Although unable to survive in the wild, domesticated rabbits still possess many of the traits of their wild counterparts, including the natural tendency to dig. Wild rabbits survive by digging deep burrows in the ground, where they give birth and care for their babies, sleep and hide from prey. Fortunately, if your rabbit is a digger, you can allow him to give into his natural tendencies while protecting your carpet and other belongings.
Never declaw a rabbit. Rabbits use their claws to grip the floor when they walk. Declawing, which is extremely painful, could result in splay leg.
Provide Digging Toys
A rabbit who loves to dig must have plenty of toys to avoid destructive digging of the carpet and the furniture. Some effective digging toys include:
- Blanket or towel: Ideal for digging, bunching and kneading, an old blanket or towel can satisfy your rabbit's natural tendency to dig.
- Digging box: Fill a large cardboard box, a large litter box or an untreated willow basket with shredded paper or hay.
- Grass mat: Offer your rabbit a natural grass mat, which you can purchase at pet stores and online.
- Phone book: Rabbits typically love to chew and to dig into phone books.
Fill a digging or a litter box with snow in the winter, bring in the house and let your rabbit dig. Be sure to dry off your rabbit after he's done playing.
Rabbit Proof Your Home
Even if your rabbit has an abundance of toys, rabbit proofing your home is essential to your rabbit's overall health.
- Some rabbits love to dig and to chew carpet. Ingested carpet could result in an intestinal blockage. Block off carpet corners by putting tile, linoleum or a plastic mat on each corner. A heavy box or a litter box on the corners will protect the carpet.
- If your rabbit likes to hop on and dig the sofa, place an old blanket or sheet on top.
- Spray bitter apple or spread Ivory soap over the carpet your rabbit likes to dig and to chew. The scent and taste often deter rabbits from the area.
Your rabbit may dig to communicate with you. If your rabbit starts digging on your leg or your lap, watch out. He's mad at you, commands your attention or is about to urinate.