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Rabbit Proofing Your Home

By: Lisa Klassen - Updated: 7 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Pet Care Rabbit Care Rabbit Proofing

Rabbits are curious, adventuresome creatures that love to explore and play, capable of getting into surprisingly small places and with quite a bit of stretch to their bodies. Couple this with the bunny need to gnaw and you’ll realise there are areas in your home you’ll certainly want to rabbit proof before letting your pet have free rein.

Getting Your Home Rabbit Ready

While casting an eye over possible perils in your home and formulating a plan of prevention, keep this in mind: anything you don’t want chewed through should be at least 2.5 to 3 feet above floor level to be above rabbit reach. Many rabbit lovers have returned to a room to find stereo cords bitten through or an expensive pair of leather (a rabbit favourite for chewing) shoes ruined because they had underestimated the power of the bunny stretch ability.

Managing the Gnaw Reflex

Realise that training your rabbit out of chewing objects is not possible, gnawing is in a bunny’s nature and no amount of scolding will persuade your rabbit not to chew. Physically, rabbits need to keep their constantly growing incisors in check by chewing and gnawing on hard objects, plus the psychological comfort of gnawing is deeply ingrained in your pet. What you can do is supply safe chewables as alternatives, redirect rabbits to areas you want them to chew and dig in and rabbit proof all your wires and cords.

Here are some chewing alternatives:

  • Wood blocks
  • Sticks from rabbit friendly trees like willow, apple, etc.
  • Old phone books or anything with untreated paper
  • Hay (make sure the pieces are long for optimal results)
  • Empty toilet paper rolls
  • Hard plastic baby toys
  • Rubber balls
Next, stow any wires you can behind heavy objects or place up out of your rabbit’s reach, making sure that they really are out of reach. Rabbits can be surprising in what they can manage to access, so don’t underestimate your pet. Next, gnaw proof the cords with plastic tubing, spiral cord wrap, flexible metal tubing or PVC pipe to prevent your bunny from biting through dangerous electrical cords. Cover furniture legs and backs with thick blankets, pieces of plywood or plexiglass to prevent your pet from chewing, or move furniture up against walls to limit access.

Digging

Digging is another rabbit habit that can result in the destruction of carpets and the chewing up of corner areas. Examine your carpets carefully for loose areas that your bunny could pull up and chew on, looking carefully under doors as well. Plastic corner guards (meant for the edges of wallpaper) protect baseboards from being dug up and gnawed on. You can put plastic floor mats over areas your pet can’t seem to resist digging on as well. For re-directing the digging urge, rabbits love the feel of grass or sisal mats under their claws and will chew and dig away happily at these. You can also make a digging box by filling a cardboard box or wicker basket with hay, shredded paper or bark and placing your rabbit inside every time she tries to dig elsewhere.

Household Plants

Plants are tempting targets for rabbits to chew on and many common household plants are dangerous for them to ingest. Do some research into the extensive list of hazardous plants and place anything you don’t want your bunny to eat well out of reach or in another area of the house if the leaves and flowers falling off the plant could also make your pet sick.

Other Areas to Watch

  • Flaking paint on walls – especially leaded paint
  • Rubbish bins- these should be covered or inaccessible
  • Closets and cabinets- use baby latches to keep shut
  • Pull cords dangling from blinds
  • Drapes and curtains
If you are not sure whether a room in your home is completely rabbit proofed, block off access. Baby gates and pieces of plywood are good ways to prevent access to an area.

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