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10 Best Bedding For Rabbits In The UK in 2021

Nicole Cosgrove

rabbit on hay

There are a lot of bedding products designed to keep your rabbit warm and comfortable. From straw to sawdust and recycled paper to aspen, and even fleece liners, there are traditional materials as well as more innovative solutions. But, it can be difficult to wade through and find the best solution for your rabbit. Especially as you have to take into account the time of year, whether yours is an indoor or outdoor rabbit, and your own bunny’s preferences.

Hopefully, our reviews of ten of the best bedding for rabbits will help you identify the one for your needs. Read on to find out more.Divider-rabbit2

A Quick Comparison of Our Favourites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Back 2 Nature Small Animal Bedding Back 2 Nature Small Animal Bedding
  • Made from 99% recycled paper
  • Good at absorbing urine
  • Free from chemical additives
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Vitakraft Bedding For Rodents Vitakraft Bedding For Rodents
  • Cheap
  • Absorbent
  • Soft
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Oxbow Animal Health Eco-Straw Litter Oxbow Animal Health Eco-Straw Litter
  • Natural wheat pellets
  • Safe to consume
  • Clumped pellets
  • Kaytee Clean & Cozy Super Absorbent Kaytee Clean & Cozy Super Absorbent
  • Soft paper
  • Reasonable price
  • Expands to give a lot of bedding
  • Carefresh Natural Paper Nesting Carefresh Natural Paper Nesting
  • Reasonable price
  • Larger pieces
  • Absorbs twice as much liquid as wood shavings
  • The 10 Best Beddings For Rabbits In The UK – Reviews & Top Picks 2021

    1. Back 2 Nature Small Animal Bedding and Litter – Best Overall

    Back 2 Nature Small Animal Bedding

    Material: 99% recycled paper
    Form: Pellets
    Volume: 30L

    Back 2 Nature Small Animal Bedding and Litter is a pellet based bedding made from 99% recycled paper. It claims to offer natural odour control, be dust free, and is free from chemical additives. Recycling paper to use as litter is more environmentally friendly than a lot of other materials. It is also soft, which means that the litter is gentle on your rabbit’s paws and comfortable to sit or lay on.

    The paper absorbs urine, trapping the smell and preventing a nasty rabbit hutch aroma. It is also free of the dust clouds that some materials produce. When you empty the litter, Back 2 Nature also suggests that you can use the paper as a surface mulch for your plant beds.

    It isn’t the cheapest litter available but Back 2 Nature Small Animal Bedding is average in price, does a good job of preventing smells and dust clouds. More importantly, it is effective at absorbing mess and providing your rabbit with a comfortable living environment. It’s also recycled: a combination that makes it the best available bedding for rabbits in the UK.

    However, as well as being a more expensive alternative to most wood shaving litters to buy, it will need replacing more often to avoid it turning into a mushy mess at the bottom of the hutch.

    Pros
    • Made from 99% recycled paper
    • Good at absorbing urine
    • Free from chemical additives
    Cons
    • A bit pricey
    • Needs frequent changing

    2. Vitakraft Bedding For Rodents – Best Value

    Material: Wood shavings
    Form: Shavings
    Volume: 60L

    It’s traditional, it’s tried and tested, it’s cheap: Vitakraft Bedding For Rodents is wood shavings. Wood shavings are soft on your rabbit’s feet, natural, and absorbent. Wood also does a good job of odour control because, as it absorbs urine and other dirt, it emits a gentle wood smell while its liquid retention means that it doesn’t need changing as often as paper.

    As well as being 100% natural, it is also biodegradable which means that it can be put in the compost. Rabbits are herbivores, and their plant-based diet results in poop that is not considered a major health risk, so it can safely be spread around plant beds. In fact, because it is high in nitrogen, rabbit manure is considered a good fertilizer.

    Vitakraft’s Bedding For Rodents is very cheap and, if you have a big garden or allotment, easy to dispose of. It is the best bedding for rats in the UK for the money.

    However, sawdust is dusty by nature, and the individual pieces of this bedding are small, which means that you might want to mix it with another material to minimise clouds.

    Pros
    • Cheap
    • Absorbent
    • Soft
    Cons
    • Small sawdust is dusty

    3. Oxbow Animal Health Eco-Straw Litter – Premium Choice

    Material: Straw
    Form: Pellets
    Volume: 20L

    Oxbow Animal Health Eco-Straw Litter is a pellet litter bedding made from compressed what straw. It is more expensive than other litters but is natural and Oxbow claims that the pellets can absorb three times their own weight in urine. It is a good alternative to wood and paper-based pellets, if you have a rabbit that likes to consume its bedding. This product is safe to eat and the pellets won’t clog up their stomach. What’s more, because it is high in fibre, it helps ensure that your rabbit can safely and easily pass the litter once eaten.

    What gives a natural scent when it is used and when your rabbit scratches around its bedding and the expanded pellets are designed to be easy to scoop.

    While wheat is a good alternative to paper and wood shavings in certain circumstances, this is an expensive bedding and it can turn mushy when wet, especially if your rabbit likes to mess in a particular area. Once the wheat is wet and clumped, it can be difficult to clean off the sides of the hutch or litter tray.

    Pros
    • Natural wheat pellets
    • Safe to consume
    • Clumped pellets are easy to scoop
    Cons
    • Clumps on plastic and wood
    • Expensive
    • Can turn mushy when wet

    4. Kaytee Clean & Cozy Super Absorbent Paper Bedding

    Material: Paper
    Form: Shredded paper
    Volume: 85 litres

    Kaytee Clean & Cozy offers a range of animal bedding products, including both scented and unscented. The unscented Kaytee Clean & Cozy Super Absorbent Paper Bedding is a condensed pack of soft white paper. The company advises opening the bag into a tote or other container and then fluffing it out with your hands. It is a bit more effort than simply opening the bag and using the contents, but it also means that the package is heavily condensed when it arrives.

    The manufacturer claims that the recycled paper material naturally absorbs three times more moisture than wood shavings and is virtually dust free. Dust is not only a problem for owners, causing a cloud of irritating paper dust around the cage, but it can lead to and exacerbate respiratory problems in rabbits.

    The paper is soft, which means that it is ideal for animals that like to burrow, and it is reasonably priced. However, it does need fluffing before use, to prevent dust, and because it expands so much, it is not a safe choice for rabbits that choose to eat their bedding because it could compact in their stomach.

    Pros
    • Soft paper is comfortable and suitable for burrowing
    • Reasonable price
    • Expands to give a lot of bedding
    Cons
    • Bit of effort required to fluff paper up before use
    • Not suitable for rabbits that eat bedding

    5. Carefresh Natural Paper Nesting Small Pet Bedding

    Material: Paper
    Form: Paper fibers
    Volume: 60L

    Carefresh Natural Paper Nesting Small Pet Bedding is a paper bedding that claims to be as soft as a pillow, remains free from odours for ten days, and is twice as absorbent as traditional wood shavings. Carefresh also claims that it is 99% dust free, and the bedding is 25% larger than their standard small animal bedding, so is better suited to larger caged animals like rabbits.

    Paper bedding does do a good job of collecting urine and moisture, but it does require spot cleaning to prevent the pieces from becoming saturated. If you don’t keep on top of this, the wet pieces will cause surrounding bedding to become sodden and you will need to replace all of the paper sooner.

    Carefresh is reasonably priced and is no dustier than other beddings, although none are completely dust free. It is softer than wood shavings but not as pillowy soft as the manufacturer claims.

    Pros
    • Reasonable price
    • Larger pieces are better suited to rabbits
    • Absorbs twice as much liquid as wood shavings
    Cons
    • Not as pillow soft as claimed
    • Needs daily spot cleaning to avoid saturation

    6. Small Pet Select Jumbo Natural Paper Bedding

    Small Pet Select Jumbo

    Material: Paper
    Form: Paper fibers
    Volume: 178L

    Small Pet Select Jumbo Natural Paper Bedding is another reasonably priced paper bedding. Made from pure paper that is unbleached and has never been printed on, the bedding is made from food-grade material that has been left over from other manufacturing processes, which means that no trees have been harvested to make the bedding.

    Small Pet Select is a compact bedding that expands when open to give the volume of bedding described on the packaging. To expand the bedding, it is best to place it in a tote or other contained sealer, and then fluff it up with your fingers. This expansion means that the packaging can seem small, but it means cheaper postage and more convenient storage. The jumbo pieces are suitable for rabbits and larger caged animals.

    Small Pet Select Jumbo Natural Paper Bedding is reasonably priced, at least compared to premium options. It is soft, despite having a suitable size for rabbits, but it is dusty, despite claims to be 99% dust free. As with other paper products, it can become saturated and smell, if not spot cleaned daily.

    Pros
    • Jumbo pieces are a suitable size for rabbits
    • Made from unprinted paper
    Cons
    • Expansion means the bale looks small
    • Dustier than expected

    7. Small Pet Select Aspen Bedding

    Material: Aspen shavings
    Form: Shavings
    Volume: 41L

    Small Pet Select Aspen Bedding is made from wood shavings, but while some less expensive beddings are made from pine, which is a controversial material to use in rabbit bedding because it can be toxic, this is made from Aspen wood. Aspen wood is considered safe for rabbits, and it has been kiln dried, improving its safety and comfort levels. Small Pet Select makes their bedding from wood shavings, and not from the logs which can leave sharp and hard fibres that are painful and potentially damaging for your rabbit. It comes in a 16-litre bale, which expands to 41 litres on opening and with a bit of care.

    It is an expensive bedding, presumably because it is made from 100% natural Aspen shavings. It can be recycled and, once used, it can even be composted, which saves you room in the bin and prevents you having to find an alternative means of disposal.

    Pros
    • Made from 100% natural Aspen
    • Soft and safe for rabbits
    Cons
    • Very expensive
    • Does not absorb liquid as well as paper

    8. Carefresh Complete White Small Pet Bedding

    Material: Paper
    Form: Shredded paper
    Volume: 10L

    Carefresh Complete Natural White Small Pet Bedding is similar to their natural bedding, except that it is white paper rather than brown, and is noticeably more expensive. Carefresh claims it is twice as absorbent as wood, is 99% dust free, and it is beautifully soft on your rabbit’s feet.

    White bedding makes it easier to monitor urine and poop so that you can ensure your rabbit is healthy. It also seems softer than the brown, and it does look tidier and neater in the cage.

    However, unless you do need to be able to more clearly see urine and faeces, the extra cost is significant. The litter itself can be dusty, certainly more so than the packaging suggests, and it has a slight chemical smell to it which may put some rabbits, never mind owners, off using it.

    Pros
    • Easy to monitor toilet health
    • Soft on rabbits’ feet
    Cons
    • Very expensive
    • Dusty
    • Bit of a chemical smell

    9. GuineaDad Burrowing Absorbent Antibacterial Waterproof Cage Liners

    GuineaDad Burrowing Absorbent

    Material: Fleece
    Form: Cage liner
    Volume:

    The GuineaDad Burrowing Absorbet Antibacterial Waterproof Cage Liner is designed primarily for use in guinea pig cages but can also be used in rabbit hutches.

    The liner is made from an absorbent fleece material and sits on the bottom of the hutch. It does not need to be covered and is arguably the only bedding type that is truly 100% dust free so if you have a rabbit or another family member with respiratory problems, fleece liners are beneficial. Fleece liners are quicker and easier to replace than doing a full sawdust change, they can be put in a washing machine (ideally in a net bag) and cleaned and reused.

    However, because these are designed for guinea pigs, they are small compared to a rabbit hutch and you will either need several or use liners in the toilet area and other bedding in the rest of the hutch. You will also need to change and wash the liners every couple of days to avoid them becoming sodden and smelly. The liners are expensive, initially, but because they are reused, rather than thrown away, they will save money in the long run.

    Pros
    • Cheap in the long run
    • Can be washed and reused
    • No need for full, regular bedding changes
    Cons
    • Expensive initially
    • Need changing frequently to avoid smells
    • Need to purchase several to cover a whole hutch

    10. Living World Pine Shavings

    Living World Pine Shavings

    Material: Pine shavings
    Form: Sawdust
    Volume: 56L

    Living World Pine Shavings are a really inexpensive bedding option, costing less than almost all the other beddings on this list. The pine absorbs odours reasonably well and Living World claims that it stays soft and comfortable for your rabbit.

    Unfortunately, there is considerable concern over the safety of using pine shavings for rabbits and other small animals. It is known to be toxic, although safer if the shavings are kiln dried. It can also prevent commonly used prescription medication and veterinary treatments from working efficiently. You will also find that while the bedding is reasonably soft for wood shavings, you will find hard and sharp bits that are best removed, and dust is a common problem with bedding made from shavings, so it is not suitable for rabbits with respiratory problems or owners with allergies.

    Although cheap, Living World Pine Shavings are not generally considered safe for rabbits because pine is toxic, there are some sharp bits in the bedding, and it does create a cloud of dust not only when changing the litter but when your rabbit runs or scratches in the material.

    Pros
    • Cheap
    Cons
    • Pine is toxic to rabbits
    • Some hard and sharp bits
    • Dusty

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    Buyer’s Guide

    Rabbit bedding is the substrate that is placed on the bottom of the hutch. It provides your rabbit with something soft under foot and because they have a tendency to eat whatever they find on the floor; it should be non-toxic and safe to eat. It also needs to be able to absorb urine, control odour, and be easy enough to regularly clean, without creating clouds of dust that can cause respiratory problems in rabbits and family members.

    Read on to find the best bedding materials and what to look for when shopping for your own rabbit’s needs.

    Bedding Materials

    There are numerous options when it comes to bedding materials. Some of the traditional substrates include straw and hay while wood shavings have been an especially popular commercial bedding option for generations of rabbits. In recent years, it has been determined that some of these materials are not ideal, leading to the introduction of more premium wood shavings, new and recycled paper pellets, and even cage liners. Most rabbit bedding is made from one of the following materials:

    Wood Shavings

    Wood shavings are a traditional commercial bedding option. They are, as the name suggests, made from the shavings of natural wood. It’s cheap, relatively easy to clean up, and widely available. However, some wood shavings can have hard and sharp pellets which cause injury to your rabbit and can be especially dangerous if your rabbit decides to chew on the pieces.

    Worse still, pine shavings, which were once the most popular wood option, have been found to be toxic to rabbits. Not only can pine cause liver problems it can also prevent some medications and veterinary treatments from working properly.

    Despite the dangers, pine shavings are still readily available, so if you do buy wood shavings, check the type of wood that is used. Cedar is another potentially toxic wood. Aspen is considered a safe alternative, but still carries the same concerns of sharp pellets.

    Paper

    Paper can take the form of recycled or fresh paper. Recycled paper is good for the environment and tends to be soft on your rabbit’s paws. However, if the paper has been chemically treated or printed on it can be toxic and dangerous. Fresh paper is made for the purpose of being used for bedding and has not been printed on. Some manufacturers use paper that would have otherwise been thrown away, which increases its environmental credentials. Paper does absorb urine and liquid, with most paper litter manufacturers claiming that it is two or three times more absorbent than wood. However, it tends to create some dust and it can become soggy once it has absorbed any liquid so it will need regular spot cleaning and changing.

    Wheat

    Straw is a common bedding substrate for outdoor rabbits, but it is not considered a good option for indoor rabbits. It doesn’t absorb liquid, and it has sharp ends that can be very uncomfortable. Pellet straw, on the other hand, is different. It uses the same material, but the straw has been ground and put in pellet form. It is natural and safe to eat, making it a good choice for pets that do eat their bedding. It does a reasonable job of odour control, giving a natural wheat smell when first used. What’s more, it can be composted after use. The biggest drawback of wheat pellets is that they tend to be more expensive than the alternatives.

    Fleece Liners

    Fleece liners are more commonly used in guinea pig cages and for smaller rodents. They are made from ultra-absorbent fleece, and they are placed on the bottom of the hutch without any additional substrate added. They can be cleaned and reused but do need replacing every couple of days, and lower quality fleece liners can lead to pooling of urine rather than absorption of the liquid. Not everybody likes the idea of washing rabbit urine-soaked fleece liners in their washing machine, either, although this should be safe.

    Cat Litter

    Cat litter is specifically designed to absorb urine and remove odours, so it is understandable that rabbit owners have also turned their attention to these products. Wood pellet litter is the most commonly used, but while this might be OK for cats’ paws, the pellets tend to be too hard for rabbits. You might find that your rabbit does everything possible to avoid standing on the pellets in the first place.

    Volume

    Most bedding types, other than pellets and liners, are compacted during the packaging process. This saves you space, and it reduces the cost of packaging and postage, therefore potentially reducing the cost of the litter to you. The manufacturer then sells the litter according to the unpackaged and uncompacted weight, assuming that you will pull it apart before putting it down. Some owners claim that this is misleading, but it is common practice. You do need to look out for this, however, as it makes a big difference in size and price considering sawdust and paper fibres can be compacted to a half or even a third of their uncompacted size.

    Absorbency

    One of the most important jobs of rabbit bedding is to absorb urine and collect poo. Some materials, like paper and, to a lesser degree, wood shavings, do absorb some liquid and most manufacturers highlight absorbency compared to that of wood shavings, so you might see paper bedding that absorbs twice as much liquid as traditional shavings. Better absorbency means less frequent bedding changes, unless it begins to smell.

    Dust

    Other than fleece liners, all bedding materials give off some dust. This most often occurs when the pack is first opened, when it is put in the hutch, and if your rabbit burrows or digs. The dust can be a nuisance, but it can also cause respiratory problems in some rabbits and their owners. Look for those with low dust levels, especially if your rabbit does already suffer from breathing difficulties or allergies.

    Divider-rabbit2

    What Bedding Is Bad for Rabbits?

    • Avoid pine and cedar shavings because these can be toxic.
    • Very dusty sawdust can cause respiratory problems, with wood shavings preferred for this reason.
    • Although cat litter is generally considered safe for use, if your rabbit can deal with standing on the hard pellets, you should not use clay litter because is another dusty material.
    • Hay can be used to make beds and as actual bedding, but it does not absorb liquid, and it can be sharp on sensitive feet.

    Can I Use Newspaper for Rabbit Bedding?

    You can use newspaper as rabbit bedding. It can be laid out flat, although this will quickly become wet, or it can be shredded for better absorption and a more comfortable surface to walk on. If your rabbit eats its bedding, avoid using paper that has been bleached or otherwise chemically treated.

    Can I Use Hay for Rabbit Bedding?

    You can use hay for rabbit bedding. However, it can be expensive, does not do a good job of absorbing liquids, and it is another material that is potentially too sharp for their paws. Better alternatives do exist, although straw and hay pellets are better.

    rabbit in bed
    Image Credit: Jennifer Chen, Unsplash

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    Conclusion

    Getting the right rabbit bedding is not only important for your rabbit’s welfare but can have a big impact on your life, too. Good bedding requires less frequent changing, controls odour better, and throws up less dust.

    In our reviews, we found Back 2 Nature Small Animal Bedding offers good absorption and is soft on your rabbits’ paws, although it is quite an expensive option. If you’re looking to spend less, Vitakraft Bedding For Rodents is soft and absorbent but costs less than most other viable alternatives.


    Featured Image Credit: Ostancov Vladislav, Shutterstock

    Nicole Cosgrove

    Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.