fresh, clean water to drink when exercising inside so they don’t get dehydrated.

It’s a good idea to inform other members of your household that your rabbits are exercising inside, so they know to look where they’re stepping and to use caution when opening doors.

It would be best if you never used air fresheners, insect sprays, or perfume in the room your rabbits are exercising in. Sprays like these can cause respiratory distress or poison your rabbits if ingested.

Why Is Exercise Important To Keep Your Rabbit?

Exercise is vital for your rabbit as it keeps them healthy, happy, and fit.

Exercise aids with your rabbit’s muscle development and keeps its heart strong!

As well as keeping your rabbit in good shape, exercise provides your rabbit with mental stimulation and enrichment.

If your rabbit is not given at least 3 hours of exercise each day, they are more likely to become bored, destructive, and depressed.

These emotions can cause your rabbit to be more aggressive or territorial than usual. They could also lead to nippiness, bar chewing, stress, or reluctance to eat.

Stressed rabbits are at a much higher risk of becoming ill.

If you own more than one rabbit, they could fight or act aggressively around one another if they are not given enough exercise. This is because they are pent up and are unable to release tension!

Always make sure you provide your rabbit with at least 3 hours of exercise daily!

For more information on how much exercise rabbits need, Lou Carter from rabbitcaretips.com has put together a well-written article on the exercise requirements for rabbits.

How Much Human Interaction Do Rabbits Need?

Rabbits are incredibly social and affectionate animals that require attention from their owners to thrive. Rabbits need daily human interaction, especially if they live alone.

Without regular interaction, rabbits can become depressed and bored. Boredom can manifest into destructive or abnormal behavior, such as bar chewing, nipping, and protectiveness over territory (like their cage).

Related: Can Rabbits Live Alone?

Do Rabbits Need Exercise Wheels Or Balls?

As exercise balls and wheels are familiar toys for small animals, you might have wondered whether they are also suitable for rabbits.

Wheels and exercise balls should never be used for rabbits. Even wheels or exercise balls marketed for large animals should never be used.

A rabbit’s build is not suited to a wheel, and its spines are not very flexible. This means they can damage or injure their spine if they use a wheel.

Exercise balls are unsafe for rabbits as they do not offer enough ventilation, which can cause your pet to overheat.

Additionally, most rabbits will not enjoy being inside an exercise ball, which will cause unnecessary stress.

What Toys Should I Provide My Rabbits?

Toys are a must-have when you own a rabbit. Not only do toys provide your pet with enrichment, but they also provide ways for your rabbit to burn off energy.

Here are some types of toys that are ideal for energetic rabbits.

You could connect tunnels to create a maze for your rabbit to explore!

a tunnel to play with

1. Tunnels

Tunnels are fantastic toys for rabbits.

They give your pet a place to rest and relax, as well as a position to hop around to exercise!

chew toy to play with

2. Chew Toys

Chew toys are a necessity for rabbits.

Your rabbit’s teeth are constantly growing, so they need to be worn down to prevent them from becoming too long.

Chew toys help file down your rabbit’s teeth when they gnaw on it. They let your rabbit burn off some steam!

an interactive toy to play with

3. Interactive Toys

Rabbits are intelligent animals, so providing them with interactive toys is an excellent way to test their mind.

Interactive toys are ideal for bonding or when trying to help your rabbit exercise.

A familiar interactive toy has you place treats in holes with lids on that your rabbit then moves to reach the treats inside.

a wooden balls on table

4. Wooden Balls

Wooden balls made from safe wood, such as Apple sticks or willow, are fun toys for your rabbit to chew on and play with.

They provide your pet with exercise when they knock the balls around with their nose!

Another great idea would be using an obstacle course. Making an obstacle course for your rabbit is an excellent exercise method. It’s fun for both of you!

Cardboard is an excellent material to create obstacles (like balls, ramps, and hurdles!). It’s also inexpensive too. Just make sure the cardboard has not been dyed with any poisonous dyes!

Can I Put a Leash On My Rabbit?

It is not recommended that you put a leash on your rabbit, even if the leash is targeted at small animals.

Leashes are unsafe for rabbits as they can damage their delicate backs, especially if you yank or pull too hard on the leash.

Additionally, being on a leash is highly stressful and scary for rabbits. Your rabbit will not like the feeling of a leash, which could lead to them wriggling out of their harness and escaping.

FAQs

How long do rabbits live?

Rabbits can live for 7 to 10 years if given good care.

Do I need to exercise my rabbit?

dwarf hotot rabbit

Yes! Exercise is essential for rabbits as it provides mental stimulation and keeps them fit and healthy.

How big should my rabbit run be?

Thirty-two square feet for your rabbit’s exercise space is significant for your rabbit to run around and get the exercise they need.

References

  • 1. Liu J-L, Irvine S, Reid IA, Patel KP, Zucker IH. Chronic Exercise Reduces Sympathetic Nerve Activity in Rabbits With Pacing-Induced Heart Failure. Circulation. 2000;102:1854–62.
  • 2. Hart JS, Heroux O. EXERCISE AND TEMPERATURE REGULATION IN LEMMINGS AND RABBITS. Canadian Journal of Biochemistry and Physiology. 1955;33:428–35.
a pair of rabbit doing exercise

How much exercise do rabbits need? Please share your opinion below!

Andreea Juganaru
Andreea Juganaru

Andreea is a very passionate content creator and her purpose is to provide you with the most interesting articles, while constantly discovering new facts. She’s been freelance writing for the past five years and has created numerous articles and educational materials while managing her own mom blog.
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