So, you have a tremendous-looking litter tray or box for your beloved rabbit, but you wonder what is the best rabbit litter to fill it? It can be bewildering when selecting the most suitable litter for your rabbit, as there are many brands are on the market.
In addition, some products are marketed as rabbit litter when they are bedding material for all intent and purposes. So to be clear, this article will review the best eco-friendly, safe rabbit litter choices for your bunny.
What Litter is Safe for Rabbits?
When deciding the best litter for your rabbit, the primary material used in the production is the first consideration. The composition of commercial rabbit litter can include diverse materials, like rice hulls, corncobs, recycled paper pellets, wheaten straw, clay, and non-toxic wood shaving and chips.
Different materials have different absorption qualities. This attribute is essential to factor in if you have several rabbits under your care. As you can imagine, heavy traffic to the litter tray can soon add up and cause a soggy mess if the absorption rate is insufficient or the tray’s cleaning is inadequate.
We prefer to choose pelleted paper litter, or pelleted hardwood litter for maximum absorbency, dust free properties, biodegradability and composability. These are also the safest choice for your rabbit, who may naturally ingest some of the litter.
Furthermore, these eco-friendly litters are an excellent way for rabbits to reduce their carbon pawprint. We’ll explore the different types of rabbit litters below.
Top Choices: The Best Rabbit Litter Available
Eco Straw Rabbit Litter
Our top choice for an environmentally and rabbit friendly pellet litter is Eco-Straw Wheat Straw Litter. This straw litter is made from 100% wheat. If your bunny nibbles on the litter it won’t harm their digestive system.
It produces minimal dust, so is safe for your rabbits sensitive lungs and respiratory system. The eco-straw wicks away moisture and eliminates urine odors without the need for any fragrances or chemicals which could harm your bunny.
You can compost the used pellets or if needed flush them safely down the toilet. We like that the straw rabbit litter pellets are completely biodegradable, so they are just as safe for the environment as they are your bunny.
Yesterday’s News Non Clumping Paper Litter
This non clumping recycled paper pellet litter is advertised as cat litter, but is safe for rabbits. It is made from recycled paper. Unlike loose recycled paper bedding, the pellets are virtually dust free.
They are absorbent, keep odor to a minimum and unlike some other paper based rabbit litters, contains no baking soda (which isn’t good for your bunny if he eats it).
Is Pine Pellet Litter Safe for Rabbits?
Pine pellet litter can be used for both bedding and litter for your rabbit. Unlike softwood shavings, pine pellet litter is considered safe for rabbits as it is kiln dried to remove any toxins. Our recommended pine pellet litter for rabbits is Small Pet Select (link to Amazon here).
There is much debate concerning the safety of using some softwood shavings, like cedar and pine, as litter or bedding material for your rabbit. However, the consensus is that it is best to steer clear of untreated cedar or pine chips for litter or bedding purposes.
Although pine and cedar shavings and chips are very aromatic due to natural volatile phenol chemicals in the wood, rabbits can suffer adverse allergic reactions due to the toxicity of the resins.
The phenols emitted can also overwork a rabbit’s liver, causing certain enzymes to become elevated as the liver filters the toxins. The best practice is to avoid exposing your rabbits to potentially harmful wood shavings or chips by only purchasing litter packaged exclusively for rabbits.
However, be also mindful that rabbits can nibble on other softwoods, many that can be toxic too. If you are ever in doubt, please consult with your rabbit’s veterinarian.
Are Birch and Aspen Shavings Safe for Rabbit Litter?
As we mentioned above with pine and cedar shavings, the same care should be taken when choosing birch and aspen shavings for rabbit litter.
You can use aspen litter and birch shavings for your rabbit, however, make sure you buy litter that has been kiln dried and had any natural oils removed. During the kiln drying process, the hardwood also becomes almost dust and scent free, to keep your bunny safe from any respiratory issues.
A great choice is a litter like Living World Wood Aspen Shavings which is fairly absorbent (absorbs around 4 times its weight) and can be used for nesting and burrowing, as well as litter.
Is Clay Litter Safe for Rabbits?
General clay litter (like cat litter) should not be used for rabbits. It can cause both respiratory issues and digestive issues for your rabbit. It can be harmful if both breathed in by your rabbit and cause blockages in your rabbits stomach and intestines if eaten, leading to GI stasis in rabbits.
If you have a cat and use clay litter for the litter box, make sure your rabbit cannot access this, just to be on the safe side.
Is Corn Cob Litter Safe for Rabbits?
Corn Cob litter is another type of litter that isn’t the best choice for rabbits. Corn cob litter isn’t an absolute no, however, it’s not the most absorbent, doesn’t control odors very well and is very easily tracked about your rabbits cage, or your home.
We’ve also found corn cob litter to be quite rough on our bunnies sensitive feet. Our rabbits also have a tendency to fling the litter when jumping in and out of the litter box, sending the corn cob litter flying everywhere. Clean up is a nightmare!
There’s also concerns about the ingestion of corn cob litter, if your rabbit is one who tries to eat it. Like clay litter, it can cause digestive problems. Overall, there are better choices than corn cob litter for your rabbit.
Is Kaytee Critter Litter Safe for Rabbits?
Kaytee Critter Litter can be used for rabbits, particularly if you are training your bunny to use the litter box. It’s not our number one choice for rabbit litter, as it is made from bentonite, which is a natural form of clay.
We’ve found that Kaytee Critter Litter is really absorbent but it kind of melts into a hard lump of concrete. Imagine that in your bunnies tummy if they decided to eat some? Or the bottom of your litter box?
Whilst it is supposed to cut down on cleaning time (changing the litter completely once a week), we found that the difficulty getting the critter litter off the litter box outweighed the time saved.
It’s also quite pricey in comparison to paper based rabbit litters. My recommendation would be to use the Kaytee Critter Litter for litter box training, then gradually switch over to a paper or hardwood based pellet.
Can You Use Wood Stove Pellets for Rabbit Litter?
Wood stove pellets can be used for rabbit litter. Check the bag carefully to ensure that there are no oils or additives in the pellets. Some rabbits will nibble on the wood stove pellets, whereas others will have no interest at all.
It is not ideal to let your rabbit nibble on the wood stove pellets as they will swell when wet and form a consistency like wood shavings.
Ensure you are also buying a good quality wood stove pellet. Ask the store if they have a sample you can smell. Some lesser quality wood stove pellets have very strong scents and may need to be aired out.
You may also find the poorer quality wood stove pellets and are more loose and crumbly than a firm compacted pellet. The crumbly pellets would produce more dust which isn’t good for your bunnies respiratory system.
You can also try equine pellets (again, make sure there are no additives) from farm supply stores such as tractor supply or pet stores. You can buy them on Amazon here, super convenient but also higher priced. See below:
Can I Use Cat Litter for My Rabbit?
Some cat litter can be used for rabbits also, but this is a complex topic, as there are so many types of cat litter on the market in 2021. I’ve written an entire blog post about suitable cat litters for your rabbit which can be found here.
We hope this article has helped you find the right rabbit litter for your rabbit litter box set up. Remember, it’s always a good idea to try and choose as eco-friendly an option as possible when we can. If you have any questions or want help finding the perfect choice for your bunny, please contact us today!