The best bedding you can give your rabbit is one that is warm and comfortable, particularly if you keep your rabbit outside. In the wild, rabbits live underground in warrens where the temperature does not vary between the winter and summer months. Even if you have an indoor rabbit, bedding is good for their sleeping area to make them feel safe and at home.
When choosing a type of bunny bedding, make sure it has the following qualities:
Safe to eat - rabbits will chew pretty much anything so their bedding material must be safe to eat.
Dust free - rabbits have very delicate noses so dust can cause respiratory problems and can also irritate the skin of your rabbit.
Absorbent - bedding you can place in the litter tray as well as use around the hutch is a great way to absorb urine. This will help prevent urine scalding from occurring.
Straw is ideal to use as bedding as it is made up of hollow strands that trap warm air. Compared with hay, straw is dried stalks taken from grain crops which makes it more suitable to use in your rabbit’s sleeping area as it is warmer than hay and is less likely to be eaten. When choosing straw bedding, make sure it is good quality, dust-extracted and smells sweet and fresh - just the same as when you are choosing hay for your rabbit. Also, look for labels detailing the softness of the straw as spiky straw can cause damage to the rabbit’s delicate eyes.
There are some wood-based rabbit shavings available such as Aspen and Pine which are both good options as they are highly absorbent and soft. It is important however to choose high-quality, heat-dried wood shavings as Pine contains phenols which can affect your rabbit’s liver so choosing the treated type can make this a safer material for your rabbit’s bedding. Cedar wood shavings should be avoided as it can cause health issues if your rabbit chews it or inhales its dust.
If you choose to use sawdust for rabbits, it is best to use these to line the outside of an enclosure as sawdust can give off dust, hurting your rabbit’s delicate eyes and lungs. In a well-ventilated area, sawdust is good as an absorbing toilet litter but makes for quite a cleanup job when the time comes to clean out your rabbit.
Paper bedding comes in a variety of types, namely shredded paper, pellets and compressed paper. This type of bedding is usually inexpensive and is virtually dust free. Paper won’t cause digestive issues if your rabbit was to eat it and it is also highly absorbent. Many paper bedding options are good for the environment too. Back-2-Nature Small Animal Bedding and Litter for example is made from 99% recycled paper. It is also important to make sure the paper bedding has never been printed on with ink, glue or dyes.
Some forms of paper are better than others but one of the disadvantages to this type of bedding is that it is not as good at controlling odour, so bear this in mind if you choose this option - it may not be the best for an indoor rabbit that shares your home!
Cat litter may seem like an obvious choice of bedding, especially if you aim to litter train your rabbit but many types of cat litter can actually be dangerous for your pet. Clay cat litters release a lot of dust and crystal cat litters can be poisonous to your rabbit. Clumping cat litters will cause fatal blockages in your rabbit’s digestive system and litters which are used for odour control contain chemicals that are harmful when ingested by rabbits.
In the FirstVet shop, you will find an extensive range of rabbit bedding to keep your bunny warm and comfortable.