Making Christmas fun and safe for your bunny
Your home can change quite a bit during the Christmas holidays with the putting up of decorations and its likely you bunny will want to explore these new things, typically by nibbling them. Unfortunately, most Christmas decorations aren’t made with house bunnies in mind, so it’s important to add a little bit of bunny proofing to them to stop them being damages and make them safe. In this article we have some great tips from experienced bunny owners on how they keep their Christmas tree out of reach and stop their Christmas tree lights and other ornaments getting chewed.
Many of the foods that we associate with Christmas can also be harmful if you bunny eats them and special attention needs to be given to snacks left out by guests that are in reach. Sweets and chocolate that may be discarded by children could easily be stolen by your bunny and below we list many of the foods that can be harmful to an unsuspecting bunny.
Guests uninitiated to house bunnies may also be about and is important to give them clear guidance as to how to share your home with your bunny, especially young children. We discuss here some basic rules you may take for granted that will help them approach your bunny without scaring it.
Where to put the tree
Christmas trees can be a real temptation for you bunny. Make sure the tree is placed away from any object that can be climbed on to stop you bunny reaching over to the tree. Check to see your tree is firmly secured and can’t be knocked or pulled over. It can often be best to fence off your tree with a pet pen to keep your bunny away from low hanging branches and present underneath.
Types of tree
As well as the risk of knocking the tree over real fir trees can also be bad for bunnies if eaten. Fir tree oils can irritate to the mouth and the tree needles can also cause digested problems. If you water your tree, make sure the tree water is covered over as this can also dangerous as it may contain fertilizer and even aspirin used to keep the tree looking fresh.
Plastic trees can also be a problem if eaten as the man made non-digestible materials can cause tummy upsets. Find a nice spot where you can all enjoy the tree but out of reach from a curious bunny.
The first thing to think about is how to hide the fairy lights on the tree or anywhere else in your home as they can be extremely danger. The soft insulation of a power cords doesn’t offer any protection and if chewed on can cause electric shocks and burns in the mouth. It is important to keep cords to a minimum by trailing them out of reach or leading them up from a plug that is behind furniture. If you can’t hide the power cords you can cover them with something tough like plastic pipe, this can be split along its length and slipped over the cable so you don’t need to take the plug off.
If your bunny starts taking an interest in your Christmas decorations or ornaments its best to move these out of reach. They are often made of materials that can be easily ingested which can cause gastrointestinal problems. Even some of the more natural looking materials can be harmful as they can be treated with fire retardant materials.
Place them on a shelf out of reach or on a table able before. Once your bunnies curiosity is sparked its likely they will keep returning no matter how many times you say NO!
Always keep candles out of reach, your bunny could either burn its whiskers or worse itself if it hops or reaches over the exposed flame. Don’t place candles on anything that can be knocked over or on something that can be tugged at by your bunny resulting in the candle toppling over. Also be mindful of ornaments that you place candles in as these can also get very hot as well.
Poisons plants such as Mistletoe and Holly
Often plants brought into the home as decoration over Christmas can be dangerous to your bunny, ranging from mild to severe toxicity. Its best to be safe and move these out of reach before you end up with a medical issue which can be hard to get treatment for over Christmas. Make sure falling berry’s and leaves are in areas where they can’t fall in your bunnies path.
Chocolate and sweets
It’s important to keep chocolate out of reach of your bunny. If your bunny only eats a small piece, then you could be lucky and no harm may come of it. But if your bunny eats a large amount of chocolate, then this could be quite serious and result in an emergency visit to the vets. Sugary sweets are also bad for bunnies and if left out may cause harm, alongside this if the wrappers are eaten they can cause issues.
Extra family in the home
A big change at Christmas can be people visiting your home who may not be used to house bunnies. It may be best to ask guests to take their shoes off as they may not be used to how bunnies tend to get under food and can easily be stepped on. If you have children staying, encourage them not to race around where your bunny can roam. Uninitiated guests may not be used to how good bunnies are at chewing things so it’s important to give them somewhere to leave shoes, coats or handbags where they can’t be got at. Be careful to keep an eye on laptop or phone charger leads that may appear.
Safety around kids
It’s also worth re-enforcing to guests that may not be used to bunnies that it’s unlikely that your bunny will want to play with them or their children. Help them understand bunnies are shy prey animals, which means they can be timid and skittish in some situations. Bunnies also have fragile bones and can be injured easily if handled improperly. Introduce the bunny calmly and go through some simple rules at the start.
Simple rules for bunny safety around kids
- Do not shout or scream as loud noises can distress bunnies as they have sensitive ears
- Take their shoes off to the risk of stepping on your bunny
- Only give your bunny it’s normal food, do not feed it sweets or chocolate
- Remember bunnies can scratch and bite when stressed so be careful
- Let your bunny come to you, it may not like being picked up stroked or cuddled
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.