Bunnies and rabbits are very adorable pets to have. They are perfect as family pets or as a companion for you. Bunnies can live as long as 10 years so you’re in for a very long commitment once you decide to take in one. There are also a lot of factors that you should consider before heading to your local shelter and decide to adopt. As adorable and cute as they might be, they are also quite mischievous and they are not low-maintenance pets.
In this article, I will discuss some of the reasons why you should think it through whether a bunny is for you or not. I will also outline the things you should prepare in your home for the arrival of your new furry companion. It is important especially if you are considering that your bunny will stay indoors with you.
What Is Bunny Proofing?
As I have mentioned, bunnies are quite mischievous and high-maintenance pets. One reason is that they tend to chew a lot. It’s not just your typical eating-a-hay type of chew, but a chew-on-wood-and-anything-they-see type. Your doors, baseboard, electric wires, and furniture may be the targets for this activity. Take it from me who had their bunny baby chop off the Nintendo DS charger of their roommate. We didn’t leave quite a good impression.
Another reason is that they also tend to poop and pee anywhere. Although their poop is hard and circular, it is not something that you’d like to see all-around your house. Their pee isn’t any better also.
What I’ve mentioned are only two of the many things to consider before deciding to adopt a bunny. But if your heart is all out and you’re will spend lots of time, efforts, and money for them, then don’t worry. There are ways to keep your house from being chewed, pooped, and peed down by bunnies. This is what we call Bunny Proofing. We prepare your house first for the arrival of your new companion so the things that shouldn’t be chewed on won’t be chewed on, and there won’t be much damage done around your place.
Of course, things will be really different on the actual time when you bring home your pets and there may be spots that you missed out to bunny proof. But in general, here are the things you should do before your bunny arrives:
Identify the Place Where Your Bunny Can Run Around
Whether it is a whole room or just a cage in the corner, your bunny should have its own place. It’s just similar to having your own room. You know that it is the place you’ll go to for comfort, rest, and sleep. Its area should have included their litter box and also their food and water. This will help teach your bunnies that this area is where they will spend most of their time.
Here’s my plea to you. Please do not put your bunny in small cages. Make sure that their cage is big enough for them to run around and explore. Do away with cages that have wires as their flooring. Cages with wire flooring injure the feet of your bunny and you don’t want that. The Wabbitat Deluxe Rabbit Home is the best cage there is for starters. It’s spacious enough for your bunny and has a lot of features, plus you can add extensions to the main cage. One of the things you can add is the Rabbit Hutch Extension, which is a perfect sleeping place for your bunny.
It is also important for the little ones to have their daily exercise as they would in their natural habitat. That is why you would need to identify places in your home where you can let them roam freely and do their happy hop. These areas are also the place where you would concentrate on bunny proofing so you wouldn’t have to redo the whole of your house. It is much better that you choose a room that has less furniture, carpets, and baseboards to minimize what you need to bunny proof.
Keep the Area Gated
Now that you have identified the places that your bunnies are allowed to roam, you are also able to identify the areas that are off-limits for them. It will probably be your kitchen, bathrooms, dining rooms, and so on. The next thing you’d want is to make sure they keep away from those parts of your home and that they stay in their play area.
The Wide Supergate Ergo Baby Gate, will be able to help you in keeping them away from the parts of your house that are off-limits. What I like about this product is that the design doesn’t have holes that are big enough for your baby bunny to squeeze through. If you rabbit it big enough, you can just purchase a baby gate with regular railings.
Another item that you might consider for this is the AmazonBasic Foldable Metal Pet Exercise and Playpen. It gives your bunny a sufficient amount of place to play and run in while keeping them away from places and things that are off-limits. Because this playpen is portable, you can take your bunny out to your yard and enjoy the sun and grass.
An additional benefit of using baby gates and playpens is that these things will keep your bunny away from your doors and from chewing it. You easily hit two birds with one stone.
Shower Your Bunny With Chew Toys
Chewing is the one thing you can’t keep a bunny from doing. Aside from the fact that it breaks down their food into pieces, chewing also keeps their teeth from being too long. A bunny’s teeth never stop growing but they have to keep in a certain length to avoid any injury. So that’s why they resolve to chewing.. and they chew a LOT.
In order to keep them away from chewing your doors, baseboards, furniture, and carpet, you can give them a number of chewing options. It keeps them occupied and hopefully saves your home from dents and scars. The SunGrow Coconut Fiber Ball and Popetpop Chew Toys are some examples of good chew toys you can give them. You can also make D.I.Y. chew toys made from cardboard or maybe a branch from an apple tree, ash, hawthorn, hazel, etc., because what speaks love than effort. Just make sure the wood is non-treated, and of a kind that isn’t poisonous for your bunny (see this list from The Spruce Pets). Either way, your baby bunny will definitely love things that keeps it busy.
Teach Them What Can’t Be Chewed
Another thing you can do to keep them away from chewing on things is by teaching them what they’re not allowed to chew. Yes, you can train a bunny just like you can train a dog or cat, but don’t shout at them. You can teach them by spraying products like the Bodhi Dog Bitter Lemon Spray. The spray contains natural bitters and lemon extract to make them hate on gnawing and chewing on surfaces that they shouldn’t. Because it is made from natural ingredients this spray is also safe for your bunny.
Keep Them Away From Houseplants
House plants are a wonderful addition to your home. It may be visually appealing and comes with numerous benefits, but, unfortunately, there are a lot of house plants that may be poisonous or cause an allergic reaction to your new furry pet. You can check the list House Rabbit Society of the plants that have negative effects on the health of rabbits. But just to be sure that your plants and rabbits are safe from each other, place the plants in the rooms that are off-limits to the rabbits or you can also put on high surfaces, such as hanging shelves.
Protect the Electric Wires
Electric wires are one of the things that you really should look out for. Not only will you end up with a non-functional electronics or appliances, but it may also electrocute your rabbit. As much as we like to avoid items with wires, it is nearly close to impossible to have a room without any lying around.
Check around the place where you will let them roam for any wires and keep them away from the ground or any height that will be easy to reach. Another thing you can do to protect your wires to enclose them with tubing. Drop by on your local hardware store and look for plastic tubing, hard plastic sleeves, or flexing tubes.
Tip: It is easy to miss out on wires that are actually exposed under or behind any furniture. Make sure that you check on these too.
Cover the Outlets
When I said that rabbits will chew anything, I really mean anything that they can get their teeth to gnaw on. It includes open outlets which, similar to electric wires, can electrocute your furry friend. To avoid this, you can use baby outlet cover like the GE Outlet Covers. A pack contains 30 pieces of the covers that you can use all around the house if you want. It’s very cheap and can save the life of your precious new friend.
Mind the Doors
I’ve mentioned above that by using playpens and baby gates you’ll be able to save your doors too. That might be true, but if you decided to let them run around an area where doors are easily exposed (e.g. living rooms and rooms where the doors swing inward). What you can do is either spray the edges of the door with a nasty flavor, or you can add a kick plate to the list of things you’ll pick up in your local hardware store. Kick plates are also available in Amazon in a wide variety of finishes.
Preserving the Baseboards
Protecting the baseboards and moldings are important if you have that beautifully made woodwork in your home. It is especially true if it has withstood generations and generations. For sure, you wouldn’t want your new companion to be the first one to ruin it.
A way to protect the intricate beauty of your baseboard and molding is to either use the bitter spray or cover it. If you opt to cover it, what you can do is to also pick up plastic guards or furring strips in your trip to the hardware store. Another thing you can do is to use a 2×4 board and create your DIY baseboard and molding protector. My House Rabbit has made an excellent baseboard protector that you can also do yourself.
Have a Simple Furniture Guard
Your furniture is easily the number one target of your bunny friends. These items are very much exposed to your rabbits and very much accessible to chew on. Other than training them not to chew on your furniture, another go-to-fix for this is to use flex tubing. It is sold in many options in terms of diameter, so you can easily find the right one for your furniture leg. Other options include PVC pipes and anything hard to gnaw on.
Save Your Carpets
Carpets are not only a pretty chewing item, but it is also an attractive place for bunnies to dig, and let me tell you that bunnies love to dig. It will also probably be a place where they are comfortable to do their business, if they aren’t potty trained.
It means that your carpets will more likely be damaged by the end of several days. So unless you’re willing to sacrifice your carpet it’s best to keep them away from it or lay down some fleece liners for them to play on. Fleece liners are often used in cages for guinea pigs, but can be used for bunnies too.
Consider Potty Training
There’s nothing much you can do to protect your house from their poo and pee but to make sure that you clean up after them. So as an additional tip: teach your rabbit where their litter box is. This task is especially hard to do as bunnies naturally do their business everywhere. But with effort and dedication, for sure your bunny will understand what you wanted them to know.
What I’ve learned is that rabbits love to do their business while they eat. You can teach them early on by placing their feeder above their litter box. It’s most likely that it’s the corner they’re most comfortable on pooping and peeing. Another thing you need to start with is a small space. It will allow you to easily spot their “accidents”. Whenever they poop or pee outside the litter box, you need to clean it up immediately. Put the poop into the litter box, and if you have few samples of pee (a.k.a tissues/paper with pee) place them in the litter box, too. Then, slowly expand your training area if you are sure that your bunny is only pee and pooping in their litter box.
You’ll be able to save a lot of cleaning time and house items from being damaged. If you’re interested to read into training your bunny, I recommend checking out Rabbit Haven’s article on litter training.
If you reach this part, then, congratulations! You are probably overwhelmed by the list of things you will have to do before your furry friend arrives. But in order for you to minimize the number of things to do and stuff to buy, the first thing you should do is to carefully choose the place where your bunny can roam freely. Plan it well and think it through, as it will also decide which of the above-mentioned steps you will be doing. It will save you money, time, and effort, so you can concentrate on pouring your attention to your new companion.