Disclosure: We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
If you have an indoor pet rabbit that sometimes free-ranges, I know you’ve worried if your bunny is safe on stairs. So let’s begin this article by trying to reduce your worry about your pet rabbit climbing stairs.
Rabbits of all sizes can easily climb stairs and many do so in households around the world. Of course, small bunny breeds will have a more difficult time going up and down stairs, and if they were to slip a potential fall could be more dangerous because of their fragile bones.
But that’s just the short answer.
In the remainder of this article, we’ll delve deep into other concerns you probably have about your rabbit climbing up and down the stairs. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information that you need to decide if you’re going to allow your bunny to play on the stairs.
Rabbits And Climbing
As crazy as it sounds, rabbits like to climb. Well, perhaps they don’t climb for the joy of it, but rabbits do like to be up high where they can see more and the best way to get up high is to climb. Other reasons might climb is to get to something they can’t reach or to escape.
Don’t believe me? Then check out this video of rabbits climbing a tree.
And for those escape-artists bunnies, fence climbing is easy! Here is a video of a cute Holland Lop bunny looking for a higher vantage point, and the fence isn’t a deterrent but a tool.
This might come as a surprise to many especially when we know that they live in channels of warrens underground. There are multiple reasons why your pets see it necessary to get on top of that stair. However, this doesn’t mean that it is always safe for them to do so.
Can Rabbits Climb Stairs?
Rabbits can easily climb stairs and most will quickly head up a set of stairs if they get the chance. Rabbits climb stairs to get a better view of their surroundings, to just explore new territory, escape perceived dangers, or just be closer to their owners.
Rabbits can jump pretty high and far, so jumping up to the next step on a set of stairs isn’t a challenge at all. Not only is it each for them, but it is also darn cute. Check out the video below of a bunny learning to climb up and down the stairs.
Is it Safe to Let Rabbits Climb?
It is safe for rabbits to climb stairs, and many rabbit owners let their bunnies climb up and down the stairs unsupervised. However, rabbits do have fragile bones, and a hard fall can break those bones. For this reason, we recommend that your bunny only plays on the stairs with supervision.
The exception to the idea that stairs are safe for rabbits is when the stairs are open, either between the steps or at the side. Rabbits are curious critters, and if there is a hole they are going to stick their head in to explore.
Tall stairs with openings between the steps or with no side rail at bunny-level are never safe for rabbits to play
Short stairs are generally safe for bunnies, assuming that a tumble off of the side would be no more than three feet.
The Dangers Of Pet Rabbits On Stairs
There are three main dangers to rabbits climbing up and down stairs.
- Skeletal Injuries
- Joint Problems
- Tripping Hazard
Skeletal injuries are often fatal to rabbits. This can include injuries that involve broken bones such as broken hind legs, pelvis, or even spines.
While small pets are more in danger of sustaining injuries from a fall, it doesn’t mean that bigger breeds of rabbits are safe from the risks associated with climbing stairs. Continuous climbing up and down stairs can lead to the wear and tear of rabbit joints which can be very painful.
Senior rabbits and obese rabbits should be discouraged from climbing up and down stairs because the high-impact act of hopping from one stair to another will put stress on their joints.
Senior rabbits, just like all animals that are aging, would have more brittle and weaker joints than their younger cousins.
Having any kind of pet (including a bunny) on the stairs can be a danger to you! Your pet bunny’s small size and quiet nature make them a constant tripping hazard and there is no more dangerous place to trip than on the stairs.
How To Keep Pet Rabbits Off Of Stairs
An inexpensive baby gate is the easiest way to keep your rabbit off of the stairs. Just make sure that you get a baby gate that your rabbit can’t get through or get stuck trying to get through.
For example, the baby gate below has a diamond pattern that will be small enough to keep your rabbit safely away from the stairs.
Click here to see this gate on Amazon.
What Do I Do If my rabbit falls off the stairs?
When a rabbit takes a short tumble of fewer than three feet, the vast majority of the time they will be uninjured, though they might be scared.
When your rabbit accidentally falls off stairs (or anything else) you should carefully monitor them for the next few hours for symptoms of pain and discomfort. If you see any behavior that makes you think that your bunny is in pain, you should immediately contact your rabbit veterinarian.
Signs of pain and discomfort in your pet rabbit might include lethargy, loss of appetite, loud grinding of teeth, or screaming.
If you want more details about such symptoms, you should head over to our article about rabbit behavior.