Although rabbits have become one of the country’s favorite companion animals, they retain some of the habits and behaviors of their undomesticated kin. You’ll need to consider that when you welcome a bunny into your life.
Take their living area, for example. To make your fur baby feel safe and comfortable, you’ll have to make the space resemble a burrow. Providing rabbit bedding is an excellent way to accomplish that goal. But how do you choose the best rabbit bedding? Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
Do Rabbits Need Bedding?
There’s no one answer to this question as it depends on the situation. A tired rabbit often won’t care where he sleeps as he’ll likely snooze in the first comfortable place he finds. Still, some owners prefer to give their pets a cozy rest area.
Why They Need It
- The bedding creates a burrow-like ambiance which makes rabbits feel safe and protected.
- Rabbits’ body temperatures drop when they’re asleep and they can get cold. The correct bedding material will help keep your pet warm.
- Your pet will learn to differentiate between his potty and sleeping area. This reduces the chances that he’ll lie on his poop or urine.
What to Look for
Choosing the best rabbit bedding takes some careful thinking as every bun is unique, with different needs and preferences. Be that as it may, the bedding material that suits rabbits most should have specific characteristics that will cater to their habits and peculiarities.
- Edible: You won’t be feeding your pet his bedding material, but because rabbits love to nibble, you can bet that your bun will chew on his bedding. So choose materials that won’t harm your fur baby even if he eats a bundle.
- Dust-free: Some materials can irritate the lungs and cause respiratory problems in rabbits, so choose those that don’t crumble and turn into dust.
- Absorbent: Rabbits may not sweat, but they sometimes have bathroom-related accidents. Absorbent bedding can help sop up the liquid wastes and reduce the mess the accidents create.
- Eco-friendly: You’ll be tossing plenty of bedding throughout your bun’s lifetime, so to protect the environment, opt for biodegradable materials. In addition, natural materials are often more comfortable than their synthetic counterparts.
- Great smelling: Like humans, buns hate musty scents. So look for bedding that smells fresh and clean—bonus points for materials that help with odor control.
- Comfortable: Keep your pet’s comfort in mind when choosing his bedding material. That means no sharp edges that can poke or scratch your bun or irritating fragrances that may cause allergies or, worse, respiratory infections in rabbits.
What Makes the Best Bedding?
You won’t run out of options for bedding material. Some fur parents go DIY and use natural stuff found around the house, such as paper or wood products. The good news is most of those can serve their purpose. However, ensure they’re rabbit-friendly as even some natural materials can contain ingredients that might harm your pet.
Here are some of the best rabbit beddings. To help you decide, we’ve included the advantages and disadvantages of each type along with our recommendations.
If you’re looking for wood bedding, aspen shavings make the best choice. Unlike pine or cedar, aspen bedding doesn’t contain aromatic oils that can be toxic to rabbits.
- Limited absorbency
- Can be a bit costly
This is also called pellet bedding. You can’t go wrong with using paper pellets as bedding for your bun. Aside from being widely available, this material absorbs both moisture and odor to help keep your bun’s cage clean and fresh-smelling longer.
- Extremely absorbent
- Excellent at odor-control
- Environment friendly
- Budget friendly as a little goes a long way
- Less comfortable than other materials
- Doesn’t provide much insulation
Fleece bedding tops the list when it comes to comfort. Your fur baby will surely love the softness of this material. Lying on several layers of this bedding is akin to resting on a puff of cloud. Moreover, fleece is inexpensive and mess-free.
- Made from natural materials
- Easy to clean
- Great with odor control
- Budget friendly since you’re washing and re-using them
- Inconvenient (needs laundering every few days)
- Fur in the bedding can damage your washer
- Requires rabbit-friendly detergent for washing
We don’t recommend using regular straw as bedding material. While it’s certainly edible, straw doesn’t absorb odor very well, and it can turn moldy when it gets wet. However, the same traits don’t apply to pelleted straws. By using this material, you can be sure that your bun won’t come to any harm even if he eats his bedding.
- Low dust
- Can be a bit pricey
Using loose grass on your rabbit’s cage can be pretty messy. Why not opt for grass mats instead? This bedding can be made from grass, hay, or any dried rabbit-friendly material. Grass mats are safe to eat (check out this list of leafy greens that are must-haves for your bun) and will give your bun something to nibble on aside from the chew toys you provide.
- Available in various sizes
- Can double as chew toys
- Difficult to clean
- Not so absorbent
More and more fur parents are using hemp bedding for their buns. Aside from its wonderful scent, hemp bedding is safe to eat. This material works best for buns with allergies as it is non-toxic and dust-free.
- Has high absorbency
- Great smelling
- A bit messy
- Not as cozy as other bedding materials
What You Shouldn’t Use
You’ll find an endless choice of bedding materials on the market. Some have been promoted as being suited for rabbits but, in truth, can cause harm to your pet. Better avoid these bedding types if you want to keep your bun safe, healthy, and happy.
- Sawdust: Rabbits often enjoy lying on sawdust because of its softness. However, this material can irritate your pet’s eyes and nose.
- Clumping cat litter: Cat litter may be soft and comfortable to lie on like sawdust. The trouble is, aside from potentially causing respiratory problems to your pet, the clumping action of cat litter can lead to digestive problems in rabbits.
- Newspapers: Although rabbits enjoy shredding newspapers, the paper’s ink can be toxic to your pet. To be on the safe side, avoid using newspapers as bedding material.
- Cedar or pine shavings: These woods have high concentrations of phenols, which give them their strong aromatic scent. Phenols are compounds that can impact your bun’s liver and nervous system.
- Corn husks: Corn has hard cores, wispy hair strands, and hulls that rabbits can’t digest. If your bun eats his bedding, it can lead to life-threatening health issues such as GI stasis. Moreover, husks can also turn moldy.
Regardless of the bedding material you choose, don’t forget to keep your bun’s living space clean. That means changing the bedding when it gets soiled. This is essential for your pet’s health as soiled bedding can attract flies and other disease-carrying pests.
Now that you know the best rabbit bedding, it’s just a matter of determining which one your fur baby prefers.
More About Rabbit Housing
- The Best Rabbit Bedding Options
- What Do Rabbits Need in Their Cage?
- Do Rabbits Get Cold?
- How to Keep Rabbits Cool in the Summer?
- Tips for Quickly Cleaning Your Rabbit’s Cage
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