Chewing is a natural behavior for rabbits, but they can’t just nibble on anything! Rabbits have strong teeth and jaws designed for grinding down grasses in the wild. As pets, this instinct remains. However, many common household items can damage your bunny’s health or even be fatal if ingested. So how do you protect your beloved pet and home? This definitive guide covers everything you need to know about rabbit-proofing for safety and providing appropriate outlets for chewing. Get ready to learn what’s safe, what’s dangerous, and how to stop unwanted nibbling for good. From toxic plants to deadly cords, we will explore the dos and don’ts of rabbit chewing in detail. Let’s hop to it!

Why Do Rabbits Like Chewing?

Rabbits like chewing for a few reasons. One is that their teeth never stop growing! Rabbits' teeth grow about 5 inches per year. Since their teeth grow constantly, rabbits need to wear them down by chewing on things. Chewing also helps file down their teeth and keeps them at an appropriate length.

Another reason rabbits chew is for entertainment. Chewing provides mental stimulation and relieves boredom. In the wild, rabbits would naturally chew on grasses, bark and roots as part of their daily foraging. As pets, they don't have constant access to these natural materials, so they will chew on whatever is around for fun.

Chewing is also a natural instinct for rabbits. They have a drive to dig and gnaw, even if they don't need to wear down their teeth. Soft materials like cardboard and paper satisfy this innate urge.

Lastly, rabbits may chew when they are stressed or anxious. Chewing helps relieve tension and can have a calming effect. Make sure your rabbit has enough enrichment so they don't feel the need to chew destructively. Providing appropriate chewing outlets will prevent unwanted chewing.

Can Rabbits Chew on Cardboard?

Yes, rabbits can safely chew on cardboard. Plain cardboard boxes and paper egg cartons make great chewing toys. The cardboard provides mental stimulation, satisfies their urge to dig and gnaw, and helps wear down teeth. Be sure to remove any tape, staples, or glue first, as these can be hazardous if ingested. Watch for pieces small enough to pose a choking risk. Untreated cardboard is non-toxic, though the ink can stain their mouth temporarily. Give your rabbit cardboard tubes, boxes, paper bags and egg cartons to happily munch on. Just be sure to replace them frequently, as wet cardboard can breed bacteria. Rotate new cardboard regularly to prevent boredom. Plain cardboard is an inexpensive, safe way to meet your rabbit's chewing needs.

Can Rabbits Chew Paper?

Yes, paper is fine for rabbits to chew on in moderation. Plain white paper, newspaper, brown craft paper and paper bags are all safe options. The cellulose fiber in paper is a harmless material, and chewing it satisfies your bunny's natural urge to gnaw. Make sure the paper does not have any ink, which could be toxic, and avoid glossy paper which is harder to digest. Paper provides great enrichment, so placing piles of shredded paper or paper bags stuffed with hay encourages natural foraging behavior. Supervise your rabbit when giving paper to prevent overconsumption. While paper itself is not harmful, too much of any material can cause an intestinal blockage. Overall, paper products make great alternatives to woodtrim or furniture, directing your rabbit's chewing instinct in a safe direction.

Can Rabbits Chew Wood?

Rabbits should not chew solid, untreated wood. Hard woods like pine and oak are very difficult for rabbits to digest and can cause intestinal blockages or injury to their mouth and teeth. Painted or treated wood can contain toxic compounds from varnish, glue and preservatives. Wood trim, furniture and decks should be avoided, as rabbits can do serious damage while trying to chew them.

However, there are some wood products that are safe. Apple tree branches and willow sticks provide an acceptable wood source. Untreated wicker baskets or toys are also fine. Make sure the wood is pesticide-free with no preservatives. Provide apple sticks as a better alternative so your rabbit will be less tempted to chew your belongings. Also, compressed wood pulp products like Carefresh bedding cannot be broken down into splinters, making it a safer wood material. With supervision and providing other outlets, your bunny can fulfill their chewing instinct without being given access to harmful wood sources.

Can Rabbits Chew Pine Cones?

No, rabbits should not eat pine cones or chew them. Pine cones pose a choking risk due to their shape and texture. The rigid, splintery cone pieces could puncture the delicate lining of a rabbit's digestive tract. Additionally, pine resin is toxic to rabbits. Chewing pine cones would expose them to the sap and resin within. Even small amounts could irritate their mouth and throat or cause gastrointestinal issues.

There are other natural chews that are safer alternatives. Apple and willow branches satisfy the desire to gnaw without the risks of pine cones. Untreated wicker or grass mats and toys are also a good choice. Supervise your rabbit's chewing and redirect them to a different toy if they try to chew on pine cones. Remove pine cones from any areas your rabbit has access to prevent curious nibbling. While the texture may seem appealing, pine cones can splinter and contain toxic compounds, making them hazardous chew toys for rabbits.

Can Rabbits Chew Rope?

It's best to avoid giving rabbits rope to chew on. Though it relieves the urge to gnaw, rope can pose some health risks. If ingested, rope fibers could cause dangerous intestinal blockages or damage their digestive system. The strands can get stuck in their teeth, which could require veterinary care. Another issue is rope is frequently treated with preservatives or made from synthetic plastics, which are toxic. Even natural fiber rope has chemicals added during processing. Dyes and flame retardants used on ropes should be avoided.

Instead of rope, provide safer chew toys for your rabbit. Untreated wicker baskets, cardboard boxes, apple sticks, and grass mats make good alternatives. Natural sea grass or sisal products can mimic rope texture without the same risks. Supervise your rabbit's playtime and redirect chewing to more appropriate toys. Remove any rope items like leashes, shoelaces, or woven baskets, as your curious rabbit may start nibbling before you notice. While rope seems an inviting texture, it poses too many hazards and health risks to be given as a chew toy for rabbits.

Can Bunnies Chew Carpet?

Rabbits should not be allowed to chew on carpeting. Though carpets seem attractive to nibble on, they can actually be dangerous. Carpet fibers, if ingested, could cause a life-threatening intestinal obstruction or blockage. The synthetic materials are also very difficult for rabbits to digest. Household carpets often contain toxic chemicals too, including stain protectants, fire retardants, and adhesives.

Chewing carpet fibers can damage the lining of your rabbit's digestive tract. The motion of pulling on carpet pieces can also harm their teeth, jaws, and mouths. In addition to health risks, carpet chewing causes property damage. Once a rabbit starts, it's a difficult habit to break. The best solution is preventing access completely. Protect carpeted areas and block them off if needed. Provide a digging box with timothy hay or shredded paper instead. Train your rabbit not to chew the carpet by using a taste deterrent spray and rewarding them for chewing appropriate toys. While carpet may satisfy their natural urge, it poses many dangers and should be avoided.

Can Rabbits Chew Plastic?

No, rabbits should never chew or eat plastic. There are a few key reasons why plastic is very dangerous for rabbits:

  • Plastic is indigestible. If swallowed, it can cause severe intestinal blockages or choking.

  • Plastic can splinter into sharp fragments that can puncture the digestive tract.

  • When chewed, plastic can release toxic chemicals that can poison your rabbit. This includes pthalates, BPAs, and dyes.

  • Plastic has no nutritional value and provides no benefit to your rabbit if ingested.

Prevent your rabbit from chewing cords, packaging, toys, bottles, or any other plastic items. Also be very careful about plastic ending up in their enclosure from bags, packaging, or flipped food bowls. Contact your vet immediately if you think your rabbit ingested plastic. Providing woods sticks or cardboard gives them a safer chew outlet instead. Supervise playtime and rabbit proof your home to remove access to all plastics. The risks posed by chewing and ingesting plastic make it very hazardous to your rabbit's health.

Can Rabbits Die From Chewing Wires?

Yes, chewing on electrical wires can be fatal for rabbits. Wires pose two major risks – electrocution and choking. Rabbits can easily sever electrical cords with their sharp teeth. If they chew through the protective rubber and expose the inner live wires, they will suffer an electrical shock, which can cause severe burns or death. The other danger is if rabbits swallow sections of plastic coating or severed wire fragments, these indigestible materials can choke them or cause fatal intestinal blockages.

To protect your rabbits, prevent access to all cords and wires. Plastic tubing or metal braiding can be used to cover wires out of reach. Cables should be tucked behind furniture or stapled neatly to baseboards. You can also apply a bitter tasting spray deterrent. Be very diligent, as rabbits will often return to chewing sites again and again. Do not underestimate their powerful teeth and strong drive to gnaw. With some preparation and training, you can redirect your rabbit's chewing instinct to safer toys and materials. Taking preventative steps is crucial though, as chewing electrical wires can have tragic consequences for your beloved pet.

Can Rabbits Chew on Metal?

No, rabbits should not be allowed to chew on metal. While it may seem harmless, metal poses a few risks that make it unsafe:

  • Metal can have sharp or jagged edges that could cut and injure your rabbit's mouth, gums, or tongue.

  • Ingesting small metal pieces could cause choking or internal trauma.

  • Metal can contain toxins like lead, zinc, or copper that are poisonous if consumed.

  • Dyes or finishes used on metal could be unsafe if chewed or swallowed.

  • Metal provides no nutritional benefit and is not designed as a chew material for rabbits.

Prevent your rabbit from accessing metal objects like wires, furniture, cages, keys, jewelry or small hardware items. Be very careful about leaving pins, nails, nuts or bolts where curious rabbits could reach them. Provide apple sticks or untreated wicker balls instead to satisfy their chewing instinct in a safer way. Supervise your rabbit closely and redirect any metal chewing. While metal may seem harmless, the risks of injury, poisoning, and blockages make it unsuitable as a chew toy for rabbits.

Can Rabbits Chew Walls?

No, you should not allow rabbits to chew on walls. Drywall, paint, wallpaper, and insulation all contain materials that could seriously harm your rabbit if ingested. Drywall is made from gypsum and paper facing. The gypsum can cause gastrointestinal irritation, while the paper facing poses a choking hazard. Wallpapers often contain toxic glues and dyes. Lead-based paints used prior to 1970 could poison rabbits chewing old paint chips. Even modern latex paint contains drying compounds and preservatives that rabbits cannot digest.

Chewing and digging at walls can also do costly damage to your home. Rabbits' powerful teeth and nails can cause holes, shredded wallpaper, and peeled paint. Once a rabbit starts to chew a section, it's nearly impossible to get them to stop.

The best solution is preventing access in the first place. Use baby gates, exercise pens, or cages to block off wall access. Provide a digging box filled with bedding or blankets for them to tunnel in instead. Spray vinegar or bitter apple spray deterrents. Most importantly, give your rabbit plenty of chewing toys and playtime attention to redirect their energy. While drywall seems tempting to nibble, letting rabbits chew walls can lead to health issues, home damage, and dangerous chemicals being consumed.

Can Rabbits Eat Indoor Plants?

No, rabbits should not eat common indoor houseplants. Many popular houseplants are toxic to rabbits, even in small amounts. Chewing or ingesting houseplants can make your rabbit very sick. Some common indoor plants that are poisonous to rabbits include:

  • Lilies – Extremely toxic, even deadly in some cases

  • Tulips

  • Daffodils

  • Hyacinths

  • Chrysanthemums

  • Poinsettias

  • English Ivy

  • Philodendrons

  • Dieffenbachia

  • Pothos

  • Snake Plants

  • Tomato Leaves

  • Aloe Vera

Even non-toxic plants can cause gastrointestinal upset if too much is consumed. Make sure all houseplants are securely out of your rabbit's reach. Provide plenty of timothy hay and safe chew toys instead to divert their attention. Carefully research a plant before feeding – when in doubt, leave it out. Keeping indoor plants away from bunnies will prevent potentially fatal plant poisoning accidents.

How Do I Stop My Rabbit Chewing?

If your rabbit is chewing on inappropriate items, there are some ways to deter this unwanted behavior:

  • Rabbit proof your home by removing access to electrical cords, wood, and other dangerous chewables. Use cord covers, blocked off areas, or exercise pens to limit access.

  • Provide plenty of alternatives like cardboard boxes, grass mats, willow sticks, and other safe chew toys. Rotate new toys to prevent boredom.

  • Consider leaving the TV or radio on for background noise and mental stimulation when you are away.

  • Clean soiled areas thoroughly with vinegar to remove any scent that attracts chewing.

  • Use bitter apple spray liberally on baseboards, furniture, carpet edges, or other problem spots. Reapply frequently.

  • If you catch them in the act, interrupt with a loud noise and say "No!" Firmly redirect them to a designated chew toy instead. Praise when they chew acceptable objects.

  • Increase exercise time and physical activity to prevent destructive chewing from boredom.

  • Consider caging or confinement when you are unable to directly supervise. This keeps them safe and home protected.

With a little effort, you can stop your rabbit's chewing issues by addressing their instincts and environment. Provide proper outlets for normal chewing behavior.

What Can I Give My Rabbit to Chew On?

There are many safe, rabbit-approved chew toys to provide instead of inappropriate chewing:

  • Untreated wicker balls or baskets – Natural plant fibers are safe and appealing.

  • Apple, willow, or pear branches – Provides a wood source without splinters.

  • Cardboard boxes, tubes, egg cartons – Check for staples or tape first.

  • Newspaper or paper bags – Use non-toxic ink only.

  • Untreated wood blocks or sticks

  • Grass mats or balls – Often sold as cat toys too.

  • Small wicker or grass baskets – Let your rabbit dig, chew and toss it.

  • Natural sea grass or sisal toys – Textured and enticing.

  • Pinecones are appealing but hazardous, so avoid.

  • Plain white paper or computer paper – Avoid glossy paper.

  • Hay-stuffed cardboard rolls or boxes – Digging and chewing incentive.

  • Cotton towels – Provides digging satisfaction without strings.

  • Hard plastic baby toys – For lighter chewing needs.

  • Untreated seagrass or willow balls/logs – Sold at pet stores.

Try a variety of shapes, textures, and materials to engage your rabbit's interest. Rotate new items frequently to prevent boredom. Provide safe chewing outlets to protect your belongings and keep your bunny happy and healthy.


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