Chewing is said to be a bunny’s favourite activity. They love to chew!
You just recently bought a small little bunny and while watching them play you find your bunny chewing on cardboard or paper or even plastic? You might start panicking at that, but to be honest, there is nothing to be afraid of.
Chewing is a very natural, necessary and also highly enjoyable activity for bunnies. But you might be worried about their teeth, or your favourite furniture(s) or even carpets which you might not want to ruin. Therefore, you will have many questions regarding this.
Why do rabbits need to chew? Do they do it often? Can you stop such an activity? Are there some toys made especially for a rabbit’s “chewing” issue?
While seeking the answers to your queries, you have come to the right place. Here is all the information to help you understand why rabbits chew, and all the other factors regarding this issue.
What Do Rabbits Need To Chew On For Their Teeth?
Sometimes rabbits chew because they are bored and for the sake of excitement and amusement to avoid boredom.
Rabbits’ teeth keep growing continuously every day throughout their life; hence they chew on everything they lay their hands on, just to stop their teeth from overgrowing.
They also do this because it’s their instinct to do so.
You just need to provide them with safe rabbit toys, so that they can satisfy their need to chew and also help them deal with the continuous growth of their teeth.
Here is a list of items you can give to your little friend to munch on:
- Obviously HAY
- Cotton towels
- Hay toys
- Apple or willow branches
What Toys Are Good For Rabbits Teeth?
When it comes to choosing toys for your bunny it is very important for you to understand their health and happiness. You probably know that rabbits chew as they are bored but it is also a known fact that chewing is really good for their teeth and tummies.
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and give them toys of your choice and let your rabbit chew on them.
Check out the list below for the things you can choose as replacements for those unsafe plastic toys your bunny used:
1. Willow Balls
These are woven balls which your rabbit can toss around and play with it. They usually come in different sizes but to be honest bunnies really don’t care until they are passing their time while playing and chewing at the same time.
The thing you need to make sure of is that you buy willow balls which are made of natural materials because there are times when people find glue in that and that is definitely not good for your bunnies. You can use them in your training session as well.
2. Grassy mat
Oh, bunny loves to play or chew on grass and hay, so why not give them a mat made of that to sit on and munch? They also come in a variety of materials, but the best one is Timothy’s hay mats.
The reasons are many, including; rabbits love sitting on them, they can be laid down side by side to offer them more comfortable, and also they are cheap and come in a pack so that you can replace them easily.
3. Toilet Roll Tubes
Want to get a toy for free, yes? Get yourself a toilet paper. And then those empty tubes can be reused as a toy for your bunny. They will definitely enjoy chewing on that and also tossing it around to play with.
You can also fill those with hay which not only gives them a reason to choose that toy to play with but also provide them with enough fibre. This can also distract your bunny from chewing on carpets or wooden furniture.
Are Chew Toys Safe For Rabbits?
Bored rabbits are quite happy but also can be destructive. Well, the destruction can be caused by their teeth too. If you don’t know yet, let me enlighten you. The fact of the matter is that a rabbit’s teeth will grow continuously throughout their lives.
Hence, they need to chew constantly because it helps to grind down their teeth to an optimum size. Also, the continuously growing teeth are a source of constant itching for them and the chewing helps with that.
And you don’t want to look at your bunny having tusks, right? So, you might understand that chewing is not their choice rather than it’s their true necessity.
Chew toys are literally made for rabbits, keeping in mind their necessity to chew. You just need to find safe toys for your bunny, as such, try to avoid plastic or hard metal ones because they might damage your bunny’s teeth instead of keeping them healthy.
Avoid unsafe materials like carpets, fabric, plastic or even soft-rubber toys since they can cause serious and dangerous health issues if they ingest them.
Since if they manage to break them off into small pieces and swallow them, it can result in a GI tract obstruction.
Also, you need to remember that some fruit tree branches are toxic to rabbits including branches of plum, avocado, peach or apricot while they are attached to the tree but they can become safe after they are cut and dried for a period of a month. So, it is better if you don’t try those.
Therefore, chewable toys which are natural, chemical-free, have no glue and even better if they are handmade are good to go as your rabbits chew toys!
Can I Discipline My Rabbit Not To Chew?
The thing about discipline is that it never works on rabbits. They don’t like anyone bossing them around and telling them what to do and the like.
Rabbits are funny, social and free-willed creatures that love to explore new things and they love to pass their time playing and roaming around. The thing they also do more often is chewing, and bunnies love to chew! They chew on everything because of their teeth, duh!
Their teeth grow continually throughout their lives and to stop those making tusks, they chew. So, to answer your question, it’s a straight NO!
You can’t discipline your rabbit by clapping your hands or clapping your fingers and telling them “No, bunbun stop chewing that carpet!”
Rather than trying to discipline your rabbit, give them a positive environment that is full of rabbit-safe items for chewing and don’t forget to remove their access to those unsafe chewing items.
What Are The Psychological Factors Behind Chewing?
Rabbits are intelligent, social, and outgoing animals who like to play around, be their own boss and get lots of attention.
Whether they chew to get attention or to just do it as an act to avoid their boredom. They do so to entertain themselves and also to make themselves happy and healthy.
2. Hormones or Age
You must have heard that it’s better to neuter your rabbit at an early age.
If they are under 2 years and still have not been spayed, spay them first.
If they are young & spayed, it will definitely lessen with time.
If mature and spayed, then their behaviour is not a result of their hormones.
The conclusion is that a spayed rabbit will chew less and will continuously decrease as the time passes.
Females usually burrow more than males and it is one of the only reasons rabbits chew.
Both male and female rabbits should be spayed before they become sexually mature and i.e. around the age of 4-6 months.
Also, make sure they are chewing the right things like hay and grass mats or cardboard etc.
Frequently Asked Question
Are There Any Environmental Factors Of Chewing?
Make the environment they live in safer: As there is childproofing, you can also do bunny proofing in your house. There are some hardware stores that provide wire covers that fit easily on the house wires. Try to remove the plastic wrappers or boxes which might hurt your bunny teeth.
Confinement: While you are bunny proofing your house why don’t you get your rabbit spayed or wait until they get mature?
Distractions: It’s best to make someone stop the thing that they are doing. Try this on your bunny too. Keep finding some new things that are not harmful and also are things that your bunny would love doing. For example, why don’t you provide them a cardboard box that is stuffed with hay?
What Are Some Wooden Recommendations?
Rabbits chew to prevent boredom. And just like every other pet owner, you also like to contribute to this act and provide your bunny with some chewable toys that come in various shapes, sizes and textures. But it’s better if you provide them with some natural toys to munch on.
You could provide them with twigs and sticks, but that too has to be of certain plants, because for your information, some woods are toxic for your rabbit. These include the woods of fruit plants such as peach, avocado or apricot because they contain high levels of phenols which are poisonous to rabbits and that can also lead to liver disease.
Hence, here are some woods that are suitable for your rabbit: hazel, maple, hawthorn, ash, birch, pear, willow and spruce. Since, rabbits have their unique preferences and personality; you need to explore more to find out the right thing they enjoy!
Rabbits’ teeth grow continuously throughout their lives, and this overgrowing of teeth can lead them to get an urge to continuously chew or eat things around them. This is so that their teeth will not grow too long and will eventually stop by continuously eating or chewing things.
Rabbits usually chew on hay everyday to keep their teeth from overgrowing. Rabbits should try to chew on more natural things, and rabbits in wild usually have their favourite in this as hay.
Sometimes indoor rabbits chew on plastic, rubber or carpet, and it is also seen that they even eat cardboard sometimes. And all these things can cause them to choke and they can suffer with serious health issues.
So it would be better for them to try to munch on more natural things, and this should be kept in check by the owner of the rabbit.