Rabbits can go through toys so quickly. With their ever-growing teeth and playful personalities, rabbits can chew through their new toys in a blink of an eye. Sometimes I will give my rabbit a new chew toy and she will completely destroy it by the end of the day. It can be a struggle to keep up with them and constantly provide them with new toys.
That’s when it’s time to get creative. We can find ways to use those extra toilet paper rolls and cardboard boxes and keep our rabbits entertained. Not only does this provide a lot of mental enrichment for our beloved pets, but it’s also super cheap and easy on our wallets.
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The importance of chew toys for rabbits
To have a happy and healthy pet rabbit, it’s essential that you provide them with a variety of chew toys. This will help to keep their teeth healthy, and it will help to prevent your rabbit from getting bored and depressed.
I try to rotate my rabbit’s toys in and out. I don’t want her to get too bored and stop playing with them. She always tends to be more excited for toys when she first receives them. So taking away some of the old toys, and then giving them back in a month can help the toys feel new again.
Good for rabbit teeth
Because rabbit teeth are constantly growing, they have to have items they can chew on. Overgrown rabbit teeth is one of the most common rabbit health problems. And, in most rabbits, it can be completely avoided by making sure they have access to a proper diet and plenty of chew toys.
Give your rabbit a variety of chew toys to help make sure they can wear down their teeth and avoid any subsequent health problems. Overgrown teeth in rabbits can cause infections and make it difficult, or impossible, for a rabbit to eat as much as they need to.
Good for your rabbit’s mental enrichment
Lots of toys are also great for keeping your rabbit’s mind healthy. Chew toys give your rabbit something new to have fun with, giving them the chance to explore different textures and flavors. Puzzle toys can be a great mental enrichment for rabbits. They can let the rabbit use their natural foraging instincts to find treats hidden within their toys.
Rabbit toys are also good for keeping them from getting bored. By making sure they have plenty of toys to play with, you can prevent more destructive behavior. They can play with their toys instead of chewing your rug apart, and wear their teeth down on the toys they’re supposed to chew, instead of your baseboards.
Toys you can buy or find in nature
Giving your rabbit a variety of toys is important. Cheap DIY toys are great for your rabbit, but they should be accompanied by other types and textures.
This will keep your rabbit from getting bored of the same toys over and over again. It will encourage them to use their brains to figure out new ways to play with new toys. Luckily, there are plenty of other toys that you can easily get from online, shops or even from your own yard.
There are many stores where you can purchase appropriate toys for your rabbit. Wooden toys as well as more natural toys made from sticks and grass hay are great fun for rabbits. If you’re not sure which toys to get for your rabbit, I recommend checking out the Toy Sampler at my favorite online store, Small Pet Select. I really trust the quality of the toys I get from them (and my rabbit does too!). You can also use the code BUNNYLADY to get 15% off your first order.
Sometimes I like to get the more durable plastic puzzle toys too. They aren’t chew toys for rabbits, but they can be great mental enrichment while your rabbit learns how to get the treat hidden in the puzzle.
Some natural toys you can even pick up outside. Pinecones, for example, are excellent chew toys for rabbits. You can find them outside, and then give them to your rabbit. Just make sure you’ve had a chance to thoroughly wash and dry the pinecones first. You can also do some research to find which sticks and twigs from your geographic region are safe chew toys for your rabbit.
DIY chew toys
DIY toys are easy and fun for your rabbit. They cost almost nothing and you can create a lot of different designs, making it easy to give your rabbit a lot of new toys.
You can even just give your rabbit a toilet paper roll without doing anything special to it. I like to put a little extra work in to make chew toys that will double as puzzle toys, though. This way the fun new DIY rabbit toys will be good for my rabbit’s teeth and her mental enrichment.
1. Simple food dispenser with a toilet paper tube
The first toy we’ll be making is super simple. This will only take about 5 minutes to create, but it can give your rabbit hours (or more) of fun. The goal for this toy is to create a simple food dispenser. This will be one you can put rabbit pellets or treats into. It will give your rabbit a chance to roll it and toss it around while they figure out how to get the treats out.
This toy is very easy and simple to create. All you need is:
- A toilet paper roll
- Scissors or a razor
- Rabbit treats or pellets
Step by step
- Use the scissors or razor to cut holes into the middle of the toilet paper tube. I usually prefer to use a razor, but use whatever pointy object you are most comfortable with. You want the holes to be relatively small, but big enough that the treats will be able to fall out if the tube is tossed around.
- Fold down the ends of the toilet paper tube. Fold down both ends of the tube so that they create a concave, arced shape. Pinch the folded edges so that the flaps at the end don’t just pop back up. You want to make sure the treats won’t be able to fall out of the ends of the tube.
- Place treats or pellets into the tube. Lift up the flaps on one end and place the treats inside, then fold the flaps back down. I usually like to use a little bit of my rabbits pellets instead of sugary treats. That way I don’t risk giving her too many.
That was easy! Once you’ve created your DIY food dispenser, give it to your rabbit and see how long it takes them to figure out how to get the treats out. Maybe they’ll try to chew through the cardboard tube to get to the treat, or maybe they’ll figure out how to toss it around to get the treats faster. Either way, it’s a fun toy, and it’s always cute to watch the silly rabbit figure it out.
2. Hidden treat ball
While slightly more difficult than the simple food dispenser, this is another easy toy that you can make for your rabbit. This should only take a handful of minutes to create before you have a fun new toy for your rabbit. The goal of this DIY toy is to create a compact ball for your rabbit to chew through and find a treat inside. It will encourage the rabbit to chew and grind down their teeth while they figure out the puzzle.
This toy does not require any specialized equipment. All you need is:
- A toilet paper roll
- Rabbit pellets or treats
Step by step
- Cut the toilet paper roll into four pieces. It doesn’t have to be exact, but you want to make the pieces as even as possible. I will usually cut the tube in half, and then cut both sections in half again to get four small rings.
- Put one piece sideways inside another. Create the beginning of the treat ball by putting one piece inside the other like a cross.
- Squeeze the two pieces together to fit them inside a third section of the tube. It can be a little bit of a squeeze to get the two rings to fit inside the third, so smush them in whatever ways you need to for them to fit through.
- Place a treat or pellets into the ball that’s forming. Now that the ball is beginning to form, put some treats inside. You can wait until the end to put the treats in, but the gaps will be much smaller and difficult to squeeze the treats through. I usually use a small piece of dried papaya or dried strawberry, placing it into the ball after the third ring is added.
- Squeeze the fourth piece of the tube over the others to complete the ball. Place the fourth cardboard ring over top of the first three to make the final treat ball. You can feel free to squeeze and shift the pieces around however you need to in order to cover any large gaps that are left. You want to give your rabbit the chance to chew through the cardboard, instead of letting the treat fall out.
Give the toy to your rabbit and see what they do with it. They should be able to smell the yummy treat that’s hiding inside the ball and be excited to try to figure out how to get at it. The overlapping cardboard pieces will give the rabbit places where they can try to chew through, eventually letting them into the treasure trove inside the little hidden treat ball.
3. Hanging tubes
Hanging tubes give our curious rabbits the chance to tug and pull on a toy hanging on the side of their enclosure. You can hide treats in the middle of the tubes along with your rabbit’s hay or daily leafy greens. This kind of toy can be a new variety that is great for their mental enrichment, and it can help them eat a healthy diet, by increasing the amount of hay and leafy greens they’re eating.
You will need a few more tools to complete this toy, but most of these you’ll probably have lying around your house. The tools you need:
- A pen (or similar pointy object)
- 3 or 4 cardboard tubes
- Twine or string
- Hay or leafy greens
- Rabbit treats
Step by step
- Poke holes in the center of each of the tubes. I use a pen to poke a round hole in the top and bottom of each tube. Try to make sure the holes are lined up on the top and bottom in the center of each toilet paper roll.
- Tie a big knot at one end of the string and thread it through the first tube. Make sure the knot at the end of the string is big enough that the tube won’t end up sliding off the end.
- Tie two more knots in the string above the first tube. Make the first knot above the tube to keep it in place. Then the second knot will be the base of the second tube, so make sure you make the knot big enough that the tube won’t just slide over it.
- Thread the second tube onto the string and make two knots above it. After you’ve placed the second tube on the string, make the same knots above this one. The first to keep the tube in place, and the second to be the base of the third tube.
- Repeat with the remaining toilet paper tubes. You can use as many toilet paper tubes as you like. I usually use three or four when I’m making this hanging toy. After you’ve finished adding the cardboard tubes, make sure you have enough excess string on the top to tie the toy to the edge of their cage (or wherever you plan on hanging it).
- Stuff a handful of hay or leafy greens into each toilet paper roll. This part gets a little messy as the hay gets everywhere. Take some generous handfuls of hay or greens and get them inside the cardboard tubes. This will take a little bit of stuffing, but don’t worry, it doesn’t have to look neat.
- Hide a treat in the center of each tube. After you’ve managed to get the hay or greens into the cardboard tubes, take a piece of treat and push it into the middle of each of the tubes. You want to stuff it in as far as it will go so that your rabbit will have to do a little bit of work to figure out how to get it out.
- Using the excess string, hang the toy so your rabbit can play with it. Once the toy is complete, you can tie the toy wherever you want for your rabbit to play with it. I usually hang this toy up on the side of my rabbit’s enclosure.
Watch as your rabbit curiously tugs and chews on the toy to try to get the yummy food and treats from the inside. This toy can get pretty messy, especially if you use hay, because the food falls everywhere around the base of the toy. You can reuse this toy for a number of days until your rabbit manages to completely destroy it.
4. Hidden treat puzzle platform
It’s time to get a little more complicated! This is a toy that I just recently figured out how to create for my little bunny. The idea is to create a platform with 9 pieces the rabbit can lift up. There will be a treat under one of the pieces and the rabbit has to figure out which one covers the treat.
This toy still only uses simple items that you can find around your house. You will need:
- An empty tissue box
- 3 toilet paper rolls
- Scissors or a razor
- Optional: a ruler and a pen
Step by step
- Cut the top off of the tissue box, leaving a 1-2 inch wall along the bottom. It can be helpful to measure out and mark a line at 1-2 inches with a ruler and pen. Then you can easily cut along the line you made. I find it easier to get an even line with a ruler, but you can also use scissors since tissue boxes are thin cardboard.
- Cut all of the toilet paper tubes in half. After you’ve cut them, you can discard on of the halves. You only need 6 toilet paper roll halves to complete this toy.
- Fold down one end of each toilet paper roll, making a concave arced shape. This will give your rabbit a handle to hold each of the cardboard pieces, and it will keep the treat from falling out the end of the cardboard tube.
- Arrange nine of the halved cardboard tubes inside the cut tissue box. The nine cardboard tubes should fit neatly inside the the tissue box. you want to place them with the open side down.
- Hide a treat under one of the tubes. For this toy, I don’t recommend using pellets since they are too small to stay in place. But if you’re looking for a healthy option, you can hide pieces of leafy greens for your rabbit to find.
Give the hidden treat platform to your rabbit and see how long it takes them to find the treat. They’ll probably have a lot of fun tossing the cardboard pieces aside as they forage for the yummy treat that they smell underneath. Once your rabbit finds the treat, you can set the platform up again and give them another chance to find the hidden treat.
5. Digging box
Digging boxes can be incredibly useful to give rabbits who have a tendency to dig into your rug. It gives the rabbit a way to use their natural instincts in a more constructive way that won’t destroy your home. While boxes like this can be an amazing way to keep a bored rabbit occupied, it’s still a good idea to do everything you can to rabbit-proof your home and cover any areas your rabbit tends to dig into.
This toy is a little messy, but it’s actually pretty easy. It can be made from simple materials that you probably have lying around your house. For this project, you will need:
- A cardboard box large enough for your rabbit to fit in
- A razor
- A stack of old newspapers or unwanted papers
- Treats or rabbit food
Step by step
- Remove all tape, staples and labels from the cardboard box. Cardboard is okay for your rabbit to eat a little bit, but you don’t want them to eat tape, and staples could accidentally injure them.
- Fold the flaps to create a base on one side, and cut off the flaps from the other side. Now that the tape isn’t holding the bottom of the box together, you’ll need to fold the flaps over each other to make a sturdy base. On the other end, you can use a razor to remove the flaps completely.
- Shred the newspaper until you have a pile that fills the box. Take the stack of newspaper you have and start shredding. You can use an electric shredder if you have one, but you can also just rip up strips with your hands. Once you have the strips of paper, crumple them together to make an interesting texture for your rabbit to dig through.
- Hide treats and non-pointy toys inside the box. Now all you have to do is get some treats and hide them in the digging box, so your rabbit can use their natural foraging instincts to find their food. You can use a small amount of treats, or you can hide some yummy leafy greens in the box. You can also sprinkle a handful of pellets among the crumpled up paper, along with other chew toys so your rabbit can find them. Just be careful not to hide toys with pointy edges, such as wooden blocks, since you don’t want your rabbit to accidentally get injured.
After you’ve finished putting the box together, put it down somewhere for your rabbit can play in. This toy can end up making a big mess as your rabbit enthusiastically digs through it to find the hidden treats. Be prepared to clean up the mess, or just scoop the strips of paper back into the box for the next time your rabbit plays with it.
How many treats can you give a rabbit?
You only want to give your rabbit up to 1-2 tablespoons of sugary treats in a day. Too many treats can lead to digestive health problems or tooth decay, so it’s best to only give them treats occasionally for good behavior or when training your rabbit.
How can I keep my rabbit from chewing on wires?
To keep your rabbit from chewing on wires, you’ll need to take some time to bunny-proof your home. Block off any areas where there are a lot of wires to keep them out of your rabbits reach, and cover your wires with plastic tubing to keep your rabbit from chewing on them.