Rabbits love to chew – it’s in their nature! But while chewing is healthy, rabbits could get into trouble nibbling on the wrong things. Certain items can damage their teeth or even be toxic if swallowed. As a loving rabbit owner, it’s important to rabbit-proof your home and offer safe alternatives. This article reveals 11 common items that could harm your rabbit if they decide to indulge their chewing instincts. We’ll explore the risks of chewing behavior and proven ways to curb bad habits. Your rabbit’s health depends on steering them clear of hazardous chewable materials. Read on to learn what you must keep out of reach and how to redirect your bunny’s need to gnaw. With vigilance and training, you can set up your pet for safe, enriching chewing fun!
Why Do Rabbits Like Chewing?
Rabbits like chewing for a few reasons. One is that their teeth never stop growing, so they need to constantly wear them down by chewing on things. Chewing also helps prevent overgrown teeth that can cause painful dental issues. Another reason is that rabbits naturally chew to explore their environment. In the wild, chewing and nibbling helps them find food sources and build nests. It is an innate behavior that they continue even when domesticated. Finally, rabbits simply enjoy chewing – it is a pleasurable and relaxing activity for them. Providing safe chew toys appeals to their natural urge to gnaw and keeps them mentally stimulated.
Can Rabbits Chew on Cardboard?
Yes, rabbits can safely chew on cardboard. Untreated cardboard boxes and tubes make ideal chew toys for bunnies. The cardboard provides mental enrichment as they rip it apart and flatten it down. It also wears down their ever-growing teeth. Look for recyclable cardboard that is free of dyes, inks and adhesives, as these can be toxic if ingested. Avoid cardboard with staples which could injure your rabbit's mouth or stomach. Supervise your rabbit while chewing cardboard and provide new pieces periodically as they get shredded up.
Can Rabbits Chew Paper?
Plain white paper is fine for rabbits to chew in moderation. Printer and notebook paper provide fiber and mental stimulation. Avoid paper with inks which could be toxic if consumed in large amounts. Also be wary of staples, paperclips or tape that could be inadvertently swallowed. Do not give glossy, coated papers or tissue paper, as the materials are harder to digest. Shredded paper is not advised since rabbits may ingest the strands and become compacted. Ultimately, plain paper is safe for light chewing but shouldn't be the main chew substrate.
Can Rabbits Chew Wood?
Yes, wood makes an excellent chew toy for rabbits to gnaw on. Untreated varieties like pine, willow, apple, pear and poplar are safe. The wood helps file down rabbit teeth and satisfy their chewing urge. Make sure the wood has not been stained or painted, since the chemicals can be toxic. Avoid wood from cherry, peach, apricot and plum trees as they contain cyanide. Also do not give particleboard or manufactured woods as they may splinter. Provide wood blocks, sticks and balls to accommodate your rabbit's natural chewing habits.
Can Rabbits Chew Pine Cones?
Pine cones are typically safe for rabbits to chew. They provide texture and interest for bunnies who like to gnaw. The fibrous properties also help wear down constantly growing teeth. Look for untreated pine cones without any sap or chemicals. Remove small parts that could break off and always supervise your pet while chewing. Make sure your rabbit is actually consuming parts of the pine cone, not just playing with it. Pine cones give rabbits a natural chew toy to dig their teeth into.
Can Rabbits Chew Rope?
Natural, untreated rope is fine for rabbits to chew. Cotton rope provides fiber and satisfies chewing urges without splintering. Look for a size that your rabbit can easily handle and be sure to remove stringy fragments. Avoid rope treated with preservatives, flame retardants or pesticides. Also be cautious of wire or plastic woven into the rope that could be hazardous if swallowed. Supervise closely to prevent choking or intestinal blockage. Natural plant rope offers an enticing texture and promotes healthy teeth grinding. Change it frequently as pieces fray or unravel.
Can Bunnies Chew Carpet?
It's best not to allow rabbits to chew on carpeting. Carpet fibers can be accidentally ingested and cause intestinal blockages. The adhesives and backing used in carpets also contain toxic compounds if swallowed. In addition, chewing carpet down to the flooring beneath can be destructive inside your home. Provide plenty of safer chew toys so your rabbit isn't tempted to nibble the carpet. Use fencing or supervision when your bunny is loose to prevent access. Protect carpets with tiles, runners or mats if needed. Deter carpet chewing by rewarding positive behaviors.
Can Rabbits Chew Plastic?
Rabbits should not be allowed to chew plastic. While plastic may seem harmless, it can cause major digestive upset if large amounts are ingested. Plastic chew toys are also problematic since they don't wear down growing rabbit teeth. Supervise closely when plastic is present and redirect your rabbit to appropriate gnawing surfaces. Avoid plastic baskets, storage containers, packaging and children's toys. These provide no nutritional value and pose a choking risk if consumed. Protect belongings with plastic parts by keeping them out of reach of your curious rabbit.
Can Rabbits Die From Chewing Wires?
Yes, rabbits can die from electrocution if they chew on live electrical wires. Rabbits like to gnaw on the flexible plastic coating but can easily be shocked or burned if the wire is exposed. Always keep cords out of reach or covered with protective tubing. Block access to wires behind computers, appliances or equipment. Check your rabbit's living area for exposed cables that could be a hazard. If your bunny seems obsessively drawn to wires, provide acceptable alternatives and training to discourage the habit. Protecting your rabbit from wires prevents deadly accidents.
Can Rabbits Chew on Metal?
It's best not to provide metal objects for rabbits to chew. While metal won't splinter, it poses other risks if ingested. Metal can cause intestinal obstructions or tooth damage. Items like paperclips, pins or aluminum foil are particularly problematic if swallowed. In addition, metal won't help grind down rabbit teeth which grow continually. Rabbits should not have access to metal hutches or cages, which could be chewed and damaged. Protect metal belongings by keeping them away from your free-roaming rabbit. Offer safer chew toys instead of metal.
Can Rabbits Chew Walls?
Rabbits should be deterred from chewing sheetrock or wall corners in your home. Drywall contains gypsum which can irritate the gastrointestinal tract if consumed. Wallpaper glue and paint can also cause toxicity issues if large amounts are ingested. Chewing damage to walls is also undesirable. Monitor your free-roam rabbit and use baby gates or exercise pens to limit access. You can also apply a taste deterrent spray made with natural ingredients. Provide plenty of appropriate chew toys to satisfy your bunny's needs. Redirect and reward positive chewing behavior.
Can Rabbits Eat Indoor Plants?
No, rabbits should not be allowed to chew or eat common indoor houseplants. Many popular houseplants are toxic to rabbits, including philodendron, ivy, dieffenbachia and aloe vera. Chewing leaves or stems can make rabbits quite ill. Keep all houseplants completely out of reach of your bunny or place the plants outside. Even non-toxic plants can cause diarrhea or other digestive upset. Supervise anytime plants are present and immediately redirect nibbling. Provide greens in your rabbit's diet so they are less tempted to eat houseplants.
How Do I Stop My Rabbit Chewing?
To stop unwanted rabbit chewing, provide plenty of acceptable outlets for the behavior. Offer chew toys made of wood, cardboard and natural fibers. Rotate new objects to keep your rabbit engaged. Set up chewing stations around your home near problem areas. Limit access to vulnerable electric cords, carpets and furniture until chewing is curbed. Use bitter sprays on surfaces to deter gnawing. Reward and praise your rabbit when they chew proper items. Distract and redirect with toys when they are tempted to chew the wrong thing. With persistence and training, you can teach your rabbit what and where to chew safely.
What Can I Give My Rabbit to Chew On?
There are many healthy chew products to give to rabbits:
- Untreated wood blocks, sticks and lofts
- Cardboard boxes, tubes and egg cartons
- Seagrass and other natural fiber mats
- Rattlesnake sheds or other dried vegetation
- Pine cones, sticks and logs
- Cotton rope with fibers removed
- Paper bags filled with hay or paper
- Untreated wicker baskets or balls
- Baby rattles, keys or hard plastic baby toys
- Heavy ceramic or porcelain bowls
- Timber hideaways or tunnels
Provide a variety of sizes, textures and materials to accommodate your rabbit's chewing needs. Rotate new items frequently to keep them engaged. Always supervise your rabbit when chewing, even with safe products. Offering appropriate diversions promotes healthy teeth and satisfies your pet's natural instincts.