Is your rabbit chewing wires and munching on anything it can get its paws on? Don’t worry; you aren’t alone! It’s natural for pet rabbits to chew, and bunnies chewing electrical wires is a common problem.
Unfortunately, chewing cords can be dangerous for your furry friend, so it’s essential to address it quickly. This article will take you through the steps you can take to stop your rabbit from chewing wires in your home.
How to Stop Rabbits Chewing Wires
Rabbits have a natural instinct to chew. The best way to stop them from chewing wires is to provide appropriate things for your bunny to chew. You can also train your rabbit, use deterrents, and bunny-proof your wires so your rabbit can’t reach them.
Why Do Rabbits Chew?
Rabbits chew to wear down their teeth which are constantly growing. Chewing keeps their teeth healthy and prevents dental issues. Wild rabbits chew on grasses and plants to keep their digestive system functioning correctly, just like pet bunnies eat hay.
Chewing also feels good for your bunny. It’s fun and helps a curious bunny explore the world around it (kind of like how toddlers put things in their mouths when they’re learning about their environment)!
If rabbits don’t have enough safe things to chew on, like hay and rabbit toys, they’ll use anything in their environment. This includes wires in your home!
Some rabbits chew because they’re bored and are making their own fun. Young rabbits are more likely to be mischievous and destructive. Rabbits that aren’t spayed or neutered are more likely to display destructive behaviors.
Is It Dangerous for My Rabbit to Chew on Wires?
It is dangerous for your rabbit to chew on wires. If the wires are plugged into an electricity source, your pet could get an electric shock. This can cause severe internal damage to your rabbit and, in some cases, even be fatal.
Even if the wires aren’t plugged in, the material can be toxic for your bunny. If your rabbit ingests parts of the wire or material around it, it could cause a blockage which can be very serious for your pet.
What Happens if a Rabbit Chewed a Wire?
This all sounds worrying but try not to panic. You can prevent it, which we’ll cover soon.
If your rabbit already chewed a wire and it’s live (meaning plugged into an electrical socket):
- Do not touch your rabbit if it still has the wire in its mouth, or you could be electrocuted
- Try to stay calm and turn off the breaker for your electrics
- Unplug the wire
- You can now touch your rabbit and take it straight to a vet to be assessed
- Perform CPR if needed (ideally on route to the vet’s office if someone else is driving)
If the wire is not live:
- Distract your rabbit to stop it from chewing the wire
- Check to see how much of the wire your rabbit has chewed
- If you think it’s swallowed any of the wire material or you aren’t sure, take it to a vet to get checked out
How to Prevent Rabbits from Chewing Wires
Preventing your bunny from chewing wires is much easier than dealing with the consequences. Thankfully, you can take simple steps to address the issue.
1. Provide Opportunities for Safe Chewing
One of the best ways to stop your rabbit from chewing wires is to give them more exciting, safe things to chew. Your rabbit should always have access to plenty of high-quality hay. You can make their hay more stimulating by playing around with different types of rabbit-safe hay and hay toppers.
There are plenty of other chewing options on the market, including:
- Chew toys in all shapes and sizes
- Edible huts and hides
- Treat puzzles
- Grass mats
- Long-lasting treats and hay cubes
- Rabbit-safe chew sticks
You can also make chew toys and huts using cardboard boxes or empty toilet roll holders. It’s okay for rabbits to chew on cardboard as long as they aren’t ingesting large amounts. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Rabbits are very smart, so switch out their toys regularly and try to keep things as interesting as possible to prevent boredom.
2. Quick and Easy Ways to Protect Wires from Your Bunny
One of the best ways to protect your wires and your rabbit is to rabbit-proof your home, especially if you have a free-roaming house rabbit. The easiest way to stop your rabbit from getting to cords is to block access to the cables by rearranging your furniture. Move your furniture to hide plugs, and use clips or wire organizers to move wires up off the floor. This Cord Management Organizer Kit is an excellent option to keep your cords together and out of your rabbit’s reach.
Remember that rabbits are good climbers and will explore small gaps (like around the back of your TV). So, make sure you prevent access to these areas with your furniture arrangement!
Another easy way to bunny-proof is to use a pet pen or wire grids to block access to cables. I found a pet pen was an affordable, easy way to rabbit-proof my home. Strong pens like this ZENY Dog Playpen are ideal. Just ensure it’s high enough to prevent your rabbit from jumping over it! Pet pens are also handy as you can easily move them when you’re cleaning.
You can block off whole corners or areas of a room where there are many items you want to keep your rabbit away from using a pet pen. If there’s a room with lots of wires, like an office or a gaming room, for example, it can be easier to block access to that whole room. Pet or baby gates like this Regalo Easy Step one are a simple option.
You could cover wires in your home to protect them. If you choose this option, ensure the cover is very hard-wearing. Rabbits have sharp teeth and will just chew through soft plastic and reach the wires inside.
There are lots of wire covers on the market, such as plastic piping and split loom tubing. This Alex Tech Tubing Wire Conduit or this Clear Vinyl Tubing Flexible PVC Tubing are great options. If you’re unsure about what’s best for your needs, your local hardware store should be able to guide you.
3. Meet Their Needs
Rabbits sometimes act out if they’re frustrated because you aren’t meeting their needs. Ensure your bunny has everything it needs to live a happy life. This includes a large enclosure, lots of time out of its enclosure to explore, plenty of toys and stimulation, and, ideally, another bunny friend to live with.
4. Neuter or Spay Your Rabbit
Neutering male rabbits and spaying female rabbits can help to reduce hormonal behaviors and destructive behavior. It’s also better for your bunny’s health and prevents unwanted pregnancies if they live with a rabbit of the opposite sex.
5. Use Deterrents
Some people find it helpful to use bitter sprays designed to taste bad for your bunny. Bitter apple spray is popular. You simply spray it onto the wire covers. When your rabbit tastes it, the bitter taste can discourage it from chewing the same area again. As long as you choose a rabbit-safe deterrent, it won’t hurt your rabbit and is safe to use. I recommend Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray.
However, I’ve found that this isn’t always a reliable method. But since these sprays are relatively affordable and harmless, they’re worth trying to see if they work for your bunny!
Does Vinegar Stop Rabbits Chewing?
If you don’t want to buy a spray, you can make one using vinegar. Use regular vinegar or apple cider vinegar and dilute it with water. Many owners recommend one part vinegar to two parts water.
While this can option can be more budget-friendly, it’s often not as effective as shop-bought sprays. It also comes with a significant downside – you’ll need to use a lot of the spray to deter your bunny, and the vinegar is not a pleasant smell to have around your home!
6. Supervise and Redirect
Rabbits are intelligent enough to be trained and respond well to positive reinforcement. You should always supervise your bunny when it’s out of its enclosure, especially during training. As soon as you see it start to chew a wire, distract it with an appropriate chew toy to redirect its urge to chew.
If your bunny responds and starts to chew the toy instead, make a fuss and give it lots of praise. Offer it one of its favorite treats. Do this consistently every time your rabbit starts to chew wires, and it’ll soon get the message that chewing a toy is far more fun! Just make sure you don’t give it a treat immediately to distract it from chewing the wires. Otherwise, it’ll think you’re praising it for the negative behavior!
How Do You Discipline a Rabbit?
You should never punish your bunny. It won’t understand why you’re disciplining it. Instead of helping, this can make your rabbit scared of you! Every animal I’ve worked with responds far better to positive reinforcement than any form of attempted discipline.
Some owners find saying a firm ‘no’ when their rabbit is chewing wires can be helpful. I don’t personally find this useful, but you can try it. Just ensure you aren’t shouting, as this will only cause distress for your furbaby.
Chewing is a natural rabbit behavior, but it can be destructive and risky when bunnies chew wires. Focusing on positive training, safe chewing options, and bunny-proofing your home are the best ways to stop your rabbit from chewing wires.
Which methods have you found helpful for tackling destructive chewing? If you found this article useful, we’d love it if you would share it with your friends.