Many items around your house are threats to your rabbit. Protect your bunny with these 5 essential steps to rabbit proof your home. Rabbit proofing your house is a key skill any rabbit owner (or to-be rabbit-owner) should have. Whether you intend on adopting a rabbit as a pet or you already have one – knowing how to rabbit proof your house is an absolute essential. For this guide, I’ve researched a few of the best techniques to make your house “rabbit proof”. But firstly – let me outline why making your house safe for your pet rabbit is so important.
In this article, there are a couple of products that I will recommend and provide Amazon affiliate links for. This means that at no extra charge to you, we’ll earn a tiny commission on the sale of the product if you purchase it. I’ve also put a “Supplies List” at the bottom, with a few helpful items for bunny proofing your home.
1. Know Why Rabbit Proofing Is Essential
Rabbit proofing your house is your first major step to save your habit from any potential harm. It is imperative that you eliminate any risks to your rabbit. Not only will bunny proofing your house keep your rabbit safe, it will also keep your belongings safe from your pet rabbit. And let’s not forget that your rabbit is likely to be inquisitive by nature and tempted to scratch and chew on whatever they can find. This said, do not forget to provide your rabbit with toys to chew on – as rabbits need to chew on things to grind down their teeth.
Our next step will be to identify potential risks for your rabbit in your home.
2. Find Possible Problems
Before we get in to the specifics of the rabbit proofing process, we must try and identify as many of these threats as possible. An idea that may initially sound ridiculous, but actually makes sense is to roam around the house as if you were a rabbit yourself. Let yourself take the same paths your rabbit would take, and attempt to search for objects that could pose a risk to your rabbit. Examples of these threats may be:
- Chemicals. Bleach, pesticides and similar chemicals are very toxic to rabbits and should absolutely be moved from any place accessible to your rabbit. For the most part, this implies keeping your chemicals in not just any cupboard, but high cupboards that would be impossible for your rabbit to reach.
- Electric Cables. Electrocution is obviously a risk to any curious rabbit. Cables are going to be your biggest worry, as they are so common in the average household, and could result in your rabbit being badly burned or electrocuted. I understand that sometimes, having electric cables running around the house is unavoidable (we’ll get to how to deal with that in Step 3), so in this step I would encourage you to look for cables attached to heavy objects (for example a toaster or kettle) that a bunny could drag down on themselves. Also be wary of cables that are dangling in a potential path of your rabbit. On a very serious note – do not rely on training your rabbit to “stay away” from these cables – it is safest to simply remove any element of risk.
- Small cracks, holes and gaps in which your bunny could potentially get stuck in. Bunnies are a burrowing species and will be inclined to explore any cracks, holes and gaps in your home. Either ensure that these holes are filled in, or covered appropriately (see Step 3).
- Plants that may be toxic to rabbits. We’ll talk a little bit more about this in Step 3.
There are a multitude of other risks your rabbit could face, and it would be difficult for anyone to cover all of them, so I hope that by providing you with a few examples, you’ll find it easier to identify other objects as risks as well. If you think something is a risk to your rabbit – chances are it is, and it should be dealt with.
3. Dealing With Threats
Now that we have identified the threats in your home that your rabbit faces, we must somehow eliminate the risk to keep your bunny (and your property) safe. And so we begin the primary element of the rabbit proofing process!
Rabbit Proofing Your Cables
There are a couple of different options you can explore when rabbit-proofing your cables. Besides the obvious solution to limit your use of cables, and pack unused cables away, most sites tend to recommend spiral cable wrap, plastic tubing or wire-concealers.
Spiral Cable Wrap
Spiral Cable Wrap is the easiest way to ensure that your wires stay flexible so the cords can be moved around, while still providing a level of protection for your rabbit. It would be best used for chords that need to be moved around a fair amount – phone and video game chargers, extension chords, lamps, laptop chargers. It is important to note that spiral cable wrap is not entirely safe as it is possible for some rabbits to chew through it – but if you are looking for an solution to rabbit-proof those wires that get moved around a lot, this is a great option!
Plastic tubing is another alternative to rabbit proofing your wires. Transparent tubing can easily be found in a hardware or aquarium store and can be split lengthwise with a sharp knife. From there, your wire can be tucked inside the tubing to provide great protection from rabbits that love to chew. If your rabbit is particularly into chewing, a harder, black and pre-slit type of tubing is also available – though it is generally more expensive than the transparent plastic tubing.
Wire-concealers are a great option for wires that run across rooms. Perhaps you have a surround-sound television system and need the speakers behind you to be connected up to the TV – a wire concealer is the perfect solution. It is definitely more costly and time consuming to set this up, but is the safest rabbit-proofing alternative for your cables. Not to mention, they can be decorated and/or painted in a way that complements your room so that ugly wires do not litter the area AND your room is rabbit proof. If you’re looking for some efficient and affordable wire concealers, I’d highly recommend these Cable Concealers from Amazon.
Another serious side note – please remember that simply putting your cords up high may not be the best solution – your rabbit can jump high, and can fit into tight spaces, so “hiding” your cords up high is a poor solution.
Dealing with Cracks, Holes and Gaps
If you’ve decided to fill in a crack, hole or gap that would be a risk to your bunny, I would highly recommend finding someone qualified to do this – this ensures that the right materials are used and that it is as safe as possible for your rabbit. If you do place a piece of furniture to cover the hole, crack or gap, ensure it is heavy and that your rabbit cannot slide underneath or behind it.
Which Plants Are Toxic To My Rabbit?
Saveafluff.co.uk has a great list of plants that are toxic to your rabbit – check it out here. If you find that you have these plants around your house, make sure they are placed well away from reach of any rabbit. Normally this means placing the plants up high – if you’re doing this, also be incredibly careful of falling leaves.
Doors, Windows, Fans and Air-Ducts
The general rule for any rabbit owner would be to keep the doors in your house shut. If you need to open a door, ensure your rabbit is in a hutch or cage so they cannot escape your house – I’m sure you know better than anyone how fast your rabbit can run! Also, I would highly recommend getting screens on all windows and doors, so that if you want to have some amount of air-flow inside, it is not at the risk of your bunny.
It is very important to also keep an eye on fans and air-ducts. As creatures that enjoy burrowing in tunnels of their own, keep all your air-ducts covered to prevent your rabbit from “exploring” and getting lost. As well as this, do not place any fans in reach of your rabbit, as they could seriously injure your bunny.
This is a difficult section to cover – there is no fail-safe way to “rabbit proof” another one of your pets, but there are steps you can take to keep your bunny safe.
The most obvious precaution you can take is to be cautious when introducing your rabbit to other pets (INCLUDING other rabbits, with whom fights can be very serious and cause injuries). Take particular care with wild dogs and cats, who prey on rabbits. Finally, never leave your rabbit unattended with a pet – no matter how much you trust the other pet, you never know what could go wrong and you shouldn’t be taking any chances.
Take extra care introducing your rabbits to other pets, particularly cats and dogs. Do not leave your bunny alone with your other pets.
Fire Places, Space Heater and Candles
This section may be a little more about common sense and the dangers of playing with heat and fire, but I thought it best to throw it in here for the sake of any poor bunny who’s been hurt by a fire place, heater or candle. In general, the few steps you can follow here are to:
- Never leave your rabbit unattended near open flames or space heaters.
- Use screen or glass doors over fireplaces to prevent sparks flying out.
- Place barriers around all hot stoves to protect your bunny.
4. Keeping Your Rabbit Safe!
Even though you’ve taken the steps to rabbit proof your home, there is still more to know. It is important to keep your rabbit safe on an ongoing basis, and there are a number of threats we still haven’t covered.
No rabbit owner is going to be around to take care of their bunny all the time – and so it is of utmost importance to make sure that your partner, your children, or any other regulars in your household know how to keep your rabbit safe. Ensure they know the signs of danger, either by sending this article to them, or telling them about the threats you’ve read about here. Also, ensure they know the really general rabbit care tips:
- Do not feed rabbits junk food.
- Do not feed the rabbit too much fruit (leave it at a maximum of around twice their body weight per day). Also avoid dry fruit as it is very sugar dense.
- Do not pick up your rabbit – rabbits have fragile hearts and can actually go into shock if you pick them up. For the same reason, do not squeeze, hit, poke or shout at the rabbit.
- Chocolate is poisonous for bunnies! Do not feed your rabbit chocolate. Be careful with this one – children love chocolate and often assume that rabbits will love the “treat” too. Make sure any child who comes into contact with your rabbit knows not to feed it junk food, especially chocolate products.
- Show them how to handle the rabbit, and pet it in a way such that it does not go into a state of shock or become aggressive.
- Use childproof gates to separate younger children from your rabbit and their litter. Young children may not know their strength when dealing with small animals such as rabbits, and should therefore be kept away unless constant supervision.
The other thing you can do for your bunny is purchase quality toys for them! In general, this will help them grind their teeth but also distract them from chewing those possessions of yours that should not be chewed. From Amazon, you can purchase these sea grass mats for bunnies, or these woven grass play balls which your rabbit will love!
5. Protecting Your Own!
Now that we’ve covered how to keep your rabbit safe by rabbit proofing your home, let’s dwell on how we can keep your property safe! There are many ways to do this.
I daresay that your rabbit probably has a few places of temptation within the house – places where they cannot help but chew. To stop them, placing a board over these spots of temptation gives a chewing alternative and also stops damage to your property. Of course, this method is best combined with training your rabbit not to chew the surfaces in the first place.
Protecting Your Furniture
I’m sure you’ve also noticed that your rabbit loves to hide underneath upholstered furniture. In fact, many rabbits will burrow upward into the furniture itself. This can be avoided by attaching a similar piece of cardboard underneath the upholstered furniture. And when you think about it, there’s no real reason you shouldn’t do this – it eliminates the risk to your property and won’t even be visible to any of your guests!
Protecting Walls From Damage
Many of you probably have walls that have already been damaged (either by your rabbit or not), and rabbits will be drawn to places that are already damaged – its much easier for them to start chewing on a portion of wall that’s already been started for them! Placing furniture over the top of the damaged walls can cover the damage and protect against further chewing. Also, clear plastic panels from most hardware stores can be attached to the wall to protect it against rabbits that love to chew!
It is also important to block off areas that are “out-of-bounds” to your bunny – typical areas of the house this would include are study areas, bedrooms and media rooms. The easiest way to block off areas of your house (without using doors that your bunny may scratch at) would be child gates and puppy pens – just ensure that the bars on both of these are very close together so your bunny can’t slip through them.
I would highly recommend this Precision Pet Puppy Pen from Amazon. It’s well-priced, folds flat, has an easy-carry handle, and has a 3-point locking door.
Protecting Carpets and Drapes
Rabbits are drawn to fabric that hangs (drapes and curtains) are that sticks up from the ground in some places (carpets). Protecting your curtains/drapes is difficult, and one of the only reliable solutions I found was to simply use drapes or curtains that are not full length. Also ensure that the cords for blinds are high enough so that your rabbit cannot reach them – if they hang low, pin them up somewhere so they are not left as a threat to your bunny.
The best way to protect your carpet from rabbits is to primarily protect the areas that are most likely to be chewed – this is generally the very corner of the room. You can protect the area with a board of wood, furniture or even carpet runners and rugs (though rabbits are known to chew on rugs as well, I suppose carpet runners are a little more easily replaceable than carpet).
Protecting Books and Closets
Unlike protecting your carpet, protecting your books is simple – block off areas with lots of books from your rabbit. If this cannot be done, I highly recommend using glass-fronted book cases, or keeping your books in higher levels of book shelving that are virtually unreachable for your rabbit.
Now, your closet is an absolute feast for your rabbit, who would gorge themselves in the fabric of your clothes. Simply keep your closet doors closed at all times, and install a childproof lock. A further step of protection would be to ensure that nothing is kept on the floor of your closet. A baby gate can also be used to block off the area – but we wary of how high your rabbit can jump.
Protecting Your Kitchen and Food
In your kitchen, use childproof latches to keep your doors and drawers closed. Even though they might be a nuisance at times, they are a nearly fail-safe way to protect any appliances in your kitchen from a mischievous rabbit! If you have open cabinetry (that is, cabinetry without doors or drawers), make sure that this is somehow blocked off from access by your bunny. Be sure to place your appliances such that rabbits cannot get behind them, as they may get stuck and burn themselves), but also ensure that you keep adequate air circulation around the appliance to avoid overheating and fires. Take extra care to secure any doors which contain cleaning supplies or other chemicals, as they are likely toxic to your rabbit.
If you’ve ever owned a rabbit before, you probably know how much they eat, and so it is important to keep your food safe from your rabbit, and your rabbit safe from your food, of course! After a shopping trip, make sure you put your shopping away immediately, ensuring that a child-proof latch is on the pantry. Also keep all foods two or more feet off the ground so your rabbit cannot reach them. Pay extra attention to hot drinks which your rabbit may accidentally spill and hurt themselves with.
Your Pet Rabbit Is Thanking You!
Don’t forget that bunny proofing your house allows a safer environment for your rabbit, and also allows you to protect your belongings. Though it may take time, making sure your house is bunny proofed is essential if you have a rabbit or plan on getting one. Remember, a bunny proofed house makes for the perfect bunny-owner relationship, so don’t hesitate to get started!
Below I’ve included links to useful products that I would recommend using in the bunny proofing process. For their quality, they are very well priced, and will save you a lot of time in the DIY process.
Do you have any interesting tips about how you’ve bunny proofed your home? Leave a comment – because I’d love to know, and will happily update this article with more information.
Best of luck in bunny proofing your home!
Furniture Protection: Large split flex tubing to go over wooden table or chair legs, Furring Strips, 2x4s or wood panels to cover baseboards
Puppy pens: Precision Pet Ultimate Exercise Pen
Chew Toys: Sea grass mats, which are acceptable for bunnies to chew, and can cover tempting chewy places! Bunnies also love these woven grass play balls, a great alternative to sacrificing your furniture to them!