Rabbit Chewing On Carpet? How to save your carpet from your bunny.

Rabbit Chewing On Carpet? How to save your carpet from your bunny.

Disclosure: We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

You are not the first new rabbit owner who has come home to find that their adorable rabbit has begun to chew on the carpet in their room. Or maybe you didn’t even leave your rabbit alone, but just got caught up binging your favorite Netflix show and the next time you went to find your bunny you found them chewing and digging on the carpet behind the couch.

This sucks, but don’t give up on your bunny just yet.

Destructive patterns of behavior are usually one of the most common reasons why people give up a pet rabbit for adoption. On top of that, chewing and digging on carpets is one of the most common of those destructive behaviors and it’s difficult and expensive to repair the damage done.

However, there are different reasons that rabbits chew on carpet, and you can correct that behavior once you identify the cause. 

This article will help you understand why bunnies chew on rugs or carpets and how to stop your rabbit from destroying your carpets.

Image Of Rabbit Carpet Damage – Photo Credit – Canva Pro

Why Do Rabbits Chew On Carpet? 

Chewing and Digging come naturally to rabbits and in the wild, they would normally do a lot of their chewing and digging in the grass. A rabbit that lives indoors has their grass replaced with carpet, so naturally, that’s where they will dig.

Pet rabbits usually start digging and chewing on the carpet because they are either bored, suffering from sexual frustration, or are trying to build a nest for a litter of kits. All of these reasons for chewing on carpet can be corrected once you identify the actual cause.

In my rabbit gender article, I discussed the differences between male and female rabbits. Female rabbits are more susceptible to exhibiting destructive digging behavior than male rabbits because females in the wild are the ones who burrow and stay inside their homes to take care of their babies. Male rabbits, on the other hand, are those that spend their time away from the burrows to forage for food. 

Although domestic rabbits do not need to dig burrows and forage for food, their wild ancestry can still be seen in their behaviors today. Female rabbits will dig your carpet in an attempt to build a “burrow”, or build a nest for their babies if they are pregnant or experiencing a false pregnancy.

If the digging is accompanied by your female rabbit plucking the fur from its chest, this is also a behavior associated with “nesting” wherein females line their babies’ nests with fur to make them more comfortable and warm. 

It is also important to note that nesting is a behavior that can be exhibited even by female rabbits who are not pregnant. Therefore, as this behavior cannot be fully stopped, you can think of creative ways to redirect this behavior and we’ll go into detail about those ideas later.

Boredom is also a huge culprit causing destructive behaviors. Rabbits who do not get enough exercise usually have pent-up energy that they try to release by chewing. 

Also, mental stimulation is very important for pet rabbits. A rabbit who is tired both mentally and physically will be less likely to have time or want to chew and dig your favorite carpets. 

A tired rabbit is a good rabbit.

The Rabbit Pros

To this end, making sure your rabbit gets enough mental stimulation and physical exercise will tire them out and make them way less likely to chew on everything, including your carpet. We’ll go into more detail about this in a bit.

It is again important to note however that chewing is not a bad habit in itself. Chewing is important for rabbits because they need to continuously trim down and blunt their teeth to be healthy. Therefore, rabbits should be encouraged to chew the right things and not on the family carpet. 

How To Stop Your Rabbit From Chewing On Your Carpet? 

While rabbit chewing and digging on rugs can be a frustrating and destructive habit, it is not impossible to correct. You can help redirect your rabbit’s chewing instincts to other, more acceptable things. 

Let’s explore the ways to stop your bunny from chewing on the carpet:

1. Discipline

Disciplining pets is an essential part of pet ownership. You need to set boundaries on what they can and cannot do, otherwise, your pets will wreak havoc on your home. Do not, however, discipline your rabbits after the fact. You must redirect and correct their behavior while they are doing it. 

Disciplining your rabbits after the act- talking to them loudly, wagging your finger at them, or pointing at the damage – will not help your problem because your rabbit will not be able to associate the chewing with your anger. Instead, you’re bunny will think your mad about what they were doing when you began to discipline them. 

Also, a rabbit that has not yet learned the house rules should not be left all alone during playtime. This will help you monitor them and redirect them when they start chewing or digging. Also, remember that positive reinforcements are very helpful for disciplining pets. 

2. Positive Reinforcement

The concept of positive reinforcement is very simple, reward your pet if they do something you like and want them to do again in the future…ignore them when they do something you don’t like. For example, if your rabbit chews on something or digs on something acceptable, give them treats or gentle pets on the head. 

Rabbits are smart animals and they have a strong associative memory. They will then associate their treats with chewing on acceptable things (toys, hay, cardboard, etc) and will most likely keep on only chewing these things in the future. 

3. Cover Your Carpet 

Covering your carpet can also be a very effective way of discouraging your rabbit’s chewing and digging. You may, for example, put a table or a sofa on top of a carpet. Some people, though, prefer covering their carpets with something more flush to the carpet surface.

Some owners put plywood on top of the carpet and then buy another carpet, usually cheaper on top of it. You may also opt to lay down plastic covers over the areas that rabbits love to chew. This could, however, ruin the overall aesthetic of your home. 

The best way then is to buy vinyl/plastic carpet covers like this one on Amazon. This still keeps the aesthetics of your rugs visible without worry that your rabbits will be able to chew and dig through them. 

4. Provide Chewing Alternatives 

Redirecting your pet’s attention from your beloved rugs means presenting them with more toys and activities so they won’t think of your carpets as a thing of interest. Chew toys also help in trimming down your rabbit’s teeth. { Click here to see Rabbit Chew Toys On Amazon. >>> }

Also, if you find that your rabbit loves digging you can create a digging box for them and set them at the corner of your home. You can take cardboard and fill it with dirt and hay so they can practice their burrowing skills. There are also products such as rabbit claw pads for sale on Amazon that you can use for your rabbit’s digging needs. 

You will however need to train your rabbit on how to use these pads/digging boxes.  Positive reinforcement will be your best friend when training your rabbits on how to use these. Give them treats, lots of praise, and gentle pets when they use their digging box and their pads. 

If they start to dig and chew on your carpet, gently pick them up and put them in the proper places where they should dig. In time, your rabbits will learn to associate that carpets are off-limit and that digging and scratching on the pads/digging box will result in praise and treats.

5. Use Bitter Sprays

Bitter sprays are generally accepted as good and safe pet deterrents and are just as effective for pet rabbit chewing, though not so much for rabbit digging. 

Pet safe bitter sprays are safe to use with pet rabbits.

Bitter sprays do not taste good for bunnies therefore, rabbits will associate anything sprayed with them with an unpleasant taste thus, discouraging them from chewing them. { Click here to go to Amazon and see the bitter spray that we use. >>> }

6. Use Rabbit Repellent Sprays

For rabbit digging you can make use of Rabbit repellent sprays which were created to keep wild rabbits out of your garden.

Rabbits find the scents of these rabbit repellent sprays quite displeasing, thus discouraging them from digging a treated patch of the carpet. These sprays usually have a strong mint scent to humans, so we don’t usually find the odor unpleasant.

{ Click here to see our recommended Rabbit Repellent on Amazon. >>> }

However, if you just spray the area your bunny has been chewing on, that little cutie bunny might just move to another spot.

Because of this, some rabbit owners decide to reduce the unsupervised areas that their rabbit has access to by using a puppy pen like this one on Amazon.

7. Spay & Neuter 

Sometimes digging into rugs is a result of hormones associated with your rabbit reaching sexual maturity. Females specifically, will dig to build burrows or nests, without regard to the thing that they’re digging.

Spaying or neutering a rabbit is a huge help in drastically reducing your rabbit’s tendencies to dig and burrow.

8. Be Patient 

Patience is a virtue. Training and setting boundaries with our pets take time, consistency, and a whole lot of patience. Do not be frustrated that your rabbit did not fully understand your intention the first time.

Just as importantly, do not replace your carpet until your rabbit has quit chewing on the rugs!

Repetition is key. Rabbits are smart and intelligent animals and although some rabbits will be trained easier than other more headstrong rabbits, with time and effort they will eventually come around the rules of the house. 

Will Rabbits Get Poisoned From Chewing Carpets? 

Carpets are not generally poisonous to rabbits that chew on them. Most of the time, rabbits just chew on a carpet and then spit the pieces out. If however, you find that your rabbit does seem to be ingesting large quantities of carpet fibers you need to watch for illness.

Synthetic Carpet And Rabbits

You have to remember that synthetic carpet fibers can’t be digested by rabbits. Synthetic rug fibers can, however, be passed through a rabbit’s digestive tract.

Most carpet fiber is synthetic.

If your rabbit eats part of your carpet, you need to do everything possible to ensure that everything is passing through your bunny’s digestive system smoothly. This means that you need to provide plenty of liquids and fiber while monitoring your bunny’s stools.

First, make sure to give your rabbits plenty of water to lubricate their intestines to help the carpet fibers move through easily.

Secondly, make sure your bunny has lots of high quality hay which will give them the fiber they need to push the indigestible carpet fiber through their digestive tract.

Remember that a rabbit’s digestive tract is a one way path and, as this article outlines, rabbits can not puke.

Signs Of Rabbit Carpet Poisoning

Ingesting large amounts of synthetic carpet fiber can be toxic to your rabbit. Thus, you need to watch out for signs that your rabbit might be suffering from poisoning or intestinal blockage. 

Note that rabbits are biologically unable to vomit. Hence, do not ever try to induce vomiting in your rabbits.

Signs of rabbit poisoning include: 

  • Bleeding (Internally or externally)
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Hunching 
  • Labored breathing 
  • Weakness 
  • Lethargy 
  • Seizures 
  • Loud teeth grinding 
  • Watch for signs of intestinal blockage. 

Since carpet fibers cannot be digested they can cause intestinal blockages, we need to watch for that as well.

Signs of rabbit intestinal blockage include:

  • Decrease pooping 
  • Misshapen stool 
  • Blood in stool 
  • Abdominal tenderness 
  • Hunching 
  • Screaming when the stomach is touched 
  • Loud teeth grinding. 

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Closing: 

Rabbit chewing and digging is a pretty common behavior exhibited by rabbits. The key is to not let this natural behavior turn into a bad habit.

Thus, setting boundaries and rabbit-proofing your home will decrease the likelihood of your pets ever wreaking havoc in your home.

Do you have any other tips that will help pet owners curb this behavior? Let me know in the comments section below. 

Stacey

My name is Stacey Davis and my family has kept rabbits for decades. Here on RabbitPros.com we share our love of rabbits, our experience, and lots of research to help you enjoy your pet bunny even more.

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