5 Alternatives to Rabbit Bedding Found in Your Home

Last Updated: October 10, 2020

Unlike their smaller guinea pig and hamster cousins, rabbits do not absolutely require bedding in their cages, since they don’t use it for burrowing or warmth. For litter training and general daily bathroom use, however, there’s no replacing the utility of a soft and comfortable material for your rabbit to get used to.

If you’ve recently run out of rabbit bedding or litter – or simply don’t feel like buying bedding in the first place – you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of low-cost alternatives. And with just a little bit of ingenuity and effort, you’ll be able to transform common household items into useful accouterments for your fuzzy friend’s habitat. We’ve got five alternatives below, and a few alternatives you should never use.

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Rabbit Bedding Alternatives

1. Fleece

Brown Fleece
Image Credit: Efraimstochter, Pixabay

With just a tiny amount of sewing skills and a soft, fuzzy material like fleece, you can easily put together a low-cost pillow that will keep your rabbit in the lap of luxury year-round.

Even if you have no sewing skills at all, making a fleece pillow is not outside your reach. Check out this tutorial video from OnlineSewingStore on Youtube, and you can learn how to make a no-sew fleece pillow entirely from scratch.


2. Shredded Paper

Shredded paper close up
Image Credit: Mike Haw, Flickr

Any paper that hasn’t been printed with ink or chemically treated can make a fine addition to your rabbit’s litter box. In a pinch, you can easily tear up toilet paper, paper towels, and extra napkins to make an absorbent and cost-effective solution for your rabbit’s potty breaks.


3. Shredded Cardboard

Shredded cardboard close up
Image Credit: Ylloh, Pixabay

Leave any cardboard box around your bunny, and they’re very likely to do the work of making shredded cardboard bedding for you! Rabbits love to dig, chew, and tear on cardboard, and the cast-off bits do an excellent job of absorbing urine in their litter boxes.


4. Hay

Green Hay
Image Credit: Pikist

If your rabbit is anything like ours, they likely have the ability to smell the difference between hay fresh out of the bag and anything that’s been there for more than a few hours. Instead of getting frustrated with their pickiness, why not use their leftover “stale” hay to create comfortable and warm bedding for your furry friend?


5. Newspaper

Newspaper pile
Image Credit: Liis Saar, Pexels

As long as your rabbit isn’t coming in contact with the ink in newspaper – or, worse yet, eating the ink – then it’s a perfectly acceptable material for their litterbox. It’s not our favorite material for rabbit bedding or litter, however, as it’s not particularly absorbent.

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What NOT to Use for Rabbit Bedding

With the options on the list above, you should be entirely set on finding new bedding for your rabbit. As a final warning, please do not use the following materials for rabbit bedding under any circumstance:

  • Corn cob, sometimes used as part of a blend in rabbit litter or bedding products, can pose serious problems to your rabbit’s digestive system if eaten. And since they often smell sweet and tasty to your bunnies, this can become a real danger before you know it.
  • Cat litter has no place in a rabbit’s life, as it can produce harmful and toxic dust that quickly leads to respiratory issues and infections.
  • Softwood shavings, especially those from pine and cedar, are also sometimes used as part of bedding or litter mixes for small animals. Because they contain toxic oils that pose a risk to the health of your rabbit’s litter, you should never use them.

How to Choose Safe Bedding for Your Rabbit

While it’s true that rabbits don’t need bedding in their cages, providing them with more comfortable places to lay down and do their bathroom business can only positively contribute to their health and happiness.

Rabbit Duo
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

With that in mind, we recommend that you look for bedding that does one of two things for your rabbit:

  • Makes them more comfortable. Anything soft and squishy can give your bunny a better place to nap, play, and otherwise enjoy life. Pillows and blankets go a long way towards making wire cages friendlier to a rabbit’s sensitive paws.
  • Keeps them clean. Absorbent materials will help mitigate any accidental messes and can be a real lifesaver while you’re litter training your rabbit.

With those qualities in mind, and the different DIY rabbit bedding options you examined earlier, selecting the right bedding for your rabbit and you will hopefully be easier.

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Final Thoughts

Even though it may not be essential to your rabbit’s health and happiness, providing them with comfortable bedding can increase their overall quality of life while safeguarding their hygiene. Before you buy another commercial bedding option, try out any of the alternatives on our list and let us know how it goes!


Featured Image: onkelramirez1, Pixabay