Rabbits are fun and rewarding as pets. One of the most important considerations for the health of your rabbit is the type of bedding in its cage or hutch. Rabbits use their bedding for sleeping, nesting and absorbing waste. Choosing the right bedding will ensure that your rabbit's environment is clean and healthy.
There are several types of bedding options available to pet owners. Pine and cedar shavings, recycled pulp, hay, and shredded newspaper are common. Pine is the most popular due to its price and availability. Large bags can be found at most pet stores and the pet sections of large discount chains. Recycled pulp is more absorbent and eliminates dust, but it is more expensive and generally only found at speciality pet stores.
Though shavings are the most popular type, there is concern that the dust causes respiratory problems in pets. The safest alternative is to use bedding made from recycled pulp. It is environmentally friendly and lasts twice as long as pine shavings. It is also superior at absorbing the strong ammonia smell which comes from rabbit urine. Hay is good for nesting, but both hay and shredded newspaper are not very good at absorbing animal waste.
Depending on where you live, you may find that bedding options are limited. Recycled pulp is generally found only at speciality or holistic pet stores. If there are none in your area, speciality bedding can be purchased online. An 3.63kg. bag of recycled pulp bedding can run from £9 to £13 as of Feb. 2011. Pine and cedar shavings are available in the pet section of most stores, and run about £3 to £6 for a 4.54kg. bag.
Cedar shavings are thought to cause respiratory problems as well as possess some level of toxicity to pets. Avoid it if possible.
Rabbit bedding should be changed twice a week. Rabbits produce a lot of waste for their size, and the smell of their urine can be overpowering.
Do not use a wire or mesh lining. Rabbits have sensitive feet and are prone to infections.