Rabbits need to chew on materials in order to survive. It is a mechanism that they are born with.
This is why it is no surprise if you encounter your rabbit chewing on cardboard. However, is this material safe to ingest? What are other alternatives?
This guide will discuss in detail everything you must know regarding rabbits eating cardboard.
Can I Give My Rabbits a Cardboard?
Cardboards are safe for rabbits and you can give a piece of cardboard to your bunny to play with and chew on it.
Rabbits have a natural inclination to chew on a variety of materials. You might commonly find them nibbling and chewing on practically anything they can find.
This is mainly because chewing helps them maintain good oral habits. It prevents their teeth from growing further and developing oral and dental problems.
If you have cardboard lying around near your bunny, sooner or later, you will find your rabbit chewing on the cardboard.
You should not discourage your rabbits from chewing on the cardboard, as it’s safe and in most cases, necessary for your bunny.
However, you should not give any cardboard that has paint/ink/dye or has any kind of contamination. Also avoid giving wet cardboard pieces to your rabbit, as it’s not much help for their teeth and might make them sick.
Is It Safe for Rabbits to Eat Cardboard?
It is safe for rabbits to consume cardboard, just not regularly. This material should not be their primary source of food.
Instead, it should be a snack they can nibble now and then. Cardboard is safe for rabbits to consume as long as they are not eating large amounts of it, otherwise, it can be detrimental to their health.
You should also give them cardboard under your supervision. It should primarily be used for chewing and not for ingesting and eating.
Sometimes these rabbits will nibble on the cardboard, shred it, or simply eat it. You must make sure they don’t eat a lot of it by keeping a close eye on them.
One primary reason why rabbits love cardboard is that it is packed with cellulose. This is a component found in leaves and hay.
However, just because it contains cellulose does not mean it should be a primary meal. Cardboard should never be a meal replacement for your rabbits.
For the most part, rabbits see cardboard as toys that they can play with. They provide them with some company and mental stimulation.
All in all, cardboard is safe as long as you give them in moderate quantities. Moreover, it is safe to provide the right kind of cardboard under your supervision.
Why Cardboard is Good for Rabbits
When you give cardboard in moderate quantities, it is actually beneficial for your furry pets.
Here are some reasons why you should keep cardboard pieces in your rabbit’s cage:
It Provides Excellent Entertainment
You might be surprised to know that a piece of cardboard can keep your rabbit entertained for hours. They will nibble, chew, and play with cardboard for hours.
This is why you probably don’t need to get that many chew toys for them if you have cardboard. Rabbits are playful creatures that always need the company of humans or other animals.
If they don’t have that, they can get depressed and bored pretty quickly. If you cannot give all of your time to rabbits, consider giving them a cardboard piece.
You could even make a house out of cardboard with them. Playtime is vital for rabbits, and you can provide them with fun through cardboard.
Keeps Your Rabbit in Shape
Aside from the entertainment, cardboard also provides bunnies with physical and mental stimulation. They can keep the cardboard piece in their mouth and move from one place to another.
Moreover, they also get tons of mental stimulation from chewing, nibbling, and shredding cardboard. Your rabbit needs to jump, hop, and dig frequently to stay in shape.
It can do all of that with a cardboard piece. All in all, with a cardboard piece, they will be diverting their attention.
Their attention will be diverted towards something constructive and mentally and physically constructive.
It Is a Convenient and Affordable Option
Most chew toys for rabbits you get from pet supply stores are expensive. Hence, as a cost-effective alternative, you can get cardboard pieces.
You probably even have cardboard already lying around in your house. You can let your rabbit enjoy a chewing and playing session affordably with cardboard.
You can easily twist it and turn it around to create treats for them. All in all, it is the perfect alternative for chew toys.
Keeps Your Rabbit in Good Oral health
Rabbits’ teeth never stop growing throughout their lifetime. This is why they need something that they can chew and nibble.
Cardboard is perfect since it allows them to chew and nibble and sink their teeth. Hence, you can ensure good oral health by providing them with something to chew on.
You should never stop your rabbit from chewing because it is vital for them. If they don’t regularly chew, it might be quite dangerous.
Provides a Safe Object for Chewing
As mentioned earlier, chewing is essential for rabbits. They need to do that to ensure their health stays in good condition.
If you don’t provide them with suitable material, they might find something for themselves. This can be potentially dangerous since they might find telephone wires, cables, shoes, laces, and other objects.
All of this can be quite dangerous for them. This is why cardboard provides a better alternative.
It is safer, widely available, and will not damage your things.
Risks of Giving Rabbits Cardboard
For the most part, Cardboard is pretty much safe for rabbits, but it does carry some risk. You should know about these before giving your furry pet this material.
Knowing these risks will prevent you from causing harm to your bunny or causing any issues for them. Here is what you need to know:
It Can Become Their Primary Food Source
As mentioned earlier, bunnies love cardboard. This is why it is not uncommon for them to consume large amounts of it.
However, you should look out for the cardboard’s chance to become their primary food source. As a result, they might stop eating their pallets, hay, vegetables, and other food items.
If you notice this happening, you should limit your rabbit’s consumption of cardboard. You should also observe their health and appetite.
Cardboard is quite dangerous and should not be given to rabbits in large quantities. It can harm their digestive systems, so it should never be their primary food source.
Cardboard should only be something the animal chews on and nibbles.
You should not give your rabbits just any kind of cardboard to chew on. For example, it should not contain dyes, ink, or color.
Such can transfer into your rabbit and cause a negative impact on their health. Moreover, you should also check the cardboard for tape since it can be toxic.
Besides this, don’t give your rabbit cardboard with staple pins on it. Make sure all of this is removed to avoid contamination.
Another thing to look out for is contamination through rabbit urine. You don’t want your furry pet consuming cardboard that they had peed on.
Rabbit urine has a high concentration of ammonia, which is why it is dangerous for them to consume. If you keep the cardboard in their cage, make sure you change it regularly.
It Can Lead to Digestive Block
Cardboard has no nutritional value for your rabbits. Besides this, eating large amounts of it can also be dangerous for them.
If your bunny eats cardboard instead of food to fill their stomachs, it will face issues. These issues can have a detrimental impact on their health.
For instance, it could lead to a digestive block. You should hence observe your rabbit when they are interacting with cardboard.
If they have ingested too much of it, they might not be eating their pellets, hay, or vegetables. Keep checking their appetite for this.
If they are not eating or pooping for more than 24 hours, immediately take them to the vet. Your rabbit may be suffering from potentially severe digestive issues.
All in all, cardboard is an excellent, affordable, and relatively safe alternative for a chew toy. Rabbits can certainly chew on this material to help ensure their good oral hygiene.
It is also a great way to mentally and physically stimulate them. Cardboard can serve as a constructive form of entertainment that can engage your bunny for hours.
However, you should provide them with shredded cardboard that contains no dye, ink, or toxic materials. You should also avoid giving them too much cardboard.
This is because it can lead to digestive issues in your pet if they consume too much of it. Always supervise their interaction with cardboard.
Moreover, you must ensure that you keep their consumption at moderate levels.
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