Finding the best bedding your pet rabbit, or rabbits is not something that should be done on a whim.
They are going to spend a lot of time on that bedding, so you should make sure you select the right one.
There are plenty to choose from so in this article, we will explain what they are, what to look for, and answer some frequently asked questions.
By the end, you’ll hopefully be armed with enough information to ensure the bedding you buy for your rabbit has them living comfortably.
Types of Beddings For Rabbits
Hay is a type of bedding that also doubles up as a food source for your rabbit.
It is popular with many rabbit owners and their rabbits, as it provides a cozy and warm environment within the hutch where the rabbit can rest and sleep.
Hay can be sourced from farms and stables, with the most cost-effective way to purchase it being by the bale.
Always ensure that the hay you buy does not have any mold, and it should also be dust-free as well.
When considering which bedding to use in rabbit cages many rabbit owners assume straw and hay are the same, but they are not.
Straw has larger stalks and is normally more yellow in color, but it’s every bit as good at keeping your rabbit warm in cold weather.
The other main difference is that straw is usually a cheaper option than hay.
If you find that your rabbit enjoys eating their bedding, which they will, you may find straw bedding to be more cost-effective than hay.
Paper pulp is one of the newer kinds of rabbit bedding, but it has lots of positives for the rabbit, rabbit owners, and the wider world.
The reason for the latter is that paper pulp is eco-friendly as it is normally made from recycled paper.
As for your rabbit, they get a pet bedding that keeps them warm, and as it is so absorbent, it will absorb up to 3 times its weight in liquid.
This benefits you, as you do not need to clean your rabbit’s hutch as often, plus it leaves it relatively odor-free.
Aspen rabbit bedding is made from small softwood shavings that come, not surprisingly, from the aspen tree.
One of its primary benefits is it is very absorbent, and it is also very popular among pet rabbit owners as it acts as a form of odor control.
This kind of bedding, if purchased from a reputable source, is usually dust-free, non-toxic and eco-friendly, although it can be a little pricier than some of the other types of rabbit bedding.
This is another relatively new entry into the realm of rabbit bedding, but it has long been used in cat litter trays.
It is very absorbent, which is highly desirable when considering what bedding you want to use for your rabbit, especially if you wish to use it for litter training them.
Many rabbit owners have switched to wood pellets as they seem comfortable for their rabbits to sleep on.
They also make cleaning out their hutch easier with the added benefit of being relatively inexpensive.
Cardboard is a kind of bedding that ticks lots of boxes.
It’s cheap, eco-friendly, is very absorbent, and if your rabbit decides to while away their time chewing it, they will come to no harm.
You can obviously use used cardboard from any source, but you must make sure there are no staples or adhesive tape on the cardboard.
The better option is to simply buy shredded cardboard form a pet supplier.
They look and feel very like wood pellets, but they have an added advantage or two.
As they are made from recycled paper, by using it, you, and your rabbit, are both doing your bit to protect the environment.
One other advantage is that when paper pellets absorb liquid, they do not expand, so you need to replace it less often.
Paper pellets are also very good at retaining odors so your rabbit’s hutch should smell fresher.
Using a fleece in your rabbit’s cage is fine, but normally only after your rabbit has been trained to use a litter tray.
The reason is that fleece is not designed to absorb liquids, nor to mask odors.
Otherwise, fleeces are extremely cozy and comfortable, and ideal for your rabbit to snuggle up in.
You can also choose the color and design of your fleece with many rabbit owners buying several of them so that they can change them over regularly.
Best Beddings For Rabbits – Features to Look For
Your rabbit deserves to sleep as comfortably at night every bit as much as you do so ensure the bedding you use for them meets that criteria.
Take into account your rabbit’s weight, size and the size of their cage will which all influence which bedding will be most comfortable.
Can Adjust to Climate
Although they have fur, rabbits need to be kept warm when it is cold so if your rabbit is kept outdoors and the temperatures drop, they’ll need bedding that allows them to keep warm.
Bedding such as shredded cardboard is particularly good at providing insulation with straw and hay also good bedding for keeping rabbits warm.
With a lot of focus on the environment these days, you can help by using bedding which is made from recycled materials.
The most obvious of these are bedding which is made from the likes of recycled paper and cardboard.
Generally, rabbits who are kept indoors should be using a litter tray and therefore your choice of bedding can include anything which makes them comfortable, with fleeces being a popular choice.
For outdoors your choice needs to weight up your rabbit’s comfort as well as practical matters such as liquid absorption, odors, and cleaning.
The range of materials used for rabbit bedding is wide with most of them having attributes relating to comfort, insulation, liquid absorption, cost and odor control, all to varying degrees.
You should choose the one that best meets the criteria most important to you in terms of your rabbit’s welfare.
If odors are an issue, one of the things you should consider is training your rabbit to use a litter tray separate from its bed.
If that is not an option then you should look for bedding types that are the most effective at odor control, which in the case of rabbit bedding tends to be paper-based bedding.
What Rabbit Bedding to Avoid
One type of bedding that you will see many rabbit experts warn you to avoid is untreated softwood shavings from pine and cedar trees.
This is not to be confused with wood shavings from aspen trees which are regarded as safe.
The reason untreated pine and cedar are dangerous to rabbits is that they contain phenols, and when the aroma from those phenols are inhaled by rabbits, it can cause them health issues.
Most notably, the phenols cause a reaction in the liver, and specifically the enzymes that exist in it as they try to break down the phenols.
If your rabbit is on any kind of medication, this reaction can also reduce its effectiveness.
Is bedding good for rabbits?
Bedding is good in a number of ways for rabbits, and not just because it gives them somewhere to sleep comfortably.
It keeps them warm during cold spells, and bedding can help keep a rabbit dry as it can absorb a proportionately large quantity of liquid compared to the rabbit’s size.
What should rabbits sleep on?
The ideal materials that a rabbit should sleep on are those which provide it with a number of benefits, but most important of all, it must be safe.
They will enjoy sleeping on soft, warm and comfortable materials, and if the material is absorbent even better, as it will keep it dry too.
How much bedding does a rabbit need?
The key to how much bedding a rabbit needs, will obviously depend firstly on the size of the rabbit.
Whether the rabbit is big or small, the amount of bedding it has should cover the floor of its cage with a depth of up to 3 inches.
This depth allows the rabbit to snuggle into it in order to keep warm and should make it feel comfortable too.
The amount should also take into consideration the amount of liquid it may potentially need to absorb, again based on the size of the rabbit.
Is pine bedding OK for rabbits?
You will hear conflicting views on whether pine bedding is safe for rabbits.
There are some chemicals within pine that can cause some health problems for rabbits, but this tends to be pine that is untreated.
Where pine has been heat-treated the dangers are all but eliminated and there are rabbit owners who have used this kind of pine bedding for many years without a problem.
Is fleece good bedding for rabbits?
Fleece is great bedding for rabbits due to how warm and comfortable it can be, but it does have a downside.
It is not absorbent and unless your rabbit is trained to use a litter tray, their fleece bedding will need to be washed and changed frequently
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One thing that is clear, there is no shortage of options when it comes to choosing a bedding for your rabbit.
To choose the one that is best for your rabbit, consider its size, whether it uses a litter tray, how often you are prepared to clean their cage, and finally how much you are prepared to spend.
By carefully ticking off each of these as they apply to the types of bedding we’ve covered, you will soon come to the one that suits you, and more importantly, your beloved rabbit.