Rabbits are beloved pets in Britain but, sadly, many aren’t given the enrichment and space they need to properly enjoy their lives. No one wants to see their rabbits suffer from boredom, so our vets have put together these top tips for keeping them entertained including vet-approved toys for bunnies.

Why boredom is bad for bunnies

If your rabbits live in a small hutch and run, with nothing to do and little space to move, they will get bored. Over time, boredom will affect their mental health, make them very unhappy, and put them at risk of some serious health problems.

  • Bored rabbits tend to fill their time by eating, meaning they put on weight. Obesity can cause heart problems, arthritis, liver disease, flystrike and skin problems.
  • Bored rabbits also tend to groom themselves too much and get hairballs, which can cause life-threatening gut blockages.

How to prevent bunny boredom

Preventing your rabbits getting bored isn’t difficult – you’ll find that they are playful creatures that find enjoyment from all sorts of sources. Here are our top tips to keep your beloved bunny entertained all day long:

  • Make sure they have a bunny friend: rabbits are very sociable animals that should never be kept alone. It’s vitally important that they have the company of at least one other rabbit to stop them getting bored and lonely. Read more about giving your rabbits the company they need.
  • Make sure they’ve got a bunny-friendly home: giving your rabbit a large living space to explore and enjoy will make a huge difference to their health and happiness. Read our vets’ advice about creating the ideal home for your rabbits.
  • Let them find their food: rabbits like to hop around, play and forage. Scatter food around their living space and let them search it out. Mix pellets in with their feeding hay so they have to search for them. It’ll also encourage them to spend lots of time outside in the sunshine – rabbits need sunlight to make vitamin D, which helps them take in more calcium from their food. Liven up their rabbit diet to see amazing results that will help shake their boredom.
  • Let them dig: rabbits were born to dig – fill a planter (or two!) with potting compost so they can dig to their hearts content. This will also save your grass from becoming full of holes!
  • Train your rabbits to use a litter tray: keep your beloved rabbit engaged by making litter training a fun exercise. Each time your pet hops into the tray to use it, offer them a treat – they'll soon get the hang of it and enjoy doing it! Check out our video ‘How to litter train a rabbit’ to find out more.
  • Give your rabbits toys: give them toys to play with, platforms to climb on and untreated wooden logs to gnaw and explore. You can buy rabbit-safe toys from supermarkets or vet-approved pet shops such as PDSA Pet Store. For cheaper alternatives, skip to our homemade toys section.
  • Keep them on their paws: Give a few toys to your rabbits and store some of them away. Swap the toys over after a week or two to stop them from getting bored of the same old toys. This will also give you a chance to clean the toys not being used with a pet-safe detergent.

Top toys for bunnies

Boredom in bunnies can be stressful leading to illness or unwanted behaviours. Luckily, there are plenty of low-cost toys you can buy or make at home to battle bunny boredom.  Here are some of the best rabbit toys our vets suggest:

  • Homemade food forage trays: rabbits love to dig around and forage for their food. You can make them a forage tray by getting a shallow tray or planter. Fill it with a bit of hay or shredded paper, some healthy rabbit treats (such as mint, sage, parsley, small slices of apple, or carrot) and a bit of freshly pulled grass. Be sure to avoid using cut grass as this can cause serious tummy issues. Remember to refresh the treats daily.
  • Chew toys: rabbits need to chew almost constantly to keep their teeth a healthy length. You can give them small branches to gnaw at. Either take some from trees in your garden or purchase them online. Stick to untreated branches of safe wood like apple, aspen, birch, maple and willow and give them a rinse before giving them to your rabbits to wash away any bugs or pesticides. Avoid branches from the side of roads.
  • Cardboard boxes: rabbits love playing with boxes. Try cutting two holes in either side of a cardboard box for your bunny to run through, or fill a tissue box with hay or small bits of scrunched-up cardboard for them to pull out.
  • Food filled toys: you can buy hollow rubber toys for small pets that can be filled with food from our PDSA store, or make your own with a cardboard tube. Find a cardboard tube from a toilet roll/kitchen roll and stuff it with hay. Your rabbits will love pulling it out and it's safe for them if they have a munch on a bit of cardboard too. To make things more interesting you can also tie the tube up with a piece of string and suspend them from the walls of their enclosure. This will make them more of a challenge for your rabbits as they may need to stand up to reach them, and work out how to keep them still while they nibble the contents.
  • Lookout spots: Make your rabbits a lookout post or provide them with perches on different levels so they can keep watch. This will keep them calm, give them a hiding place if they feel scared, and also keep them active. You can buy special perching shelves or make your own. Straw bales, wooden crates, tree stumps (from fruit trees) and strong cardboard boxes can be used to create platforms for your rabbits. Just make sure that the platform roof is made of non-slip material and should be at a height they can easily jump onto. Always consult your vet before adding platforms to your rabbits’ enclosure.