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Afraid of Rabbit Depression

2884 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  bunnyrabbit
I have a 8-11 years old male Lion Head rabbit. His name is Archie. Well I adopted him during summer and of course I spent most of my time at home with him- so he is very accustomed to seeing me and receiving regular attention from me most of the day. School is starting for me soon here and I will be gone from 8AM-4:30PM every week day!
I am worried he will get bored or lonely. I would consider getting him a friend so he isn't alone all day but he is an arthritic rabbit so a new rabbit will probably be too much for him. I'm concerned he will get depressed again. I had to be housed for 4 days in the hospital and he would not eat, drink, or even exercise himself when given the chance- he was very unfriendly towards my mother (who was caring for him while I was in the hospital). He also became this way when I was only home about an hour every day to care for my animals, and then having to leave again (that was one week I was very busy). I am worried that since I will be seeing him less, he might get depressed again.
He doesn't really like anyone else here that will provide him good attention. He will see me regularly anyway when I am home, since he is housed in my bedroom (where I spend most of my time).
Please do not tell me to re-home him because I "don't have enough time for him." I do have enough time for him, I'm just worried how he'll handle me suddenly being gone for large amounts of time. He will also have to be caged while I am away (which will be far more cage-time than he has every experienced before). I don't want to give him away- we both have a connection with each other and he has a lot of health problems that someone else would have to experience. I love him to pieces despite all of his little problems but they are expensive to keep maintained.
So what do you think? Will Archie get depressed? What can I do?
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You can start going out for extended periods of time to get him adjusted to being alone. You can give him busy bunny toys.. Slimcat balls with his food inside, toilet paper tubes with treats hidden inside, cardboard boxes, hay cubes (which should not replace his actual hay).. You could build him a larger cage. I assume he is in a rabbit cage? There's nothing to do in those. Building your own cage doesn't require much, just patience while building it! lol You can pick up cable ties and mats at the dollar store and the cubes are at walmart and target in the laundry section.
This is my most recent bunny condo (it's cat proofed :yes: )you can leave that part out! My bunny can get bored but with 3 levels I can hide treats and add different toys every day while I'm away.


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Does he have to be caged? Could he have free-range of the room or a pen instead? That would help a lot :). As suggested above, puzzle toys are also great, anything to keep his mind busy. Besides the Slimcat ball mentioned already, there are the BunnyIQ toys, Living World Teach N' Treat, and a few by Kaytee (can't remember the names but there's one that wobbles and dispenses treats, one that hangs from the top of the cage, etc.). Puzzle toys designed for small dogs can also work. Chew toys can keep your bun busy, too, with some favorites being willow, apple branches, and yucca.
Unfortunately between work and school I'm gone a lot, but Smudge has the roam of my room and plenty of toys and stuff to keep him busy. He LOVES his Slim Cat ball, and he enjoys hanging out under my bed and under his favorite step stool. As long as you give him room to exercise and lots of toys, he will be fine.
Archie doesn't really like to play with toys. I have tried a large range of toys for him and he never takes any interest in them whatsoever. I have been giving him free range of my bedroom while I am gone for school but sadly, he doesn't seem to be handling it well. I have his cage open all the time when I am home from school (doing homework, caring for my animals, checking e-mail, ect.) but he doesn't even come out to see me or anything... i don't think he is sick, just depressed...
How long has he had free range? When I first started leaving Smudge's cage open, he hardly ever came out. I think it takes them a little while to realize that they have the freedom to come and go as they please, especially if they have never been able to do that before. It seems to be pretty common that rabbits are a little cautious about coming out of their cage on their own at first. After a couple weeks Smudge figured it out and started to explore more often.

Does he have to hop over the ledge where the door is to get out of his cage? Older bunnies aren't always as eager to jump over things, so if he has to hop over anything to get in and out of his cage, it might be hurting him. Try making him ramps so that he can just walk in and out, or use an exercise pen instead so that you can just open the door and there aren't any barriers for him.

Smudge doesn't actually "play" with toys either, he just chews on everything! That seems to be his favorite form of amusement LOL, so I just have toys made out of a variety of materials that he can chew.
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Archie has had free-range for a few months now. He used to hop in and out and actually spent most of his day out of his pen but now as he's getting older, he's getting a little arthritic. :( He does have to hop over the door; maybe i should make him a ramp?
I think it could be worth a try. If his arthritis is getting worse, he might just be trying to avoid the jump.
i will have a ramp made for him soon, then :)
Rabbits sleep most of the time in the day so it should not bother him (especially because he is an elderly bunny) to stay in his cage while you are at school. You can get him a dog exercise pen and put a cozy blanket in the bottom. You might like to wrap a hot water bottle in a towel and place it into his cage so he has some thing to snuggle into.
To get him used to being by himself while your at school:
Play less with him during the day and spent lots of time with him in the early morning hours and in the evening.
Good Luck!!
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