Your pet rabbit loves to dig. Whether it’s dirt, sand or sawdust your rabbit will try to dig in it. So, I recommend that you research what and where your rabbit can safely dig. In fact, I get asked a lot about whether or not rabbits can dig in sandboxes or sandpits.
So, is sand safe for rabbits? Rabbits instinctively dig, it’s in their DNA. Digging helps your rabbit let off energy and gives him pleasure. It also keeps his ever growing nails filed down. Some people say that sand isn’t healthy for rabbits, but many rabbit owners let their rabbits dig in a digging box filled with sand. They only use specially purchased sand for children to guarantee the sand is clean and germ free. Your rabbit can dig happily in his sandbox for many months of the year if the box is covered every day.
Why Do Rabbits Dig?
- Blame it on their instinct
Rabbits dig instinctively. It gives them a physical and psychological outlet for their energy. When your rabbit is locked up in his cage or put into a small space too much, he’ll get irritable and aggressive. Your rabbit needs some time out of his cage to run around outside and have some fun digging holes. Of course,conversely, too much freedom can be bad for your rabbit. You will need to always oversee just where and when he plays outside and of course, where he digs.
- Nails kept trimmed
Your rabbit’s incessant digging has a plus side, it will keep his nails well trimmed.
Rabbit’s nails grow really long. Nails that are too long are dangerous for your rabbit and you too. So, if your rabbit is digging every day whether in the dirt or a sandbox, his nails will get shaved and filed. Of course, you might need to trim them every so often on your own, or at the vets, just to be sure they’re staying short enough.
Bad Digging Habits In Your Rabbit
Your rabbit instincts are strong. Sometimes, your rabbit’s need to dig becomes a problem. Here are some bad digging habits that your rabbit might develop if not given a proper outlet.
Inside the house:
- Digging up your carpet
- Digging in his litter tray
- Digging at your clothes
- Digging at blankets, towels or rugs
Outside the house:
- Digging under fences, gates or pens
- Digging around plants, flowers or gardens
- Digging holes all over the yard
How To Offset Bad Digging Habits
Digging can turn into a problem if your rabbit digs too much or in the wrong place. Here are some ways to offset your rabbit’s bad digging habits:
- Give your rabbit things to keep him from getting bored-toys, other rabbits to socialize, you playing with him. Fun climbing and chewing things like buckets, newspaper shredded, cardboard paper towel tubes.
- Have a controlled digging area like a digging box with dirt, shredded newspapers or clean, children’s play sand. Never leave your rabbit alone in the digging box. Watch over him so he doesn’t jump out or for some reason get hurt in the box.
● Lay your rabbit’s toys near the box so he’ll get close to it and figure out it’s for him to play in. You might need to introduce him to the digging box, too.
- You can create a “digging” area inside with old rugs, towels or blankets. Your rabbit will move them around, pulling, pushing and bunching them up the way he wants. It’s the closest thing to digging without all the mess of dirt. A word of caution: you rabbit might chew these so pick old linens you don’t mind losing to your rabbit.
- Desex your rabbit-If you spay or neuter your rabbit he won’t be as interested in escaping. Your rabbit will be more social and easier to keep with other rabbits without worrying about breeding and baby bunnies. Desexed rabbits are usually calmer and easier to have as pets.
Is Sand Safe For Rabbit to Dig In?
There’s a big debate about whether or not sand is safe for rabbits. But many rabbit owners say their pet rabbit digs in the sand all the time. Most of them say there’s never been an issue for their rabbits such as eye, nose problems or breathing problems. Across the board, people say that sand is safe for your rabbit to dig in if it’s clean, child-safe sand. Regular sand has germs, parasites and other harmful things that could make your rabbit very sick. Regular sand also has a lot of dust which would be harmful to your rabbit’s respiratory system. If sand is child safe, it’s going to be rabbit safe. Of course, if your rabbit is digging in childproof sand, don’t allow children to play in the same sandbox. This wouldn’t be healthy for the kids or for your rabbit. Give your rabbit his own special digging box.
How To Make A Digging SandBox For Your Rabbit
Create a digging box that’s big enough for your rabbit to hop around and dig holes. Be sure it’s deep enough, so your rabbit can really dig. A child’s play pool or sandbox is the perfect outdoor digging area for your rabbit. Just be sure to make a cover for the box. Animals from the neighbor like cats, raccoons or foxes might use the digging box for a bathroom if you don’t keep it covered. Some kids’ sandboxes come with a cover. Just be sure it’s a tight fit. Without a cover the sand is apt to get dirty or wet.
After you’ve figured out what to put the sand into, purchase many bags of child’s play sand at your local home improvement store. These stores usually sell play sand in the spring and summer but you can buy them all year around online. Be sure to get enough sand to fill the box all the way to the top or your rabbit won’t be able to dig deep enough. Rabbits like making holes that they can sit in and hide in. Always supervise your rabbit when he’s in the digging box or outside, rabbits can get into trouble when no one is watching. If you keep the digging box covered all year, the sand will last a long time. Your rabbit will be able to dig all spring, summer, and fall.
Your rabbit is a compulsive digger, but that’s okay as long as you let him dig. If your rabbit isn’t allowed to dig, he might become an irritable, aggressive pet. So, give your rabbit opportunities to dig in a controlled area called a digging box. Fill the digging box with clean, children’s play sand because it’s germ-free. Your rabbit will be a happier, healthier rabbit….and that will make you happy, too.