Dogs and cats are the most common types of emotional support animals, but they are not the only option for somebody who requires love and comfort from animals. If you do not have the time to take care of a dog or patience to adapt to a cat’s scratch, a floppy-eared animal, like an emotional support rabbit may be well-suited to you. Although there are many reasons for getting a rabbit as an emotional support animal, rabbits also bring other undeniable benefits. Read on to find out why the cute bunnies make prefect ESAs.
1. Loving and caring nature and personality
Only people who have ever owned a rabbit know that these adorable furry creatures are gentle and docile by nature. Even if they are quiet and not so good at performing loving acts for the owner as cats and dogs, their loving and caring personality builds a strong bond with the owners. For example, they can recognize their owners by their voices and can hop to them when they call their name. What is more, although rabbits are not as flexible as cats or as passionate as dogs, they enjoy cuddling and gentle treatment. While the human is caressing the bunny, his/her endorphins can be stimulated that can calm the emotions and reduce the stress, which is beneficial for someone who is feeling low and needs emotional comfort.
2. Rabbits are trainable
Similar to cats, rabbits instinctively know how to use a “little box” as long as you give them a little guide. You need to place the box in their living area and put several layers of newspaper under the hay. Then the house training for these smart animals comes natural.
Apart from the house training bunnies respond very well to positive reinforcement training. For example, giving them training treats such as carrots or chunks of apple or banana as a reward when they perform the tasks correctly. A well-trained rabbit can come when called and perform tricks.
3. Bunnies are quiet
Either the barking of dogs or the meowing of cats can discard the idea of getting a pet. However, rabbits are a great alternative for someone living in a tightly packed apartment because they are extremely quiet. Sometimes they may twitch their noses with a few squeaks, but it is adorable and never keeps your neighbors up at night. Some landlords may kick out noisy dogs or cats due to other residents’ complaints.
4. They do not require walks outdoors
One of the reasons why rabbits are well-suited to apartment dwellers is that they do not have to go outside for a walk several times a day. Unlike the energetic dogs, rabbits are perfectly happy to stay in the safe house. Outdoor noise and large breeds of dogs can be a major threat to the little buddies. They are content to consume their energy by hopping around the house. So make sure your rabbits leave the cage every day to stretch their legs and play for a few hours.
5. They do not require lots of space
Another good thing for raising an ESA rabbit in an apartment is that they do not need much space for their activities. Unlike large breed dogs, rabbits do not require a backyard to run around and chase Frisbees, but they do need a small cage big enough for basic supplies such as a little box and a feeding station. They will live in the cage and will not be looking for escapes, as long as you let them out for a few hours to run around.
If you do not like to keep your rabbit in the cage, it is advisable to make your house “rabbit-proof” or to create a special single room. A bunny-friendly zone can prevent it from going missing and other accidental issues.
Can I register my rabbit as an emotional support animal?
Emotional support animals provide emotional comfort for people who have mental disorders such as anxiety, PTSD and ADHD. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has no strict limitations on the species of emotional support animals. You can register the household rabbit as an ESA in an online organization. Then you will receive a certificate that is a document to protect your rights while you are applying for a “no pets” accommodation or plan to fly with your rabbit in an aircraft. However, make sure you really require psychological assistance. Some landlords and airlines require the ESA owner to present the ESA letter written by a professional psychologist.