Bunnies will be bunnies. And that means that they can get into some dangerous items around your home and suffer an injury, or worse. Just as you would for a child, you must prepare your home for bunnies. That’s right, we’re talking rabbit-proofing. Rabbit-proofing is the answer to prevent most accidents or poisonings. To do it, just think like a rabbit and eliminate the common and not-so-common household hazards. Get down on your hands and knees and explore your home like your rabbit will. The view is a lot different from down there and gives you better insight into what might attract your bun or cause harm. The list below covers some of the common dangers, but not all. Every home is unique.
Even if you plan to keep your precious bun safely in a playpen or large cage, escapes happen. Find out how to make your home a rabbit-friendly haven instead of a rabbit danger zone. Be prepared for the worst though, and keep the following phone numbers in your cellphone or by your landline: your veterinarian, the nearest 24-hour veterinary hospital, and a pet poison hotline.
Rabbit Electrocution Dangers
Power Cords: Until wireless applies to all electrical items, power cords are part of our lives. These present some of the most common dangers for pets, especially pets who enjoy chewing. Rabbits are champion chewers, so electrocution is a real danger for them. This means that all power cords must be covered with cord protectors, which are available at hardware or home improvement stores.
Rabbit Poison Dangers
Houseplants: Houseplants are delightful to look at and good for indoor environments, but some are poisonous. And rabbits can’t resist nibbling plants. Get to know which plants are dangerous and ban them from your home or place them in inaccessible locations. The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center website maintains a list of plants dangerous to pets, including African violets, American rubber plants, Caladium, Cyclamen, Dieffenbachia, Philodendrons and sago palm.
Medications: Drugs can help people and pets when used correctly, but tragedy can occur if your rabbit ingests a dropped aspirin or other pill. Never give your rabbit a drug without consulting your veterinarian, as even over-the-counter drugs that are safe for people might harm rabbits. Never assume that a drug safe for dogs or cats is safe for rabbits. Fipronil, an ingredient in some flea control products, can be toxic to rabbits. Even some antibiotics can cause illness or death in rabbits, including amoxicillin, erythromycin, and cephalosporins, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual. Keep all medications out of rabbit-reach and take care not to drop any. These cautions apply to all medications, including recreational drugs.
Cleaners And Chemicals: Cleaning products, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, air fresheners, and more pose an obvious danger to rabbits. Exposure can be from ingestion, touch, and even breathing. Keep your buddy safe by locking these away in cupboards or rooms you know your bunny could never access. The Cleveland Clinic website features a room-by-room list of products with ingredients potentially harmful to people. These probably aren’t good for pets, either.
Lead Paint And Bad Wood: The dangers of lead-based paint have been documented for years and use of such paint was banned nationwide in the United States in 1978. If your home might have lead-based paint, use tips from the EPA website to correct this. Meanwhile, keep your rabbit away from any suspect areas, as inhalation of deteriorating paint dust or ingestion of flaked paint can cause health issues. Another concern is toxic wood. Rabbits have been known to chew on furniture, which is bad for the rabbit and bad for the furniture. Prevent this by providing safe wood chews for your chew-happy buddy. If your furniture still gets nibbled, stop your rabbit from reaching it.
Rabbit Injury Dangers
Falling Objects: Do you have a growing pile of books, blu-rays, video games, or other items that could tumble over with a nudge? Although these might seems small and harmless, your rabbit is, too. Even something relatively light could cause injury to your bun if it falls the wrong way. Keep the areas your rabbit accesses clutter-free.
Falls: If your home has a staircase or anything else that might allow a rabbit to take a tumble, block it off with a pet gate to save your friend from possible injury.
Sharp Objects: Things at rabbit eye level are very different from your eye level. The corner of a table, the edge of a book or even a corner of paper could hit a rabbit in the wrong spot and cause injury. Keep your home uncluttered and be aware of what is at your rabbit’s level.
Burns: Open flame from a fireplace or candle, portable heaters, and other sources of extreme heat are obvious dangers to rabbits. Less obvious might be stoves, if your rabbit has any way to hop and climb furniture to reach it. Use common sense. Anything that might burn you should be kept away from your rabbit.
Traps: Of course you don’t have rabbit traps in your home, or do you? A trap is really anything that prevents normal movement. If there’s a small hole or niche in a room that your rabbit could get caught in, block it off. Some kitchens have baseboards that are open at the top, allowing a small pet to jump and get into the cupboards. Block this off before allowing you rabbit in that room.
Fabric: Some rabbits chew on fabric, be it a blanket, carpet, curtain, or upholstery. If your bunny is one of these, offer more chew toys and find a way to prevent the fabric chewing. Ingesting fabric can hurt your buddy’s gastrointestinal system. Also, choose any fabric you put into your rabbit’s habitat wisely. Don’t include anything with loops or that has threads that could get caught around your pal’s paw or toe and cause injury.
Other Pets: All pets are individuals, and rabbits might or might not get along with other species. Most rabbits enjoy the company of other rabbits. In fact, it’s recommended that rabbits be kept in pairs or groups for companionship. But not all rabbits get along. Cats and dogs are predator animals and rabbits are prey animals. Fights between pets can cause terrible injuries. Always take care when introducing pets to each other, watching for any signs of aggression. Never let your rabbit roam freely when other pets are around unless you are right there to supervise.
Careless People: Never leave your rabbit unsupervised with young children or anyone who can’t understand how easily rabbits can be injured. Accidents also happen when people are in a rush or just aren’t aware that a rabbit is around. A rabbit could get stepped on, sat on, or crushed in a door. Avoid letting your rabbit roam or letting others interact with your pal unless you supervise.