If you live with a house rabbit that likes to chew everything you will know just how much damage can be done to the soft wooded edges of your furniture if left unchecked. Starting with rounding the corners off of chair or table legs or chewing at the side of a coffee table and dressers, in time this can build up and you can find your home looking very tatty.
Rabbits have a varied diet which includes many things we would normal consider inedible. Unfortunately many of the materials the furniture in your home is on the menu. These items can receive quite a munching 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.
You cant stop your house rabbit chewing altogether but you can go a long way to slow down and limit this unwanted attention directed to your furniture. Provided below are some simple bunny proofing techniques that through experience rabbit owners have found to work including what can be used to cover and protect furniture from damage, how to make chewing less appealing by applying bitter sprays, what training and discipline techniques can be used and how to enrich your home with acceptable alternatives that will keep your bunny out of trouble.
Plastic corner protectors.
If your rabbit likes to nibble at the corners of furniture its best to take action quickly to stop this behaviour before it becomes a habit and spreads to other areas in your home. If you are looking for a permanent solution a simple way to protect soft wooden edges is to use a simple commercial product design specificity to stop this sort of damage. You may have seen these L shaped length of tough plastic in public buildings and you can pick them up yourself in most DIY store. They can be easily cut to size and can be attached with some sticky pads or adhesive which some even come with.
Block off spaces under furniture that encourage problems
Rabbits like to play and hide under furniture and will return again and again to places of shelter to explore and rest there. Unfortunately as they test the boundary of their environment they will often have a little nibble here and there which over time can leave its mark.
The best way to stop this casual but often persistent build up of damage is to block off access to these areas completely. This will not only help direct them towards more suitable hideaways and chew toys you provide but can also prevent possible harm to an unsuspecting bunny from the unfinished surfaces that may be unseen underneath such as splinters or exposed nails.
There are a number of ways commonly used to block of access and one of the easiest is to simply fill the space with some plastic storage boxes. This can also be helpful in keeping things you value our of reach.
Bits of cardboard boxes can easily be fashioned into a barrier and will provides a simple and cheap solution. Its best to avoid using boxes that have heavy print and make sure any tape or staples are removed as this could be harmful it eaten. If you need to join sheets together this can be done safely by using string to tie them together rather then tape.
If you want a more discreet and permanent solution and don”t mind a little DIY then the best option is to build a simple frame under the furniture that will block access from all sides.
Choosing the right furniture can make a big difference
If you are replacing some of your furniture is well worth choosing something that”s resistant to bunny damage. Modern furniture constructed out of materials such as glass and metal will largely be ignored by you bunny and will not be damaged by the off nibble. Wooden furniture with rounded edges is also good for avoiding damage as it will prove hard for your house rabbit to get its relatively small bite around.
Ways to cover exposed wooden corners and legs
There are lots of inventive ways to keep your bunny from chewing your furniture many of which re-purpose bunny toys or common things found around the your home and with a bit of careful arrangement you may find much of the problem spots can be covered.
A useful item that can be purchased from pet stores are Willow bridges, also called fiddle sticks. They are a make from a series of willow sticks help together with wire that can be bent into a variety of shapes. This toy can be rested up against the sides of furniture or bent into an elbow shape to cover the corner of coffee tables dressers or shelves. It can also be bend all the way around a table leg.
If you are looking for a way to help preserve table legs then any type of cardboard tube can be used to slop over the legs and this will add a layer of protection.
Another useful tool is to keep some spare ceramic tiles handy and rest these up against edged that are getting unwanted attention.
Another solution can be to fence of the area with a few sections on pet pen . Other method can be to re purpose the sections of an office shelving or storage solution such as NIC office cubes. These small square sections of wire grid can be lashed together with some cable ties, string or bull dog clips and made into low fence that can screen of an area.
Applying bitter sprays to furniture
Bitter sprays or taste deterrents can help make wooden furniture chair or table legs a lot less appealing to chew on however they are not a single solution and 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 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 choose a product 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.
Acceptable chewing alternatives
Your furniture may become a target of gnawing behaviour as rabbits tend to seek out and chew on soft materials such as wood to help wear down there teeth and provide digestive fibber. To help prevent this it”s best to provide some safe and acceptable alternatives that can act as a tasty distraction such as chew blocks, willow sticks, wicker toys, and card board boxes. Remember to replace these frequently as they will loose there novelty and appeal.
Enrich you home with lots of tunnels and hideaway alternatives
When your rabbit is playing around your home one of the things it will be doing is looking for places to explore, hide and rest in. You cant stop this natural behaviour so its important to provide lots of acceptable alternatives to distract them from the temptations of playing under and behind furniture where damage can be done.
Training and discipline
It can be hard to use training and discipline with a bunny. Firstly you have to catch them in the act or any telling of will be wasted, secondly you have to judge the right amount of discipline to use. 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 natural chew & eat wood
It is important for a rabbits health to eat a wide range of fibrous materials which are in abundance in their wild habitats. If you don’t provide chewing alternatives in your home then your rabbit will turn to the soft wooden furniture and covering materials for digestive fibre materials instead.
- Block of access under furniture with some storage boxes or a wooden blocks to keep attention away from a piece of furniture.
- Use sections of pet pens or other fencing to block access to a piece of furniture or area furniture is in.
- Cover a problem spot with ceramic tiles, cardboard boxes or other wooden bunny toys
- Don’t let your rabbit play under furniture as there could be unfinished surfaces with spinsters, nails, staples or synthetic materials that could be harmful if digested.How to block of crawl spaces
Need more help? Why not ask the Bunny Proofing group!
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