11 Things That Rabbits Shouldn’t Chew

Chewing is a natural instinct for rabbits, but they can’t just nibble on anything! Would you let a toddler chew on an iPhone cord or wall socket? Of course not! Well rabbit-proofing a home takes similar consideration. While our furry friends need outlets for their constant gnawing, we have to provide safe options. Otherwise, they may meet a shocking fate with electrical wires or fall ill from toxins in walls and houseplants. Some materials also pose intestinal blockage risks if swallowed. But don’t worry, you can easily rabbit-proof for safe chewing and save your belongings too! This article will cover 11 unsafe chewing zones for rabbits and how to redirect them to healthier alternatives. Let’s hop to it and keep our buns out of trouble!

Why Do Rabbits Like Chewing?

Rabbits are natural chewers. In the wild, they spend much of their time foraging and grazing on grasses, herbs, tree bark and roots. The act of chewing and gnawing helps wear their constantly growing teeth down. Rabbits have teeth that grow around 5 inches per year! If their teeth get too long, they can develop painful dental issues.

Chewing is essential behavior to promote good dental health in domestic rabbits too. Pet bunnies need access to hay at all times to grind their teeth down. They also enjoy chewing on wooden toys, cardboard boxes and paper. It satisfies their natural instincts. Chewing is a way for rabbits to relieve boredom and stress as well. A lack of mental stimulation can cause them to start chewing on household objects, books, wires, furniture etc. Providing your rabbit with plenty of acceptable edible and non-edible chew toys is the best way to deter unwanted chewing.

Can Rabbits Chew on Cardboard?

Yes, rabbits can safely chew on cardboard. Untreated cardboard boxes and paper egg cartons make great chew toys. The act of ripping and tearing the cardboard provides mental enrichment. Your rabbit will love transforming a cardboard box into confetti!

Plain cardboard is safe, but be sure to avoid cardboard with toxic ink, dyes, staples or adhesive tape. Also watch out for boxes that once stored chemicals, fragrances or cleaning products. The cardboard may have absorbed residual toxins. Opt for plain brown cardboard instead.

Some fun ways to serve cardboard for your bunny to chew:

  • Make a cardboard castle or tunnel
  • Stuff boxes with hay or herbs
  • Make cardboard scratching pads
  • Hang cardboard pieces on string
  • Place plain egg cartons around the cage

Supervise your rabbit when first introducing cardboard chew toys. Monitor them as they will try to ingest some. Remove and replace the cardboard as needed once it gets soggy or destroyed. Proper chewing on cardboard promotes dental health.

Can Rabbits Chew Paper?

Paper is another safe material for rabbit chewing. Your bunny will love to tear, rip and shred blank pages! Paper provides fiber and satisfies chewing urges. Opt for unprinted paper like:

  • Plain white computer paper
  • Brown packaging paper
  • Paper grocery bags (unbleached)
  • Newspaper (avoid colored inks)
  • Paper towel or toilet paper rolls

Avoid paper with staples, adhesives or any toxic coatings. Also don't let your rabbit chew on important documents, books, magazines, etc! Supervise your pet to ensure they are not ingesting large amounts of paper. While fiber-rich, large consumption can lead to intestinal blockage. Provide an abundant source of hay as a healthier alternative.

Get creative providing paper for your rabbit to chew and play with! Stuff paper bags with hay, fold sheets into tunnels or shapes, hang strips for pulling, or tuck sheets into cardboard boxes. Paper chains also make fun toys to nibble and toss around!

Can Rabbits Chew Wood?

Wood products are popular chew toys for pet rabbits. Rabbits can safely chew on most untreated, non-toxic woods. Some wood varieties make better choices than others. The best woods for rabbits are:

  • Apple tree branches
  • Willow tree branches
  • Poplar
  • Aspen
  • Birch

Opt for pesticide-free, untreated woods. Stay away from wood sprayed with chemicals, stained or painted. Supervise your rabbit closely when first introducing wood chews. Make sure they are not eating or ingesting it.

You can offer wood blocks, sticks and logs for your rabbit to gnaw and play with. Apple tree branches with leaves attached provide fiber, mental enrichment and chewing satisfaction. Rotate new pieces periodically as needed once wood gets damaged. Wood chew toys promote healthy teeth and satisfy natural chewing behavior.

Can Rabbits Chew Pine Cones?

In general, pine cones are not recommended for rabbits to chew. While chewing provides mental stimulation, pine cones pose a few risks:

  • Pine sap – Sticky sap may irritate the mouth or block the intestinal tract if ingested. Avoid sap producing pine cones.

  • Pesticides – Many pine cones are sprayed with chemicals or pest deterrents during growth. Only source organic, pesticide-free pine cones.

  • Pokes – Pine cone edges may scratch or poke sensitive mouth areas. Supervise chewing.

  • Choking – Small parts may break off and pose a choking risk if swallowed. Monitor your rabbit closely.

If you do wish to offer pine cones, select organic, dried varieties with all sap removed. Make sure there are no small parts that can easily break off. Remove pine cones once signs of damage appear. Provide chewing supervision and offer safer chew alternatives like hay and wood. There are better options than pine cones for rabbit chewing enjoyment.

Can Rabbits Chew Rope?

Rope is not recommended for rabbits to chew. While chewing rope may seem fun, it poses a few health concerns:

  • Intestinal blockage – Fiber strands can tangle in the digestive tract if ingested.

  • Choking hazard – Rope can break off in stringy pieces that could choke your rabbit if swallowed.

  • Chemical residue – Some rope may have chemical residues from manufacturing.

  • No nutritional value – Rope provides no nutritional benefit. Hay is a healthier alternative.

  • Can get stuck in teeth – Rope fibers can get tangled around teeth and gums.

While rope seems like a satisfying chew, it does not break down easily in a rabbit's digestive system if ingested. Take care with any stringy fabrics like rope, twine, thread, shoelaces, etc. These items can wrap around the intestines and require emergency surgery to remove.

You are better off providing wood blocks, cardboard and untreated grasses for your rabbit to chew. If you want to offer fabric items, closely supervise your rabbit and remove it at any sign of damage. Stick to safer chew toys to prevent intestinal blockages.

Can Bunnies Chew Carpet?

It's best to avoid having pet rabbits chew on carpeting. While chewing carpet may seem harmless, it poses a few risks:

  • Intestinal blockage – Carpet fibers and backing can clump in the intestines if ingested.

  • Chemical residues – Many carpets contain toxic adhesives, dyes, flame retardants, etc.

  • Choking hazard – Small fibers could get lodged in the windpipe.

  • Damage to flooring – Rabbits can quickly shred carpet down to the flooring underneath.

While nibbling high fiber grasses is natural rabbit behavior, commercial carpeting contains many toxic chemicals and materials. House rabbits should not be given free access to carpeted rooms unattended. You can protect carpet by:

  • Covering with sheets or mats
  • Blocking access with baby gates
  • Providing plenty of alternative chews

If your rabbit starts nibbling carpet, redirect them right away with a toy. Protect your flooring and prevent intestinal blockages by keeping your bunny from chewing carpet.

Can Rabbits Chew Plastic?

You should avoid giving rabbits plastic materials to chew. While it satisfies their urge to gnaw, plastic poses some digestive health risks:

  • It does not break down in the intestinal tract if ingested. Plastic can cause dangerous blockages requiring surgery to remove.

  • Plastics contain hormone disruptors like bisphenols that can leach into the body with chewing.

  • Ingested plastic does not provide any nutritional value for your rabbit.

Unfortunately many household items contain plastic components – baskets, trash cans, baseboards, power cords, etc. Supervise your rabbit closely when loose and limit access to harmful plastic materials. Protect your rabbit by providing healthier chew alternatives:

  • Untreated wood blocks and sticks
  • Cardboard boxes and trays
  • Paper
  • Grass mats
  • Sea grass hides and balls
  • Pine cones

While plastic might satisfy your rabbit's chewing impulse, it can ultimately endanger their gastrointestinal health. Redirect any unwanted plastic chewing to safer, edible materials. Their teeth and digestive system will thank you!

Can Rabbits Die From Chewing Wires?

Yes, rabbits can die from chewing on electrical wires if electrocuted. Rabbits seem attracted to the plastic coating and spicy scent of wires. However, biting through the plastic can expose live wires and immediately electrocute your rabbit. The results are often fatal without immediate vet care.

Rabbits can also suffer burns inside their mouth or internally if they bite electrical cords. Always properly protect or conceal any live wires in your home. Common problem areas include:

  • Behind appliances
  • Along baseboards
  • Around entertainment centers
  • Behind computers and desks
  • Near phone chargers

To rabbit-proof your electric cords:

  • Encase cords in plastic tubing or wire loom
  • Use cable wraps or wire covers
  • Hide cords behind furniture or rugs
  • Use cord shorteners to eliminate excess length
  • Spray cords with bitter apple spray deterrent
  • Provide alternative chew toys

Supervise your rabbit any time they are loose near cords. Doing so can prevent fatal electrocution accidents. Protect your rabbit and cover up all live wires in their space.

Can Rabbits Chew on Metal?

It's best to avoid giving rabbits metal objects to chew on. While metal won't splinter like wood, it still poses some health risks:

  • Broken teeth or cuts – Metal may chip teeth or puncture gums if chewed.

  • Blocked intestines – Small pieces can get trapped and block the digestive tract.

  • Choking hazard – Rabbits could choke on small, loose pieces that break off.

  • Zinc poisoning – Galvanized metal may contain zinc that can be toxic if ingested.

  • Lead contamination – Some painted metals may contain lead-based paint.

  • Rust particles – Rust could irritate the mouth.

While metal might seem indestructible, rabbits can still injure themselves chewing it. Give them softer materials to nibble on instead. Good metal alternatives include:

  • Untreated wood
  • Natural loofah chews
  • Cardboard
  • Paper and grass mats
  • Seagrass products
  • Hay and straw

Supervise any metal chewing closely to avoid sharp edges. Avoid lead, zinc or rusty metals. With safer chew choices available, metal isn't ideal for rabbits to gnaw for long periods.

Can Rabbits Chew Walls?

You'll want to discourage rabbits from chewing on walls. While chewing provides stress relief, walls contain harmful chemicals and materials:

  • Lead paint – Old paint may contain toxic lead pigment.

  • Wallpaper paste – Adhesives may contain toxic chemicals if ingested.

  • Drywall – Plaster or sheetrock can cause intestinal impaction.

  • Wood molding – Old wood trim may be treated with lead-based paint.

  • Wall insulation – Fiberglass or foam pieces can cause blockages.

Chewing damage also quickly adds up. Rabbits can bore through drywall and tear out insulation in short time. Protect your walls by providing alternative diversions:

  • Untreated wood chews
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Paper
  • Twigs and grass treats
  • Pine cones
  • Straw mats
  • Tunnels

Try covering exposed wall edges with cardboard or wood boards. Use bitter-tasting deterrent sprays on favorite chewing spots. Keep your rabbit away from walls when unsupervised. Provide plenty of edible chewing options to satisfy their natural instincts in a safer way.

Can Rabbits Eat Indoor Plants?

It's best not to let pet rabbits chew or eat common indoor houseplants. While nibbling plants is natural rabbit behavior, most houseplants are toxic. Toxic effects range from nausea and vomiting to organ failure or death in severe cases.

Some common indoor plants harmful to rabbits include:

  • Lilies
  • Tulips
  • Daffodils
  • Aloe vera
  • Ivy
  • Pothos
  • Philodendron
  • Chrysanthemums
  • English ivy
  • Periwinkle
  • Caladium

Make sure harmful plants are completely inaccessible. Monitor your rabbit closely whenever loose in plant areas. Provide ample grass hay as a healthy alternative. Grow rabbit-safe herbs like basil, mint and parsley for them to graze. If they ingest houseplants, call your vet immediately. Prevent indoor plant chewing to avoid toxic plant dangers.

How Do I Stop My Rabbit Chewing?

Here are some tips to stop unwanted chewing in rabbits:

  • Remove access to problem chew zones like walls or furniture when unattended.

  • Provide a variety of acceptable chew toys to divert them – wood, cardboard, paper, seagrass.

  • Use bitter apple sprays or sour taste deterrents on areas you want to discourage chewing on. Reapply frequently.

  • Give your rabbit ample exercise and playtime to prevent boredom-induced chewing.

  • Consider misting areas with vinegar or lemon juice to deter chewing. Avoid harsh chemicals.

  • Place pine cones, mazes, treat balls or boxes around to keep their mind engaged.

  • Rotate chew toys frequently to keep them new and interesting.

  • Protect electric cords with plastic tubing or wire covers.

  • Clip long chewing surfaces of teeth occasionally if excessive chewing persists.

With patience and plenty of safer chewing zones provided, you can redirect unwanted nibbling. Make sure their enrichment and living environment is stimulating enough too.

What Can I Give My Rabbit to Chew On?

Here are some top chew toys to provide rabbits:

  • Apple tree or willow tree branches – Natural and enriching.

  • Untreated wood blocks – Easy to find and afford.

  • Pine cones – Provide enrichment.

  • Cardboard boxes – Easy to replace when destroyed!

  • Empty paper towel rolls – Fun to toss and shred.

  • Seagrass mats or baskets – Natural fabric to chew.

  • Paper and phone books – Rip to shreds.

  • Wooden baby toys – Make sure they are toxin-free.

  • Straw or hay baskets – Provide fiber.

  • Untreated wicker balls – Natural and safe plant fiber.

  • Loofah chews – Promote dental health.

Rotate new chew items frequently to keep your rabbit interested and satisfied. Make sure to supervise them closely at first with new objects. Remove and replace chews as needed once showing signs of damage, choking hazards or boringness. Providing a variety of destructible, non-toxic chew toys will save your home furnishings and deter unwanted chewing!

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