Winter/Holiday Safety Tips



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Christmas Trees

Many bunnies find Christmas trees irresistible for laying underneath as well as for the occasional nibble. Both come naturally to them. As long as your Christmas tree has not been treated with flocking or a fire-retardant (ask at the tree lot about this before you make your purchase) it's safe for your bunny to chew.

Covering the tree stand with chicken wire will allow you to water the tree while preventing your rabbit from taking a sip of the sticky water beneath. If your tree skirt is a precious family heirloom, consider using a bed sheet in a festive color instead.


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Holiday Lights

Like any electrical wiring, strings of holiday lights pose a hazard for rabbits. To prevent chewing, leave the bottom tier of branches free of lights. When your rabbit is out to play, either bundle the wiring in split tubing, or unplug the lights, bundle the wires and hang them from the upper branches of the tree.


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Ornaments and Tinsel

Consider natural ornaments like pine cones, which are safe for rabbits to chew, for the lower branches of the tree. If glass ornaments are hung on higher branches, make sure that these are securely wired so that they can't fall off an break when a hungry rabbit tugs on the tree, or choose plastic ornaments instead.

Tinsel should not be used to trim a tree as it could cause a serious blockage if ingested.


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Gift Wrap and Ribbon

Gifts should not be piled beneath the tree as foil gift wrap and plastic ribbon can cause blockages if nibbled by a curious rabbit. Instead, exercise your creativity by displaying presents on a side table near the tree, embellishing the arrangement with a centerpiece or other holiday decorations.


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Candy and Treats

Holiday treats pose another potential hazard. If your rabbit exhibits a jumping tendency, be aware that he or she may be able to reach a dish of candy, nuts or other goodies a top a table. Chocolate can be toxic. Foil and cellophane wrappers can cause dangerous intestinal blockages.


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Poinsettias

As rabbit owners, we know that a cardinal rule of bunny-proofing involves limiting access to house plants, many of which are poisonous. Every holiday there is debate over the toxicity of Poinsettias.

"It's a testament to the persistence of myths," says Paul Bachman, marketing chairman of the Society of American Florists (SAF). "Poinsettias simply are not toxic. That was proven 23 years ago in scientific tests and we want to set the record straight." Like other non-food items, if ingested, the Poinsettia may cause some stomach discomfort but nothing more. According to the American Medical Association's Handbook of Poisonous Injurious Plants, other than occasional cases of vomiting, ingestion of the Poinsettia plant has been found to produce no effect in humans. Despite its continued circulation, the myth of the Poinsettia is gradually losing steam. "It may just have to run its course," says Bachman.

There's no reason for us humans to miss out on Poinsettias, as long as we exercise the same precautions we would with any other plants in our homes, by keeping them out of reach of our rabbits.


Source: Society of American Florists 1601 Duke Street Alexandria, VA 22314-3406 202-466-7590

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Carbon Monoxide

If you heat your home during the winter months with gas, oil, wood or coal-burning appliances, a digital carbon monoxide (CO) detector is a good investment. We have one in our rabbit room. Odorless, colorless and tasteless, CO has earned the name the "silent killer." At $40 to $50 each, a CO detector is a valuable early warning system for both you and your rabbit.



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