Keeping a rabbit as a house pet does have its rewards and challenges. One such challenge is to protect your belongings from the gnawing teeth of your pet rabbit. Now, you cannot completely rabbit proof your home, but there are some steps you can take to minimize the carnage.
First, acknowledge that rabbits need to chew, and anything on floor level is fair game for your rabbit. When I was in college, my roommate had a pet guinea pig that had free reign through the house. We thought we had everything picked up and away from the guinea pig, until we washed the rag rug in the kitchen. The guinea pig had chewed the stitching binding the rug together which went undetected until it returned from the washer in strips of fabric. So if you have an expensive Persian rug, you will have to keep the rabbit out of the room with your valuables.
The second challenge is electrical cords. One bite through a plugged in light cord not only ruins the cord, but can be potentially fatal to your rabbit. Try to tuck cords up and out of sight or cover them with aluminum foil, hard plastic, PVC pipe or spiral cable wrap designed to protect them. Do not run the cords under the carpets because this can cause a fire hazard. Remember that rabbits like to get into small places and the electrical cords of small appliances, like crock pots, stored in cabinets or your pantry, can also fall victim to the chewing tendencies of your pet rabbit. (I know this first hand because a loose hamster chewed up my crock pot cord).
Challenge number three is houseplants. Since rabbits are herbivores, the will seek out your houseplants to forage upon. Plants need to be kept out of reach because your bunny can destroy it, or the plant may be harmful to your bunny. Not all house plants are toxic, but you do need to know which ones are potentially poisonous to your bunny. The best advice is to keep your plants up on a potting table out of harm’s way.
Protecting your furniture and other wooden objects is challenge number four. There are special plastic guards that you can put around the legs of your couches or chairs. Aluminum foil sometimes works well in areas that are under skirts so they can’t be seen. Some people have had some luck with the bitter sprays or chew guard applied to wooden surfaces. You also have to protect the baseboards, walls, cabinet doors and anything else that is at bunny eye level. Furthermore, keep cabinet doors closed to prevent access to cleaning products. Child proof cabinet latches are a good idea just in case.
Rabbits sometimes will try to burrow into the underside of your furniture or mattress, making it a great place for a rabbit to hide. There are a couple of things that will keep the bunny from making a hidden nest under your furniture. One is to staple either wood, hard plastic sheets, or shower board to the bottom of your furniture to keep them out. Another is to make a wooden box frame to fit under the furniture to prevent access.
You additionally need to remember that anything on the floor is also fair game. That includes books, magazines, remote controls, shoes, socks, purses, toys, games, and anything else you can think of. Having a rabbit or a puppy loose in your house is one way to make your kids pick their stuff up because if the treasured item is found by your rabbit or puppy, it can be destroyed in seconds.
The best way to bunny proof your home is to only let them out when they can be supervised or use doggie gates to restrict their access to off-limit areas. Give your bunny plenty of chew toys, such as hard rubber or plastic balls, to keep them occupied. There are a variety of chew toys available for rabbits nowadays. You can also purchase apple sticks online that rabbits love to chew on. Just remember, if your rabbit chews on something valuable, it is not his fault because you shouldn’t have left it out in the first place.