Bunny Proofing Your Home

Bunny Proofing Your Home

Before bringing bunny out to play we should take some precautions and provide a safe environment, a room or area that has been "bunny proofed". Not only do we want bunny to be safe we also want to protect our home. How much time do you think a pet rabbit would get outside of their cage if they began chewing the carpet and furniture?

Wrap Up Those Cords

Bunnies have a somewhat instinctive habit, a common curiosity that seems to beset them all.. Alas, the lure of electrical cords and phone lines. They chew them... they like it too! Not only can this be deadly, it can also be quite expensive for you. The computer room is usually off limits to my cord chomping herbivores.
Observe your bunny closely when they wander about the room. If you haven't already bunny proofed an area or item they are sure to point it out like a moth to a flame. I either tuck cords behind furniture or wrap them in a product known as Crittercord Protector . I limit access under furniture by using throw pillows. The older my boys got the less interest they had in wandering under and behind barricades.

Protect Wires From Wires
Protect Electrical Cords

 

Dat bunny gonna get in trouble if you don't watch him!

Remove Poisonous Plants

It's usually best to simply remove all poisonous house plants. Even those hung from the ceiling become bunny accessible when dropping leaves!  Take a quick inventory of your house plants and check to see if there is any danger. Here's a list of Poisonous House Plants.


Sadie On His Tip Toes Trying To Nibble On A Non-Toxic Pepperonia Plant

Protect Bunny From Other Pets and Predators

While there are many rabbits who live peaceably with other household pets it's important that you make bunny feel secure when first introducing him to the rest of the family. Not only can other animals cause bodily injury, a very scared rabbit can actually die from fright.
Introducing an additional bunny to the family should also be done with great caution. Bonding rabbits should only be attempted after neutering/spaying and should progress slowly. Start by allowing them to get to know each other without being able to contact one another. When face to face meetings begin it is usually best to make introductions in an area that neither feels territorial about. It is NOT unusual for bunnies to fight or attack one another when first meeting each other! Never simply put two un-bonded rabbits together and walk away. It can take weeks or months to fully bond multiple rabbits and they should be given dozen of supervised playtimes before attempting to house them together.


Enjoying Playtime Outside in the X-Pen (under mommies watchful eye)

Preventing Bad Bunny Behavior

Observe Bunny Closely & Learn His Habits

Along with cords and plants some bunnies may find wooden furniture too hard to resist, the same goes for grass mats and other rugs. Don't put it past a bunny to take a little nibble out of a piece of furniture, edge of a door, baseboard, area rug or whatever else he finds tempting. Knowing just what may interest your bunny may take a bit of time but they are sure to let you know when you least expect it. Fortunately I do not have any pictures of destroyed furniture but have seen quite a bit.
With time you'll know what areas or items have to be off limits to your rabbit.

 


Hay Bucket?? I thought this was a new round litter pan


So there's a little hair on your clean laundry, like you aren't covered in it anyway mom!


She said "stay off of my sofa!", it doesn't count if we aren't on the cushions

Keep Bunny Busy & Entertained

Some bunnies are prone to digging and chewing, bad news if you cherish your home as I do. Luckily my 3 have shown very little interest in tearing things up. This may be partially due to the fact that I make sure they have got plenty to keep them busy. Toys can help keep bunny from getting bored enough to start destructive habits, or at least you may be able to "steer" their destruction towards those items made just for them to chew.


This is MY castle, no boys allowed!!

Common household items that make great bunny toys.

  • Paper Cups

  • Empty toilet paper/ paper towel rolls stuffed with hay

  • Cardboard boxes (if this was all my bunnies had they'd be completely content)

  • Newspaper and telephone books that can be torn and shredded

  • Small wooden or hard plastic items that can be picked up and thrown

  • Balls that make noise and are easily tossed

  • Towels, scarves, cloth they can rearrange

  • Stuffed animals (these are often groomed by bunny)

  • Untreated wicker baskets

  • Dried Pine cones
     

Our all time favorite is the Cottontail Cottage we purchased thru Cats & Rabbits & More and the Critter Castle we got from The Busy Bunny.


Grandpa taking an afternoon siesta


Our room is filled with cardboard castles, tunnels, steps and toys. Just when we figure it all out...
momma goes and rearranges it all.


Unpeeled Willow tunnels are a big favorite and can be completely devoured

 

Links To Bunny Toys

Bunny Bytes    Leith Petwerks    BunnyLuv
    Bunny Bunch Boutique    The Busy Bunny    Cats & Rabbits & More

 

What To Do When They Misbehave

If your bunny just can't seem to stop going back to an item, like a spot in the carpet or the edge of a piece of furniture you may wish to try some deterrents. Some items to have on hand would be:

While I've heard others mention Bitter Apple spray I have never tried it. I have also heard of people spraying perfume on a paper towel and then using that to rub over the area that they want the rabbit to loose interest in. If you were to spray perfume directly on the item you would also have to smell the strong scent.

Squirt Bottles I personally like to use a squirt bottle to deter certain behaviors. For instance, when Bailey first came home he was small enough to squeeze beneath the sofa, somewhere I did not want him. Once he got bigger he could no longer fit, as a result he began digging in front of the sofa as though the ground was going to give way and make it possible. After rushing over to shoo him away countless times I decided to opt for the squirt bottle deterrent. I use one that squirts a nice long stream and I do not let bunny know that I am the source of punishment. All I want them to know is that when they do "this"...they get wet. Luckily none of my bunnies like to get wet but I am not surprised to hear of those who do not care.

I don't yell or swat them. I simply send a stream (or flood) of water across their body. Once they equate a certain behavior with a soaking they will usually make other plans. YMMV


 


When Sadie was young he was full of adventure, hopping and climbing to places one wouldn't ordinarily think was within bunnies reach. I have pictures of him on the back of chairs, on top of my computer desk and hopping up on our pillow topped mattress which is quite high. This brought bunny proofing to a whole new level.

Sadie on coffee table
On my coffee table drinking from my glass

 

Dove Bar Soap Just one chomp into furniture or molding should generate a quick action plan on your behalf. Using a bar of soap like you would a crayon, coat the item of interest with the soap (unless this would cause more damage of course). Many times the taste of the soap convinces bunny to look elsewhere for food or fun. Some bunnies simply say yum, may I have another?

Several other bunny momma's have shared with me the fact that their rabbits enjoyed the hot sauce they used in an attempt to deter chewing. Their bunnies claim it makes the wood taste even better!

Don't Think of It As Jail...

"It's for your own good" she said to me as she latched the baby gate closed.....sniff


Get my lawyer on the phone

If your rabbit can't seem to keep himself out of trouble or away from something you may wish to use an Exercise Pen to limit his play area or baby gates to contain or restrict them from other rooms. Blocking off one area may then render a room safe for bunny. Most homes have a great deal of wires behind the audio/video equipment and behind the computer, two spots that should definitely be off limits to bunnies.

The Marshall Small Animal Playpen is an absolute necessity to me. Not only can I use it as a blockade around the house, it's also our outdoor pen and serves as our cage when we take bunnies on vacation. They are available with a velcro vinyl floor that can be a protective floor cover when used as an indoor pen or as a roof over the outdoor pen to give bunny much needed shade and protection.

Outside X-pen for bunnies


 

Bad Bunny

Disciplining Your Rabbit

With all this talk about safeguarding your home, litter training and bunnies getting into mischief one would certainly begin to wonder about disciplining their rabbit. CAUTION! Rabbits do not respond well to being punished. If you swat your rabbit it may take a long time for him to begin to trust you again.
Rabbits are not like dogs. Punishment will instill fear in a rabbit that may be hard to overcome.

* Some bad bunny behavior can be the result of hormones. Read more on that here.


Adopting a bunny...

 

 

 

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