Before you allow your rabbit access to run and play in a room inside, you need to do some preparation to make sure the bunny is safe and your room, furniture, electronics, etc. are protected. You will have three goals you want to achieve:
1. Providing a safe area for your bunny companion to exercise and play with plenty of chewing alternatives.
2. Protecting your bunny companion from harm (no access to electrical cords)
3. Preventing your house & furniture from destruction (chewing on carpet, the couch, etc)
Electrical cords are one of the most dangerous items for a rabbit who is running around inside your house. Preventing your rabbit from chewing on electrical cords is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT because if they a rabbit bites the cord they can be badly burned or even electrocuted. Even if your rabbit seems uninterested in electrical cords, it is best to keep them up out of the way because the risk is too severe and accidents can happen quickly.
I recommend buying cord cover from Walmart and covering ALL electrical cords in the room where your rabbit will roam. Also Radio Shack sells “spiral cable wrap” which can be used to cover electrical cords. You can also get plastic tubing similar to what is used in fish tanks from a hardware store. It is usually slit in the middle and wires and cords can then be safely tucked inside. Even with the cord cover in place, some rabbits will still manage to chew through the covering, so we try to keep all cords up off the floor, high enough so the bunny isn’t tempted to chop the cord. If the cords are hanging down low and are in the path of a curious rabbit, it’s a sure bet they may get chewed. I buy the Command hangers and hook the cords up on my walls.
Some people like to use decorative wood-grained wire-concealers that stick to the walls and come in strips. These are great, but are a bit more costly and time consuming to set up. They are more permanent also, and a big plus is they deter even the most determined bunny from chewing the cords.
Please DON’T run electrical wires under the carpet as this can create a VERY SERIOUS fire risk.
Some bunnies will chew on baseboards, edges of chairs or the couch, or table legs. For baseboards, you can get cheap pieces of lattice wood to tack over the baseboards. This will give the bunny an alternative wood source for chewing while protecting the baseboards. If your bunny wants to chew the couch, I suggest getting some Busy Bunny toys and putting them next to the couch. You can also have a cardboard box that is closed with a couple of holes in it for the bunny to chew instead. The key is to provide chewing alternatives. And for table legs, I will usually cover them with a cardboard paper towel roll.
Rabbits LOVE RESISTANCE, which is one of the main reasons they will pull carpet. A hole in your good carpet can appear in a matter of a few minutes, so it is best to be aware of this and prepare for it. I put newspaper under a chair, sofa, or table leg for my rabbits to yank on. I may have to clean up small pieces of paper, but it is better than replacing the carpet. I also buy carpet sample rectangles from the hardware store and put these down in areas where my rabbits like to hang out. That way if they do pull a bit of carpet, they’ll pull something I can easily replace instead of my expensive floor rug.
If your rabbit is interested in chewing wallpaper or drywall, you can get clear plastic panels from the hardware store, or from Amazon. These can be affixed to the walls and will keep a rabbit or a chinchilla from removing wallpaper or chewing holes in the sheetrock.
Years ago I had Peter, Peaches, and Pumpkin (all Holland lops) living in one of my bedrooms. They loved to hang out under the bed. They felt safe and it was probably cooler under there. However, they found they could chew through the bottom of the box spring and burrow up inside the mattress. I didn’t want them doing this so I bought a piece of thin plywood, cut to the exact size of the mattress, and slid it under the box springs. It worked perfectly. I’ve also attached thin pieces of plywood to the bottoms of my chairs to keep the bunnies from destroying the cushions.
Be sure your house plants are not in an area where a bunny can get to them. Even putting them up high on a shelf or a table may not keep a rabbit from reaching them. You not only want to protect your plants, but MANY house plants are TOXIC. You can hang them from the ceiling, but be sure to watch for falling leaves. I keep mine in a room that is off-limits to my rabbits.
Just remember…a bored bunny is often a naughty bunny (the same applies to small children). If you provide a safe, protected environment for the bunny to play in, and plenty of toys and chewing alternatives, you will have the opportunity to experience the joy and fun that comes from sharing your home with an indoor rabbit companion.