Using the best rabbit bedding will keep your bunny warm, dry, healthy and happy!
There is nothing sadder than seeing a wet and bedraggled rabbit after the rain has seeped into its hutch. I know because there has been a time or two when my rabbits have had their bedding ruined after a big rain or snow. We need to be keeping an eye on their hutches and replacing their bedding reasonably frequently to be sure they’re safe.
Keep your bunny safe and warm with the best bedding
Use The Best Bedding For Rabbits
Use the best bedding to ensure your rabbit is kept safe and healthy. There are products that are often used which are not as safe as others, and may even be harmful to a rabbit’s health.
Another consideration is how easily a product can be disposed of. Some bedding, such as hay, can simply be thrown onto the compost heap. Whereas other products, like cat litter, will need to be disposed of carefully (and should not even be used for rabbits!).
In this post we’ll take a look at unsafe rabbit bedding, before looking at the safest bedding for your bunny.
Unsafe Bedding For Rabbits
Here is a list of unsafe and bad rabbit bedding:
Newspaper can be suitable when nothing else is around, but it’s not the best bedding material for rabbits. This is because of all the chemical processing the paper has gone through, and then, of course, it is covered in ink. Rabbits will eat their bedding, and too much chemically processed paper and/or newspaper ink is going to have a detrimental effect on their health.
Again, I wouldn’t worry about using it from time to time. Shredded newspaper for rabbit bedding is a cheap alternative to some of the other options, and so it is tempting to use it. Just avoid using it all the time.
Softwood shavings include things like sawdust and pine shavings. These options can be very harmful to rabbits. They contain a lot of dust and fumes which will not only badly affect your rabbit’s respiratory system, but perhaps cause liver disease. There are phenols (toxins) in heat treated wood which are passed on to your rabbit through the dust and fumes. These go on through to the lungs, then into the blood, and eventually into the liver.
When you open up a bag of softwood shavings, you can smell the phenols yourself. They are simply the piney/woody smell that is put off by the wood shavings, and which can be quite pungent! Read more about the dangers at rabbit.org.
Bedding materials that may contain these deadly phenols include:
- Cedar chips
- Pine shavings
It goes without saying, but it is best not to use any softwood litter for rabbits.
Cat litters are another product you should not use for rabbits. Kitty litter is made for cat toilets, not rabbit beds! Cat litters tend to be dusty, chemical laden products that are not safe and healthy for your bunnies.
Safe Bunny Bedding
Here are the safest and best bedding materials for rabbits:
Rabbits love Timothy Hay
Timothy hay is not only great for your rabbit’s diet, but it can also make good bedding. Hay is a warm and dry bedding material that rabbits naturally enjoy sleeping in. Also, a rabbit’s diet should consist of at least 80% hay and grass, and if your rabbit is anything like mine, it will spend a lot of time nibbling as it lies in its bedding area.
The Kaytee Timothy Hay Plus Variety Pack is a great option. Some of the benefits include:
- No artificial flavors or colors
- A good ratio of leaf and stem
- Supports rabbit urinary health
- Comes with a small amount of dehydrated veggies (such as carrots) throughout for extra nibbling incentive
Another choice for hay is the very popular 2nd Cutting Perfect Blend Timothy Hay. This product does not have any flavorings or additives, it is just straight hay. Here are some of the benefits:
- The right amount of fiber and protein
- Soft second cutting for your rabbits eating pleasure
- Great quality at a great price
I even use such hay to fill up an inside toilet box and will often find my rabbit spending extra time on the loo just to have a snack while he is at it!
Hay is not very absorbent, however, so if your rabbit is toileting in the hay it will need to be emptied out fairly frequently. I replace the hay in my house rabbit’s toilet about every 5 days. This avoids the hay becoming smelly, and means that my rabbit won’t get urine etc. on his feet while using the toilet. It doesn’t start to soak upwards until a weeks worth of wee is in there.
Similar to Timothy Grass, and approximately the same price, Alfalfa hay is another great bedding material for rabbits.
Benefits of Thunder Acres Alfalfa Hay for bunnies:
- It is a safe and natural product
- Pesticide free
- Good ratio of stalks and leaves
- Sun cured and free from weeds – grown in Kansas
Meadow hay for rabbits
Meadow hay is another great bedding material for rabbits. I actually use meadow hay more than I use anything else. It’s usually very cheap and comes in large bags. I buy a few bags at a time and it lasts my bunnies 6 months – cleaning out and replacing the hay once every 1-2 weeks (they don’t use it as a toilet). But when my rabbits are inside, I do put meadow hay into their toilet box and it works really well.
Other benefits of Oxbow BeneTerra Organic Meadow Hay include:
- It is organic naturally grown grass
- High in fiber
- Contains a variety of grass hays for different flavors and textures
Chemical Free Paper Bedding
Paper bedding for rabbits
Instead of using newspaper, which may contain toxic chemicals and inks, you can get chemical free, 100% safe paper bedding for rabbits. One example is Small Pet Select Premium Soft Paper Bedding. You are able to purchase this product in large volume (178 Litre packs) at a very reasonable price. It will last you quite some time!
Other benefits include:
- Made from unbleached paper
- Expands greatly upon opening
- Soft on rabbits feet
- Comfortable to sleep in
Fibercore Natural Eco-bedding
Paper eco-bedding for rabbits
Fibercore Natural Eco-bedding is another non-toxic product for small animal bedding. This material is crinkled up pieces of recycled paper.
What’s great about it?
- One pack goes a long way
- It is dust free – great for rabbits and anyone in the house that has allergies
- Extremely absorbent
- Helps mask the usual smells if your bunny uses it as a toilet
What Is The Best Bunny Bedding?
Here are the things you should look for in rabbit bedding products:
1. Natural – Use natural products without harsh chemicals and additives. This is why my preferred rabbit bedding is the likes of timothy hay, alfalfa hay, or meadow hay.
2. Dust free – Using dust free products will be best for your rabbit’s health. They aren’t going to have breathing and/or liver problems if you keep away from dusty materials.
3. Eatable – I think it’s best if your rabbit’s bedding can be eaten. My bunnies love just sitting in their hutch and nibbling away at their bedding. They can’t do this if their bedding is paper, pellets, or other non-grass substances.
4. Absorbent – If you are just looking for rabbit bedding, this isn’t so important. Rabbits will only use a certain area for a toilet. My bunnies for example, if they are outside, have quite a large run. They won’t ever go to the toilet in their bed, but will go outside against the fence. When they are in their inside area, they have a toilet box they go in, and again, won’t use their bed for a toilet.
5. Odor masking – Again, not so important if you’re just looking for bedding. Rabbits are very clean animals and don’t put off a lot of odor if they are well kept. Straws and hays are not the best at masking smells if rabbits are using them as a toilet, but they are very good for bedding.
And The Best Rabbit Bedding Is…
The best bunny bedding materials are the various grass options:
But if you want something more absorbent and odor reducing, use:
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