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Rabbit Proofing

Help Make Your Home Safe for Your Pet Rabbit

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rabbit photo - Specky

Specky

Lianne McLeod
Rabbits like to chew, and the most important task in rabbit proofing is to make sure there is nothing dangerous within your rabbit's reach. You will also want to protect your belongings from your rabbit.

You will have to decide how much freedom your bunny will have. This might depend on your bunny's age, training, and the level of supervision you can provide. Some bunnies are given access to most of the house, but many owners prefer to limit their rabbit to a single room for out-of-the-cage time. Even if you want to give your bunny full access to your house, you might want start off confining him or her to a single room until bunny is litter trained and you have gotten a handle on chewing and other undesirable behaviors.

Get Down To Your Bunny's Level
One of the most helpful ways to identify what might attract your rabbit's attention is to get on your hands and knees and look at the house from that perspective. From there you might spot hazards and spaces that you normally wouldn't notice.

Electrical and Phone Cords
These are seemingly irresistible to many rabbits. Because of the risk of elecrocution to your rabbit and your home's safety, it is imperative that electrical cords are out of reach. It may be possible to arrange the furniture in your room to hide most electrical cords (but don't run them under carpets due to fire risk). Any that cannot be hidden should be covered. Plastic tubing with a slit down one side in available to encase wires, or you can find different diameters of tubing at hardware and pond supply stores (which you can slit with a utility knife). You can also get hard plastic wire channels that attach neatly to the floor or baseboard. For determined rabbits you might even need to go to PVC tubing to protect wires. Have a look at many options for hiding wires at CableOrganizers.com. You can treat phone cords the same way.

Houseplants
Houseplants should be kept out of reach to prevent rabbits from eating them and/or digging in the soil. Make sure your houseplants are non toxic; even if the plant is out of reach, leaves may fall where your rabbit can eat them. Check this list of poisonous plants from the San Diego Chapter of the House Rabbit Society, and remove any that are of concern.

Chewing
Rabbits will try to chew anything. As mentioned previously, cords are a favorite target, but rabbits will also chew furniture (expecially wooden legs), baseboards, books, carpet edges, and anything else that appeals to them. Try to block access to any favorite chewing targets. Wooden furniture legs can be wrapped in heavy plastic or tin foil to discourage chewing. Carpets should be securely tacked down, especially in corners and at doorways. If your rabbit starts chewing, you can cover the carpet in trouble areas with plexiglass, plastic carpet protectors meant to go under office chairs, a piece of furniture, or untreated grass mats. Heavy slipcovers or blankets can be used to protect couches and chairs. Make sure books, treasured knick knacks, shoes, and other chewables are kept out of reach. Also make sure your rabbit can't get into your garbage cans or waste baskets.

Distraction and redirection to appropriate chew toys are used to teach rabbits not to chew; see "How Can I Stop my Rabbit From Chewing Everything in Sight?" for more ideas.

Digging
Rabbits also love digging, and may do significant damage to carpets or furniture from this activity. Favorite spots seem to be corners and under closed doors, although your rabbit may try to dig anywhere. Deal with digging behaviors in much the same way as chewing: block off problem areas, cover favorite spots with plexiglass, plastic mats, or untreated grass mats, and make sure carpets are securely tacked down. More on digging behavior can be found in "How Can I Stop my Rabbit From Digging Up the Carpet?."

Hiding Spots
Rabbits like to get into tight spaces. They like to hide under furniture and beds, but sometimes they chew and climb up into the underside of these items, so you may need to tack a piece of plywood to the underside of your boxspring mattress or use wood to block access to the underside of furniture. Appliances should be inaccessible, as rabbits can get under or behind them and become injured, stuck, or chew on the wires. Also block any other tight spaces in which your bunny could get stuck, and make sure there are no spaces throught which your rabbit could escape.

Related Video
How to Rabbit-Proof Your Home
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