Bringing a bunny home for the first time

baby bunny
Everything you need to know about bringing home a bunny

When you bring a bunny home for the first time there is some simple bunny proofing you need to do to make your home safe and help stop some of the damage from normal chewing behavior.

In this guide for first time bunny parents we cover some of the safety basics such as how best to protect electrical cables as well as lots of tips and tricks to prevent damage to carpet, wallpaper, baseboards and other parts of your home.

Don't wait for a problem to start, learn from others experience what to do and make sure your home is bunny proofed.

  • Provide a fully bunny proofed pen for your bunny to spend time in when they are unsupervised.
  • Next you need to make sure all the electrical cables are inaccessible to your bunny when you let them out.
  • Bunnies love to chew carpet, cover problem areas with a mat to protect them.
  • Make sure your bunny cannot get under your couch and crawl inside.
  • Make sure your plants are bunny safe and watch for falling leaves.
  • Make sure your backyard is escape proof and any positions plans are fenced off.

Setting up an indoor enclosure

The first thing you will need to organize is a pen. This will be the place your bunny will spend time when you don't want them roaming freely or when they are unsupervised for instance when you are at work or at night when you are in bed.

It needs to be a safe and secure place so you can be certain your bunny will not come to any harm.

It should be large enough for them to stretch and exercise in and contain all the things they need such as food, water, a litter tray and various toys to keep them occupied.

There are lots of types of indoor bunny enclosures that people use so it's a matter of picking the one you think will suit your bunny.

This will also be the best place to start litter training which is essential if you are going to keep house bunnies.

Making electrical cables safe for your bunny

Bunnies find chewing wires irresistible, no matter how many times you tell them NO.

They have razor sharp teeth that can cut through the soft insulation in seconds leading to a nasty, even fatal accident which is why bunny proofing the wires in your home is one of the first and most important jobs you need to do before you can let your bunny roam freely.

This may seem a daunting task at first however it only needs doing once and with a bit of time and ingenuity it is possible to make your home 100% safe by either moving wires out of reach by tucking them behind furniture.

hiding wires split length tubing
Hide wires in split length tubing

Exposed wires can be protected using split length tubing or creating fenced off areas such as behind your TV.

What to do when you bunny chews your carpet

Bunnies love chewing and digging and it's very common for some damage to occur to carpeted areas. If unchecked this can lead to a significant amount of damage, costly repairs or a loss of deposit.

What's more, the constant distraction of having to jump up and stop this behavior can spoil the time you are supposed to be spending relaxing and enjoying their companionship.

There is no one solution to stopping carpet chewing however there are lots of tips and tricks people use that can help. The first thing to do is find ways of covering areas that are getting unwanted attention, this can range from putting some cardboard boxes in the areas or covering them over with a rug.

Ceramic tiles are also a quick and easy way to add some temporary protection. It will hold down loose carpet and keep it out of reach. Always provide lots of acceptable digging and chewing alternatives so your bunny can exercise this natural behavior.

Making a digging box can be an excellent alternative and grass mats that can be purchased from pet stores are good for keeping your bunny out of trouble.

How to stop your bunny chewing wooden furniture, doors and baseboards

Anything made of wood in your home is likely to be chewed at least once. The soft wooden corners of furniture, doors and skirting board can be irresistible to a bunny who will enjoy chewing and even eating the material. Although not typically harmful it can leave your home looking tatty and it's best to try and put a stop to this habit wherever it starts.

Bitter spray or other deterrents can make wood a little less appealing to chew however it works best alongside other bunny proofing measures. Always use a spray made for pets as many of the home remedies such as soap, vinegar, chilly oil and perfume may be harmful to your bunny.

The only way to really stop the damage is to cover areas in some way and an easy way to do this is to fence it off. In the case of baseboards, products such as office storage cubes can be used. These kits made of 1 foot square of wire grids can be repurposed, broken up and used as a fence along your baseboards to protect them.

Areas where you have a lot of furniture can be totally screened off using larger sections of pet pens set out as a fence.

If you want to add protection to the soft wooden edges of door frames and baseboards you could cover them with plastic corner guards.

under bed storage
Block off the space under your bed with storage boxes

How to make your couch bunny proofed

Your sofa can become a center of attention for your bunny so its important to make sure it's safe.

As a first step you and your family members will need to learn to avoid placing hot food or sharp objects on the arms or seat.

Bunnies have a habit of jumping up without looking which can lead to a nasty shock. Also make sure you are careful not to pile up too many loose cushions as these can cause your bunny to lose its footing and slip off.

To improve safety further it is sensible to block off access underneath your sofa, especially if you have a wooden framed couch as it may have unfinished materials like nails, staples and rough wooden edges that can cause harm.

A real problem can occur if your bunny crawls inside which is not only dangerous but can lead to you dismantling your couch to free them.

Lastly, it's best to avoid chairs with reclining mechanisms and rocking chairs altogether, bunnies can gain access to these or become trapped in them and get badly hurt.

Make sure your plants are bunny safe

Unfortunately your bunny will not be able to tell whether a plant is good to eat or not and is likely to want to try so it's important to make sure you move all the plants in your home well out of reach and harm's way.

Make sure that falling leaves don't end up in areas where your bunny can roam also, and remember bunnies are good climbers so make sure they can find a way indirectly.

It's also important that your bunny can't get to the watering tray where it may drink from the water as this can be contaminated with plant food or pesticides which are toxic.

Safety in the backyard

If your bunny can access outdoor spaces, you will definitely need to bunny proof it. The first concern is preventing escape, make sure you block off gaps in hedges and under fences and gates.

Always do routine checks of the perimeter looking behind bushes or anywhere your bunny can tunnel without you noticing. You may need to bury your bunny proofing into the ground. Also look for anything that could be knocked over and fall on your bunny like a broom shovel or bicycle.

Make sure all chemicals such as fertilizers, weed killers, insecticides or cleaning agents are stored out of reach on a high shelf or in a locked cupboard. They are harmful if digested and may also cause harm if they get on your bunnies fur.

If you water your plants from the base, make sure the watering trays can't be reached as it can be contaminated with plant food which could be harmful to your bunny if they try and drink it.

Did you know

What is the name of a baby rabbit call?

baby bunnies nest

A baby rabbit is called a Kitten or Kit for short. They can also be called a Leveret, Bunny or Nestling. The term Bun comes from old English dialect, first recorded in the sixteenth century.