Do rabbits need chew toys? We get asked this question a lot, and the answer is always a big yes.
Rabbits are fun pets. They are social creatures, so they’ll enjoy interacting with your family, but they can also play by themselves. In fact, rabbits can get bored and into trouble when you don’t provide entertainment and chew toys. Here’s why you should make sure your rabbits have plenty of things to chew.
Why Do Rabbits Need Chew Toys?
For many mammals, like puppies or kitties, chew toys promote dental health by cleaning the teeth and gums. Rabbits have teeth that are always growing whether they are a few months old or a few years old. So, to keep their teeth from growing out of control, they will always need something to chew. If nothing is provided to your pet bunny specifically for chewing, like a rabbit toy, she will resort to chewing on something else, such as the bars of her cage or the furniture around your house.
That being said, in order to maintain your bunny’s health and the legs of your sofa, you may want to invest in a couple of rabbit toys that are designed to withstand a good chewing. And, though there are a ton of these toys out on the market, there are a few that stand out as the best for rabbits. Or, if you are a crafty person who likes to give homemade toys to your pets, we have some DIY chew toy ideas as well.
The Best Chew Toys for Rabbits’ Teeth
Rabbits will chew on just about anything, so you have to make sure that you’re offering the right kind of items that are safe for rabbits. Cardboard, paper and some woods are great for chewing. Apple, maple, willow, hickory and ash are safe for rabbits (check here for a comprehensive list of safe and unsafe woods). Here are some of the top chew toys for rabbits out there today.
Cardboard Tubes—Cardboard contains cellulose, which is what leaves and plants are made of. Rabbits love chewing on cardboard but don’t go overboard—you don’t want them replacing their meals with cardboard toys. However, the occasional toilet paper or paper towel tubes will be a nice treat for them. When you do give your rabbits cardboard, make sure there’s no printed ink, which can be poisonous.
Chew Sticks—Chew sticks made of appropriate materials, like this one made of bamboo, can be a great way to provide new opportunities. Rotate different ones so your pet never knows what to expect.
Wooden Bridge—This wooden bridge is a great item for your rabbit’s hutch. It can be climbed on and chewed. It can used as a hiding place. Your rabbit will have hours of play, learning to balance, developing coordination and having healthy chew toys.
Wood Blocks or Toys—Untreated wood toys or blocks can be great additions to your rabbit’s life. Here are some flavored balsa wood chew toys for rabbits, but you could also use blocks of apple wood that are free of mold, insects and bacteria. Look in the craft section of your hobby store, but check to make sure that the wood is safe for rabbits and isn’t treated with anything.
Wicker Chew Balls—A variety of different brands offer wicker chewing balls for bunnies, but all are similar in that they use wicker, a type of soft wood, that bunnies can toss around easily.
Willow Bridges—Wood bridges or tunnels made from willow, a wood that’s safe for rabbits to chew, are a popular addition to any rabbit cage. They offer a place for bunnies to hide in and chew on!
The Best DIY Chew Toys for Rabbits
If you’d rather make a couple of chew toys for your rabbit than purchase them, there are plenty of DIY ideas for you to test out, and many use recycled materials or other inexpensive materials that can fit into any budget.
Stuffed Cardboard Rolls—If you happen to have leftover cardboard rolls, particularly the kind that comes from paper towel or toilet paper rolls, you can stuff them with hay or other small treats and toss them to your furry friend. Rabbits love the texture of cardboard, so you can always keep a roll nearby to keep them occupied.
Constructed Cardboard Towers—Again, all bunnies love chewing on cardboard, so the possibilities for building a toy out of cardboard are endless. You could try building a small tower, castle or house out of old packing or shipping boxes. Try cutting out squares and circles in the box to serve as windows and be sure to cut out a door for your rabbit to enter his cardboard palace.
Know What Isn’t Safe
Don’t let your rabbit chew on metal, plastic or rubber toys. Check around your home for things that they may chew on that might not be safe, such as carpet, unsafe woods and items that have been treated with paint or glue. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep your rabbit happily chewing, but you do need to pay attention to what they’re chewing.
The options are limitless for purchasing or making a chew toy for your rabbit that entertains them and protects your furniture.