Rabbit Proofing Your House
Rabbits love to chew electrical wires, telephone wires, TV antenna wires, etc. Cover wires with plastic tubing that is available from most hardware or electronic stores (spiral cable wrap at Radio Shack, for example). This tubing goes by several different names including polycon tubing, plumber’s tubing, vacuum tubing and “stuff to cover wire” and comes in various sizes, and types of plastic (some are hard while others are soft and easily bendable). Some wires can be taped up on the wall and the tubing won’t be necessary, but check for hidden places that the rabbit may be able to get to that you can’t see, such as under a bed or behind furniture.
Some rabbits will chew on the corners of wood, walls, or windows. This is one reason to be patient and observe them before they can be allowed the run of the house. If they find a favorite spot to chew, you can purchase hard plastic corner protectors from hardware stores to affix over the area.
For items like chair legs, kitchen cabinets, baseboards, etc., a product called Bitter Apple (available at pet stores) can be applied to the area being chewed. This product has an extremely awful flavor and should deter any further chewing. Unfortunately, for some reason, a few rabbits may like the taste. Blocks, baskets, boxes, and other toys (see Toys handout) should also be kept around the house to give the rabbits something to chew rather than your furniture. Just make sure that the material is natural and has not been painted, stained, varnished, or treated with any chemicals (no plywood, press board, particle board, pressure treated wood, etc.)
Rabbits also like to chew carpeting, and will occasionally even chew through furniture cushions to get to the foamy interiors. These materials can cause serious gastrointestinal upsets and even blockages that can be life threatening. Monitor rabbits closely when expanding their territory into new rooms in the house to make sure they do not indulge in any of these inappropriate chew toys.
Houseplants are often viewed as a salad bar by curious rabbits. However, many common houseplants are toxic when digested, and can expose bunnies to pesticides and fertilizers. Ideally, all houseplants should be kept out of reach. Meet your rabbit’s salad requirements by providing plenty of hay and fresh greens.