How to stop rabbits from chewing on carpet?
If your rabbit is chewing on your carpet then you have a major problem and can turn an enjoyable pet experience into an unpleasant one. There are several ways you can go about deterring your rabbit from chewing on your carpet.
All rabbits are different, and all rabbits live in different situations. Some rabbits may have a 12×12 area of space to roam, some may be in their cage for most of the day with limited access to carpet, and some like my pet rabbit, Mr. Bunny, have full access to the entire house 24 hours a day, a house that is primarily carpet.
Tips and tricks to stop your rabbit from chewing up your carpet
If your rabbit is chewing or tearing up your carpet here are some tips, tricks, and habits you can use to deter this behavior.
Provide your rabbits with things that are ok to chew on like toys, play mats, old or cheap rugs. Providing them with an outlet to exert their natural instinct to dig and chew will allow them to fulfill this natural need and also protect your carpet. Rabbits, like dogs and cats, can be trained in what is ok and what is not. Teaching them what areas and items are ok to chew on should not be a hard task if implemented frequently.
More free time
Giving your rabbit more time out of their cage will reduce their stress and decrease their urge to be destructive. Now rabbits are still chewers and diggers by nature so this doesn’t mean they will never attempt to chew or dig on the carpet but if they are doing it more frequently out of stress then allowing them more roam time should decrease this drastically.
This is not an ideal option if the majority of your home is carpet and your rabbit is a full free roamer. If the area or areas you are trying to protect are small then you can certainly use plastic carpet covers, which are similar to what you may see under an office chair to protect hardwood floors. You can also use rugs but there is no guarantee that your rabbit will not enjoy chewing on the rugs just as much as he or she enjoys chewing on the carpet underneath.
Spraying your rabbit
Spraying your rabbit, from a distance with a water bottle is a sure way of getting the to stop whatever behavior they are doing immediately. They will hate this option.
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Spend more time with them
Rabbits love attention! Try spending more time with them, get on the floor and play with them with their toys or simply pet them for extended periods of time, talk to them and interact. They will enjoy this and chewing your carpet will be the furthest thing from their mind.
Bitter spray is a spray that leaves an unpleasant yet harmless taste on your rabbit’s tongue to discourage licking, chewing, and biting. It was originally formulated to keeps rabbits from licking wounds and hot spots, so they have a chance to heal properly. Bitter spray has also proven to be effective in deterring rabbits from chewing and licking on carpets, walls, and furniture as well.
In my opinion you should try allowing more free time, spending more time with your rabbit and providing toys first, these are natural, good things you can do to encourage good behavior. We know carpet covering is not ideal for most situations. Although the bitter spray and spraying them with a water bottle is not toxic for your rabbit, they are our least favorite options simply because would we like it? I do not want to smell or taste a foul odor simply for doing something that is my instinct to do nor do I want to be sprayed in the face. These are options, but we would like to think of them as a last resort.
Why do rabbits chew on carpet?
I believe your rabbits behavior has a lot to do with the amount of time they have outside of their cage, a rabbit who spends too much time locked in cage is far more likely to chew on carpet when they are released from their cage. This is mainly due to aggression and boredom.
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A rabbit who gets ample amount of time outside of their cage is less likely to want to chew and rip up carpet as they do not feel as much boredom, aggression or a need to assert their energy as much. Giving your rabbit more free roam time does not mean the will not chew carpet, all rabbits are different, and all rabbits have a natural instinct to chew and dig. If they are chewing or digging more due to the stress of being in their cage too much, then this may help lessen the amount of time or interest they have in chewing the carpet.
Mr. Bunny, my pet rabbit, is a free roaming rabbit in a house that consists of all carpet (minus the kitchen and the bathroom.) He does like to chew the carpet, but it is minimal, and we are aware of his habits, so it makes it easy to stop this behavior.
Mr. Bunny likes to rip out carpet fibers with his teeth and dig at the carpet when he is sleeping under a particular chair in our living room. He also likes to do this under my side of the bed early in the morning. He does not do it all the time but when he does and we catch him doing it under the chair we just verbally reprimand him and pat his butt to tell him to stop and to move on to another location, this stops the behavior.
I am not always in our living room to catch him in the act under our bed, we just find the remnants of carpet chewing later. To negate this behavior, we have provided him with a tunnel, a bunny bed, hay carrots, paper towel tubes, cardboard boxes, and some fabric under the bed that he can chew on and play with. This has stopped him from chewing on the carpet under our bed.
So as you can see, we have a 100% free roaming rabbit who, if I say so myself, is very happy and very well taken care of and he still chews our carpet so why do rabbits chew carpet? It is their instinct to chew and dig really in any situation.
Will my rabbit always chew the carpet?
No, not if you follow these tips, but as mentioned above its just their instinct. They will likely do it more at a younger age. Mr. Bunny, who is now 9, does not chew on the carpet nearly as much now as he did when he was one. This may just be his specific personality, but I would like to think that like most living beings, humans, and animals alike, we tend to not do things as often as we used to as we climb in age.
If you use the tips and tricks, we have provided then the amount your rabbit chews on your carpet should be little to none. They have the instinct to chew and dig, that does not necessarily mean the victim has to be your carpet.
About the Author
My name is Vanessa and I love my buns. My current house rabbit is Mr. Bunny, he is a black and white Dutch that just turned 9 years old.
I believe that rabbits are a magnificent animal that make great pets for SOME people. My mission is to share what I have learned about rabbits over the past 20 years to improve the relationship between our pets and us. Please contact me or comment if you have any questions or comments.