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Do Rabbits Need Bedding? (The Best Ones & What to Avoid)

Unlike the famous Bugs Bunny, indoor rabbits will not dig themselves a burrow in your house and furnish it, so if you’ve asked, “do rabbits need bedding?”. Rabbits don’t necessarily need bedding, just a soft place to sleep.

Read ahead to learn more about rabbits and their bedding requirements:

Key Takeaways

  • No, rabbits don’t NEED bedding.
  • It is up to you to add bedding along, as your rabbit has access to soft flooring.
  • However, outdoor rabbits will need bedding because it provides insulation.
  • Rabbits need insulation to remain warm during the night, especially during winter. 
  • While not necessary, bedding can help improve the comfort and sleep of your furry friend.

In this article, I’ll take you through all the reasons why rabbits could use bedding, how to choose bedding and bedding material – such as fleece blankets – for your pet, and much more, so keep reading ahead! 

3 Reasons Why Rabbits Need Bedding

I’ve listed a few reasons to justify needing bedding below:

1- Longer Sleep

The bedding is not an essential item in the hutch. A rabbit that is very tired will sleep just about anywhere and on anything, even wild rabbits. 

However, when they are not tired, they will usually look for a nice soft place to sleep. How long they sleep will be affected by the materials they are sleeping on.

rabbits on straw but do rabbits need bedding

The softer the bedding is, the longer they will sleep.

2- Sense of Safety

Also, the bedding will need to make them feel protected. It provides them with a designated area for sleeping which appeals to their territorial nature, giving them a sense of safety.

Indoor rabbits can display behavioral problems, such as aggression if they are not comfortable with their environments. 

3- Hygiene

Having an area in the hutch for pet rabbits to sleep will help keep it clean and not smell. A rabbit will also learn that bedding is only used for sleeping, not excreting waste.

This lessens the possibility of them laying in their pee or excrement. This will also help keep the bedding area clean, and you won’t need to clean it often.

CHECK: Do Rabbits Sleep at Night?

5 Things To Consider When Choosing Bedding For Your Rabit 

Here are a few things you should keep in mind when considering using bedding. 

1-  Have A Spacious Bedding

There should always be enough room and excellent ventilation in your rabbits’ housing. Your rabbits should be allowed to leave their covered area whenever they wish to exercise in an enclosure that fulfills RWAF’s minimum space standards. (1)

2- Odor Control and Absorption

Rabbits are one of the few animals that do not sweat. They keep themselves clean by licking their fur throughout the day. Hence, body odor in rabbits is rare.

On the other hand, their urine has a very strong smell. When a rabbit pees in its hutch, it will give off a strong stench. Moreover, rabbits can become ill if exposed to their own feces for an extended period of time.

Choosing absorbent bedding material will help keep the odor under control. There are different types of rabbit bedding that offer odor control, but aspen and shredded paper are the most absorbent.

3- Have a Dust-Free Bedding

Some bedding, such as sawdust, is made with material that gives off some dust. For some rabbits, it will not have an effect on them.

Other rabbits could have trouble with it. The dust from the bedding could irritate the rabbit as it can enter the internal organs and cause inflammation.

4- Comfort

Rabbits enjoy sleeping on soft materials. Baby rabbits and senior rabbits will require soft bedding to make them comfortable. If they are not comfortable, it could affect their sleeping. When a rabbit doesn’t get enough sleep, it may become sick.

5- Ideal Lighting

Rabbits require a contrast between light and shade. In fact, a rabbit that is constantly exposed to light might get stressed. Furthermore, their eyes may be harmed, and they may gain weight.

Make a dark space for your rabbit to sleep and rest in.

How To Choose Bedding According To The Rabbit’s Age 

If you’re wondering how to choose bedding as per the rabbit’s age, think about this:

Best Bedding For Baby Rabbits

Bedding for baby rabbits is important to their overall health. When they are younger than 6 months, baby rabbits still have their babyfurs. This fur doesn’t provide enough warmth for them.

baby rabbit on bed but do rabbits need bedding

Therefore, you should use cozy bedding for baby rabbits until they are about 6 months old. By then, they can maintain their body temperature.

For baby rabbits, their body temperature should not go any lower than 101 degrees Fahrenheit. If it does, they may become sick. The bedding materials should be absorbent.

At this age, they cannot control their bladders and will pee often. While you can litter train young rabbits, it is impossible due to their short attention spans.

This means you’ll go through a lot of bedding until they mature.

Best Bedding For Adult Rabbits

An adult rabbit that’s in good health doesn’t have a lot of requirements like baby rabbits do. They can adjust to the temperature and make themselves comfortable with whichever bedding you choose for them.

adult rabbit on bedding but do rabbits need bedding

However, this doesn’t mean you can use just any kind of bedding. Each rabbit is different, and some may prefer one type of bedding over another. It’s best to try out different bedding and see what makes them the most comfortable.

Best Bedding For Senior Rabbits

As expected, a senior rabbit will spend more of its time in bed. At this age, they are not that adventurous and will prefer resting. Therefore, you should ensure their bedding is as comfortable as possible.

rabbit on bedding but do rabbits need bedding

As the rabbits get older, they will start to have health problems. The most common one is arthritis. Provide bedding that is the softest while very absorbent. This will help absorb a lot of the moisture and urine without causing the hutch to smell bad.

Also, a senior rabbit may have a weaker immune system. This means they are prone to getting sick easily and often. To avoid them having an allergic reaction, you should stay away from any bedding that has irritants.

Recommended Bedding Material For Bunnies

Each rabbit has a different set of needs and requirements regarding bedding. There are numerous bedding choices. .

Depending on your rabbit, a maze rug and seagrass should be used if they are chewers. For non-chewers, towels and grass mats are the best choices.

Therefore, choosing the right kind of bedding for your rabbit is essential, as shown below. (2)

1- Straw

Straw is excellent bedding for warmth and comfort, especially for outdoor rabbits. The hollow threads help with warmth and absorption.

straw bedding for rabbits but do rabbits need bedding

Just like choosing hay, care should be taken when selecting straw for your rabbit’s bedding. To reduce the danger of eye injury, it should be dust-extracted, sweet-smelling, and as soft as feasible.

2- Wood

Wood-based cat litter pellets are heat treated, eliminating the toxic oils and phenols and making them safe for skin and lungs. I suggest using wood pellets with a straw covering for warmth and comfort for outdoor rabbits.

rabbits on wood based bedding but do rabbits need bedding

Note: Always read the label and avoid a product that contains silicon.

3- Paper

Pulped paper is exceptionally safe, very absorbent, and dust-free. The softer the paper, the more comfortable and absorbent it is. However, please note that if there is print on the paper, the ink may cause health problems if your rabbits swallow it.

Newspaper is commonly used to line sleeping and litter areas as it is widely available. However, it is covered in ink, so be cautious of your rabbits eating it. A good straw covering is recommended to prevent the rabbit from ingesting the ink.

Paper pellets are highly absorbent and excellent for litter areas. However, their texture makes them less comfortable as bedding than other products. Hence, I will suggest covering pellets with something softer, such as straw.

3 Beddings To Avoid For Rabbits

Here are three kinds of bedding I would advise you to steer clear of: 

1- Clumpy Cat Litter

Using clumpy cat litter as bedding for rabbits is a bad idea. Clumping kitty litter is not recommended. If rabbits consume this substance, it will “clump” in their intestines, causing major complications. Hence, it must be avoided at all costs.

2- Sawdust

I will not recommend sawdust since the oils contained in the wood might irritate the rabbit’s skin and lungs. In the worst-case scenario, these oils and chemicals can enter your rabbit’s internal organs and cause mild liver inflammation.

3- Wood Shavings

Wood shavings are not as finely ground as sawdust, so the danger of skin and lung irritation is reduced. However, wood and cedar shavings must be used with caution and only in well-ventilated rabbit cages.

How Do I Stop My Rabbit From Eating Its Bedding?

A rabbit will eat just about anything that seems edible, including their bedding. While you can’t stop a rabbit from eating its bedding, you can take the following measures to minimize any harm:

  • Avoid bedding that could block their intestine or cause them to choke on it. Paper shreds, Aspen shreds, specialized litter or pellets, and hay are all safe choices.
  • Also, avoid any bedding that has toxic materials in them. Some manufacturers use chemicals to make bedding, which could harm rabbits. Always read the label and make sure it’s toxic-free.
  • Limit chewing by providing them with chew toys. They’ll not eat their bedding if they have things to chew on.

Don’t forget to check our guide on interesting facts about rabbits.

FAQs 

Are Bedding and Litter the Same?

In terms of functionality, bedding and litter are different. However, instead of using clay litter, rabbit litter and bedding are made from the same material.

How Often Should I Change My Rabbit’s Bedding?

rabbits on bedding but do rabbits need bedding

When changing the bedding, you’ll need to be very careful with it. Rabbits are sensitive creatures and can tell when there is a change in their environment. Therefore, I would recommend changing the bedding two times per week, as changing the bedding too frequently can cause your rabbit to experience distress and anxiety. (long).

Should I Clean the Entire Hutch?

You don’t need to clean the entire hutch. Do spot cleaning and remove part of the bedding that is really soiled. Then top up with fresh bedding.

Should I Use Bedding Within the Litter Box?

Yes, you can use bedding within the litter box. Using bedding unnecessarily can impact your rabbit’s litter box habits. Try to utilize bedding solely within your rabbit’s litter tray and not across the rest of its cage.
Litter box bedding should not include shredded paper, straw, or paper pulp. I would even recommend not d using cloth bedding that is less absorbent, as it may contribute to odor and hygiene issues.

Conclusion

While bedding isn’t something rabbits require, having it can be extremely helpful for their comfort and well-being. It provides a soft place to rest, protects them, and helps regulate their body temperature.

rabbit on straw bedding but do rabbits need bedding

Each rabbit is different, so be sure to choose a suitable bedding material. Let me know about your experience in the comments below! 

References:

  • 1. Space recommendations [Internet]. Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF). 2020. Available from: https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rabbit-care-advice/rabbit-housing/space-recommendations/
Andreea Juganaru
Andreea Juganaru

Andreea is a very passionate content creator and her purpose is to provide you with the most interesting articles, while constantly discovering new facts. She’s been freelance writing for the past five years and has created numerous articles and educational materials while managing her own mom blog.
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