Rabbit bedding is a personal choice for many rabbit owners and their rabbits.
Not all rabbits have the same bedding needs. Some rabbits prefer straw or sawdust shavings while others like a newspaper at the bottom of their cage.
Is Newspaper a Good Choice for Rabbit Bedding?
A newspaper itself isn’t toxic and can be used in rabbit bedding.
Traditionally, newspaper bedding was seen as being harmful to rabbits.
The toxicity found in newspapers was a result of the old-fashioned printers’ ink used for printing the news.
Today, newspapers are printed with vegetable ink, making it safe for rabbit bedding.
The Ins and Outs of Newspaper Bedding for Rabbits
Newspaper bedding is also known as shredded paper bedding. It is a great alternative to the traditional shavings that feature in most rabbit cages.
Most paper types are safe for use as rabbit cage bedding.
However, the paper needs to be thin enough, not chemically treated, and free of print and other laminate coatings.
Care should be taken to ensure the newspaper bedding isn’t laced with other chemicals.
A caring rabbit owner should read the labels of the products they choose. Simply throwing in yesterday’s paper for bedding isn’t a good idea.
Not All Papers Are the Same
Some papers are bleached with chemicals to achieve a whiter finish. Other papers have additional fibers embedded in the pulp to create a more pleasing finish.
In the average paper manufacturing process, there are over 3000 chemicals are used. Most paper usually contains at least 200 chemicals.
Metallic papers have flakes of metal added to the pulp mix, which gives the paper a glittery finish. Thicker papers have glue added, which may be harmful to your bunny.
Overall, a newspaper is the thinnest paper type that can safely be used to recycle into pet bedding.
Bunnies and Paper Sensitivity
Your bunny can’t use just any kind of paper as a bedding material or in their litter box. This is because bunnies are sensitive animals.
When their skin comes into contact with certain chemicals such as bleach (chlorine) or sharp flakes such as metallic glitter, they will sicken.
Your bunny can easily get a paper cut from sharp-edged thicker paper.
A bunny may become sick by nibbling on paper bedding. Synthetic fibers may be in the pulp or if the printed paper was used in the shredding process. Most printer ink is toxic to animals.
Additionally, bunnies have a weaker respiratory system. By inhaling finely shredded paper bedding, your bunny can choke or develop respiratory infections.
Why Consider Newspaper Bedding?
Newspaper bedding is a popular alternative to shavings. It has many properties that make it ideal for rabbits:
- It’s soft
- It’s warm
- It’s cheap
- It’s voluminous
- It absorbs smells
- It dries easily and is economical
- It’s eco-friendly and aids in recycling
As an added bonus, newspaper bedding is not very palatable, so your bunny will be less likely to eat it.
Bunnies have natural instincts that include burrowing and making a safe space to sleep.
Paper bedding can provide the alternative to an underground burrow since the bunny can tunnel through the paper fibers.
Choosing the Right Paper Bedding
To decide on paper bedding that is safe for your pet bunny, you need to do your homework.
When considering a new paper bedding type, you should ask the following:
Is this paper bedding environmentally safe?
When paper is environmentally safe, it is usually made from chemical-free resources and by using natural processes.
By checking the paper is environmentally safe, you can ensure the paper is indeed safe for animal use.
Eco-friendly paper may not always be free from chemicals. You will have to consider whether the paper bedding is simply recycled or actually free from toxins.
What are the flake sizes?
Large flakes may require more bedding. Large flakes can also become snarled in the rabbit’s fur, thereby creating a health risk.
Smaller flakes are softer and therefore can’t cut the rabbit’s feet.
In addition to flakes or shredded paper bedding, there are also many kinds of paper pellet bedding and litter box materials available.
Paper pellet bedding isn’t as soft as shredded paper, but it is much more hypoallergenic if there are no glues or chemicals in the manufacturing process.
This kind of paper bedding is better suited to young rabbits that are free from arthritis.
Is it dust free?
When considering the different bedding types on the market, be sure to choose a paper bedding that clearly states it’s dust-free.
Paper dust is harmful to your bunny and will cause respiratory issues.
Upon opening the bedding, stick your hand inside, and if there are dust particles that fluff into the air, you know the bedding is not dust-free.
What kind of paper is used to make the pulp?
Surprisingly, paper is not always made from wood. Some paper types are made from other materials such as cotton fibers and synthetic blends.
Choose a paper blend that’s 100% pine wood shavings or a blend of natural woods.
Always avoid synthetic or chemically treated papers. Shredded glossy paper is a big no-no.
Is this paper bedding free from laminates and glossy sealants?
Pictures may make for interesting shredded paper, but paper printed with images or that has a glossy coating should be avoided.
Since bunnies and rabbits chew on things to explore their world, they will chew on shredded paper bedding.
Ingesting even a small amount of laminate or chemically treated paper can lead to intestinal blockages and death.
Regular plain paper or plain newspaper shreds are less harmful as these disintegrate when in contact with water or your rabbit’s intestinal juices.
This makes regular paper bedding shreds safe for your bunny to chew on.
Is this paper bedding free from chemical printing and chemical ink?
Shredded newspaper is usually a dark gray color. If the paper bedding is white, it has been bleached, which introduces harmful chemicals to the paper pulp.
Regular newspaper ink is safe for human consumption since it is used by many food-based industries.
Therefore, the ink is now made from vegetable oils such as soybean extract. At the turn of the 19th century, newspaper ink contained lead and was toxic.
What’s the Point of Paper Bedding for Rabbits?
You may wonder if it’s not easier to simply get a different bedding type, considering that paper bedding has so many considerations and potential pitfalls.
After all, pine shavings are cheap and surely less of a worry?
Pine shavings come with their own considerations such as hygiene and toxicity.
The reason you would want to use paper bedding is the comfort it offers your rabbit. The rabbit can burrow, sleep softly, and thermoregulate better.
Since the paper bedding can be a different texture and material to the bunny’s litter box material, you can then litter train a rabbit easily.
Using Newspaper as Rabbit Bedding – FAQs
Can you use a newspaper for rabbit bedding?
Yes, you can use shredded newspaper for rabbit bedding, provided the paper is free of chemical inks.
Vegetable-based ink is fine for shredded paper as it is made from soybeans.
Can rabbits comfortably sleep on newspapers?
Yes, newspapers make a great lining for litter boxes and also insulate your rabbit’s sleeping section.
Rabbits can burrow among shredded newspaper, making them feel safe.
In the sleep section of the hutch, newspaper bedding is comfortable, warm, and soft. This makes it ideal for bunnies.
What materials can I use for rabbit litter?
You can choose between any number of commercially available bunny litter or bedding options.
Popular materials include wood shavings, hay, and newspaper that have been shredded or pelleted.
Paper bedding is handy, and you may even find that if you’ve run out of bedding, you can use the papers around your home.
Ripping up a roll of toilet paper, kitchen toweling, or regular newspaper is a great way to keep your rabbit safe and warm for a weekend.
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