List of The Best Bedding for Rabbits
Choosing the best bedding for your rabbit will depend on what type of rabbit you have, his or her personality and if your rabbit is caged or is a house rabbit/free roaming. This may sound crazy but if you have a rabbit that digs a lot you do not want a dusty bedding. If your rabbit tends to chew or eat his or her bedding, then you definitely want a bedding that is very safe and easily digested.
- 1 How I utilize rabbit bedding and litter
- 2 Option #1 – Oxbow Pure Comfort Bedding; Natural Paper Bedding
- 3 Option #2 – Small Pet Select; Kiln Dried Pellet Bedding
- 4 Option #3 – Small Pet Select; Aspen Wood Shaving Bedding
- 5 Unsafe bedding – What you should not use for your rabbit
- 6 How often you should clean out your rabbit’s cage or litter box
- 7 How to clean out your rabbit’s cage or litter box
- 8 About the Author
How I utilize rabbit bedding and litter
I have had pet house rabbits for over 20 years and have found it useful to use two different products in my rabbit’s cage/litter pan. I use a layer of non-clumping litter on the bottom and a layer of bedding on top. I believe this is the best system if you have a rabbit that does not dig a lot.
Here is a diagram of what I am talking about.
If your rabbit is a digger then this approach of layering your bedding and litter may not work well. If that is the case you may want to use only bedding. Keep in mind that clumping litter should never be used. You can find more information about the best litter for rabbits here.
My list of bedding options is not an arbitrary array of bedding I wan’t to make a commission on. Each listed bedding is different from the others to meet the needs of different rabbits and pet rabbit owners. You will see as you scroll through all of the options.
Option #1 – Oxbow Pure Comfort Bedding; Natural Paper Bedding
The best qualities this bedding offers is safety and price. Oxbow’s rabbit bedding is made from never printed on natural paper which is safe for your rabbit to consume. Oxbow is my go to brand for most of my rabbit supply needs. They produce quality rabbit products that have the safety, health and welfare of your rabbit in mind unlike most manufactures. This is why I also recommend and feed my rabbits their rabbit pellets.
In addition to being priced competitively this rabbit bedding is:
- Dust free – Rabbits are prone to upper respiratory infections like snuffles so it is important to have a dust free bedding.
- Edible – Not only is this bedding non-toxic it is actually edible. Yes, it is safe for rabbits to eat natural paper (no printing) and cardboard (no printing)since in made up of almost 100% cellulose like many of the vegetables rabbits eat.
- Animal Rescue – Oxbow provides grants to help animals in need by offering grants to animal rescue organizations. It is good to know that your purchase supports a company that gives back.
- Very Absorbent – This type of paper is very absorbance and will hold in odors. I suggest changing out your rabbits litter at least weekly.
- Clean – Many rabbit bedding manufactures have “stuff” randomly mixed in there bedding like wood chips and small particles of unknown material. I have never found anything like that in in this bedding.
- Allergy Friendly – Some pet rabbit owners and even a few rabbits may be allergic to wood based bedding. This is a great option if you have allergiews since it is nothing but untreated paper.
Here is an image, the bedding is tightly compacted in the packaging. Be careful when you cut it open. I suggest cutting a small hole in the packaging and pulling out what you need.
Option #2 – Small Pet Select; Kiln Dried Pellet Bedding
Here is another good option but very different from our first option. These pine wood bedding pellets are safe for your rabbit since they are kiln dried. You never want to use pine or cedar wood chips or pellets that have not been kiln dried because they contain phenols which poisonous to rabbits. Small Pet Select offers quality products that are bunny approved, I really like their hay.
There are some advantages and disadvantages of using this type of bedding for your rabbit.
- Digging – If your rabbit is an aggressive digger then you may want to stick with a lightweight bedding like the Oxbow paper since it is hard for your rabbit to throw it out of his or her cage or litter box.
- Clean up – Cleaning out your rabbits cage is a bit easier with this style of bedding. Put a bag over the end of your rabbits litter pan and dump it it out. Sometimes the lighter weight bedding is harder to get out.
What I like about this type of bedding.
- Absorbency – You will be surprised how well these bedding pellets absorb urine and spilled water.
- Safety – Many people will opt to use wood-stove pellets which may not be safe for your rabbit. This wood bedding is free from any type of chemical additive.
- Odor control – I believe that this product is one the best at controlling odors. After the wood pellets becomes wet they turn into a powder that holds odors in.
Here is an image, the bedding comes in resealable packaging.
Option #3 – Small Pet Select; Aspen Wood Shaving Bedding
If you like using a wood shaving for bedding rather than a pellet or paper-based bedding, then this is what you want. Aspen is a much safer bedding option for rabbits than pine or cedar. These wood shavings come from logs, rather than a refined wood product so you know that they do not contain any added chemicals or substances that could be toxic to your rabbit. In addition to being free of harmful substances the aspen wood shavings are kiln dried which makes them more absorbent, less prone to molding and safer for your rabbit because the kiln drying process removes most oils contained within the wood.
What I love about this bedding.
- Affordable – You get a tone of this bedding for your money. They really pack the wood shavings into this bag so be careful opening it or you will have a giant mess on your hands.
- Safe – Being made from Aspen and kiln dried you have no worries.
- Low Dust – You will not find much dust in this bedding which is great for you and your rabbits health.
Unsafe bedding – What you should not use for your rabbit
There are way more unsafe or bad bedding options out there than there are good ones. This is mostly due to companies trying to make money by selling cheaper bedding options. Most companies that manufacture rabbit focused products do not have a good understanding of what rabbits need or what is safe for them.
Some people suggest using hay as a bedding. This is not a good idea since it is not absorbent, and your rabbit will eat it. Urine soaked hay is not an ideal food for your rabbit. In addition to not using hay as a bedding option you should be using a hay feeder for your rabbit to keep it from being contaminated.
Pine or Cedar wood shavings
Pine, cedar and other soft woods contain a volatile and toxic chemical called “phenol.” There are also other dangers of using soft wood shaving for your pet bunny. Most hardwoods are safe to use, Aspen is the most common. Therefore I listed it as one of the best bedding options for rabbits in the above list.
Treated and colored paper
Natural paper and cardboard are safe options for your rabbit but there are numerous bedding products that contain refined paper, colored paper and cardboard with printing on it. Inks, dies and other chemicals can be harmful to your rabbit. Natural paper and cardboard are made up of mostly cellulose, the same material that most vegetables contain that your rabbit already eats.
Cat litter, especially clumping litter should never be used as a bedding for your rabbit. If he or she ingests this type of litter it can swell up inside them and cause death. If you have a rabbit that does not dig, I am okay with using a unscented, non-clumping, natural clay litter under your rabbits bedding. I believe this is the most sanitary litter box/cage set up.
Other unsafe bedding products
It would be impossible for me to list every bedding out there that is not the best for your rabbit. Remember to stay away from scented bedding, dyes, and unnatural substances. Also keep in mind that just because something is natural that does not mean it is necessarily safe.
How often you should clean out your rabbit’s cage or litter box
It is particularly important that you keep your rabbits cage or litter box clean and free of odors. Rabbits urine contains high amounts of ammonia which smells bad and can cause respiratory problems for your rabbit.
At a minimum you should be cleaning out your rabbits bedding once a week if not twice. My rabbits are house rabbits, meaning then run free all the time in my house and use their cage as a litter pan basically. The point is that if you have a house rabbit, they spend extraordinarily little time in their cage as opposed to a rabbit that stays in a cage most of the time. If your rabbit is locked up a lot, it is especially important to change their bedding often to prevent respiratory damage from urine build up.
How to clean out your rabbit’s cage or litter box
I suggest dumping all the bedding that is in your rabbit’s cage rather than trying to sift through it all. I take the cage portion off and slide a plastic trash bag over the end of the litter box and dump everything out. Have some type of scrapper handy because some of the bedding may stick to the bottom of the pan. After you dump out your rabbits bedding replace with new, about 2 to 4 inches deep and you are good to go.
Remember to clean out your rabbit’s cage and bedding when your rabbit is somewhere else. Your rabbit sees his or her cage as “their property” and may not like you messing with it. As small and cute as rabbits are, they are still animals and are very territorial.
About the Author
My name is Vanessa and I love my buns. My current house rabbit is Mr. Bunny, he is a black and white Dutch that just turned 9 years old.
I believe that rabbits are a magnificent animal that make great pets for SOME people. My mission is to share what I have learned about rabbits over the past 20 years to improve the relationship between our pets and us. Please contact me or comment if you have any questions or comments.