Are your bunnies chewing on anything and everything in sight? Well, you’re not the first bunny-parent to struggle with this problem.
Pet rabbits can make your garden chairs, picnic tables, ottomans, and wooden benches rather splintery and topsy turvy. They may also drill holes into your plush cushions and carpets to satisfy their nesting instinct.
Rabbits love to chew. From plants and barks to cardboard boxes, cables, rugs, and garden furniture, everything is a chew toy for them.
But you don’t have to sit on your hands and accept your garden furniture’s doomed fate. Give your bunnies an enriching environment and keep them from getting bored, and you can save your garden furniture.
First, though, let’s understand why rabbits chew things up.
Why are your bunnies chewing on furniture?
Rabbits chew because of biological reasons, like hormones and personality, as well as environmental ones, like confinement and boredom. Take a closer look at why your bunnies are mistaking your garden furniture for a chewy toy.
To trim their teeth
Rabbits have continually growing teeth. Chewing helps to wear them down. Not trimming their teeth regularly can lead to sores and other dental problems.
Due to hormones
Sexually mature rabbits (4 to 6 months old) have strong chewing urges. They are full of youthful energy and gushing hormones. On the other hand, spayed or neutered rabbits chew less and less as they grow.
To get your attention
Chewers have affectionate, outgoing personalities. They would chew on anything just to get your attention. And most of the time, it works, doesn’t it?
Out of boredom
Bunnies love companionship. Being left alone can make them feel lonely. So, they chew to keep themselves entertained and fight boredom.
Due to lack of space
In the wild, rabbits chew on plants, grass, bark, and have plenty of space to burrow. But in confined spaces, they nibble at whatever they can get their teeth on.
8 ways to stop rabbits chewing on garden furniture
While you can’t entirely stop rabbits from chewing, you can successfully veer it. Give your rabbit the right things to chew on, introduce a playmate, expand the hutch, bunny-proof your space, spend more time with it—explore all these options and more with us.
1. Give your bunnies the right chew toys
Chew toys don’t always have to be store-bought rubber items. They can be anything your pet enjoys chewing on and is not toxic.
Think cardboard boxes, hay, cotton towels, crunchy fruits like apples, and willow and pear branches. Chewing on these items will keep your bunny occupied and your garden furniture safe. Ingesting natural products won’t cause an upset stomach or be toxic to them.
2. Create a stimulating environment
Let your bunny get bored and it will amuse itself by chewing on your beloved furniture. Instead, you can DIY an engaging environment for your pet. How?
You can hang baskets of hay in the garden—your bunny will enjoy skipping up to pull down the hay.
A digging pit for your bunny can be another stimulating space. Fill a low-rise planter with soil, grass, and shredded newspaper. Hide a few treats in it and your bunny can spend many happy hours trying to find them.
3. Expand the play area
Don’t coop your rabbit up in a lonely hutch. Let it skip and spring about the garden.
Confinement and frustration can make rabbits restless, and their chewing can turn destructive. On the other hand, they become less chewy with a larger play area or a hutch with a run.
4. Bunny-proof your garden furniture
Your bunny will be tempted to munch on your garden furniture if left to its own devices. Don’t worry, you can bunny-proof everything.
Cover your garden table or chair legs with flex tubing. Apply rabbit repellents, like bitter apple spray, over the rest of your furniture.
Make sure to look out for electric cords. Keep them out of your pet’s reach or cover them with PVC cord protectors.
5. Give your bunny a playmate
When it comes to bunnies, remember the mantra: two are better than one. Companionship will soothe the chewy instinct of your pet.
But keep in mind, two males may fight and a male and female pair will mean babies. The best combination is two spayed bunnies of opposite sex.
6. Spay or neuter your rabbit
Chewing can also be hormonal. Consider spaying or neutering your rabbits once they are mature. Spayed bunnies are calmer and less chewy—they will spare your garden furniture.
7. Put your bunny-training shoes on
Positive reinforcement is a great way to train your bunnies. Start your training early so they don’t have time to develop bad habits.
Teach your rabbits to differentiate between what they can chew and what they can’t. Give them rewards in the form of treats and cuddles when they get it right. But most of all, be patient with them and give them time to learn.
8. Spend time with your bunny
Rabbits are very social by nature. They can feel quite lonely on their own. Spend time with them outdoors. Let them dig a little, chew on bark, and hop around all they want.
Play with them to their heart’s content so when they see the garden furniture, they are left rather indifferent.
Beware the buck teeth
Rabbits are notorious for their buck teeth. Leave them indoors and they will chew on their hutch out of boredom. Bring them outdoors and your garden furniture is at risk.
Bunny-proofing is a great way to protect your garden furniture. But to stop their chewing in the first place, you’ll need to do more than just that.
Take the time to really understand your pet and its needs. See what’s causing the chewing and how you can stop it. If it’s biological, spaying your bunny will likely solve the problem. If it’s environmental, consider introducing a larger hutch and giving your pet more space to explore.
Just a few small changes can keep your bunnies happy and your garden furniture buck teeth-safe.