What makes a good rabbit litter and the four best options in 2022.
The type of litter you choose to use in your rabbit’s litterbox is more important than you think. Choosing the wrong type of litter can cause health issues for your bunnies or could make your cleaning chores much more difficult.
Let’s go over the best litter options for rabbits – and a few bad ones!
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What Makes a Good Rabbit Litter?
So, what makes for a good rabbit litter?
The best litter is going to be the one that is safe and healthy for your rabbits while keeping odor down and making your clean-up as easy as possible. You also want it to be cost-effective and easy to find whenever you need it. The perfect litter is going to be different for everyone.
Not all types of litter or bedding on the market are safe to use with rabbits. You want to be totally sure that what you’re using is going to be safe for your bunnies to be exposed to long term.
You also want to consider your daily and weekly pet routine and think about how often you want to be cleaning the litterbox and how messy your bunnies are.
Regardless of what type of litter you use, it’s important to keep up with cleaning your rabbits’ litterbox on a regular basis. This will keep them clean and happy, while also helping keep their area smell-free!
Choosing the Right Litter Tray
Before you can choose the right litter, it’s worth taking some time to make sure you have a solid litterbox setup.
The main thing to consider when choosing a litter box is the ease of access for your rabbits and easy clean-up for you. Older rabbits may need a lower litter box they can step into vs one with higher sides that they have to hop into. If you have multiple or larger rabbits you will need a larger box.
Rabbits like to poop wherever they are eating hay, so getting a litter pan that will make it easy to feed fresh hay is a must. My favorite way to accomplish this is by using a hayrack and litter box combo. I actually use this litter box I purchased from Etsy.
Another good option is to choose a litter box that has high enough sides to contain a nice big pile of hay on one side. One of our bunnies prefers a hay pile to a hayrack, so we use this litterbox for her that has a higher back and lower front to keep the hay contained.
Now that you know what to think about when it comes to the actual litterbox, let’s go over some litter options!
GOOD Rabbit Litter Options
Let’s go over four different types of litter that are great options!
This is my personal favorite litter option to use with my rabbits. This bedding is made from recycled paper. It’s totally safe for bunnies and is very absorbent. I don’t have any issues with odor when my litter box is cleaned on a regular basis – we do every other day. It’s really easy to find and it even comes in fun colors.
The particular brand I use and love is Small Pet Select Soft Paper Bedding.
The main downside of paper litter is it can get everywhere. Especially if you have a long-haired rabbit, paper-based bedding can get tracked around your house very easily. It also can be pretty hard to get off fleece, so this might not be a good choice if you use fleece with your rabbits.
Paper-Based Pelleted Litter
Paper pellet litter is pretty commonly used for rabbits and is a great litter option. It is safe to use long-term and pretty absorbent. It doesn’t have a lot of dust and won’t irritate your rabbits’ respiratory system.
I would say it’s one of, if not the most, absorbent litter options out there. The paper pellets expand as they get wet and control odor pretty well. They are heavier than paper-based bedding so they won’t get tracked everywhere and they can easily be vacuumed up if your bunny does throw some outside their box.
The only downside I can think of for paper-based pellets is they get pretty heavy when wet. My advice would just be to clean the litter box more often to make it an easier chore!
Wood-Based Pelleted Litter
Wood-based pellet litter is also a common option. It’s totally safe to use with rabbits as long as they are not eating it (some rabbits are weird and like to chew on these pellets).
The most commonly used type of wood-based pellets is horse stall pellets or wood stove pellets. These are usually made of pine wood. Now, pinewood is generally not safe to be used with small pets – but it is safe when it has been kiln-dried. Horse stall pellets are usually kiln-dried and have had a lot of the dust extracted.
For wood stove pellets, you want to make sure they do not contain any accelerants or any other chemicals.
The main downside I’ve found with wood-based pellets is that they turn to sawdust once they get wet. We used horse stall pellets with our bunnies when we first got them and cleanup was a massive pain once they were peed on. The sawdust could also cause respiratory issues with your rabbits if you don’t clean the litterbox often enough.
Aspen Wood Shavings
Aspen is actually the only time of wood shavings that are safe to use with small pets – including rabbits.
The benefits of Aspen shavings are that they are very easy to find at feed and pet stores, and they are pretty inexpensive. You can get a huge bag for pretty cheap, making these a good option for someone on a tight budget.
The downside of Aspen shavings is they are not very absorbent and they aren’t the best at controlling odors. You may find yourself having to clean the litter box more often to keep the litter box from being wet and smelly.
BAD Rabbit Litter Options
These next few litter options are not good for rabbits and should not be used in a litterbox!
Cedar Wood Shavings
Cedarwood shavings are really easy to find in pet and feed stores marketed toward small pets. However, cedar products are NOT safe to use with pets!
Small animals, including rabbits, have sensitive respiratory systems. Cedar shavings have a very strong smell that can easily irritate a rabbit’s nose. Plus, some brands of cedar shavings can also have oils on them that can cause irritation on the bottom of their feet. You want to stay away from any type of aromatic woods in small pet bedding.
Clay or Clumping Litter
Clay and clumping litter is totally unsafe to use with rabbits.
These are very often found in different types of cat litter. Clay cat litters are often very dusty and are not safe for a rabbit if eaten. Any type of clumping litter can cause major health problems if ingested. It’s meant to clump when it gets wet, which can lead to intestinal blockages or other health problems.
I usually recommend people stay away from any type of clay or crystal cat litter entirely because it’s hard to know if all the ingredients are safe for bunnies.
Any Scented Litter
You want to stay away from any type of scented litter on the market. Rabbits have extremely sensitive respiratory systems. Anything with an added scent can irritate them or cause respiratory problems. The best way to keep your rabbit’s litterbox and home base area smelling fresh is to clean your litter box on a regular basis!
Newspaper is actually safe to use with rabbits. It works pretty well when used as a layer under another litter option to make cleanup super easy.
The reason it’s on the bad litter options list is that it’s not a good litter option when used just by itself. Newspaper is not absorbent and will need to be changed extremely often to keep your rabbit from sitting in wet spots. And while the ink is safe, it’s going to get all over your rabbits’ feet once it starts getting wet.
Newspaper is great as a base layer under another litter option, but not a good option by itself.
Again, puppy pads can be used in the bottom of the pan under a layer of another bedding to make cleanup easier. However, they are not a good option to be used by themselves.
The main thing to be aware of with puppy pads is they are NOT safe to be chewed. Rabbits are very chewy animals, so if your rabbits tend to chew up everything I would stay away from puppy pads.
These pads are meant to be absorbent so they can cause a lot of issues if they are ingested. There have been many cases of rabbits with blocked intestines and other digestive issues after chewing up and eating pieces of a puppy pad!
Final Thoughts on Rabbit Litter
It might not seem like an important decision, but the litter you choose can have a big impact on your rabbits’ health. It can also make your cleaning a lot harder than it needs to be! Finding the best rabbit litter for your rabbits can take some trial and error, but once you find something that works for both you and your bunnies, it can make your life a lot easier!
Learn More About Keeping Pet Rabbits:
- Guide to Keeping Indoor Rabbits
- Rabbits vs Guinea Pigs: Which is Right for You?
- GI Stasis in Rabbits