There are lots of tempting things for your rabbit to chew in your home which over time can leave it looking rather tatty. This instinctive need to chew can be very hard to stop no matter how many time you say No! and it only takes you back to be turned for a moment for their natural instincts to take over .
The soft plastic insulation around a power cord offers no protection from a rabbits sharp teeth and serious even fatal harm can be caused if the wires inside are exposed to a wet mouth.
Anything make of wood in your home is likely to get a bit of a gowning on from time to time as your rabbit roams around and before you know it you can be looking at significant damage to tables, chairs, sofas, shelves and sideboards. Baseboards and even doors can also be chewed leaving you with lost deposit or expensive repairs.
Rabbits have a diet rich in fibre and can eat a lot of things we would consider indigestible, unfortunately many of the materials your carpet or floor surfaces are made of is on their menu. Its quite common for rabbits to tugged up and eaten carpet as your rabbits go about their daily business of wearing down their teeth and looking for some interesting non-digestible fibre to supplement their diet.
What starts as a little bit of damage to the corner of the paper on a wall can quickly spread as its torn off in strips.
If you rabbit is a bit of a chewer then its especially important to make sure anything that may be harmful is moved out of reach including house plants that may be poisonous or things made from synthetic materials.
There is no single bunny proofing solution that is going to fix these problems however in this guide we detail the many ways long standing rabbit owners have discovered to stop their rabbit from chewing the variety of things in their home that can be damages. Find out what you can do about problems you may have and also where you can take action to prevent damage before it starts. So don’t leave it till its to late, get bunny proofing so you can relax with your rabbit roaming safely without constant worrying about where this naughty behaviour will break out next and spoiling time that should be shared harmoniously together.
How to prevent wires and power cables being chewed
Where possible arrange your furniture in front of plugs sockets so the power cables become inaccessible, you can then lead the power cords up from behind your furniture to keep them safely out of reach. Sometimes however it is hard to avoid areas where power cables need to stretch across a room leaving them exposed but there are fortunately a number of other ways you can make this safe.
If its a cable that needs to trail around the edge of your room then the best solution can be to install plastic conduit, You often see this used in public building and is a pipe or box mounted on the wall the cables can be threaded through to keep them safe. You can purchase this in most DIY stores and it is relatively easy to install.
A common way to protect cables that need to stretch away from the wall is to use Split length tubing. This is Plastic piping split down its length so a power cord can be slipped inside. Again you will find this in a DIY store or it can be made with some plastic piping and a craft knife.
If there are any gaps that lead to nests of plugs and cables like behind your TV then you need to block these off access to this space before your rabbit get in and come to serious harm. You may be able to move some ornaments into the gaps alternatively a few section of pet pen can be used as a fence.
Doors and skirting board
The bottom of doors, door frames and base boards tend to be a target of chewing from time to time as your rabbit roams around at this level in your home. Rabbits have razor sharp teeth that can easily round off the edges of these soft wooden fixtures which can cause serious damage over time requiring expensive repairs.
An easy solution is to put something in the way that will block access or act as a distraction. Common objects that can be used are ceramic tiles that can be lent up against the baseboard or a bunny toy like a willow bridge that can be bent around the base of a door frame. A cardboard box weighted down a bit to stop it moving around can also be useful to place along baseboards, this can also be a good as a distraction as chewing the box will keep your bunny out of trouble in other areas of your home.
If you want to screen of a whole length of skirting then there are a couple of ways to do this. You could try adding some additional protection along the edge and DIY stores have L shaped plastic corner protectors that can be attached discreetly, they can be cut with a craft knife and often come with sticky pads so can be installed easily. If you don’t want to attach something to the baseboard itself then another way can be to fence areas off with re-purpose products made of wire mesh and use this as fencing. A pet pen can be broken up into sheets or wire shelving solutions commonly purposed from office suppliers can be used.
The only way to stop your rabbit chewing carpet is find ways of covering areas that are getting damaged. Cardboard boxes can be a great distraction if placed over an area that is being chewed and these can also be filled with hay or shredded paper to make a digging box to help exercise this natural behaviour without simply moving it along to the next spot.
If its in an area where a box may be in the way then its best to cover the carpet over with a rug or mat. Make sure it does not contain lots of synthetic materials as this could cause a problem it eaten.
If you find the carpet has been tugged up and chewed at the edges or corners of a room then try laying a ceramic tiles over the spot to holding down the loose carpet and make digging and chewing there less attractive.
Any furniture make of wood is likely to be chewed which can leave your home looking tatty so its best to try and avoid habits like this wherever they develop. There is no one way to do this, bitter spray or other deterrents rarely prove successfully and its unlike you are going to be able to train your rabbit no mater how many times you say No! The way to stop the damage is to find various ways to cover the corners, legs and surfaces of furniture wherever the damage develops.
One way of doing this is to use fencing, products such as office storage cubes can re purposed and used to screen of areas. These kits made of 1 foot square of wire grids used to make storage shelves can be broken up and used to fence of the lower levels of wooden furniture. 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 a willow bridges around the legs of a tables or the corners of cupboards. Cardboard tubes from kitchen or toilet rolls and can be used to cover over table legs to add a layer of protection.
A more discreet way of protecting and soft edges can also be to mounting some plastic L shaped strips. You can find these in DIY stores and they can be easily cut to length and fixed on with some sticky pads which they often come with.
Walls and wall paper
If your rabbit picks up the habit of chewing wall paper or even the walls then its surprising how quickly this problem can spread leading to considerable damage and costly repairs.
A simple way to provide temporary protection is to keep a few ceramic tile handy and lay them up against the walls in these areas. These can then be packed away when not needed. Alternative a cardboard box can be used to block access to an area of a wall till attention can be focused elsewhere.
If your rabbit likes to nibble at the soft plaster edges of the corner of your walls some protection should be added to stop the damage and stop your rabbit eating to much of the plaster material which is not suitable. A simple way to protect fragile edges is to use one of the many commercial product design specificity to stop this type of ware and tear damage. They are typically L shaped length of tough plastic or even metal that can be cut down and mounted along the edge.
Making sure house plants can’t be eaten
If your rabbit decides to eat one of the plants in you home then in a matter of seconds it can cut through the stem and munch through a leaf. No only is this the end of your plant its important to realise that many of the exotic plants in your home can be poisonous as well.
Unfortunately your rabbit will not be able to tell whether a plant is good to eat or not until its eaten enough to make it sick which is why its important to make sure you move all the plants in your home well out of reach and harms way. Make sure the plans cannot be reach via other bits of furniture and the branches are out of reach so as to prevent it being pulled over and that falling leaves also don’t end up in area where your rabbit can roam.
Chewing you sofa
The area under your sofa can be a place that draws your rabbit in as it offers shelter in a prominent place in the room. Unfortunately this is not a good place for your rabbit to play as it can contain exposed unfinished materials such as nails, staples and rough wooded edges that can cause harm. There can also be synthetic materials covering the underside that can be harmful if eaten. Worse still is the nightmare that can quickly develop if your rabbit crawling inside which is not only dangerous but can lead to you dismantling you sofa to get it out. Its an important bunny proofing job to bock off access to the underside before a problem occurs
A simple way to stop your rabbit getting under there is to fill the gap underneath. If you have enough room then some storage boxes can be a cheap and easy solution. They come in a variety of height and sizes so if you measure up the gap first then you should be able to find something that fits nicely. If you don’t have the room for this then you could try sliding some lengths of wood underneath along the edges, If you have some DIY skills its best to knock these together into a simple frame to stop it moving around.
Another solution can be to fence these areas off, products such as office storage cubes can re purposed and used. These kits made of 1 foot square of wire grids used to make storage shelves can be broken up and used to fence of the lower levels.
Making the bathroom and kitchen safe
If your rabbit can access your bathroom or kitchen you will defiantly need to make sure this space if made safe before your rabbit chews on anything in there and comes to harm. Place all cleaning chemicals out of reach as these can be dangerous of they come into contact with your rabbits skin or worse their mouth. If you store them in cupboard always make sure its kept shut and if you worry other members of you household may forget then to be safe you can install some sort of child safety catch.
Find a place to store soaps, lotions and perfumes off the floor or anywhere they can be reach if you rabbit climbs up to them. There are lots of great shower storage solutions that clip on to the shower head on have suckers on that can be use to keep these out of the way and still leave them easily reachable.
Rabbits are always on the forage for things to eat so it also its important to make sure you keep the floor clear of anything that you don’t want chewed such as cloths or shoes and that there is nothing laying around that may cause harm if eaten such as food, elastic or rubber bands, hair clips or other things such open bins that can be reached in.
Never leave anything you don’t want chewed
It only takes a moment for your back to be turned and for your rabbit to munch the strap of your shoes or bag or tuck in to the cover of your phone. The first rule of bunny proofing is never leave anything out that you rabbit can find or it will probably get nibbled, find a place that’s out or reach and remember its not you bunnys fault if all the buttons of your remote control they are only doing what’s natural to them.
Acceptable chewing alternatives
Rabbits tend to seek out and chew on soft materials such as wood or soft furnishings, carpet and wallpaper for a variety of reasons, Their teeth grow constantly through out their laves and they are always on the lookout for things to help wear them down, They also need a lot of roughage in their diet and are always on the lookout for digestive fibber. To help keep your rabbit away from things you don’t want chewed it’s important to provide some safe and acceptable alternatives that can act as a tasty distraction. Always enrich your bunnys environment with lots of chew blocks, willow sticks, wicker toys, They don’t all have to be from a pet store either and you my find you rabbit will be as happy with a card board or a toilet roll tube filled with hay just as much. Remember to replace these frequently as they will loose there novelty and appeal.
The best way to use bitter spray to stop chewing
Bitter sprays can help make chewable things a little less appealing however its unlink to stop your rabbit totally and is more useful as an additional aid alongside some solid bunny proofing and lots of more tasty alternatives. You can apply the spray directly to the affected area or to help stop the spray going everywhere you can also 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 such that may be suggested to you such as perfume or chilly oil as these can be harmful to your rabbit and instead use a product designed for rabbits like 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.
How to train and discipline your rabbit to stop chewing doors and frame
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 to chew
Rabbits spend most of the time in their natural environment chewing and eating, their teeth grow constantly and need sharpening and wearing out and they are always on the lookout for dietary fibre. If you don’t enrich their environment then you may find many of the things in your home are on the menu.
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.