House Bunny Proofing
Rabbit Proofing the Home
About Rabbits - Breeds ~ Rabbit Types ~ House Rabbits ~ Housing ~ House Bunny Proofing
There are sooooo many reasons why bunny proofing your house is important when you live with a house rabbit.
When a rabbit shares your life with you it's very rewarding but you have to be prepared to understand their behaviour and make allowances accordingly - as well as keeping their environment safe!
Bunny proofing your home is as important as 'baby' proofing
your home. Living with a house rabbit is just like living with a small
baby that never grows up!!
House bunny proofing for indoor rabbits means a whole new set of rules, compared to the rules for outdoor rabbits, so you'll need to be prepared BEFORE your little bundle comes in to your home.
If you're in a rush, jump straight to the bottom of this page where I have listed the tips and advice in a quick checklist:
Quick Tips & House Bunny Proofing Checklist...
Stop a house rabbit chewing electric cables and live wiring. House plants can be dangerous too. You need to make it as safe as you would for a baby, if not more!
How to make your house rabbit safe.
- Litter Training
This is an important stage if you are going to keep house rabbits. Bunny proofing your home against wet little accidents can be vital to a happy home. But how easy is it and how long does it take?
How to litter train house rabbits.
- Nibbling & Chewing
Rabbits love wood and furniture is all the same to them. But why do they do it and how can you stop them munching their way through your possessions like overgrown woodlice!
How to stop a rabbit chewing your stuff!
Why are house rabbits so intent on digging up the carpet? Rugs, lino and carpet tiles get the same treatment too! It's quite normal behaviour but what can you do to stop it?
How to stop a house rabbit digging.
There are a number of factors that come under the 'safety' aspect of
house bunny proofing. Here's an overview of the most important points
and advice on solutions:
Cables & Wiring
House bunny proofing your electric cables and live wires should be
your first priority as these are usually the main targets. Rabbit's
teeth are very sharp and make light work of wires and plastic coated
And don't forget rabbits can stretch up quite tall and can
jump up on furniture and shelving just to get a peek at anything
interesting. They are also very good at squeezing in to tight spaces
like behind televisions, bookshelves, sideboards, under beds etc, so house bunny proofing any cables and wires by covering and protecting them is important -
even better, remove exposed wires and cables completely.
You need to cover any cables that your rabbit can
Tubing & Conduit
You can purchase hard plastic
sleeves that either coil or have a split in the side from most DIY stores and online shops.
Plastic electricians conduit works well for house bunny proofing live wires and comes in a range of shapes and widths.
You can also be quite inventive - one solution would be to tuck all wires and cables that run around your skirting boards behind a little row of fence boards, as shown in the picture, pretty too!
House bunny proofing is about the whole house and believe it or not there are quite a number of houseplants that can be poisonous for your house rabbits.
Don't rely on your house bunny to just know what is bad for them and
what isn't. Just as you wouldn't trust a baby to know the difference,
not all rabbits have instincts and the experience to know either.
Yes, believe it or not many of our every-day items of furniture can be quite dangerous for our little house companions. Most rabbits like to be near their human and you could be completely unaware of where they are.
Many rabbits have been hurt and injured from these unsuspecting hazards.
So either always be on the look out for a rabbit under, in or on your
chair or even better don't have these types of chairs in the house when
rabbits live there too.
Reclining Sofas & Chairs
These have small gaps and mechanisms that can crush a rabbit hiding inside. The recliner in the picture shows the area underneath the seat that rabbits love to crawl in to.
Normal rockers can be dangerous as your bunny can be laying behind you, as you get up and the rocker
moves they can be squished under the rocker blade!
These are commonly used in nurseries. Rabbits love to lay over things and the bars above the sliders make a
nice resting spot for rabbits. They can hurt themselves quite badly
trying to escape from these.
House bunny proofing your bathroom is just as important as any other room. Rabbits can jump into bath tubs and shower
units and then hurt themselves in a desperate bid to escape.
Always keep the toilet lid
shut too as rabbits can hop in to them and then become trapped. They panic and can drown or injure themselves trying to escape.
House bunny proofing also extends to storage areas. Bicycles, exercise bikes and rowing machines are
dangerous as rabbits can get stuck in the spokes. Store them away from
your rabbits when not in use.
Shoes, handbags, jackets and belts can
cause illness or injury by digesting the material they are made of.
Metal studs, sequins & buckles being the common or problems.
Make sure your rabbits can not get in to your wardrobes, cupboards or storage rooms.
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House bunny proofing your litter trays may seem a bit over the top but some litters can be dangerous to rabbits. Also you need to make sure the shape and size of the litter tray itself is sufficient in size for your rabbit.
Thankfully rabbits are naturally clean animals and in most cases can be
taught to use a litter tray in about a month with some simple steps.
Click here for full litter box training guidelines.
Below are the 'safety' aspects of litter-box training:
Clay cat litter is not safe and should not be used. Clay litter can cause
blockages in their stomachs if digested.
Safe litters include: Carefresh, Yesterday’s News, WoodyPet or Feline Pine compressed
wood pellets, aspen shavings (no pine or cedar shavings), compressed wood stove pellets, hay and newspaper. Newspaper and hay aren’t as absorbent as other
litters so must be changed frequently.
Litter Box Cleaning
White vinegar is a good safe urine cleaner. Rinse or soak litter boxes with it, or use to spot
treat carpet stains. Nature’s Miracle enzyme cleaner and Woolite Pet Stain and Odor
Eliminator usually do a good job too.
Be careful with any other bleaching type chemicals, these are very dangerous to your rabbits, not just with the residue that might get licked but also the fumes.
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Chewing & Nibbling
If you are very house proud and overly protective of your furniture then a house rabbit is probably not for you. House bunny proofing can only go so far and chewing on a bit of smoothed oak or walnut is perfectly natural as far as bunnies are concerned.
However, there are some things you can do to limit this behaviour and distract them on to chewing something that isn't so precious!
- Why do Rabbits Chew?
Skirting boards & moldings are a popular target of gnawing behaviour as house
rabbits tend to chew on soft materials such as wood to help
wear down their teeth, it also offers them digestive fibre.
- What Can I Do to Stop Chewing?
You can purchase plastic
guards, but the best option is to give your bunny plenty of other chew
options, such as natural wicker baskets and various other chew toys. Chew blocks, willow sticks, wicker
toys, and card board boxes are all good but remember to replace them frequently as rabbits loose interest after a while.
- How Can I Protect My House?
You can block areas that bunnies like to chew. Chewing and nibbling becomes a habit if not dealt with quickly. Tiles or untreated sea grass
mats are good ways to cover areas that your bunny likes to chew. You can
also arrange your furniture to cover spots your bunny frequently nibbles at.
More ideas on house bunny proofing for damage limitation can be found below with digging solutions...
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Rabbits just love to dig, especially the females. So if you have a
choice as to what sex you have living with you, then your best option
would be to go for a male. However, as rabbits are happiest when in a bonded couple, a
female being part of that bonded pair, in normal circumstances, you will need to prepare yourself.
some tips on house bunny proofing to help you deal with the annoying digging up of flooring
such as lino, carpets, rugs, mats, vinyl or any other kind of dig-worthy
A simple way to provide some temporary protection is to lay some
spare ceramic tiles, carpet tiles or mats up against areas of the skirting board and flooring that are becoming
damaged by digging.
- Digging Alternatives
Your house rabbit may develop a habit of trying to dig up or shred
the carpet. To help prevent this provide some safe and acceptable
alternatives such as a cardboard box with an old phone book in it or some
cushions or a towel that your house rabbit can dig and nest in.
If a specific door or specific area becomes a focus of attention and nothing seems to work then
keep a water mister to hand, but you really need to catch your house rabbit
in the act for this to be effective. After such actions you can also shut your rabbit away short time, eventually they will associate the action with something they don't like very much and stop doing it.
- Solid Floors
If you are thinking about resurfacing an area of your home it’s worth
considering using a tough material such as ceramic or slate. This
provides a complete and permanent solution.
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No Go Zones
In any household there will probably be areas within it that you just don't want fluff-leaving, chewing, pooping, nibbling rabbits in.
The good news is that most rabbits 'get the message' when you tell them 'NO' - at least mine do. But if you have rabbits that just aren't getting the message there are some things you can do to make sure they don't go in areas or rooms that are out of bounds:
- Baby Gates - Must be metal not wood or your rabbit will gnaw their way through it like a beaver on a mission!
- Baby or Puppy-Pens - again these should be metal and ensure the spaces between the bars or slats are not too far apart, rabbits can squeeze through the tiniest of gaps!
- Training - I trained my rabbits to stay out of my lounge as they were eating my three-piece suite like a possessed plague of locusts. I didn't need to resort to shouting or a water mister either, a firm 'NO' followed by a 'good boy' and a treat given in the kitchen, did the trick.
- Lion Poo - My mother told me this would deter any rabbits from going any where near a no-go zone as the smell alone would frighten the living-daylights out of them. However, this is a joke - do not try this at home. Most zoos don't give it out anymore anyway - I checked! ha ha!
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House Bunny Proofing Quick Checklist
- Live Wires
Make wiring and cables secure with casings, conduit or skirting fencing.
- Toxic Plants
Move house plants to areas where they can't be reached and ensure leaves are cleaned up if they fall.
- Dangerous Chairs
Remove or block off any reclining chairs and sofas or rocking chairs, including sliding rockers –
rabbits can get trapped and crushed.
- Bad Bathrooms
Rabbits can jump into bath tubs, shower
units and toilets and hurt themselves trying to escape.
- Safe Storage
Store dangerous items and belongings away from rabbits such as bikes, shoes and clothing items with small studs, sequins & buckles etc. Always place domestic appliance such as hovers and irons in a cupboard
when not in use. Always move your remote controls out of reach, these are favourites for rabbits to chew on. the plastic coating and buttons can be very dangerous for their delicate digestive systems.
Pens and gated areas are a great option for keeping rabbits where you want them but make sure the environment they are in is secure and safe, and never allow your rabbit to play in areas you share unsupervised.
Take your shoes off in your home and always walk slowly especially
when you have food as rabbits follow you with excitement and can easily get tangled between your feet or
- Narrow Gaps & Crawl Spaces
Avoid any narrow areas behind cabinets or furniture where your bunny could get stuck or hurt trying to escape. Ensure surfaces with small gaps in it such as the top of a wire cage
or wicker furniture are covered to prevent injury from toes and legs becoming
- Door Gates
Make sure these are suitable for your rabbits in terms of bar spacing size or the possibility of trapped paws in tight spaces.
- Hot Food & Drinks
Never place hot food or hot beverages on surfaces that can be accessed. Ensure all foods and treats are cleared away when your bunny is not
present to prevent insect or rodent infestations. Ensure all floor
surfaces are seeped and disinfected on a regular bases.
- Toys & Magazines
Sometimes you may offer your rabbit cardboard from toy cartons or boxes. You may also put down a magazine to protect floor areas. With both, make sure you remove any plastic tape or staples. With the same in mind prevent items of post falling on to the floor from the letter box as these could have harmful contents.
House bunny proofing might be quite a troublesome and labour-intensive task but by providing a safe environment
for your rabbits you will also protect your belongings. Meaning a harmonious household where everyone is happy including your rabbit companions!
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