Last updated on October 31st, 2018 at 05:56 am
Taking good care of your rabbit is essential for its being healthy, clean, live longer, and be happy. Whereas many people invest in safe housing for their bunnies, groom them daily, and provide them with the right diet, they often forget to give them sleeping bedding (both for indoor and outdoor bunnies).
When it comes to bedding, you have two options, line the whole cage with the bedding or have a compartment in your hutch where the rabbit can escape and sleep. The second option will need a bigger cage size.
The bedding should be soft and comfortable to allow your bunnies to burrow, sleep and play on it. Also, it should prevent sores on legs.
What should you look for in rabbit bedding?
An good bedding should possess several attributes which include:
- Control odor: An odor control mechanism is fundamental to avoid foul smells from your hutches, especially the ammonia smell from urine. For instance, the Vitakraft Fresh World Bedding is a formula which can control odor for up to 14 days making it one of the best rabbit bedding for odor control.
- Safe: Since your bunnies will spend a lot of time on them, they should not affect their health in any way such as being toxic or causing some illnesses.
- Absorbent: This is an essential consideration as they should be able to absorb anything thrown at them. This will benefit not only you but also your bunnies as they will remain cleaner, drier and comfortable.
- Comfortable: Be comfortable to them since your bunnies will spend the most time on them.
- Eco-friendly: Go for the renewable, sustainable, and biodegradable to avoid adverse impact on the environment.
- Dust free: They should be free of dust since dust will make grooming your rabbits cumbersome.
Besides the above, other factors such as availability, durability, affordability, being edible, ink-free, and so on should be factored in to ensure you go for only the best.
Best bedding for rabbit alternatives and ideas
When it comes to what you can use as bedding for your rabbits, you have a long list. However, it is essential to ensure your choice does not affect your rabbit’s health or make grooming it difficult.
Some of the popular options you could go for include:
1. Newspaper and paper shavings
It is readily available and affordable. Unfortunately, when bored, some bunnies can tear it apart, and if much newspaper is ingested it may not be 100% safe since it has ink. Therefore, ensure the ink is non-toxic.
Alternatively, you can put some hay or straws over your newspaper or shred it into smaller pieces
2. Wood pellets for rabbits
These are commonly used in a cat’s litter tray. They can also be great rabbit bedding pellets since they have superior absorbency but tends to swell and break down if it becomes too wet. Also, their heavy weight makes them not so ideal for larger areas.
3. Paper pellets or paper pulp bedding
They are like wood pellets but are of lightweight, do not expand much when they absorb liquids, are eco-friendly and safe. They are made from recycled newspapers.
4. Megazorb for rabbits
The Hay Experts, UK, states that is made from “a virgin wood pulp product which is taken and dried at a high temperature (500oC). This kills off the chance of any molds, spores or bacteria being present in the bedding.”
Besides being sterilized, this natural dried wood pulp is dust-free, has superior absorbency abilities (10 times better than hay), helps regulate odor (absorbs odor), is biodegradable and environment-friendly.
5. Shredded cardboard
It is an excellent alternative to the newspaper, has a good absorbency level, it is eco-friendly and will insulate your bunnies well. Ensure the specific cardboard is safe.
Hay is popularly used by many rabbit keepers and easy to find. It is comfortable, cozy, edible and a lot cheaper. Before using it, ensure your hay is dry, free of molds, dust and smells sweet. It is the most recommended together with straws.
Straw will provide a very comfortable surface for your bunnies to rest on, it is warm and offers excellent insulation.
8. Wood shavings
You can also use hardwood shavings. Besides, aspen, the hardwood shavings such as spruce, fir, hemlock can also be used.
9. What about Aspen
You have heard of aspen bedding for rabbits such as the Kaytee Aspen Bedding Bag and Green Pet Aspen Supreme Pellets Pet and Bird All-Natural by Kaytee. This is nothing other than pellets, chips, shavings and fine shaving obtained from the aspen tree. You can use it to make your bunny’s bedding.
What to avoid – pine and cedar
Studies have revealed that the use of softwood shavings especially pine and cedar to be harmful to your bunnies which according to Rabbit.org causes “alterations in the liver’s enzymes, which can alter your rabbit’s ability to handle standard drug” that a vet will use to treat your bunny if it is unwell.
Most affected drugs include xylazine, ketamine, dexamethasone, butorphanol, theophylline, among others. Secondly, they are believed to increase cancer risks, something has little concrete evidence.
Some sources discourage the use of corn cob bedding as “isn’t absorbent and doesn’t control odor, and has the risk of being eaten and casing a lethal blockage.”
Best commercial rabbit bedding
Besides making your bedding at home, you can get some of the best brands in the market some of which are also the best rabbit bedding for odor control include:
- Small Pet Select Premium Soft Paper – It is ink-free, expandable, and safe.
- Vitakraft Fresh World Strength Crumble Bedding for Small Animals – eco-friendly, excellent absorbent, safe, easy to clean, les messy, and controls odor.
- Healthy Pet HPCC Natural – Odor controlling, almost dust-free, excellent absorbent and expands in volume.
- Kaytee Clean & Cozy Colored Small Animal – Great absorbency ability, dust-free, odor control and great color.
- Carefresh Complete Natural Paper Bedding Confetti – Eco-friendly, absorbent, dust-free and controls odor.
- Kaytee Soft Granule Blend – Highly absorbent, comfortable, safe, dust-free
The list of best bunny bedding is endless. However, before buying any, do some online research, see what users are saying about them and consult your vet on what will be ideal.
Using, care and cleaning
Typically, the bedding should be lined to form a thick cushion, and the depth of the lining depends on the size of your bunny. For normal-sized rabbits, put them to depths of 5 to 6 inches. Larger bunnies will need more material.
Rabbit bedding should be checked daily. Spot-clean any dirty parts (scoop out and replace soiled areas). This will help reduce chances of flystrike, especially in warmer seasons.
Once a week or as you will find necessary, replace the bedding and thoroughly clean their hutches.
Where to buy them?
There are many places to get bedding for your bunny which include your local pet stores, at Walmart, or online stores such as Amazon.com, Chewy.com, eBay.com, Vetuk.co.uk, among others.
Also, use search engines as well as sites such as OLX to locate any sellers around you.
Although buying in bulk will be affordable, if not well stored, they can be unsuitable especially if they grow molds.