Holiday Decorations and Rabbit Safety

The holidays bring so much magic, but also unique risks for our pet rabbits! With a little preparation and vigilance, we can make this festive season sparkle safely for bunnies and humans alike. From properly securing the Christmas tree to rabbit-proofing wires and delicate decorations, this comprehensive guide covers everything needed to avoid holiday hazards. You’ll learn which plants and foods to steer clear of, plus clever tips to keep curious rabbits happily occupied and out of mischief. Join us on an enlightening journey to spread cheer, not fear! Discover how a few simple steps ensure holiday decor delights, minus the dangers for your sweet furry family.

Are Christmas trees safe for rabbits?

Christmas trees are a beloved tradition during the holiday season, but they can pose some risks for pet rabbits if proper precautions aren't taken. Evergreen trees themselves are not toxic to rabbits, but they may chew on electrical cords or swallow pine needles if given unsupervised access. Here are some tips for keeping your bunnies safe around Christmas trees:

  • Use a baby gate or exercise pen to block off the room with the Christmas tree if your rabbit has free range of the house. This will prevent them from chewing on wires or eating fallen needles when unsupervised.

  • Cover exposed electrical cords with plastic tubing or wire looms to prevent chewing and electrocution hazards. Be sure to check cords for damage daily.

  • Place the Christmas tree in a sturdy stand and check it frequently for stability. A falling tree could injure a curious rabbit.

  • Remove any edible tree decorations like candy canes, gingerbread men, or popcorn strings which could cause gastrointestinal blockages if eaten.

  • Use only plastic or wooden ornament hooks without sharp wire ends that could poke or scratch curious noses.

  • Avoid placing breakable glass ornaments too low on the tree where rabbits may be able to reach them.

  • Sweep up fallen pine needles daily to prevent intestinal blockages from ingestion.

  • Consider using a cat-proof tree skirt to protect gifts underneath from prying paws.

  • Spray branches with bitter apple spray deterrent if your rabbit tries chewing needles.

  • Provide alternative chew toys like willow wreaths to distract nibbly urges.

  • Supervise playtime around the Christmas tree and redirect inappropriate chewing.

  • Confine your rabbit in an exercise pen or cage when the tree will be unattended.

With some simple precautions, your rabbit can safely enjoy the Christmas tree sights and smells during the holidays without wreaking havoc. Just be sure to bunny-proof the area thoroughly and provide plenty of alternative activities. Proper supervision is key to preventing potential accidents and injuries.

Christmas Tree Decorations

Christmas trees are often decorated with beautiful lights, garland, tinsel, and ornaments, but many of these can pose dangers for pet rabbits if they're inclined to chew. Here are some tips for choosing safer holiday decorations for your Christmas tree:

  • Opt for shatterproof unbreakable plastic, felt, or wooden ornaments instead of delicate glass which could cut paws or mouths.

  • Avoid ornaments with small removable parts, loops, or metal hooks which could detach and become choking hazards.

  • Skip the tinsel entirely as ingestion can lead to potentially fatal intestinal blockages.

  • Use pet-safe string lights instead of old-fashioned wire-filament lights which could electrocute curious paws and mouths. LED lights stay cool.

  • Coat wires in plastic cord covers or flexible cable loom tubing to prevent chewing electrocution risks.

  • Skip the edible treats like candy canes and use inedible plastic replicas instead to avoid gastrointestinal irritation.

  • Choose smooth ribbon, jute, or raffia garland and avoid sparkly tinsel garland which can obstruct intestines if eaten.

  • Opt for plastic berry picks instead of sharp metal ones which could scratch inquisitive noses.

  • Place breakable glass ornaments farther up the tree, out of rabbits' reach.

  • Consider using vetoquinol forager's choice or apple bitter chewing deterrent spray on tree branches.

  • Provide alternative wooden chew sticks and toys to distract curious mouths from decorations.

  • Limit playtime around the tree and supervise all interactions until safety is assured.

  • Consider an exercise pen around the tree if your rabbit has unsupervised range of your home.

With a few strategic substitutions and rabbit-proofing tactics, you can safely decorate your Christmas tree without placing your pet at risk for gastrointestinal blockages, chewing electrocution hazards, or cuts from broken ornaments.

What holiday plants are poisonous for rabbits?

Many popular holiday plants pose serious toxicity risks for pet rabbits if ingested. Here are some of the most dangerous holiday plants to avoid having in your home or giving as gifts if you have bunnies:

  • Poinsettia – All parts of this festive red and green plant are considered highly toxic to rabbits and can cause severe gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, vomiting and diarrhea if eaten.

  • Mistletoe & Holly – Both contain toxic substances like saponins and methylxanthines that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and abnormal heart rate in rabbits.

  • Lilies – Extremely poisonous, even pollen or water from the vase can cause kidney failure in rabbits. All lilies are unsafe, including Easter and Tiger lilies.

  • Amaryllis – Ingestion of bulbs or leaves causes abdominal cramping, diarrhea, tremors and heart disturbances. The sap can also irritate skin.

  • Chrysanthemums – Contain pyrethrins that are toxic to the neurological system causing seizures, loss of coordination and liver damage. All types are unsafe.

  • Cyclamen – Tubers and leaves contain terpenoids that irritate the gastrointestinal tract, cause seizures and even heart failure in severe cases.

  • English Ivy & Daffodils – Have calcium oxalate crystals that can cause intense burning, irritation and swelling in mouths and throats when chewed or eaten.

  • Azalea, Rhododendron & Kalanchoe – Have cardiotoxic compounds that can cause abnormal heart rates, seizures, paralysis and even death from heart failure in rabbits.

The safest solution is to keep all holiday plants well out of reach of pet rabbits to prevent tragic poisoning accidents. Opt for silk, dried or artificial flowers as safer substitutes when decorating your home.

Be careful with fake plants

Artificial flowers and greenery may seem like a safer decorating choice around rabbits, but some faux plants can also pose hazards:

  • Ingesting fake plant materials can potentially cause gastrointestinal blockages or damage from swallowed plastic, fabric and wires.

  • Beware fake plants with sharp poking wires, loose parts or brittle plastic bits that could scratch eyeballs or mouth tissues.

  • Some artificial grasses and berries are made with realistic plastic food facsimiles that rabbits may be attracted to sample.

  • Decorative plants may use toxic chemicals or coatings to achieve color vibrancy that could be harmful if chewed or eaten.

  • Sharp points, hooks and metal frames used to shape faux florals and foliage can poke curious noses and mouths.

  • Fabric leaves and flowers could potentially cause choking if large pieces are swallowed or pulled loose.

  • Chewing fabric risks gastrointestinal impaction or infection from ingesting detergent residues.

To protect curious rabbits, choose artificial plants with durability in mind:

  • Select high-quality, non-toxic plastics, wires and adhesives when possible.

  • Avoid plants with small detachable parts, loose glues or brittle petals.

  • Check for hidden sharp points and remove or cover them with protective tips.

  • Opt for short-pile fabric that can't be pulled into mouths in chunks.

  • Wash fabric plants before use to reduce chemical and detergent residues.

  • Supervise all initial contact with new artificial plants until safety is assured.

  • Provide safer chew sticks to redirect any persistent chewing urges away from decor.

With attention to potential risks, artificial plants can be a festive addition to your home during the holidays while keeping your rabbits safe from harm.

Rabbit proofing your decorations

Rabbits are famously mischievous and will gnaw, dig and chew anything within reach. Here are some tips to rabbit-proof holiday decorations:

  • Place all ornaments, garland and decor out of reach to prevent chewing hazards and smashed decor. Erect exercise pen barriers if needed.

  • Secure all loose decor ends – ribbon tails, garland fringe, ornament hooks – so they can't be pulled down and swallowed.

  • Use bitter apple spray deterrent on woodwork, furniture, baseboards and other items to curb chewing urges. Reapply frequently.

  • Provide alternative edibles like hay and willow chews to distract curious mouths from tablecloths and tree skirts.

  • Block access to unattended holiday food displays where rabbits could gorge on toxic sweets, fatty fare and foreign objects.

  • Place open lit candles up high or block access entirely to avoid singed fur. Votive candles in glass are safer.

  • Anchor wobbly décor items like candles, menorahs and pop-up snow globes with museum wax to prevent tip-overs.

  • Cover exposed cords with plastic tubing and use cable staples, brackets and cord winders to lift wires off the ground.

  • Consider removing tinsel, ribbon, beaded garland and other shiny dangly bits that can be accidentally ingested.

  • Opt for unbreakable plastic or wooden tree ornaments over fragile balls and figurines.

  • Use light clips to securely fasten lighting strands to your tree so they don't hang temptingly low.

With some strategic planning and bunny-proofing adjustments, you can safely enjoy holiday décor magic without the anxiety of potential pet mishaps. Protecting your home and rabbits will bring everyone peace of mind.

Wires and lighting

Electrical wires and holiday lighting are ubiquitous this time of year, which poses some special concerns for rabbit owners:

  • Rabbits may chew cords, risking electrocution or burns in addition to damaging lights. Take precautions to avoid tragedy.

  • Wire or cable loom tubing is essential to protect exposed cords from curious teeth. Check daily for damage.

  • For maximum safety, opt for outdoor-rated plastic sheathed LED string lights which don’t heat up or have glass bulbs.

  • Position indoor lit garland and string lights up high and out of reach to prevent chewing hazards.

  • Consider battery-operated tea lights and other decor instead of candles with open flames around flammable hay.

  • Anchor Menorahs and candelabras on fireproof surfaces if lit candles are used to avoid potential tip-over fire risks.

  • LED lights stay cool to the touch but avoid leaving traditional Christmas tree lights on unattended.

  • Extension cords and multi-outlet power strips should be rated for the electricity load and never daisy-chained.

  • Outdoor lighting, animated decorations and inflatables should be plugged into GFCI outlets to prevent electrocution.

  • Inspect electrical decor frequently for fraying, exposed wires or cracked sockets. Discard damaged items immediately.

  • Unplug all lighting before leaving home or going to bed and avoid using timers which could malfunction while unattended.

Holiday cheer needn’t be cancelled, but basic precautions are essential for safe coexistence with our curious, chewing-prone companions. Their safety depends on our diligence.


Candlelit ambiance is a beloved holiday tradition, but open flames require caution in homes with mischievous pet rabbits:

  • Never leave burning candles unattended – blow them out if you leave the room. Rabbits may burn themselves or start fires.

  • Votive or jar candles are safest as the glass helps contain the flame away from flammable materials.

  • Anchor any freestanding candelabras or menorah securely to prevent hazardous tip-overs.

  • Place lit candles up high, out of reach of curious noses and wagging tails. Use locks if needed.

  • Avoid having open flames around dried hay and straw which are highly flammable tinder sources.

  • Be aware of table linens, curtains or décor over candles that could catch fire if knocked down.

  • Candles placed too close to wires and flammable decorations like evergreens pose serious fire risks.

  • Never put lit candles on carpets or rugs that could burn if tipped. Use flame retardant holders.

  • Consider using LED flameless candles for ambiance around rambunctious or untrustworthy rabbits. They emit no heat.

  • Extinguish candles before bedtime or leaving home. Unattended open flames could have catastrophic consequences.

Holiday candles deserve our mindful reverence to be used judiciously and safely. With prudent precautions, they can illuminate the season without devastating risks to our furry families.

Fragile objects

Holiday decorations often involve precious heirlooms like glass ornaments, ceramic figurines and delicate bric-a-brac that require special safeguarding in rambunctious rabbit homes:

  • Use sturdy niches and display shelves up high to house fragile treasures out of harm’s way.

  • Place open-design furniture facing walls to prevent items being knocked off by jumping rabbits.

  • Consider using clear acrylic risers and lip edges to prevent valued objects being pushed off display surfaces.

  • Anchor delicate decor pieces in place with removable putty, Museum Gel® or earthquake wax where needed.

  • Opt for shatterproof unbreakable ornaments and kitchenware when possible around energetic rabbits.

  • Wrap foam cushioning around precious glass objects or display inside clear hard plastic cases.

  • Keep heirloom fabrics like lace tablecloths and quilts safely in drawers or closets instead of draped where they can be damaged.

  • Provide acceptable sturdy toys for nibbling to distract rabbits from chewing baseboards or furnishings.

  • Apply bitter-tasting spray deterrents to surfaces and objects vulnerable to being chewed.

  • Limit access to rooms with irreplaceable treasures if trust hasn’t been earned. Exercise pens can help.

  • Clean up all broken ornament shards promptly to avoid lacerations on inquisitive paws.

With forethought, care and strategic protction, even the most precious heirlooms can survive the holiday season intact despite our rabbits’ rambunctious tendencies.

Decorations with small pieces

From tiny tree ornaments to intricate gingerbread houses, holiday decorations often feature delicate small parts that require special precautions around curious rabbits:

  • Decor with removable parts, loops, beads or loose accents can become accidental choking hazards if ingested.

  • Shiny balls, baubles and delicate dangles designed for upper branches could be pulled down and shattered or swallowed.

  • Miniature items like pinecones, fabric gingerbread men and candy canes risk being treated as toys and eaten.

  • Sugar-based buildings, snow globes and glass blown figurines are all enticing yet extremely fragile if knocked over.

  • Opt for all one-piece décor pieces to avoid anything being bitten or broken off and ingested.

  • Use sheer ribbon instead of beaded garland which can separate into individual choking hazards if chewed.

  • Display most fragile decor up high on hard-to-reach surfaces and monitor new items for safety.

  • Cover edible-looking faux candy and plastic berries with hot pepper oil to deter tasting.

  • Consider non-breakable felt decorations and wood figures versus delicate glass or ceramic.

  • Provide alternative chew sticks and toys to distract rabbits from nibbling tempting decor.

  • Limit unsupervised access to decorated rooms until you can trust your rabbits not to damage or ingest anything.

Careful selection and strategic display of decorations will allow everyone to safely enjoy the holiday splendor without tempting tragic accidents.

Wrapping paper and ribbon

The shreddable crinkly texture of wrapping paper and curling ribbon is naturally irresistible to rabbits, so extra care is needed:

  • Discard paper, tissue, ribbons and bows promptly after gifts are open to prevent curious nibbling.

  • Avoid using tape to secure wrapping as sticky adhesive can lead to gastrointestinal issues if eaten.

  • Opt for paper-reinforced cloth ribbon less likely to fray into shreds if chewed.

  • Supervise all gift opening events to intervene at the first sign of paper shredding.

  • Provide acceptable alternatives like cardboard tubes, seagrass mats or phone books to satisfy chewing urges.

  • Block access to the trash containing discarded wrapping and bags to avoid dangerous plastic and foil ingestion.

  • Remove ribbons, bows and tags immediately after gifts are opened to prevent choking hazards.

  • Plain brown kraft paper is less enticing than shiny foils or glittery prints, so start there.

  • Bitter apple sprayed on wrapping supplies can help deter nibbling curiosities.

  • Confine rabbits in exercise pens when gifts will be unattended under the tree.

With vigilance and providing appropriate chewing outlets, holiday gift wrap can come and go without posing hazards to curious rabbits. Just take preventative steps.

Human foods

Holiday meals involve many tempting foods unsafe for rabbits from fatty treats to toxic sweets:

  • Chocolate, candy, cookies, cakes, dough, frosting and baking ingredients can cause digestive issues or pancreatitis.

  • High fat foods like gravy, butter and meat drippings risk gastrointestinal and liver problems.

  • Onions, garlic, leeks and chives contain compounds that can damage red blood cells.

  • Raisins and grapes are toxic. Even small quantities can cause irreversible kidney failure.

  • Dairy products, eggs, nuts and seeds can cause allergic reactions in some rabbits.

  • Salt, spices and sauces often contain harmful seasonings, sugars or preservatives.

  • Bones splinter and raw bread dough can expand dangerously in the gut.

  • Foil and ties for food prep can also cause blockages if eaten.

  • Alcoholic beverages would be dangerously intoxicating.

  • Caffeine and hot chocolate are unsafe stimulants for rabbits.

  • Citrus oils and pits of peaches, plums etc contain cyanide deadly to rabbits.

To keep rabbits safe, be vigilant about sweeping up food crumbs. Remove trash and compost waste immediately. Never offer human food or treats. Stick to a proper plain rabbit diet with hay, greens and limited pellets to avoid gastrointestinal havoc. Happy and safe holidays!

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