Are your pet rabbits pesky chewers? Are you getting new little furry friends and want to make sure that you’re protecting them from danger?
Rabbit proofing is an intricate process, but it’s crucial for these little guys. If left alone with nothing else to chew, they can chew holes in clothes, books, your furniture, and so much more.
Proper rabbit proofing doesn’t just protect your rabbits but also protects your home and family from any mishaps that can happen from the rabbit’s chewing such as a house fire. Keep reading to learn how you can rabbit-proof your home to keep everyone safe!
Why Rabbits Chew And Dig
Rabbits, or land-beavers, as I like to call them, LOVE to chew anything they can sink their teeth into. And, it’s not just to annoy you or to test the boundaries (which they do quite a bit). Truth be told, rabbits have to chew to keep their teeth from growing too much.
Rabbit teeth grow pretty rapidly. And, if you don’t do anything about it, your rabbits’ top teeth will grow past the bottom. And, unlike in cartoon rabbits, the overbite is not cute. The teeth will lock together, preventing your pet rabbit from eating and drinking, eventually resulting in health issues and death.
Of course, you can bring them to a vet to file their teeth, but preventative measures are always better than emergency procedures.
Boredom/Nothing Else To Eat
Rabbits that don’t normally chew or dig into the carpet may be doing it for other reasons past natural instinct. If your rabbit is chewing and digging all over your house, it may be due to boredom or that they know they have to chew, but there’s nothing there.
And if a rabbit isn’t given sufficient options other than kibble, they’ll find their own grazing material in your carpets, on your bookshelf, and inside your furniture. Any wood, paper, and even plastic products will be deemed as food if there’s nothing else around.
Instead, choose a better (and healthier option) for them like:
- Applewood or willow branches
- Wooden chew toys for rabbits
- More hay
- Other fun chewables
What Happens, If You Don’t Rabbit-Proof Your Home
If you rent, the damage a rabbit can cause without being stopped and repaired can get you evicted if the landlord decides to come for a visit. This may seem cruel, but to their defense, it’s a liability and actually a hazard to everyone living there. Here are some of the things that could happen, if your home isn’t properly rabbit-proofed.
- One spark from a chewed wire can cause a house fire.
- Digging up carpet.
- Digging into furniture, like your blankets, mattress, and couch, into exposed insulation.
- Your rabbits are essentially a hopping hazard to any wires that might be in their way.
- Your home will be destroyed on the inside.
- You won’t be able to have nice things… For long.
- But on the bright side, you can let a rabbit loose on your Christmas gifts to get a sneak peek.
- Frayed wires can electrocute your rabbit.
- If your bunny gets a hold of something like plastic, it could get trapped in its digestive system.
Rabbit Proofing Tips
As stubborn as rabbits can be when it comes to chewing and digging, it can be pretty easy to deter them from it. It may cost a bit more than expected at first but believe me when I say that it’s worth every penny for the protection of yourself and your family, your rabbits, and of course, your house.
If you put these methods into place, you won’t have any more problems. Note that you may need to put more than one of these methods in place to be really effective, especially if your rabbits have free range of your whole house.
Using Toys As A Distraction
One of the reasons your rabbit could be chewing on all of your possessions is because they’re bored. So, if you can give them something fun to distract them, then they won’t be so tempted to seek out your chair legs, books, and other things lying around.
This foraging mat by Tokihut is a great way to distract your rabbit. The mat is interactive, enacting a rabbit’s natural instinct to forage. It occupies their mind and also helps them keep their brain active and this sort of activity will also help to prevent depression in your pet rabbits.
Giving your bunnies lots of things to do is one of the best ways to deter your rabbits from chewing. Although, this method is not full proof, as rabbits get bored easily and will explore other options for something to do.
Barriers And Protectors
When your rabbit is out, close the doors of all the rooms you don’t want your rabbits in or use baby gates to keep them out. You should also block off the couch and your bed, and any other furniture that your rabbit could get under or behind, where you can’t get them out.
Now, I’ll be honest with you, this method is not the most esthetically pleasing of the options here. Putting up boards to close off the area under your furniture and baby gates may not be all that pretty, but they do work extremely well.
However, note that many pet gates that are made for small animals are, height-wise, not high enough for pet rabbits, but the big ones have spaces that a rabbit can slip right through. A rabbit can clear 2 feet quite easily and squeeze into tight spaces. Personally, I opt for the interlock grids that you can build up as long or high as you’d like to suit any situation.
Rabbit-Proofing Wires and Electronics
Now, you may not ever see your rabbits nibbling on a wire, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t or won’t ever do it. I thought I was safe until the first time I cleaned behind the couch and all of my mom’s lamps were useless.
If you’re worried about your rabbits chewing on wires, the best way is to hide them. You can use the barrier technique to block them off and hide them under furniture. Keep wires up and off the floor and out of your rabbit’s reach.
Another great idea is to use wire covers. These are plastic tubes that can be placed around cords and will protect them from those naughty nibblers!
Houseplants That Are Toxic To Pet Rabbits
Rabbits love to explore and eat just about anything they can, most especially any plants you have inside. It’s safe for you to assume that all types of house plants are poisonous to your rabbit, so if you can’t put them completely out of your rabbit’s way, it’s best to leave them out of your home’s décor.
Just some of the common house plants that are toxic to rabbits are:
- Common Christmas decorative plants like holly, poinsettias, and mistletoe
- Aloe Vera
- Lilies (many different types)
- Chrysanthemum plants (including daisies, mums, black-eyed Susans)
- Many different strains of ivy
- Eucalyptus (This includes Eucalyptus essential oil)
- Tomato plants
- Avocado leaves
For a more comprehensive list of poisonous plants, read this list by the Healthy Pet Club or this one from Rabbit.org. Keep in mind that these are not complete lists and don’t include all the plants that are toxic to rabbits.
Rabbits can be pesky little chewers, and you don’t want to be caught off guard. To keep your home, rabbits, and your family safe, proper rabbit-proofing is absolutely necessary. Some other tips for rabbit proofing are to have your rabbits in a designated room. If there’s enough space and you have a spare room, this can be really helpful, not just for rabbit proofing, but also for cleaning.
These tips will help you to keep everyone safe and prevent your home from becoming damaged. Note that you may have to use a different tactic to create layers of protection for your rabbits and your belongings, but it’s well worth it.