Preventing bunny boredom
Rabbits are much loved 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 bunnies suffer from boredom, so our vets have put together these top tips for keeping them entertained.
Why boredom is bad for bunnies
If rabbits live in small hutches with nothing to do and no space to move, they get bored. Boredom can cause some serious health problems:
- Bored rabbits will fill their time by eating. If they eat too much and don’t move around they’ll put on weight.
- Obesity can cause heart problems and arthritis.
- Bored rabbits also groom themselves too much and get hairballs, which can cause life-threatening blockages in their stomach.
How to prevent bunny boredom
Rabbits love exploring and will happily play with all sorts of pet-safe toys, which is a great way to make sure they get enough exercise.
- Make sure they’ve got a bunny-friendly home. It’s so important that your rabbits have a large hutch and constant access to a safe, secure run to enjoy. It’ll 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 secure run 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.
- Give them toys to play with, platforms to climb on and untreated wooden logs to gnaw and explore. You can buy safe toys for your rabbits from pet shops or pet supermarkets. For a cheaper alternative, try giving your rabbits a cardboard box – these are great for rabbits to explore and will give them somewhere safe to hide, too. They may even enjoy treats like dried herbs and feeding hay inside a plain, paper bag.
- 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. It’ll stop your rabbits from getting bored of the same old toys and will give you a chance to clean the ones not being used. Don’t forget to regularly wash them in a safe detergent.
- Rabbits were born to dig. A planter filled with potting compost will save your grass from becoming full of holes! Given half a chance, your rabbits will dig their way out of their run. Make sure the wire of your run is sunk around 40cm into the ground to keep them safely inside.
- Train your rabbits to use a litter tray. Fill their tray with non-clumping, non-toxic litter and put some of their droppings in it so they know what it’s supposed to be used for. Each time your bunnies hop into the tray to use it, offer them a natural rabbit treat. They’ll soon get the hang of it! This can be especially useful for house rabbits.
Top toys for rabbits
Looking for vet recommended toys for your rabbits? PDSA Pet Store has a great range of toys and care products for your bunny. Here are some of the leading toys our vets suggest:
- Kong for small pets – stuff this with something tasty (like a healthy, natural rabbit snack) and give it to your bunnies. They’ll have loads of fun working out how to get to their treat.
- Corn ‘n’ Rattle – made with natural materials, this toy will help prevent boredom and help keep your rabbits’ teeth a healthy length.
- Naturals weave-a-ball – a willow ball for your rabbits to gnaw, nudge and chase.
Company for rabbits
Rabbits need other rabbits for company. Find out more about keeping rabbits in pairs or groups and how to introduce a new bunny to the mix.
How to hold your rabbits safely
Rabbits can be nervous by nature so it's important to learn how to hold them in a way that makes them feel safe and secure.