Your home can change quite a bit during the Christmas holidays with the putting up of decorations and it’s likely you rabbit will want to explore these new things, typically by nibbling them. Unfortunately most Christmas decorations aren’t made with house rabbits 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 rabbit 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 rabbit and below we list many of the foods that can be harmful to an unsuspecting bunny.
Guests uninitiated to house rabbits 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 rabbit with out scaring it.
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 power cords don’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 rabbit 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 rabbits curiosity is sparked its likely they will keep returning no matter how many times you say NO!
Always keep candles out of reach, your rabbit 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 rabbit 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 rabbit, ranging from mild to severe toxicity. Its best to be safe and move these out of reach before you end up with an 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.
Putting up the Christmas tree
Christmas trees can be a real temptation for you rabbit. Make sure the tree is placed away from any object that can be climbed on to stop you rabbit 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.
Real fern trees
As well as the risk of knocking the tree over real fir trees can also be bad for rabbits 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 fertiliser 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 rabbit.
Chocolate and sweets
It’s important to keep chocolate out of reach of your rabbit. If your rabbit only eats a small piece then you could be lucky and no harm may come of it. But if your rabbit 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 rabbits 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 changes at Christmas can be people visiting your home who may not be used to house rabbits. It may be best to ask guests to take their shoes off as they may not be used to how rabbits tend to get under food and can easily be stepped on. If you have children staying, encourage them not to race around where your rabbit can roam. Uninitiated guests may not be used to how good rabbits 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 rabbits that it’s unlikely that your rabbit will want to play with them or their children. Help them understand rabbits are shy prey animals, which means they can be timid and skittish in some situations. Rabbits also have fragile bones and can be injured easily if handled improperly. Introduce the rabbit calmly and go through some simple rules at the start.
Simple rules for rabbit safety around kids
- Don’t shout or scream as loud noises can distress rabbits as they have sensitive ears
- Take their shoes off to the risk of stepping on your rabbit
- Only give your rabbit it’s normal food, don’t feed it sweets or chocolate
- Remember rabbits can scratch and bite when stressed so be careful
- Let your rabbit come to you, it may not like being picked up stroked or cuddled