As a rabbit owner, you want to provide your rabbit with a healthy environment to live in. Part of that means having a litter box available for your rabbit to use, since rabbits prefer to have a consistent place to do their business in.
There are many types of litter available for rabbits, among which includes wood pellet litter. You may also be aware that many hardware stores sell wood stove pellets, which are very similar to litter pellets but are marketed for use as stove fuel. Perhaps you’ve also been wondering if wood stove pellets are ok to use as rabbit litter.
In most cases, it’s perfectly fine to use wood stove pellets as rabbit litter, as long as the pellets don’t contain any harmful additives. Let’s go over the most important things you should know when selecting litter for your rabbit’s litter box.
Is Pellet Litter Safe for Rabbits?
In general, pellet litter is perfectly safe for rabbits to use. However, this can depend on if there are any scents or additives in the pellets, and what type of wood they’re made from. It’s usually best to go for wood pellets that are actually intended for pet use, but you can also get away with using wood stove pellets if that’s all you have access to.
You should avoid using any kind of scented pellets for your rabbit’s litter; not all scented chemicals are safe for rabbits, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and just use an unscented litter. Rabbits have particularly sensitive senses of smell anyway, so being near any kind of artificial scent for a prolonged period of time might irritate your rabbit’s nose.
Be careful when using wood stove pellets for rabbit litter, as they can sometimes contain an accelerant (a flammable substance intended to make the pellets combust more easily). Obviously, your rabbits shouldn’t be in close contact with flammable chemicals, so avoid using any wood stove pellets that contain accelerants.
Lastly, you should take care and avoid certain types of wood for your rabbit’s bedding, as these types of wood may contain substances that can be harmful to rabbits. In particular, you should avoid using pine or cedar litter, as some research suggests that these types of wood contain compounds called phenols that can damage your rabbit’s liver.
While most wood pellets are safe to use as rabbit litter, keep in mind that they tend to expand a lot and become quite heavy when they get wet, so they’re probably better to use for smaller rabbits.
Can Rabbits Use Cat Litter?
You may be wondering if you can just use cat litter in your rabbit’s litter box instead of wood- or paper-based bedding. After all, it’s meant for the same purpose, right? What’s the harm in using litter for one animal that is intended for another animal?
In truth, you should never use cat litter or any other clay-based litter for your rabbits, even if it’s unscented and non-toxic. Most types of cat litter are designed to clump up when they get wet, to make them easier to clean up.
Rabbits often like to nibble on their litter, and nibbling on cat litter can make it clump up in their stomach and cause blockages. As you can probably imagine, it’s not at all good for rabbits to have their digestive systems blocked up, so only use litter that is actually intended for rabbits.
What Bedding Is Best for Rabbits?
You can use wood pellets for rabbit bedding, of course, but that’s not the only option you have. There are plenty of other materials that make great bedding for rabbits.
Let’s go over some of them here:
- Paper pellets are usually made from recycled paper, and offer some advantages over wood pellets. In particular, paper pellets don’t expand as much when they get wet, and are also considerably lighter. They also don’t generate as much dust as wood pellets.
- Paper-based bedding is a good option for rabbits, as it’s safe and widely available. However, it’s thinner than paper or wood pellets, meaning it doesn’t have as much insulation and isn’t as good at absorbing liquid or concealing odors.
- Shredded paper or cardboard is a cheap and easy option that you can easily make yourself. However, neither of these options are very absorbent.
- Aspen shavings are safe for rabbits and have a natural odor which can help cover up the smell of your rabbit’s litter. Unfortunately, this type of bedding is not the most absorbent either.
- Hay makes good bedding for rabbits, and a tasty snack for them too. If you’re buying hay for your rabbits, however, make sure it is fresh and not musty or dusty.
- Straw makes for good insulation, and it’s a comfy material for your rabbit to sit on. However, it’s not absorbant at all, so if you’re using straw you’ll probably want to layer another type of bedding underneath it.
When it comes down to it, paper pellets are usually the best type of bedding for rabbits. However, most other types of bedding are good enough for the majority of rabbits.
Do Rabbits Like Covered Litter Boxes?
Rabbits prefer when certain areas in their enclosure are covered, such as their den where they sleep. However, rabbits prefer to do their business somewhere where they have multiple exits, so for that reason, an uncovered litter box is more suitable for a rabbit.
Additionally, covered litter boxes trap more odors and ammonia fumes than uncovered ones do. Breathing in excess ammonia isn’t good for your rabbit’s respiratory system, so for your rabbit’s health it’s always better for them to use an uncovered litter box.
Wood stove pellets are indeed safe for rabbits, as long as they don’t contain accelerants and aren’t made from an unsuitable type of wood. If the only material you have access to for your rabbit’s litter is wood stove pellets, you should be able to use it in most cases.
However, there are plenty of other solid options for materials that can be used as litter or bedding for rabbits. If you’re unsure which one you should use, experiment with a few and see which ones offer you the most absorbency and odor control.