It can be very hard to get your house rabbit not to chew your carpet which unfortunately most rabbits do at one time or another. No matter how many times you tell them to stop their natural instinct to dig and chew is very strong and their wild side seems to always take over. This is why its important to take action as soon as you notice this problem in your home because not only can it lead a significant amount of damage, the constant distraction of having to jump up every time they start being naughty again can spoil the time you are supposed to be spending relaxing and enjoying their companionship.
In this article we look at some of the tried and tested methods used by other rabbit owners to stop this behaviour. Every rabbit is different so we hope there is something that will work for you so you can take the worry out of letting your rabbit roam freely without eventually needing to make costly repairs or loosing your rental deposit.
Place a cardboard boxes over problem areas
If your rabbit develops a habit of tugging up the carpet along the edge of a room, along the baseboards or in the corners then one of the simplest and also effective ways to stop this is to simply place a cardboard box over the top. This will effectively stop your rabbit getting to the carpet and give it something more fun to do that is also an acceptable alternative to you. You may need to put something heavy inside the box to stop it being moved out the way such. Make sure you use a box without heavy ink or varnish and remove any tape you staples first.
Lay down some rugs to add a layer of protection
Sometimes a more general areas of damage can develop, this can be in an area where you rabbit like to sit or a thoroughfare between rooms where carpet may be joined up. Another simple way to prevent a problem developing here is to lay a rug or mat over this area. These can be easily packed away when not needed and when they become tatty can be simply thrown away. Choose a rug made from natural material in case it also get chewed such as wool or cotton. If you are worried about cost you could always see if your local carpet store has any cheap offcuts. Make sure these are pure wool and does”t have a plastic backing.
Carpet offcuts can be a cheap option
If you are worried about cost you could always see if your local carpet store has any cheap offcuts. Make sure these are pure wool and does”t have a plastic backing.
Ceramic tiles can be used to stop damage and hold down loose edges
A common technique used by bunny owners is to lay some ceramic tiles over the areas of the carpet that are becoming focus for damage when your rabbit is roaming freely. This will keep the carpet down and stop your rabbit gaining purchase so easily chewed edges cannot be tugged up and exposed. This deterrent will in the long term stop your rabbit playing in this area until they forget about it. These can then be packed away when not needed.
Always provide lots of acceptable chewable alternatives
Your rabbit may be choosing to chew and even eat your carpet for a number of reasons. It can be to wear down its teeth which grow constantly throughout its life or it may be seeking out a source of digestive fibre. Its important to ways enrich your rabbit environment with some safe and acceptable alternatives that can act as a tasty distraction. There are many chew toys that can be bought from pet stores such as, willow sticks, wicker toys and and grass mats. There are also lots of free alternatives you can use like cardboard boxes and toilet roll tubes. Remember to replace these frequently so they don”t loose their novelty and appeal.
Digging alternatives to distract your house rabbit
It can be difficult to prevent your rabbits instinct to dig and tug at the floor, if you stop the problem in one place it can just reappear somewhere else. It is essential to enrich your rabbits environment with some toys that will let it exercise this behaviour. One of the tried and tested ways of doing this is to build your bunny a digging box. All you need is a cardboard box filled with paper that can be shredded up, make sure the box does not contain staples, tape or heavy print as this may be eaten.
Nesting can be the cause of unwanted digging
Some rabbits, especially Does like to pull up soft materials as a part of instinctive nesting behaviour. If you think this is the case try giving your bunny a towel to play with as you may find arranging this will keep them busy and out of trouble.
Bitter sprays and taste deterrents
Bitter sprays can help make your carpet a lot less appealing for your rabbit to chew on however using them will not provide a single solution and will need to be used alongside other bunny proofing. You can apply the spray directly to the affected area or to help stop the spray going everywhere it can be helpful to spray some into a cloth then wipe the liquid on. Remember to keep reapplying the bitter spray regularly so it doesn”t loose its effectiveness. Avoid home made remedies that may be suggested to you such as perfume or chilly oil as these can be harmful to your rabbit instead choose a recognised brand designed for rabbits such as the Grannick Bitter Apple Spray For Small-AnimalsGrannick Bitter Apple Spray for small animals and never use the spray on your rabbit as a punishment.
Complete guide to training and discipline your rabbit
It can be hard to use training and discipline with a bunny. Firstly you have to catch them in the act or any telling off will be wasted, secondly you have to judge the right amount of discipline to use or you could do more harm then good. You should never shout at, scare or hit your rabbit as this sort of over reaction wont discourage them and in the long run can make them timid, antisocial or even aggressive towards you. The best way to let your rabbit know its not allowed to do something with their name followed by a firm NO! If this does not work a stronger deterrent can be to keep a water mister to hand and when you catch your rabbit spray a mist of cold water over them. Another common technique is to use a empty jar filled with coins that you can shake as a warning.
Rabbit are born diggers
Rabbits are very good diggers and construct elaborate systems of burrows that go many meters into the ground. It can be hard to discourage this instinctive behaviour which can result in them trying to lift up your carpet or flooring.
- Place a cardboard box over areas that are being damaged or even better make your rabbit a digging box.How to make a digging box
- Keep a spare tile handy to hold down and protect edges of carpet that get tugged up.
- Rugs can be used to cover areas where carpets join.
- Don’t let your house rabbit eat your carpet as the synthetic materials can be harmful if digested.
Need more help? Why not ask the Bunny Proofing group!
We are a community of house rabbit enthusiasts with a specific interest in sharing our experiences of living with these special pets. We like posting tips on enriching our rabbits environments, preventing damage to our homes and making them safe for our rabbits to inhabit.