Has your adorable bunny suddenly turned into a raging wall wrecker? You’re not alone – rabbits chewing and destroying walls, baseboards, and furniture is an all too common phenomenon. While the sight of tattered wallpaper and hole-filled drywall is disheartening, don’t despair. There are concrete reasons behind this destructive behavior, and real solutions to end it. This comprehensive guide dives into why rabbits attack walls, from dental pain to boredom to hunger. You’ll discover pro-active training techniques, chew toy strategies, and bunny-proofing fixes to stop the demolition once and for all. With persistence and creativity, you can curb chewing and keep both your bunny AND your walls happy and healthy. Let’s transform that furry Godzilla back into a perfect angel!
Why Rabbits Chew Walls
There are several reasons why rabbits may chew on walls, wallpaper, baseboards, and other household items. Understanding the underlying motivation can help you address the behavior and protect your home. Here are some of the main reasons rabbits chew walls:
One of the most common reasons for wall chewing in rabbits is dental issues. Rabbits' teeth grow continuously throughout their lives. The chewing action of eating hay and other abrasive foods helps wear their teeth down to a healthy length. However, sometimes tooth alignment problems or overgrown molars can prevent proper wear. This causes pain, discomfort, and difficulty eating.
Chewing on walls may help alleviate discomfort from overgrown or misaligned teeth. The hard, rough surface provides resistance to wear teeth down. If your rabbit is chewing in a focused, deliberate manner, dental problems could be the cause. Schedule an exam with your rabbit-savvy vet to check for overgrown teeth or other dental issues. Treating the underlying problem will stop the chewing behavior.
Chewing is a normal rabbit behavior. In the wild, rabbits graze on grass and vegetation for long periods daily. This keeps them occupied and entertained. As pets, rabbits have a lot more free time on their hands if their environment is not enriched.
Bored rabbits may turn to chewing walls, baseboards, furniture, and anything else they can get their teeth on. It becomes an outlet for their natural chewing instinct when they don't have enough stimulating activities to engage in. Make sure your rabbit has plenty of enrichment toys and opportunities to exercise and socialize daily. Rotating toys to make them seem new and exciting again also helps stave off boredom chewing sprees.
Rabbits are grazers by nature. They prefer to eat small amounts of food continuously throughout the day and night rather than large meals. If your rabbit does not have unlimited access to hay, he may chew on household items like walls out of hunger. The act of chewing provides some relief for that empty belly until the next scheduled meal.
Provide your rabbit with a never-ending supply of fresh timothy or other grass hay at all times. This allows them to nibble whenever they feel hungry. You can also consider using food-dispensing toys that make them "work" for kibble and treats to occupy them between hay nibbling. Just make sure some food is always available, even at night. An empty stomach leads to mischief!
Some naughty rabbits chew walls and destroy property to get their owner's attention, even if it's negative attention. This is more common in rabbits that are frequently left alone and do not get enough daily interaction with people. You may come home to find chewing damage right in plain sight, which is a sign your rabbit wanted you to see it.
Giving your pet adequate love, playtime, exercise, and socialization is important to curb attention-seeking behavior. Try to spend at least a couple hours per day actively interacting with your rabbit. Provide mental stimulation through treat puzzles, hide-and-seek games, clicker training, and teaching tricks. Rabbits crave bonding time with their owners. Fulfilling this need prevents inappropriate chewing and destruction.
If a rabbit starts chewing a particular spot and keeps returning to it, it can become a habit over time. Damage to walls, baseboards, and furniture may occur first due to boredom, hunger, or other factors. But your rabbit learned that chewing that area felt rewarding. They continue focusing on the same spot out of habit and familiarity even when the original causes are resolved.
Breaking the cycle requires diligence on your part. You must prevent access to the problem area so your rabbit can't reinforce the chewing habit. Use taste deterrents or physical barriers to make the location unappealing. Provide alternative chewing outlets like wooden blocks. The longer your rabbit goes without chewing that spot, the more the habit will fade. Be persistent and don't give up.
Believe it or not, some wall materials, adhesives, paints, and varnishes simply taste good to rabbits. If your bunny seems focused on chewing one particular area for no apparent reason, the surface coating may be attracting them.
Some researchers believe modern wall paints have enticing flavors because they contain soy or citrus oils. Wallpaper glue can also have an appetizing odor and taste. Damaged drywall and plaster may be salty from compound additives, encouraging nibbling. Covering problem areas with undesirable tasting anti-chew sprays helps curb this appetite-driven chewing.
How To Stop Rabbits Chewing Walls
If your rabbit has developed a habit of chewing walls, there are ways to curb this behavior. Using a multifaceted approach helps set your rabbit up for success in breaking the chewing habit. Here are some tips:
Train Your Rabbit
One of the best ways to stop undesirable rabbit behavior is through training. You can teach your rabbit to redirect chewing to appropriate outlets with positive reinforcement and redirection techniques.
Offer treats when your rabbit chews on a toy instead of the wall. Say "good chew!" and provide a reward. Anytime you catch them nibbling the wall, interrupt with a firm "no" and redirect to a chew toy, praising and treating if they comply. Be consistent and they will learn walls are off limits.
You can also try remote punishment devices. These issue a harmless but unpleasant puff of air when a rabbit approaches the problem area. This trains them to avoid that spot. Just be sure to reward them for chewing acceptable items so they have an outlet.
Provide Chew Toys
Giving your rabbit plenty of enticing chew toys provides an attractive alternative to your drywall and furniture. Offer a variety of textures, shapes, sizes, and materials so your rabbit stays interested.
Untreated wicker baskets, cardboard boxes, seagrass mats, and pine wood make great chew toys. You can also find quite a selection of more durable chew toys made specifically for rabbits. Rotate options to keep things exciting. Be sure to praise and reward your rabbit every time they choose to chew legal items.
Give Rabbits More Hay
Remember, rabbits need to chew for hours daily to wear down their continuously growing teeth. If your bunny does not have access to unlimited timothy or grass hay at all times, that instinct has to get expressed somewhere. Make sure hay is always available. The more time spent chewing hay, the less interest they will have in walls.
You can use hay in food toys as well. Stuff some in cardboard tubes or hide it inside paper bags and boxes. The extra work involved to extract the hay keeps rabbits busier and more fulfilled. Check that you are feeding grass hay, not alfalfa, as well as appropriate proportions of fresh greens and rabbit pellets. A balanced diet prevents boredom and hunger chewing.
Provide A Balanced Diet
An improperly balanced diet can lead to chewing behaviors in some rabbits. Make sure you are feeding adequate proportions of quality timothy or grass hay, leafy greens, and a limited amount of rabbit pellets. The majority of an adult rabbit's diet should be hay – around 70%.
Feed at least 1 packed cup of leafy greens per 2 lbs of body weight daily as well as 1/4 cup rabbit pellets per 5 lbs of body weight. Provide unlimited fresh timothy or meadow hay at all times. This will help satisfy your rabbit's nutritional needs and natural grazing instincts. A satisfied belly means less temptation to nibble forbidden areas.
When discipline and redirection fail, taste deterrents help make walls and furniture unappealing. There are commercial anti-chew and anti-lick sprays made specifically for rabbits and pets. These contain harmless bitter flavors to curb chewing.
Apply these sprays liberally to baseboards, walls, furniture, and any other problem areas. Reapply frequently to maintain effectiveness. You can also make your own deterrent spray using apple cider vinegar or lemon juice diluted with a small amount of water. The key is choosing something rabbit-safe with an unpleasant taste.
How To Bunny Proof Your Walls And Wallpaper
In addition to behavior modification, some bunny proofing steps can help protect your walls while training is underway. There are temporary quick-fixes as well as more intensive permanent solutions.
When you first discover your rabbit's penchant for wall destruction, you may need some quick protection for vulnerable areas while you address the underlying causes. Here are some good temporary bunny proofing techniques:
Attach cardboard around chewed areas using packing tape.
Wrap damaged regions in multiple layers of newspaper secured with tape.
Use plastic tablecloths or shower curtains pinned over problem spots.
Apply double-sided tape or upside-down vinyl carpet runners to deter chewing.
Spray vinegar or bitter anti-chew spray on areas that need protecting.
Block access to high-traffic chewing zones with pet pens or baby gates.
These temporary fixes obstruct chewing and limit further damage until behavior modification resolves the problem permanently.
Once your rabbit's wall chewing habit is under control, you may want to take steps to permanently protect vulnerable areas. Here are some good options:
Wall Corner Protectors
Clear acrylic wall guards are a discreet way to protect corners. They cover the junction between walls seamlessly. Corner guards resist chewing damage and make the area inaccessible. Measure and cut to size as needed. Affix with adhesive for permanent protection.
Baseboard chewers can be thwarted with vinyl or aluminum L-shaped baseboard guards. These fit neatly over the top and wall side of existing trim. They are durable and chew-resistant. For full protection, cover baseboards on the entire bottom perimeter of rooms your rabbit access.
Chew Proof Molding
Replace original baseboards and trim with chew proof ceramic tile trim or molded PVC versions. These withstand gnawing better than wood. Match trim colors for an inconspicuous solution. Use metal trim joiners for clean seams between pieces.
Metal Kick Plates
Adhere brushed metal kick plates around the bottom foot or two of wall space to protect drywall beneath. Choose kick plates around 4 inches tall to cover chewable zones. Blend with your decor by selecting plates in wall paint colors.
For a rustic look, affix untreated poplar, aspen, or plywood boards over chewed regions using adhesive and nails. These natural wood options are fairly chew resistant yet decorative. Just be sure to seal cut edges to prevent seepage if chewed.
Cement, fiber cement, or drywall coated in Zinsser's Bulls-Eye 1-2-3 water-based primer creates a protective cement-like coating. Adhere cement boards or coat problem drywall areas. Durable, moisture-proof, and chew-proof!
With diligence, training, and bunny-proofing, you can successfully end your rabbit's wall chewing habits. Always have your vet examine abnormal chewing to identify any underlying medical factors. Provide ample enrichment and exercise so your rabbit never feels bored or hungry enough to snack on your home. They may slip up here and there, but consistency gets results. Protect your walls and furniture while rewarding positive behavior. Both you and your rabbit will feel calmer and happier.