What is the best bedding for rabbits?
We’ve always used fresh hay for our rabbits’ bedding. We also have sheep and horses on our property which means we already have a good supply of hay on hand, so that’s what the rabbits get as well. The best part is that it’s cheap, safe, and healthy bedding for rabbits!
Paper-based options may also be a good choice due to their absorbency and low dust content. Aspen bedding is another viable option as it lacks harmful phenols found in some wood beddings. Fleece blankets may work well for house rabbits due to their softness and warmth. However, rabbits’ preferences can vary, so it’s important to monitor your rabbit’s behavior with any new bedding. Always avoid cedar or pine shavings and any bedding with added fragrances or treatments due to potential health risks.
Best Bedding For Rabbits
Meadow Hay Bedding For Bunnies
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Natural Paper Safe Rabbit Bedding
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Luftpets Rabbit Cage Liner
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Only use bedding products and materials that are safe and designed for rabbits. There are products that are often used which are not as safe as others, and may even toxic for bunnies.
Also, think about how easily a product can be disposed of… while some bedding, like hay and paper material, can simply be thrown onto the compost heap, other products, like cat litter, will need to be disposed of carefully (and should not even be used for rabbits).
The best bedding material may also depend on your rabbit breed, so if you’ve got a rare one make sure you dig a little deeper.
Our bunny Annie sleeps and relaxes in her rabbit travel carrier that is always filled with hay – that means she can have a little nibble whenever she feels like it. It’s also easy to change, get rid of, and it basically costs us nothing as she uses so little of it and keeps it clean.
Here are 7 recommended rabbit bedding materials that can be bought online. However, where possible, try and find a local source of hay. That will help keep the price down and we think it’s best for a rabbit to eat a diet that’s grown nearby.
1. Timothy Hay Bunny Bedding
Timothy hay is a type of grass hay that’s very popular and highly beneficial for rabbits. Its importance lies in both its nutritional value and its impact on the dental health of rabbits.
Nutritionally, timothy hay is a great source of long-strand fiber, which is essential for a rabbit’s digestive health. It helps keep the gastrointestinal tract of rabbits functioning properly. It also contains necessary vitamins and minerals and provides a low-protein, low-calcium diet, which is ideal for adult rabbits.
On the dental aspect, rabbits have teeth that grow continuously throughout their lives. The act of chewing hay helps grind down their teeth naturally and prevent overgrowth, which can lead to serious health problems. Because of these benefits, a rabbit’s diet should consist primarily of hay – many experts recommend that it makes up about 80% of the diet. Timothy hay is often a preferred choice, but other types of grass hays, like orchard or brome, can also be used to provide some variety.
It’s important to ensure that the hay is fresh and of high quality. It should be green and smell sweet, not moldy or dusty. Hay can be bought in pet stores or online in large bales or smaller bags. It should be available for rabbits to eat at all times.
Some of the benefits of Kaytee Timothy Hay:
- No artificial flavors or colors
- A good ratio of leaf and stem
- Supports rabbit urinary health
- Comes with a small number of dehydrated veggies (such as carrots) throughout for extra nibbling incentive
2. Alfalfa Hay Rabbit Bedding
Alfalfa hay is a legume hay that’s known for its high protein, fiber, and calcium content. It’s typically given to young rabbits under the age of one, nursing or pregnant does, or rabbits that need to gain weight due to its rich nutritional value. However, for adult rabbits, it’s often recommended to provide a grass hay like timothy, as alfalfa’s high protein and calcium content can potentially lead to obesity and urinary issues if fed in large quantities over time.
In addition to being a food source, alfalfa hay can also be used as a bedding material for rabbits. It’s soft, comfortable, and can be eaten, which makes it a beneficial environment, especially for young or nursing rabbits. However, it’s important to note that while alfalfa hay can provide a comfortable space for rabbits to rest and nibble, it is not particularly good at absorbing moisture or controlling odor, which are two of the main functions of a bedding material. Therefore, if used as bedding, it should be changed frequently to maintain cleanliness and avoid any health issues that can arise from damp, dirty living conditions.
Regular cleaning and removal of soiled hay is essential when using it as bedding. Also, it can be a bit more expensive than other bedding options, so it may not be a practical choice for every pet owner.
Benefits of Oxbow Alfalfa Hay for bunnies:
- It is a safe and natural US grown product
- Dedusted to prevent respiratory issues
- Good ratio of stalks and leaves
3. Meadow Hay Bedding For Rabbits
Meadow hay is a fantastic option for rabbits, serving as both a crucial part of their diet and a comfortable bedding material. As a food source, meadow hay is high in fiber, which is vital for maintaining a healthy digestive system in rabbits. Being a blend of different grasses, meadow hay offers a variety of flavors and textures that rabbits tend to enjoy, encouraging their natural foraging behavior.
As a bedding material, meadow hay creates a natural, cozy, and safe environment for rabbits. It’s soft underfoot and safe to eat, should your pet decide to nibble. Oxbow’s Meadow Hay, grown and harvested in the USA, offers a premium quality choice for your pet. Hand-sorted and hand-packed with care, their meadow hay meets the specific nutritional requirements of rabbits, offering a high fiber content crucial for a healthy digestive system and dental health.
This hay is all-natural, without any additives or binders, and its quality and safety are trusted and recommended by leading veterinarians worldwide. Moreover, Oxbow’s Meadow Hay is certified organic, grown without the use of any chemicals, further ensuring the well-being of your rabbit. As with any bedding, remember to clean and change the hay regularly to keep your rabbit’s environment clean and hygienic.
Benefits of Oxbow BeneTerra Organic Meadow Hay:
- It is organic naturally grown grass
- High in fiber
- Contains a variety of grass hays for different flavors and textures
4. Chemical Free Paper Safe Bedding
Paper bedding is a popular choice for rabbit owners for many good reasons. For one, it’s soft and comfortable for rabbits to lie on. Paper bedding is also highly absorbent, effectively managing odor and keeping the cage dry. Because it’s made from paper, it’s also relatively dust-free, which is crucial for maintaining the respiratory health of your rabbit. Plus, most paper bedding is reasonably safe if accidentally ingested, and it’s biodegradable, making it a good choice for environmentally conscious pet owners.
Small Pet Select Animal Bedding Paper is designed with your rabbit’s needs in mind. The bedding is made from 100% unbleached virgin fiber, ensuring that no harmful chemicals or additives come in contact with your pet. This paper, which is made in the USA, has never been printed on and breaks down easily and organically.
The bedding is not just comfortable; it’s also super absorbent, helping with odor control without the use of any artificial scents. This makes it a safe and healthy choice for your rabbit’s habitat. The product is designed to be used by lining the bedding inside the pet’s habitat and replacing it as used. It’s recommended that damp or soiled areas be removed and replaced every one to two days, as damp bedding can cause urine scald.
Moreover, Small Pet Select is a family-owned company that prioritizes quality and safety in their products. They handpick each product to deliver the safest, most effective, and highest-quality pet essentials. This dedication to quality and care is apparent in their Premium Small Animal Bedding Paper, making it a great choice for your rabbit’s bedding needs.
Features of this product:
- Made from unbleached paper
- Expands greatly upon opening
- Soft on rabbit’s feet
- Comfortable to sleep in
5. Aspen Rabbit Bedding
Aspen bedding is a good choice for rabbits due to its numerous benefits. It’s a type of hardwood bedding that is known to be safe for these animals, as it doesn’t emit potentially harmful oils or aromatic compounds like some other woods. This bedding is also known for being absorbent and excellent at odor control, thus keeping your rabbit’s environment clean and fresh. Moreover, aspen shavings are relatively dust-free, which is beneficial for rabbits’ sensitive respiratory systems. The bedding also provides a comfortable, natural-feeling environment for rabbits to live and play in.
Kaytee Aspen Bedding is a product that reflects all these benefits. This bedding is made with natural aspen shavings, processed to eliminate dust and wood debris that can be found in other types of bedding. It contains no aromatic oils or inks, ensuring that it is safe for your rabbit. The bedding can be used in all kinds of cages, aquariums, and even Kaytee CritterTrail products, showcasing its versatility. Although it’s suitable for a variety of small animals, its properties make it particularly ideal for rabbits. Kaytee’s dedication to providing a clean, safe, and comfortable environment for your pet is evident in its Aspen Bedding product.
Benefits of Kaytee Aspen Bedding:
- Hardwood bedding that’s compostable/biodegradable
- No aromatic oils or inks like newspaper or other types of wood shavings
- Can be used in all cages for rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, and rats
- Less dust that alternative wood beddings
6. Luftpets Rabbit Cage Liner
Reusable bedding, like the Luftpets Guinea Pig Cage Liner, provides several key benefits for your rabbit’s hutch, cage, or run. This type of bedding is not only more eco-friendly than disposable options, but also cost-effective in the long run, as it can be washed and reused instead of being replaced frequently.
The Luftpets Liner is crafted from soft and durable polyester fabric, providing a luxurious and comfortable surface for your rabbit. Its extra-absorbent design swiftly wicks away moisture, keeping your rabbit’s habitat dry and helping control odors. The waterproof bottom layer adds an extra layer of protection, preventing any potential leaks or messes from reaching the cage floor.
The Luftpets Guinea Pig Cage Liner is a high-quality product that emphasizes both comfort and hygiene for your rabbit. The liner is machine-washable, allowing for easy maintenance and reduced hassle of constant replacements. Its non-slip bottom ensures that it stays securely in place, providing stability as your rabbit moves and plays around.
Designed to be used in various types of small animal habitats, this product is versatile and functional. The liner can withstand up to 200 washes, emphasizing its durability and long-lasting nature. Its absorbent and waterproof properties, along with its easy maintenance, make it an excellent choice for your rabbit’s bedding needs. Choose the Luftpets Guinea Pig Cage Liner for a cozy, clean, and convenient bedding solution for your rabbit.
Benefits of Luftpets reusable liner:
- Eco-friendly and cost-effective
- High-quality material
- Super absorbent and waterproof
- Easy maintenance
- Secure and stable
7. Eco-Bedding For Rabbits
Eco-bedding is another top-tier bedding option specially designed for small animals, including rabbits. It’s produced from 100% recycled paper, which undergoes a patented process of cutting and folding to create an exceptional bedding material. Notably, eco-bedding excels in absorbency, with the ability to hold up to 3.1 times its weight in water. This absorption from the bottom up keeps the top layer dry for longer, ensuring your rabbit always has a dry surface to live on. Its ease of spot cleaning and high absorbency extends the duration between bedding changes, making it an efficient choice.
The benefits of eco-bedding extend to health as well. The cleanly cut 1/8-inch strips of paper fibers virtually eliminate dust, drastically reducing the risk of respiratory ailments and allergies for animals with sensitive respiratory systems, and also benefiting people with asthma or allergies. The soft, springy paper strands form a comfortable mat that remains dry against the animal for added comfort.
Eco-bedding is safe, non-sticking, and allows for burrowing and tunneling, catering to animals’ natural behaviors. The consistency and high quality are ensured by its controlled manufacturing process. With the added bonus of being easy to dispose of, economical, 100% recyclable, and biodegradable, eco-bedding ticks all the boxes for a sustainable and health-conscious bedding choice for your rabbit.
What’s great about it?
- It is dust-free
- Extremely absorbent
- One pack goes a long way
- Helps mask the usual smells if your bunny uses it as a toilet
Best Rabbits Bedding
The best rabbit bedding has the following features to it.
Use natural products without harsh chemicals and additives. This is why our preferred rabbit bedding is the likes of timothy hay, alfalfa hay, or meadow hay.
When it comes to hay, try and get one that is organic and from a spray-free field. Grass that has pesticides and herbicides used on it isn’t good for rabbits.
Using dust-free products will be best for your rabbit’s health. They are less likely to have breathing and/or liver problems if you keep away from dusty materials.
We think it’s best if your rabbit’s bedding can be eaten. Our bunnies love just sitting in their hutch and nibbling away at their bedding. They can’t do this if their bedding is paper, pellets, wood shavings, or other non-grass substances.
If you are solely looking for rabbit bedding, this isn’t so important.
Rabbits will only use a certain area for a toilet. Our bunnies for example, if they are outside, have quite a large run. They won’t ever go to the toilet in their bed but will go outside against the side of their rabbit run or their outdoor hutch.
When they are in their inside area, they have a toilet box they go in, and again, they won’t use their bed for a toilet. We don’t use an indoor hutch when they’re inside – they are just free-ranging.
Again, not so important if you’re just looking for bedding. Rabbits are very clean animals and don’t put off a lot of odor if they are well kept.
Straws and hays are not the best at masking smell if rabbits are using them as a toilet, but they are very good for bedding. At least rabbits are easily toilet trained, though some pet owners can have trouble with rabbits peeing on them.
You don’t want to have to spend a fortune on your bunny bedding, and you don’t need to. While you can purchase a lot of these products online through the links we’ve included, often your local pet store will have bags of hay a lot cheaper.
Alternatively, do you have any friends that have hay for other animals that you could buy a bale of hay off every once in a while?
A bale of hay will last a long time for rabbit bedding and litter material – we’d only go through one bale a year and maybe it costs $15 – $20. If you did want to buy hay for rabbit bedding, the Oxbox rabbit food range is worth checking out.
Unsafe Bedding For Rabbits
Here is a list of unsafe and just plain bad rabbit bedding.
Avoid these products if at all possible.
Newspaper can be suitable when nothing else is around, but it’s not the best bedding material for rabbits. That’s because of all the chemical processing the paper has gone through, and then, of course, it is covered in ink.
Rabbits will eat their bedding, and too much chemically processed paper and/or newspaper ink is going to have a detrimental effect on their health.
I wouldn’t worry about using it from time to time if necessary, just avoid using it regularly. Shredded newspaper for rabbit bedding is a cheap alternative to some of the other options, so it is tempting to use it. But rabbits are herbivores, not paper eaters!
2. Softwood Shavings
Softwood shavings contain things like sawdust and pine shavings that can be very harmful to rabbits. They contain a lot of dust and fumes which will not only badly affect your rabbit’s respiratory system but can potentially cause liver disease.
There are phenols (toxins) in heat-treated wood which are passed on to your rabbit through the dust and fumes. These go on through to the lungs, then into the blood, and eventually into the liver.
When you open up a bag of softwood shavings, like pine or cedar for example, you can smell the phenols yourself. They are simply the piney/woody smell that is put off by the wood shavings, and which can be quite pungent!
3. Cat Litters
Cat litters are another product you should not use for rabbit cages or hutch bedding. Kitty litter is made for cat toilets, not rabbit beds, nor rabbit toilets.
They tend to be dusty, chemical-laden products that are not safe and healthy for your bunnies. Kitty litters are something that could kill your rabbit if it were to eat it regularly.
I hope that gives you a good idea as to what you should and should not use for a rabbit cage, hutch, or toilet box. You can check out the video above that also has another opinion on rabbit bedding – not to use it at all.
The presenter states not to use it because:
- It’s difficult to clean
- Can make toilet training more difficult
- Can be expensive
- May attract bugs
I don’t have any of these problems, and my rabbits love lying on top the hay bedding, so I always have it there for them. Annie would get very grumpy without her bunny bedding hay!
The most important thing is that, whatever you use, keep it clean with frequent changes and make sure you’re using the safest, healthiest products. Lastly, check out these best automatic rabbit feeders for a fun way to feed your bunny good food.