It’s true, you’re totally smitten with your rabbit. It’s curious, adorable, and entertaining. What more could you want from your furry friend?
But there’s just one problem that you didn’t realize: rabbits chew everything.
And while you’ve done your best to bunny-proof your house and keep an eye on your rabbit when it’s out of its hutch, you’re still wondering “what exactly can my rabbit chew on?”
Having noticed that rabbits need to chew so much for their health, you’re trying to find the best rabbit chew toys out there.
What’s safe for your rabbit to chew on? Can bunnies chew on cardboard? Can you put to use all that cardboard you’ve got laying around as a makeshift chew toy for your bunny?
Read on to find out the answers to these questions, and more!
Why do rabbits chew so much?
Rabbits have an instinct to chew. Why? because their teeth are constantly growing. Rabbits need to chew so that their teeth don’t get too rotten. If they don’t chew enough, it can cause dental and health problems for your rabbit.
You may have noticed the twinkle of mischief in your rabbit’s eye when they’re chewing the bars of their hutch. While rabbits have an instinct to chew and chew a lot, your rabbit may also be chewing because they’re bored.
Do you know how a child might misbehave to get their parent’s attention? Well, that’s the idea behind your rabbit chewing on what it shouldn’t. Your rabbit might be bored or just want your attention. Your rabbit won’t care much if it’s negative attention, though.
So there are a couple of reasons why your rabbit is constantly chewing. For the most part, your rabbit is just fulfilling its instinct and maintaining its health by chewing.
An obsession with chewing may seem like a tricky pet trait to handle, but there are plenty of safe options for things your rabbit can chew.
Can bunnies chew on cardboard?
So, is cardboard an option as a chew toy and teeth filer for your rabbit?
Yes, cardboard can be a good, safe option to keep your rabbit’s teeth busy. However, not all cardboard is created equal.
What kind of cardboard can rabbits chew on?
Cardboard is made from cellulose, which is a plant fiber. Cellulose will make up a significant part of your rabbit’s diet. Therefore, cardboard seems to be a logical choice of chew toy.
However, if you decide to give your rabbit some cardboard to keep him busy, you’ll want to make sure that it’s safe.
The cardboard you give your rabbit needs to be plain and non-toxic. That means no painting, shine, ink, etc. If your cardboard has a sheen of paint, then don’t give it to your pet to chew. Cardboards with toxins are poisonous to your rabbit.
You’ll also want to make sure there are no staples in your old cardboard box before letting your rabbit nibble on it.
But, other than that, plain cardboard is a safe option for your rabbit to chew on.
How much cardboard is too much cardboard?
Cardboard is a safe chew toy for your rabbit. However, just like cardboard with toxins is bad for your bunny, so is consuming plain cardboard in excess.
Your rabbit will likely devour a cardboard box pretty quickly. But, ingesting too much cardboard will cause digestive issues and even intestinal blockages.
While using cardboard as an occasional chew toy is acceptable, you’ll need to be aware of the amount of said cardboard that your bunny is consuming.
This is why it is good to have various chew toy options for your rabbit. Rabbits shouldn’t only be chewing cardboard constantly.
What can I give my rabbit to chew on?
Now that we know that your rabbit needs to constantly chew to keep its teeth filed, and we also know that cardboard in excess is harmful to your bunny, what other things can you give your rabbit to chew on?
OK, we know your bunny can have cardboard. Make use of your toilet paper rolls or cardboard boxes as chew toys.
You could even get creative and reward a well-behaved bunny by hiding treats inside their cardboard box or toilet paper rolls.
Remember, when it comes to boxes, nothing that is laminated or painted: plain cardboard only.
Hay is going to make up the majority of your rabbit’s diet. When in doubt about what your rabbit can chew, look to hay to keep them entertained.
Since hay can be safely consumed by your rabbit in large quantities, it’s possibly the best option for your bunny to chew on. The hay will help your rabbit maintain healthy digestion.
I know what you’re thinking: isn’t a newspaper full of ink that could be toxic to my rabbit?
You may be surprised to know that the ink used in most newspapers is soy-based. That means it’s not toxic to your rabbit. A lot of litter is made from recycled newspapers.
So, after you finish your morning read, feel free to hand that newspaper over to your chew-happy bunny.
Rabbit chew toys
Pet stores do sell rabbit chew toys. You can purchase a variety of toys and see what your rabbit likes to chew on.
Double-check any toy products to ensure they don’t have any harmful paints or dyes. Wood chew toys are popular, but they should be made with wood that isn’t harmful to your rabbit.
Buying a couple of toys for your rabbit will be a welcome change so that they don’t get bored of chewing the same thing. When it comes to things to chew on for rabbits, it’s better to have more options than fewer.
4 Other things that your rabbit shouldn’t chew
Alright, now that we’ve covered some healthy chew options for your rabbit, some items are especially dangerous to your bunny. So, what should your bunny not chew on?
You probably don’t want your rabbit gnawing away at your carpet anyway. However, even more than not being aesthetically pleasing to your home, it can also be harmful to your rabbit.
If your rabbit ingests carpet, it may cause intestinal blockages as your rabbit’s gut won’t be able to break down these fibers. Carpets may also contain harmful chemicals.
So, even though your rabbit will probably love chewing on your carpet, it’s best to keep them away from it by distracting them with other healthy options.
While not a rabbit’s first choice when it comes to chewing, a bored or anxious rabbit may take up chewing anything in sight, including plastic.
Your bunny’s litter box or cage are common plastic items that your bunny might start chewing. Plastic can be sharp and cause intestinal perforation. It could also cause a blockage.
If you notice your bunny chewing on plastic, promptly remove the item and give them something else to chew on. Keep an eye on them and, when in doubt, see a vet.
While it’s unlikely that your rabbit will ingest the metal it’s chewing on, it can still do some damage to your rabbit. The metal can cause dental problems as it is too hard for your rabbit’s teeth.
The most likely metal your rabbit could chew on is its cage. They may do this out of boredom, or because they want to get out. Give your rabbit other chewing options.
And make sure that you are letting your rabbit roam, chaperoned, of course, outside of its cage for a few hours a day. Remember that a constantly pent-up bunny will be a stressed and anxious bunny.
Your rabbit will be tempted to chew on electrical cords in your house. This is one of the most dangerous household items for your bunny to chew on.
Keep an eye on your rabbit when it’s out of its cage. Put away all wires that could come across its path, or cover them with a hard, plastic cover.
If a rabbit chews an electrical wire, it could be electrocuted. Unfortunately, cords look like roots to rabbits and their instincts tell them they need to chew through them.
As a responsible pet owner, you need to make sure your house is bunny-proof. That means that the electrical cords and wires are covered or way out of your rabbit’s reach.
Cardboard for chewing
While there are many things to factor in when considering items for your rabbit to chew, cardboard can be a safe and practical option.
Make sure that it is plain cardboard – free of paint, ink, lamination, or staples. You also want to monitor your bunny to make sure that it isn’t consuming cardboard in excess.
However, if you’re following those basic cardboard safety tips, then your rabbit will be happy and healthy with it as an occasional chew toy.
And, as a bonus, you’ll get to reuse some household items that would’ve likely just gotten tossed in the trash. Sounds like a win for everyone.