Bunny Proofing Tips and Tricks
Why Bunny Proofing is so Important
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Having a rabbit is a lot like having a toddler in the sense that if there is something to get into, they will find a way! That’s why we’ve created this page to show you all the Bunny Proofing Tips and Tricks we know.
When you’re expecting a baby, you baby-proof your home to make sure the baby is safe. The same goes for when you bring a new rabbit home. Bunny proofing your home before bunny comes home is of the utmost importance. Bunny proofing your home fully not only keeps bunny safe, but it helps your home from not being destroyed. Rabbits can be very destructive when allowed to be. But the consequences can be much worse than just a chewed baseboard or stripped wallpaper. Hundreds of rabbits die each year from inadequate bunny-proofing. Biting into electrical wires or cords, burrowing into furniture and getting smooshed are all real threats to your bunny’s life.
But the good news is that all these threats in the home are preventable with bunny proofing! This page covers all the things you need to look for, and how to bunny proof them to keep your rabbit and home safe.
Bunny Proofing Tips and Tricks
The Three P's of Bunny Proofing
Prevent Destruction of Your Property
You can prevent the destruction of your property by blocking off areas like couches, beds, tables, and chairs so that bunny can’t even get near them.
Wherever bunny can roam, you must make sure that all baseboards, walls, and furniture are properly protected. And don’t forget about putting any and all house plants out of reach of bunny.
Protect Your Rabbit From Injury or Death
Having a rabbit-specific area that is bunny-proofed is extremely important for the health and safety of your rabbit.
Keeping all electrical cords, carpet, painted wood, and access to the underneath parts of couches and beds blocked and out of reach from bunny is one of the most important parts of caring for a rabbit.
Provide Safe and Fun Chewing Alternatives for Your Rabbit
A bored bunny is a troublesome bunny. A Variety of different toys that they can chew and dig help entertain them and keep them away from furniture and baseboards.You also want to give them lots of toys to help fulfill their natural instincts to chew and dig.
There are lots of great rabbit toys you can buy, and some you can make yourself! Check out our rabbit toy section in Habitat Types and Ideas
Bunny Proofing Tips and Tricks
Preventing Destruction of Property and Keep Your Bunny Safe
In every home there are a few things that are commonly found that are threats to the health and safety of rabbits. We will first show you the threat, then tell you how to bunny proof for it. The common household items below may seem small or harmless to us, but they are real dangers to your rabbit and you must protect them from it by any means necessary.
Coming in at #1 for the most dangerous item found in your home for your rabbit is electrical cords!
Electrical cords are everywhere. Phone chargers, extension cords, or lamp/furniture cords. These small, seemingly safe transporters of electricity are the most common cause of rabbit injury and death in the home.
The most basic and natural urge for a rabbit is to chew on things. Tree roots, grass, and in general long, slender, cord-looking items is what their brain tells them is the most desirable thing to chew. And in the wild, they are! But rabbits don’t understand that that changes when they live inside a home. That those delicious looking things all over the house will pack a possibly deadly electric punch when they get to the center of the tootsie-pop.
So it’s up to you as their human to ensure all cords are either removed completely or bunny proofed so the rabbit can’t get to them.
How to Bunny Proof Electrical Cords
Spiral cable wrap: Amazon, Home Depot, or Lowes all sell variations of this spiral cable wrap. Spiral cable wraps normally costs about $3 for 10 feet and work well protecting most rabbits. But if you have a particularly devoted chewer, you may need to find a cable concealer of a tougher material. Spiral cable wraps are made of a flexible material which allows for moving if needed. These are good for those cords that are in the middle of the room or are moved often.
Cord Concealers or Cord Hiders: Thanks to the rise of wall-mounted TVs, there are a ton of products out there to hide cords while making them look nice a neat. Most of these stick to the top of baseboards and follow the shape of the walls. The good thing is a lot of these products double as a protective shield from your rabbit.
Floor Cable Covers: These are great when you don’t have a wall to put a cord concealer on. These can be anchored to the floor so they don’t move when foot traffic goes over them. These also work great in offices where your computer chair goes back and forth over them.
If your rabbit can’t reach them at all, you can simply run wires behind or above furniture and carpets without a protective cover. But never run wires under carpets, as this can create a serious fire risk.
Carpet is another big problem when it comes to rabbits living indoors. A rabbit’s natural instinct is to burrow in the earth. When there is no soil, plush-shreadable carpet will do just fine for them. If allowed, rabbits will bite, dig, and tear out holes in the carpet, all the way down to the subfloor beneath.
Besides your carpet looking like a mine-field, a rabbit eating carpet poses a serious health threat. If they ingest enough of the carpet fibers, it can cause a blockage in their intestines. This type of blockage is deadly unless seen by a rabbit-savvy vet immediately. If your rabbit survives, then you’ll be left with an expensive vet bill.
How to Protect Your Carpet from Bunny
Most people can’t, or don’t want to take out their carpet altogether just because they got a rabbit. And you don’t have to.
Step 1: Distract:
Some rabbits are easy. If given lots of other chewable items to dig and shred such as cardboard boxes, they forget all about carpet.
When Distractions Don't Work:
But then there are the devoted carpet chewers out there who won’t be stopped with any toy. These carpet-loving rabbits are not good candidates for free-roam living if there are multiple places with carpet. Rabbits who love to dig and chew carpet are smart, and will work on a spot for a long time to get to what they want. That’s why keeping these types of rabbits in an x-pen setup where you can closely watch them is best. It’s also much easier to cover carpet in a smaller area than the whole house.
Step 2: Place a Durable Floor Over the Carpet:
Rugs and Mats:
A simple, affordable option can be laying down several mats or rugs over the carpet. When picking a mat or rug, just make sure that it is as short-fibered as possible. You don’t want to just move the chewing problem to a more disposable mat. We want to have something that is not as enticing to your rabbit.
If there are several pieces put together, velcro them to the carpet. This helps prevent your rabbit from pulling up the edges and getting to the carpet beneath.
Vinyl flooring is a cheap way to cover a large area of carpet as well. It’s easy to cut to size, clean, and is stain-resistant. As with any flooring material, you still need to keep an eye on your bunny to make sure they don’t start eating the vinyl (especially the edges). Keeping the edges outside of their area of roam is the best way to prevent them from ripping at the material.
Places like HomeDepot and Lowe’s have a variety of outdoor carpets that you can cut to fit the area you need to cover. Outdoor carpets are more likely to have a super short-fiber, which makes it harder for your rabbit to grab hold and rip it up.
Another great thing about outdoor carpets is that most are water-proof and stain-resistant. Great for those little “oopsies” that happen. If your rabbit isn’t great with the litter box, just check occasionally to see if urine is seeping through. If it is, regular carpet steams on both carpets individually should do the trick.
Puzzle Tiles and Play Mats:
While more expensive, children’s play mats are a great flooring to place over carpet. These jigsaw-like foam sheets are tough, easy to wipe clean, and stain-resistant. Again just keep an eye on them to see if it’s being eaten.
Horse Stall Mats:
Horse stall mats are sold at feed/ hardware stores like Tractor Supply. Horse stall mats are incredibly durable, as they are meant for horses to stand on. They’re leakproof, as they’re meant for being the flooring in a horses stall. For as thick and durable as they are, they’re fairly inexpensive and easy to clean. While many places sell standard sizes, you can also get them custom cut at certain suppliers.
Outdoor Carpeting is stain-resistant and water-proof. It can be a great material to cover carpets you don’t want your bunny eating.
Photo Credit: Great Mats, Portable Horse Stall Mats. Horse stall mats can be a good, durable flooring to put on top of the carpet you are trying to protect.
Baseboards and Walls
As you already know, rabbits love to chew, chew, and chew. Especially wood! This makes all of the wooden baseboards and trim in your home a rabbit delicacy–covered in toxic paint. While chewing these is dangerous for your rabbit, they can also cause serious damage to the baseboards too.
If you have wallpaper, rabbits thoroughly enjoy finding any small edge of wallpaper and ripping it off. In a matter of minutes, you can have 8 square feet of wallpaper gone!
You’ll want to get the baseboards hidden or protected before bunny comes home because we can assure you, sooner or later they will find them, and they will eat them…
How to Protect Your Baseboards and Walls from Bunny
Protecting baseboards and walls is thankfully, relatively easy.
Buying untreated wood boards and attach them to the front of the baseboards. This blocks access while also giving the rabbit an acceptable alternative chewing surface. Velcro is always an easy, removable option.
There are also Vinyl Baseboard Covers you can find at Lowe’s and Home Depot. Make sure you get a tough, plastic material. Some baseboard covers are just another painted wood, which doesn’t stop your bunny from chewing and eating toxic paint.
Rabbits who eat wallpaper can be blocked using clear plastic or plexiglass panels. These can be found at Lowe’s or Home Depot.
One of our adopters found mounting plastic lattice on the walls kept their rabbits from reaching the wallpaper behind it. It also looks pretty cute!
The above photo shows a plastic trellis one of our adopters placed on their wallpapered walls to keep bunnies from eating them.
A very common look for those baseboards that are left unprotected with a rabbit in the house.
Rabbits are notorious for chewing wallpaper, which is toxic to them and makes your home look like a disaster! Prevention is key to stopping this destruction.
Make sure you protect protruding corners like this too, they make the perfect gnawing place for bunnies.
Different types of furniture pose different problems for bunnies. Some pieces like dining chairs or wooden end tables are simply pretty looking chew toys for them. But pieces such as couches, beds, and underneath recliners can be deadly to your rabbit.
If the bunny is near any pieces of furniture, they will need to be protected.
Furniture Pieces that are Dangerous:
The number one danger to your rabbit. Whether it’s a couch or a recliner, rabbits love to get underneath them and dig upwards into the padded parts.
There are two dangers to your rabbit getting up and inside a couch:
- If they ingest the stuffing it can cause intestinal blockages.
- If you don’t know your rabbit is inside the couch, you could accidentally sit on the area where they are underneath and crush them. This may sound impossible, but we say this because it’s happened before.
As for reclining armchairs, the moving footrest is the danger with these types. Many rabbits, cats, and other small animals have been crushed by the footrest going back into the chair with the animal was beneath or inside it. Most animal experts recommend getting a non-reclining armchair with an ottoman, as there are no good ways to block the underneath parts of a recliner.
Bunny Proofing Your Couches:
For non-reclining couches, these cube shelves can be perfect for placing around the couch. This will block off access to the underneath. You can also put untreated boards around the perimeter of the bottom of the couch to block it off while giving bunny something to chew.
Recliners are another matter. Because of their mechanics, it’s impossible to block off the underside of the recliner. Most animal experts say the only thing you can do is remember to know where your pets are before you recline or un-recline the chair. But humans forget. And forgetting even just one time to double-check where all your pets are could be deadly. So for reclining armchairs or couches, we recommend keeping bunny out of the area. If you want your rabbit to be free-roam, we recommend getting non-reclining furniture.
Photo of a typical hole that a rabbit created to get underneath. If you notice, the hole is in the back of the couch. Rabbits are smart and know where to make holes that you’re less likely to see. That’s why bunny proofing is so important–so you can rest assured both bunny and your furniture are protected.
Photo Credit: Bunny Proofing your Home–BinkyBunny
Recliners are very dangerous when you have any small pets, even if they’re not right underneath the footrest and simply inside the chair, the mechanics of the recliner can injure them.
Another danger found in every home. If possible, just don’t let bunny in a room with beds. But if your rabbit is free to roam, you need to block off the underside of the bed. Rabbits are known to get underneath and dig up into the box spring.
If they ingest the fabric on the box spring it can cause intestinal blockages. Nails and staples are present on the inside of the box spring that can hurt them badly.
Bunny Proofing Your Beds:
Blocking off access to the underside of beds is pretty much the same as for couches. Those cube shelves are great, or you can you untreated wood boards. Fitted pieces of plexiglass are another good option, though more pricey. There are also some fancier furniture blocking products on amazon.
Rabbits can die from overheating if they burrow in a sofa or bed and are unable to make their way back out.
Tables and Chairs:
These are not particularly dangerous for your rabbit unless covered in paint. But, the softwood legs on tables and chairs are all at the perfect height for bunny to sink their teeth into.
Bunny Proofing Your Tables and Chairs:
If your bunny is a big chewer, try and give them a lot of acceptable things in their living area to chew. Cardboard boxes and toys with untreated wood are good for bunnies who are big chewers. Also, make sure to block or protect the surfaces you don’t want to be chewed.
An easy way to stop chewing is simply to cover the area to add some protection. A willow bridge toy can be a great cover for corners or rounded objects as it can wrap around it. The rabbit can nibble the willow bridge safely, and your furniture is protected. Velcro it so that you can easily move it, but the bunny can’t.
Cardboard is not great for protecting furniture as rabbits can chew through it quickly. It may even encourage them to go to this spot when they fancy chewing something.
If there’s a particularly valuable piece of furniture, you’ll want to attach untreated wood boards to it or block the area off with an x-pen.
Willow Bridges are a good bunny proofing option for corners of tables, chests, and other furniture. You can buy these at most places that carry other rabbit toys.
Many plants found in the home are toxic to rabbits. For some of these plants, you can just put them up high on top of bookshelves and/or kitchen cabinets. Be very careful if you have any on end tables or shorter stands because rabbits can reach pretty high! It’s best to know whether your plants are toxic or not. If you do have toxic house plants, it’s best to keep them on the highest shelf or out of the house.
Hanging plants are usually out of bunny’s reach, but watch for falling leaves!
Some Common Toxic Plants:
Bird of Paradise (seeds)
Black Locust (seeds)
Castor Bean (seed)
Crown of Thorns
Elderberry (unripe berries)
Ivy, Boston & English (berries)
Morning Glory (seeds)
Rhubarb (leaf blade)
Rosary Pea (seed)
Sweet Pea (seeds)
Virginia Creeper (berries)
Bunny Proofing Tips and Tricks
3 Ways to Stop Bunny
Scented & Edible Deterrents
Cover or Block the Area
Toys are your best friend when it comes to entertaining bunny and keeping them out of trouble. But not all bunnies like the same toys. It can take some time to find the right type of toy that your bunny loves and finds worth their time. The good thing is that there are thousands of different toys to fit every rabbit’s interests!
Check out our Toy Section in Rabbit Habitats and Ideas.
Rabbits have sensitive noses and generally don’t like and will avoid strong smells. One way to deter bunny from chewing or digging somewhere is to spray a strong-smelling yet safely edible, spray. Most deterrent sprays made for keeping animals away from things are bitter or spicy in taste. But no matter what the flavor, it has to be edible in case they accidentally ingest some o fit.
Note: Don’t use essential oils, many are toxic to animals.
WabbitWiki has a section with a list of Smell Repellents.
Many times, no amount of toys or repellent spray will stop a determined bunny. That’s when just blocking access to the problem is best. Depending on where the problem area is, you may need to block off access to the entire room, or just block the specific area. The above sections describe the places that bunnies are most likely to get into trouble and how to bunny proof them.