Do Rabbits Really Need Bedding?

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do rabbits really need bedding

Wild rabbits stay in warrens, dens, or holes in the ground.

Unlike their indoor or domesticated counterparts, wild rabbits line their burrows with fur and warm natural materials.

Do rabbits really need bedding? Rabbit bedding is a recommended requirement in a litter box but an optional one in a cage. Maze rug down and seagrass make excellent bedding for chewers while towels and mats are recommended for non-chewers. 

Many types of rabbit beddings are available, each with distinct advantages and disadvantages.

It is essential to know the best type of bedding for your rabbit, the bedding materials available for rabbits, and factors to consider when choosing rabbit bedding.

Beddings for Rabbits

A good cage and food are not the only things your rabbit needs. Bunnies also need to feel warm, safe, and comfortable.

Beddings help rabbits to live longer, healthier lives. The beddings must be non-toxic because rabbits often feed on them.

Some of the best options for rabbit beddings include hay, shredded paper, and specialists litter.

When choosing bedding materials for your rabbits, consider cost and how often it needs to be changed.

Private Bedroom

Like humans, rabbits require a private sleeping area in their hutches. Your rabbit will be more comfortable in its hutch if it has a dedicated sleeping area.

Rabbits usually sleep at night as well as in the afternoon or early evening. They are more likely to sleep at dusk and dawn.

Many factors may affect a rabbit’s sleep, including noise from the environment and disturbance in their hutches.

A clean cardboard box turned to its side can make an excellent sleeping area for a rabbit.

When creating a special bedroom for your rabbit, make sure it dark, warm, shielded, and enclosed.

In addition, provide them with appropriate bedding inside their special bedroom.

What to Consider When Choosing Rabbit Bedding

Essential factors to consider when choosing rabbit bedding is their breed and possible health complications.

Common health problems in rabbits include overgrown or misaligned teeth and ear mites.

Rabbits require excellent care and attention to minimize the risks of health complications.

Consider several factors when choosing a bedding for your rabbit.

Odor Control

Rabbits can be quite smelly and messy. Therefore, choose rabbit bedding that provides excellent odor control.

Some rabbit beddings feature built-in odor control to eliminate bad odors.

Absorbent Materials

Consider the absorbency of the bedding material. Absorbent bedding eliminates the need for frequent changing.

Absorbent materials also make the rabbit hutch cleaner and more comfortable.

In addition, such bedding materials are suitable for both play and sleep.

Safety

Some rabbit bedding can be toxic to the animal.

Rabbits can spend significant amounts of their time lounging, sitting, and lying on their beddings.

It is essential to choose rabbit bedding that is safe and harmless to the pet.

Dust-Free

Choose dust-free beddings for your rabbit because they are easier and quicker to change.

Dust-free beddings promote the respiratory health of your rabbit.

Comfort

Rabbits spend significant amounts of their time sleeping and lying on their bedding.

Therefore, make sure the bedding you choose for them will make them comfortable and relaxed.

Feel the bedding to find out if it is soft enough for your rabbit. Make sure the bedding does not have sharp or coarse objects that may harm your rabbit.

Environmentally Friendly

Choose eco-friendly beddings, especially if you have multiple rabbits. Eco-friendly beddings are best for the environment and your rabbit.

Environmentally friendly beddings are biodegradable and can be made into compost.

Eco-friendly beddings do not have adverse effects on the environment.

Rabbits Eating Their Beddings

rabbits eating their beddings

Rabbits can eat almost anything, including their beddings. They often chew objects for play and for filing their teeth down.

Consider the fact that rabbits may chew their bedding. Therefore, choose bedding that is not likely to block the intestines of your bunny once eaten.

Avoid rabbit beddings that may potentially expand in the stomach. Also, the bedding material must be non-toxic.

It is normal to see rabbits nibble on their beds occasionally.  However, choose a suitable bedding material if your rabbits are compulsive chewers.

Provide your rabbit with chew toys to prevent them from eating their beddings. Consider giving them extra hay to chew.

Popular Rabbit Bedding Options

Many rabbit bedding options are available on the market. The best option is determined by your rabbit breed and your living arrangement.

A good rabbit bedding should make your pet feel secure and comfortable.

In case your pet does not like the bedding you have chosen for it, consider moving it to a different location.

Pets sometimes reject their homes not because of their quality but because of their location.

Some of the common rabbit bedding options include:

  • Fabric beds
  • Wooden beds
  • Towels and rugs
  • Baskets
  • Grass mats

Plush Beds

Plush or fabric beds are soft, cuddly, and available in different shapes, sizes, and designs.

Although many people buy them for dogs and cats, they are also suitable for rabbits.

Choose plush beds with removable and washable covers.

Try the flatter designs first because some rabbits may not like this type of bedding.

Towels or Rugs

These are excellent alternatives for plush beds or fabrics.

Some of the advantages of this type of bedding are they are comfortable and even allow your rabbit to stand on properly.

Towels rugs are low maintenance and washable.

Fleece fabrics and blankets make excellent rabbit bedding options because they do not require sewing and do not fray.

Choose anti-pill fleece because of its high quality and durability.

Baskets

This excellent rabbit bedding is suitable for bunnies that do not chew or pee on furniture.

It may be made of:

  • Seagrass
  • Plastic
  • Willow

Basket beddings feature an entrance and come in different shapes, including oval, round, and square.

Choose baskets that are designed for pets and not for decoration.

A good basket for your bunny should be made of non-toxic materials.

To enhance comfort, place a fleece blanket inside the basket.

Grass Mats

This type of bedding is:

  • Comfortable
  • Non-toxic
  • Suitable for play

Hammocks

Funny as it sounds, some rabbits enjoy staying on a bed.

An excellent hammock design for a rabbit will feature a mini side table on top of the hammock.

Many hammocks come with metal hooks on each end to fasten them to the frame.

However, this rabbit bedding is most suitable for small breeds.

Best Bedding for Baby Rabbits

best bedding for baby rabbits

Beddings for young rabbits are critical to their overall health.

Rabbits younger than six months old have their babyfurs and need to be kept warm.

Use cozy bedding for baby rabbits until they reach maturity when they can maintain their body temperatures.

The body temperature of a baby rabbit should not go below 101 degrees Fahrenheit to allow them to be comfortable and sleep better.

The bedding material for baby rabbits should be absorbent. Baby rabbits pee so many times because they still have not learned to control their bladders.

Training baby rabbits to pee outside their homes is not easy due to their short attention spans. Therefore, look for absorbent and affordable beddings for your baby rabbits.

Best Bedding for Adult Rabbits

Healthy adult rabbits do not have many requirements for their beddings.

They can maintain their body temperatures and can learn to be comfortable in different environments.

Choose comfortable and safe beddings for your adult rabbits. Also, consider the personalities of your adult rabbits when choosing their beddings. 

Best Bedding for Senior Rabbits

Senior rabbits may spend significant amounts of their time in bed. They are often disinterested in play and exercise.

Consider comfort when looking for beddings for senior rabbits. Older rabbits are often sickly, which is why they require comfortable beddings.

Senior rabbits are also more prone to joint problems than younger bunnies. Therefore, their beddings should be as smooth and soft as possible.

Older rabbits have compromised immune systems and can be adversely affected when they become sick. Make sure their beddings are non-toxic, warm, and free of irritants.

What Rabbits Like to Sleep On

Rabbits enjoy sleeping in comfortable environments.

There are several beddings options that your rabbit will enjoy sleeping on, including:

  • Sand
  • Shredded paper
  • Hay
  • Aspen

Shredded Paper

This type of bedding is probably one of the easiest and most affordable to make.

Feed standard, plain paper through a shredder, and then use the shreds as rabbit bedding.

Shredded paper is absorbent and provides excellent odor control.

On the downside, this type of bedding can create a mess if it gets blown around.

Sand

This type of bedding is affordable and supports the paw health of rabbits. On its own, sand does not promote the growth of pathogens.

Sand is extremely comfortable as a bedding material for bunnies. In addition, it can be reused and has low bacterial counts.

Aspen

Significant advantages of this type of bedding are it’s soft and absorbent. This rabbit bedding is suitable for young rabbits that pee often.

Aspen provides excellent thermal insulation and increases the lying time of rabbits. Also, aspen is easy on the paws of bunnies.

This bedding material is ideal for people who value odor control. However, it may cling on to your bunny and get dragged around the house.

Hay

Most rabbits will prefer to sleep on hay because it is soft and something they can play with. This type of bedding can be grown on a farm or backyard.

Despite its popularity as a bedding material, hay has its drawbacks. It can be sticky and messy, especially when it mixes with rabbit waste and pee.

Hay may not be the best bedding material for promoting the paw health of bunnies.

What You Shouldn’t Use as Rabbit Bedding

Some materials are dangerous or toxic and should not be used as rabbit beddings.

It is not advisable to use these materials as rabbit bedding:

  • Cat litter
  • Cardboard
  • Straw
  • Sawdust
  • Newspapers
  • Wood shavings

Cat Litter

Although this type of bedding is soft and comfortable, it is not the safest option for rabbits. Bunnies that nibble on cat litter may die if they swallow it.

Cat litter is also dusty and may cause allergic reactions in rabbits and humans; an important consideration if you have asthmatic family members.

Straw

Some people use this bedding material as an alternative for hay. Straw is an irritant that can also dye and stain the fur of your rabbits.

This bedding material can also be costly because it requires a significant amount to make a standard bed. Also, straw is lightweight and can easily be blown around the house.

Sawdust

Some animals like to sleep on sawdust because of its softness. However, sawdust can irritate the rabbits’ eyes and noses.

Although sawdust is absorbent and non-palatable, it needs to be changed frequently. Sawdust is also highly flammable and not recommended for use in hot climates.

Cardboard

This material makes excellent bedding for many types of animals. However, bunnies like to chew on cardboard, which can be a choking hazard.

Cardboard can provide an excellent environment for worms, which may affect the overall health of your bunny and the cleanliness of its hutch.

Wood Shavings

Although aspen makes excellent bedding material for rabbits, pine and cedarwood shavings do not.

They can have detrimental effects on the liver and respiratory health of your bunny.

It is also not advisable to use generic wood shavings. It is difficult to tell the source of generic wood shaving and whether it is safe for your bunny.

Newspaper

Rabbits like to eat paper, including ink-printed newspapers, which could be harmful to the rabbits.

Blankets and Pillows for Rabbits

Rabbits enjoy sleeping on soft and comfortable materials. Consider providing your bunnies with pillows and blankets.

Some animals may require extra bedding cover during winter. However, avoid providing your rabbits with too many blankets and pillows because the bunnies can quickly overheat.

Make sure the pillows and blankets you provide your rabbit are safe.

This means:

  • The blankets should not have holes in it. The small paws of a rabbit may become trapped in blanket holes and cause undue stress and anxiety to the animal
  • Avoid wrapping the rabbit too tightly in a blanket because it may obstruct breathing. It may also cause stress to the bunny
  • Avoid giving the bunny a dense blanket. Rabbits grow a thick fur during winter to keep them warm.

A dense blanket will make them feel excessively hot and uncomfortable.

  • Blankets can be choking hazards because bunnies like to chew on them

A pillow is unnecessary for a bunny. The sleeping positions of a rabbit do not necessitate the need for a pillow.

Why Rabbits Pee on their Bedding

Rabbits pee on their beds for several reasons:

  • They confuse the bed for a litter
  • They are marking their territory
  • They are unwell
  • They are stressed

Consider changing the bedding if your rabbit confuses it for a litter. Rabbits should not sleep on excessive amounts of their urine.

Rabbits often feel the need to mark their territories when they feel insecure.

If there are two rabbits in close proximity, they may be marking their territories to prove dominance.

If there are no other rabbits in close proximity, the rabbit may be marking its territory to prove their dominance over you.

Consider playing with the rabbit more often to establish familiarity and friendship.

Odor Control

Unlike many animals, rabbits do not sweat; they keep themselves clean by licking their furs.

Body odor in rabbits is quite rare, but their urine can have a significantly strong smell.

You will know when your rabbit pees in its hutch. Choose absorbent bedding material for your rabbit.

Different types of bedding offer odor control. However, aspen and shredded paper are some of the most absorbent.

Although hay provides excellent odor control, it needs to be changed regularly. Avoid using scented rabbit litter because they could be toxic when swallowed.

How Long Rabbit Beddings Last

The rabbit hutch needs to be clean, but changing a rabbit bedding is a careful balancing act.

Rabbits become more comfortable in environments with familiar scents.

Changing the bedding too frequently may cause rabbit stress and anxiety.

Consider changing the rabbit bedding two times per week.

You do not need to clean the entire hutch, remove the extra bedding, and top up with fresh ones.

Hay should be changed more frequently than other bedding materials.

If the hay bedding is left intact for a prolonged period before changing, it could cause the growth of mold.

Be sure to check the sleeping area of the rabbit hutch frequently and remove soiled beddings immediately.

Cost of Rabbit Bedding

The cost of rabbit bedding is determined by the material you use and how often it needs to be changed.

Some bedding materials are more expensive than others are.

Towels only require regular cleaning, while other types of bedding materials need to be purchased regularly.

Specialist rabbit litter or pellets are some of the most expensive rabbit bedding materials.

However, they offer excellent odor control and absorbency.

A cheaper option is shredded paper, which is much easier to acquire, provided you have a shredder and plain paper.

On the other hand, hay is relatively affordable, but it requires frequent changing.

Biodegradable Rabbit Bedding

Many types of rabbit beddings are biodegradable or compostable.

It is essential to check whether the bedding you are buying is compostable or not.

Fortunately, you can also compost bunny wastes, but it is not advisable to allow a compost heap to comprise more than 25 percent rabbit feces.

do rabbits really need bedding

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