What is rabbit-safe litter and how do I use it? There are a few options out there and you need to keep in mind how your bunny is going to use the box. Expect your bunny to take a nap in it, dig in it, possibly snack on some of the litter and use it as a bathroom. So how do you choose? Let’s narrow it down.
Generally, one of two types of bedding is used, either paper-based or wood-based.
Paper-based litters are found in most pet stores and through online retailers, such as Amazon. They are made from recycled paper fibers, are biodegradable and can be composted. Most brands will declare that there are no artificial colors, additives or bleach and practically dust-free. The bedding will often look either fluffy or pelleted. Either is fine and both are safe if ingested by rabbits.
Personally, my favorite rabbit-safe litter is Back-to-Nature. It is a recycled, pelleted paper bedding, but absorbs urine and odor better than similar brands I’ve tried.
On a side note, you want to avoid any litter that includes baking soda. Some companies add baking soda as a natural odor fighter, but it can be dangerous if rabbits ingest it. Mind you, a rabbit would need to ingest A LOT of the bedding for it to become deadly, but this is another danger that can be easily avoided.
Newspapers and flyers: Using your junk mail is a great way to put all that paper to good use. Just be aware that newspapers and flyers do not absorb odor well. You will need to change the box more frequently (probably every 2-3 days, depending on the size of the box and how many rabbits are using it).
Wood-based litter is another suitable choice. Again, I would avoid pine and cedar, and stay with the hardwoods, such as Aspen, Douglas Fir, Oak, etc.
Wood pellets used in wood stoves and grills can be an inexpensive alternative. The pellets will break apart when damp and control odor very well. Do NOT use wood stove pellets that have an accelerant, propellent, or any sort of binders and chemicals added.
Wood stove pellets can be found in hardware stores, such as Home Depot. The disadvantage is that sometimes wood pellets can be harder to find, especially if stores just carry them seasonally in the winter.
You shouldn’t need very much of it. If you are using something fluffy (like Carefresh), you will want to cover about a 1/2 to 1 inch of the bottom of the litter box. If you are using shavings or something pelleted, you will want to use quite a bit less (just cover the bottom). Of course, you can add more if you find you need better odor control. Remember, no matter what sort of bedding you use (whether paper or wood-based), it should expand when wet, trapping odor and urine.