Bringing a bunny home for the first time
If you are thinking of getting a house bunny or have just brought a bunny home for the first time then there is some simple bunny proofing you can do to make your home safe and help stop some of the damage from chewing behavior that can occur.
In this beginners guide to bunny proofing we cover some of the safety basics such as how best to hide away electrical cables as well as lots of tips and tricks veteran bunny owners have discovered to prevent damage to carpet, wallpaper, baseboards and other parts of your home.
Setting up an indoor enclosure
Before you start bunny proofing your home the first thing you will need to organize is a pen or indoor enclosure. This will be the place your bunny will spend time when they are unsupervised or you don’t want them roaming freely, for instance when you are at work or at night when you are in bed. It needs to be a safe and secure place so you can be certain your bunny will not come to any harm.
It should be large enough for them to stretch and exercise in and contain all the things they need such as food, water, a litter tray and various toys to keep them occupied. There are lots of types of indoor bunny enclosures that people use so it's a matter of picking the one you think will suit your bunny and also fit into your house.
This will also be the place where your best to start litter training which is essential if you are going to keep house bunnies.
Making electrical cables safe for your bunny
Bunnies find chewing wires irresistible, no matter how many times you tell them ‘NO’ you will find the moment your back is turned their natural instinct to chew cord and cable will overcome them. Bunnies have razor sharp teeth that can cut through the soft insulation in seconds leading to a nasty, even fatal accident which is why bunny proofing the wires in your home is one of the first and most important jobs you need to do before you can let your bunny roam freely.
This may seem a daunting task at first however it only needs doing once and with a bit of time and ingenuity it is possible to make your home 100% safe by either moving wires out of reach by tucking them behind furniture or protecting them with a split length tubing or creating fenced off areas such as behind your TV.
What to do when you bunny chews your carpet
Bunnies love chewing and digging and it's very common for some damage to occur to carpeted areas. If unchecked this can lead to a significant amount of damage, costly repairs or a loss of landlords deposit. What’s more the constant distraction of having to jump up and stop this behavior can spoil the time you are supposed to be spending relaxing and enjoying their companionship.
There is no one solution to stopping carpet chewing however there are lots of tips and tricks people use that can help. The first thing to do is find ways of covering areas that are getting attention, this can range from putting some cardboard boxes in the areas in question or covering them over with a rug.
Ceramic tiles are often a popular way of holding down loose carpet and keeping it out of reach. The next thing to do is provide lots of acceptable digging and chewing alternatives so your bunny can exercise this natural behavior.
Making a digging box can be an excellent alternative and grass mats that can be purchased from pet stores are good for keeping your bunny out of trouble.
How to stop your bunny chewing wooden furniture, doors and base boards
Anything make of wood in your home is likely to be chewed at least once. The soft wooden corners of furniture, doors and skirting board can be irresistible to a bunny who will enjoy chewing and even eat the material. Although not typically harmful it can leave your home looking tatty and it's best to try and avoid this habit wherever it develops.
The only way to stop the damage is to cover areas in some way. Bitter spray or other deterrents rarely prove successfully. The best way to do this is to cover or fence it off. In the case of baseboards, products such as office storage cubes can used. These kits made of 1 foot square of wire used to make storage shelves can be re-purposed, broken up and used as a fence along your baseboards to protect them.
Areas where you have a lot of furniture can be totally screened off using larger sections of pet pens. Other tips and tricks people have discovered are to wrap a toy like fiddle sticks or willow bridges around the legs of tables or corners of cupboards or base boards. Soft edges can also be covered over with strips of plastic obtained from DIY stores.
As always providing lots of acceptable alternatives for your bunny to chew on sis essential. And keeping a constant supply of hay and chew toys will always help ease the problem.
Make sure your plants are bunny safe
Often many of the exotic and attractive plants in your home can be dangerous even poisonous if eaten by your bunny. Unfortunately your bunny will not be able to tell whether a plant is good to eat or not and is likely to want to try so it's important to make sure you move all the plants in your home well out of reach and harms way.
Make sure that falling leaves don’t end up in area where your bunny can roam also, and remember bunnies are good climbers so make sure they can find a way indirectly.
It's also important that your bunny can't get to the watering tray where it may drink from the water as this can be contaminated with plant food or pesticides which are toxic.
Safety in the back yard for a bunnies first time
If your bunny can access outdoor spaces, you will defiantly need to bunny proof it to make it safe and secure. The first concern is preventing escape, make sure you block of gaps in hedges and under fences and gates. Whatever you do it will have to be substantial as bunnies are more than capable of excavating an escape tunnel a few feet deep.
You may need to bury some boarding or wire into the ground. Always do routine checks of the perimeter looking behind bushes or anywhere your bunny can tunnel without you noticing.
Every time you let your bunny out do a quick sweep to check things through. Look for anything that could be knocked over and fall on your bunny which could hurt it. Store away anything that is stacked up or leaning against a wall like a broom shovel or bicycle.
Make sure all chemical such as fertilizers, weed killers, insecticides or cleaning agents are stored out of reach on a high shelf or in a locked cupboard. They are not only harmful if your bunny was to accidentally eat them, they may also cause harm if they get them on their fur.
If you water your plants from the base, make sure the watering trays can't be reached. The water as it can be contaminated with plant food which could be harmful to your bunny if they try and drink it.
Everything you need to know about your bunny playing on your couch
Your sofa can become a center of attention for your bunny. Some simple bunny proofing and a few rules can be used here to make sure it’s safe. As a first step you and your family members will need to learn to avoid placing hot food or sharp objects on the arms of cushions. Bunnies have a habit of jumping up without looking which can lead to a nasty shock. Also make sure you are careful not to pile up too many loose cushions as these tend to get climbed over and can cause you bunny to slip off.
To improve safety further it is sensible to bock off access underneath your sofa, especially if you have a wooden framed sofas as it may have unfinished materials like nails, staples and rough wooded edges that can cause harm.
A real problem can occur if your bunny crawls inside which is not only dangerous but can lead to you dismantling your sofa to get it out. Lastly, it's best to avoid chairs with reclining mechanisms and rocking chairs altogether, bunnies can gain access to these or become trapped in them and get badly hurt
Need more help? Why not ask the Bunny proofing group!
We are a community of house rabbit enthusiasts that love to share our experiences of living with these special pets. We like posting tips on enriching our bunnies environments, preventing damage to our homes and making them safe for our bunnies to live in.