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Therapy Rabbits Healing Humans: Can Rabbits Be Therapy Animals?

therapy rabbits

Rabbits are cute, calm and somehow touch your heart effortlessly. It's no surprise that people have had so much success using a therapy rabbit. Therapy rabbits are different from emotional support animals or service animals. Therapy rabbits bring comfort to many people rather than just one person.

therapy rabbits

Today we’re talking more about the job of a therapy rabbit and what that looks like. As well as the great things rabbits have done for people when participating in treatment plans.


What Is A Therapy Rabbit?

A therapy rabbit is an animal that comes into a situation that is stressful or otherwise difficult for a human and provides comfort allowing the human to be more successful in that setting. 

Just to be clear, these situations are not stressful for the rabbit. For example, someone may find it very difficult to sit in a therapy session and talk about past traumas. A rabbit would love to hangout and get pets while people talk calmly. 

Therapy rabbits can be used with children or adults. They work with their owner who will often accompany them into schools, nursing homes, offices, care centers, workshops, etc. 

Therapy rabbits need to be comfortable around many different people. They also need to be happy to travel to new places. Therapy rabbits often travel in bonded pairs which makes these changes easier and more fun.  

How Therapy Rabbits Differ From Service And Emotional Support Animals

As previously mentioned, a therapy rabbit connects with different people each visit. They aren’t solely serving their owner. 

An emotional support animal provides emotional support but only to their owner. A therapy rabbit and an emotional support animal have similar jobs which is why rabbits make great emotional support animals as well!  

Service animals are trained to do specific tasks that help with their owner’s disability. They help their handler acquire more independence and maintain a better level of safety while doing it.

service dog


Service animals are allowed into public places and play a much different role than therapy and emotional support animals. Most service animals are dogs for this reason. Their size also allows them to carry out more tasks than smaller animals. 

Why Rabbits?

When it comes to providing support, rabbits are perfect in a lot of scenarios where a larger animal wouldn’t be as fitting. A rabbit can sit on someone’s lap and stay very quiet in a setting like a school or nursing home. With a towel under them, they don't need to be let out to go to the bathroom.

therapy rabbits

A rabbit would love to sit and chew on some leafy greens while an elementary school-aged child reads them a book. Rabbits are energetic and they love to play. Still, when comparing them to a dog or a cat, many have a very calm and patient energy. 

Do You Train A Bun To Be A Therapy Rabbit? 

All rabbits have different personalities. Some rabbits would be much too skittish to be a therapy rabbit. Some rabbits would only tolerate their work as a therapy rabbit. That’s not what you want in a therapy rabbit. 

A therapy rabbit should enjoy meeting new people and sitting in a new friend's lap. They need to be a little curious but also content and trusting. Not every rabbit is cut out for this special job. 

An outgoing and trusting rabbit will need some training which would mostly consist of exposing them to the type of routine they would have as a therapy rabbit. They should practice riding in a carrier in a car, sitting still on someone’s lap, eating snacks in new places, etc. 

How A Therapy Rabbit Helps

Let’s look at some specific examples of rabbits being the cutest helpers. The stress-reducing effects of therapy animals have made a big difference for a lot of people! 

Therapy Rabbits Lowering Stress In First Grade Classrooms  

In this study, dwarf lion head rabbits were used on and off in blocks of six weeks in two first grade classrooms. The stress levels and skill levels of the children were evaluated before and after each block. 

The rabbits were able to move to and from their cage during the teaching period where they would hop around and get pets from the children. The children respected the rabbit’s choice to return to the cage and the rabbit was put away if there was ever a game that would be unsafe for the bun to be around. These rabbits came from a genetic line known for their calm and positive social behavior. 

The study found that the rabbits had a positive influence on the children’s motivation, self-efficiency, attention, and self-control. 

Rabbits Used In Client-Therapy Sessions

Many adults with anxiety are hyper-sensitive to loud noises and fast movement. For these people, rabbits are the perfect support animal as their presence rarely triggers anxiety.

therapy rabbits

Rabbits provide emotional regulation and comfort but at the Bunny Village, they have found that they also help people to reflect on what is required for interpersonal connection. It takes time to develop trust with a rabbit. Patience and reading their cues help develop an important social skill as well as an appreciation for patience with your own self and self-care.

Animals Improving Physical Health

The mind and body work together very closely. Improving mental health can have a direct influence on physical health. This is a very old study but it showed that heart attack patients who owned pets lived longer than those who didn’t. This study showed petting your dog lowers blood pressure.


Therapy Rabbits Are Great Ice Breakers

Imagine how easy socializing at a party would become if suddenly everyone was holding rabbits. Immediately there is so much to smile about. 

Therapy rabbits break the ice in therapy settings as well as medical settings. A doctor-patient relationship or therapist-client relationship can be made more comfortable when you start up the conversation with a heart-warming rabbit to talk about and share the room with. 

In conclusion, some of the hard things we do in life can be made better with a rabbit. Therapy rabbits have helped a lot of people overcome challenges and improve the outcome of treatment and educational plans. 

Now, go pet a bunny and lower your blood pressure.


We are not veterinarians, and none of our information should be construed as veterinary advice.


Before adding any new product, please consult your exotic veterinarian. If your pet is acting unwell and you have concerns for their well being, please contact your vet immediately.

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