No, you shouldn’t use puppy pads for rabbits. This is because the puppy pads contain chemicals that would be harmful to rabbits if chewed and ingested (they’re perfectly safe for puppies though).
The good news is that there are plenty of other options for catching your rabbit’s urine and poop!
Read on to find out why you shouldn’t use puppy pads, what you should be using, and more.
Why Can’t Puppy Pads Be Used for Rabbits?
There are a few main reasons why puppy pads shouldn’t be used for rabbits. Anything that can be harmful to your rabbit’s health should be avoided.
Puppy pads have:
- Chemicals: The puppy pads are coated in chemicals to help make them absorbent and attract dogs to them. As rabbits’ instinct is to chew anything around them, it can cause a bunch of internal issues for your rabbit.
- Expanding elements: As part of their job to absorb liquid, puppy pads (if eaten) could expand in the rabbit’s gut. This could cause blockages and require surgery to remove it.
What Can I Use Instead of Puppy Pads for My Rabbit?
Instead of using puppy pads, there are a couple of things you could get for your rabbit to use as a toilet area.
Laying down newspaper on the bottom of your rabbit’s hutch or cage will provide a layer for the urine to soak into. This usually makes it easier to clean up and it isn’t terrible if your rabbit gets ahold of it and has a bite. It’s cheap and easily digestible, making it a good choice.
Using a litter box or tray is a popular way to catch your rabbit’s urine and poop. This is a specific container that your rabbit can be trained to use as a toilet that you’ll need to clean out daily.
In the litter tray, you can use:
- Wood shavings: Aspen is the best wood shavings to use. A lot of people use pine and cedar but these can be dusty and cause liver issues. They’re easy to buy and cheap, but don’t prevent odors and need to be regularly changed for fresh.
- Hay: As well as being a source of fiber and the biggest part of your rabbit’s diet, hay can be used as litter. This can be multi-purpose as rabbits enjoy eating while they’re using the toilet (but they won’t eat soiled hay).
- Paper and newspaper shreddings: This is cheap and easy to use but if your rabbit is eating it then it can eventually cause blockages. It’ll also need to be changed often.
- Wood pellets: Hardwood pellets are a brilliant option, as they’re readily available, absorb liquids well, and control the odors. But you will need to measure that the wood hasn’t been treated with any chemicals.
- Paper pellets: These are non-toxic, dust-free, and natural liner. They can be composted to reduce waste but are harder to clean up (it’s basically soggy paper) and can smell bad.
These are all rabbit-friendly fillers that can be picked up from most pet stores.
How to Litter Train Rabbits
Before litter training your rabbit you should get them neutered (if they haven’t already been). This will control their hormone levels and prevent territorial behavior like a male rabbit spraying urine.
Check out my 7 simple steps to litter train your rabbits:
- Pick up a litter tray or box, there are various sizes available at most pet stores. Ideally, your rabbit should be able to fully get in the tray.
- Choose which litter to fill it with. For inspiration check out the section above.
- Fill the tray so the litter is one inch flat across the whole tray.
- Pick a spot where the litter box goes, ideally somewhere your rabbit already uses to urinate. You should always keep the litter tray in the same place.
- Whenever you find random rabbit poops around, put them in the litter tray to show your rabbit that’s where they go.
- If your rabbit uses the litter tray, make sure that you praise and reward them.
- Be patient, and before you know it your pet will be litter trained!
Every day when you clean the litter you should mix a little bit of the old litter with the stuff you’re refilling it with. This means a familiar smell for the rabbit and helps them associate the litter tray with going to the toilet.
What Material Shouldn’t Be Used for Rabbit Litter?
One material you should particularly avoid is cat litter. Almost all types of cat litter are harmful to rabbits – due to certain chemicals, dust, and expanding litter. Steer clear from this, and if you have pet cats too, then keep the litter out of reach from your rabbits.
Why Should Rabbits Be Litter Trained?
Litter training your rabbit not only means all the mess is in one convenient place for you to pick it up but also means that your rabbit can free-roam. Being trained to use one place for the toilet is usually enough to prevent accidents around your home.
Do Rabbits Like Using Litter Trays?
Rabbits generally like having litter trays because they are naturally clean animals. They don’t like a mess so having all their urine and poop in one place so the rest of their home stays clean prevents the rabbit from becoming stressed.