Rabbit-Proofing Your Home Print This Page
Once your rabbit has learned to use the litter box, you can give him or her more freedom in your home–provided you have rabbit-proofed. Rabbit-proofing involves protecting your rabbit from electrocution, carpet fibers, poisonous plants, strings, candles, lead paint, and so on. As an added benefit, rabbit-proofing also protects your valuable material possessions, your antique furniture, rare books, and expensive gossamer curtains.
Thorough rabbit-proofing is critical to your rabbit’s safety: rabbits cannot cough up (regurgitate), and operations on their digestive systems are rarely successful. Electrical cords are irresistible to most rabbits and very dangerous. Don’t count on “training” your rabbit not to chew cords; rabbits are smart and quickly learn that when you are not in the room, they can get away with anything. Providing distractions in the form of rabbit-safe chew toys, such as untreated willow chews and cardboard houses, may help. But the only certain way to prevent harm to your rabbit is to create physical barriers between your rabbit and hazards in your home.
Consider reserving one rabbit-proofed room for your bunnies with a baby gate across the doorway, or construct a completely safe “rabbit living room” with puppy exercise pens. To rabbit-proof a room, lift all electrical cords out of reach or cover them completely with cable wrap that your rabbit cannot chew through. Remove all dangerous or destructible objects from reach.
- Is your rabbit chewing under the bed? Tack hardware cloth to the box spring. Or consider installing a space-saving bunk bed.
- Regular cable cover not chew-proof? Try metal channels over your electrical cords.
- Is your moulding under attack? Attach wallpaper protectors (strips of acrylic) or untreated aspen to the molding.
- Rabbits digging at the corner of the carpet? Place ceramic tiles or grass mats in the corners.
- Do the books on your bottom shelf all have chew-marks? Use the bottom bookshelf for rabbit-impervious items such as hard plastic or metal filing cabinets, or put a glass door over that shelf.
- Worried about your rabbit ingesting the wood finish off your furniture legs? Cover them with acrylic sleeves.
Replace carpeting with tile or wood flooring if at all possible (that’s better for you, too: carpets harbor molds, bacteria and allergens). Block off the entertainment center altogether instead of attempting to cover all those wires.
The good news: rabbits can’t jump or reach beyond 3 feet. So once you have rabbit-proofed below that level, you’re home free. Just don’t leave any chairs pulled out!