Trust us, learning how to bunny-proof a room is a skill well worth mastering if you plan on granting your floppy-eared friend free reign of your home. While investing in one of the best indoor rabbit hutches will help to keep your bunny safe and secure, there will no doubt be times when you want to let them out so you can interact with them, which is where bunny-proofing can come in handy.
While they sure do look cute, bunnies love nothing more than chewing and burrowing to their hearts content, which, as you can image, can put your precious possessions at a high level of risk!
Alongside the the risk that a roaming bunny poses to your clothing and furniture, a home that isn't bunny-proofed can also pose a threat to your floppy-eared friend's safety. Things like cables and painted skirting boards could prove life-threatening if your rabbit was to try to chew through these, which is why putting the proper safeguards in place is so important.
For some pet parents, keeping their rabbit outdoors in one of the best rabbit hutches and only bringing them indoors for supervised play is their preferred choice for ensuring their homes remain free from rabbit-induced wear and tear, but what about if you’re wanting to keep your bunny close?
Making sure you have a good-quality hutch can be a really great solution that lets you have your beloved bunny inside with you but in a way that ensures they stay safe and secure. You can pop them in their hutch whenever you're out and about and then only bring them out when you're home and can keep an eye on them. You could even attach one of the best rabbit runs if you're wanting to give them a little more freedom while you're out of the house.
But for those times when you're around and you really want your floppy-eared friend to be a fully integrated member of the family, learning how to bunny-proof your home can come in handy. And the good news is, it doesn't have to cost the earth. Below you'll find plenty of affordable tips and tricks to help your rabbit stay safe while they explore your home and keep your living spaces intact in the process!
What is bunny-proofing?
A lot of pet parents are choosing to invest in one of the best rabbit harnesses as a way of letting their floppy-eared friends explore their surroundings safely and securely. And while you can certainly use these indoors to achieve the same effect, you may prefer to let your rabbit roam about unrestricted.
If that's the case, bunny-proofing, also known as rabbit-proofing, is one of our top tips for owners of indoor rabbits. It's a great way to keep your floppy-eared friend safe, while also protecting your living spaces from their potentially destructive habits. While chewing, burrowing, and digging are all healthy and normal rabbit behaviors, common household features, such as wires, can pose a safety hazard.
One of the best ways to bunny-proof is to take a walk through your home and consider it from your floppy-eared friends perspective. While it may sound comical, getting down on your hands and knees and seeing what things are in your line of sight when you're at ground level can really help you to ascertain what parts of the room you may need to bunny-proof.
You'll want to give some thought to whether you're wanting your rabbit to be able to roam freely throughout your home or whether you'd prefer to grant them access to a single room only. The benefit to just letting them hop about in one room means you'll have less bunny-proofing to do, but if you bunny-proof your entire home they can be a fully-fledged member of your family. It's totally up to you which route you decide to go down.
Bunny-proof your wires
If there's one thing above all others that your rabbit will want to make a beeline for when they're roaming free, it's those wonderfully enticing wires that remind them of the roots and shoots they so love chewing when they're outdoors. And given that your home is likely filled with all sorts of electronics, we're guessing there's no shortage of tantalising wires for your bunny to sink their teeth into.
The last thing you want is to have your gadgets and gizmos destroyed and trust us, if you don't protect them, they will be. Rabbits have razor-sharp teeth, which the soft plastic insulation that’s used in power cables offers no protection against. While training your bunny can help deter them from chewing certain things, it’s extremely hard to deter them from going after wires. Highly curious and naturally fond of crawl spaces, the back of your TV or office desk call to your rabbit in much the same way as that bar of chocolate calls to us humans.
But, there is a solution to this problem and all it's going to take is a little rearranging of your furniture to make those wires less accessible. Where possible, push furniture up against the wall to conceal wires and sockets, angle desks into a corner to create a closed-off space for the wires, and use pet fences in areas where wires can’t be hidden.
If you’re not wanting to use a pet fence and have spaces where there’s no option but for wires to be exposed, we’re huge fans of using split-loom tubing. This is an affordable and straightforward hack where you slip tough plastic piping over your electric cables. It’s flexible enough for you to attach but strong and durable enough that your bunny’s teeth can’t penetrate it.
Bunny-proof your flooring
Alongside chewing, the other thing that makes your bunny feel like they've died and gone to heaven is digging. In the wild, female rabbits are often the ones to dig tunnels and burrows for their families, so if you have a female floppy-eared friend, she's likely going to want to satisfy her natural instincts by trying to dig on any padded surface she can sink her furry little feet into.
Now, unfortunately, you're not going to be able to stop your rabbit from digging, it's embedded in their DNA so trying to rid them of this behavior will be a futile exercise. But, you can discourage them from digging in certain places or use diversion tactics to get them to dig in a designated place.
The best way to do this is to simply keep your rabbit in a room that doesn't have carpet. That way there's zero risk of them destroying it and it will also ensure they don't ingest any of the toxic fibres that are present in carpets and rugs. Pop them in a room with hardwood floors or tiles as they can't dig into either of these and as a nice bonus, they're easy to clean too.
If necessity warrants your bunny being in a carpeted room, cover the carpet with a plastic mat or tarp, especially around the corners and the doorway. You can also try mixing up a natural spray of equal parts white wine vinegar and water and applying it to your carpet. Some rabbits really dislike the taste and it will stop them from chewing, but it does leave a light residue.
Bunny-proof your baseboards
Another attractive chewing option that can prove irresistible to bunnies is the trim that runs along the lowest part of an interior wall, known as the baseboard. Because rabbit’s teeth grow continuously, they’re always in search of tough surfaces that will allow them to wear their teeth down. Given that corners are their preferred place to dig and chew, your baseboards are vulnerable to being destroyed.
The best way to protect your baseboards is to apply a protector. You can make these yourself by using wooden planks or cardboard or by running a fence around the perimeter. Cat scratch mats also do a wonderful job, provided they’re nice and flexible, and plastic corner protectors can work well too.
Bunny-proof your furniture
Next on the list of things that your rabbit is likely to find utterly irresistible is your furniture. Yip, that bed or couch is just too good to resist because it combines both of a bunnies favorite things - chewing and burrowing.
To avoid your rabbit hanging out where you don't want them to be (and potentially destroying your furniture in the process!) we recommend that you block off the underneath of your furniture using storage cube fencing. This is really affordable, easy to assemble and comes in all sorts of configurations, making it piece of cake to slot into place.
When it comes to the legs of your furniture, shoe protectors made from PVC, rubber, or silicone that slip over the legs are a great way to go. And, as well as protecting your chairs from bite marks, you'll be able to ensure your hardwood floors stay scratch-free. You gotta love a win-win!
When it comes to your couch, the best solution is the same one that feline pet parents often adopt and that’s using transparent scratch guards or plastic protectors. If you want a rustic and funky look, why not consider a large willow bridge? Found in most pet stores, willow bridge toys are made from sticks and are joined together in an elbow shape that fits nicely around couch corners.
Beware of houseplants
Learning how to care for a house rabbit takes some practice and one thing that's often overlooked is the fact that many common houseplants are toxic to rabbits. Unlike their wild relatives, domesticated bunnies often lack the instincts to know which ones are safe to nibble on and which ones aren’t.
If you’re keeping your rabbit contained to one room of the house, we recommend forgoing the plants in that space entirely or fencing off large potted plants to prevent your bunny from gaining access. It's important that all plants are kept off the ground and out of reach of your rabbit - not only will this prevent them from eating things they shouldn't but it will also stop them from throwing soil all over your floor!
Distract and divert
One of our favorite bunny-proofing tips is to distract and divert your floppy-eared friend with plenty of fun and safe chewing and digging options. The best rabbit toys are a wonderful way of occupying and entertaining your rabbit, while also providing them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
As with all things, variety is the spice of life, so choose a mixture of chew toys, climbing toys, and puzzle toys to hold your rabbit’s attention and keep their days interesting. Tunnels are also a great choice as these tap into their love of burrowing and can stop them from making a beeline for underneath your furniture.
For another great option, why not make a cheap and cheerful digging box? Use whatever you have available, both plastic and cardboard work well, and fill it with shredded paper, toilet rolls, toys, and treats that your rabbit needs to dig for. A digging box is a perfect way to channel your bunny’s chewing and scratching instincts in a fun way that won’t harm them or your home.
Kaytee SuperPet Apple Orchard Sticks (Pack of 3)
These all-natural wood chews are great for preventing boredom and keeping your rabbit's teeth in tip-top condition. Made from all-natural ingredients, this affordable pack of three features 10 sticks per pack and make a great guilt-free treat.
Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.
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