Monday, August 1, 2016

How To Choose a Rabbit Litter

   Which rabbit litter should you choose for your pet bunny? There are many commerically available rabbit litters available today, but they all fall into small groups based on what materials they are made from. Some are made from wood, some paper pulp and some even from ground up corn cobs! So which type would be best for your pet rabbit?
   In addition to which material your rabbit litter is made from, there are other consideration as well. First of all, you want to choose a rabbit litter that is safe for your pet rabbit. You also will want one that can absorb moisture to keep your bunny comfortable. Along with absorption, you will want to choose one that offers good odor control too. To learn more about the differences between rabbit litters and how well they work, San Diego Rabbits wrote a great article to help you choose:

"There are many more litter options now than there were just a few years ago. Each litter has a different absorption rate, weight, scent, and tracking capabilities. Because rabbits tend to nibble on everything and can easily inhale the dust, it is important to choose a non-toxic product. Over the years, we have come to know that there may be health risks associated with prolonged use of pine and cedar shavings - and neither is very absorbent as a litter - so we encourage you to try one of the many new litters designed for use with rabbits. We are happy to report that manufacturers are now providing us with many new, innovative products.

Courtesy of BunnyBytes - thank you Kathy and Steve! - we were able to test several litter products on foster rabbits. Here is what we discovered.
Aspen Supreme pellet litter: This pellet litter had a "woodsy" smell but it was not strong or offensive. The pellets are compostable and can be flushed in small quantities. Although heavy, we found this pellet litter to be very good at odor control and very absorbent, as well. The pellets are dark in color, so it took a little getting-used-to, but this litter fared very well. Kathy from BunnyBytes reminds us that because these pellets are also good at keeping odor down, so we need to remember to adhere to a regular cleaning schedule to keep bunny's box fresh and clean.
Aspen Wood particles: This shaved-wood product looks similar to pine shavings, but it is made from Aspen wood. Although relatively absorbent, the wood particles stuck to most bunny butts so, in turn, the litter tracked all over the house. Not a great option - there's enough hay to clean up as it is! This litter is also recommended bedding for rats and guinea pigs.
EcoFRESH: Made by Absorption Corporation, makers of CareFRESH, this litter looks and feels like clay, but it isn't. This litter is made from recycled paper. It is absorbent and virtually dust-free. One nice feature of this litter is that some rabbit droppings can be sifted out as you might do with cat litter.
CareFRESH: Still one of the best paper-product litters available. Made from paper pulp and dust-free, this litter is non-toxic, very absorbent and flushable in small quantities. Along with hay and rabbit droppings, it makes great compost.
Clay cat litter: Although inexpensive, clay litter can be dusty and may encourage digging in the litter box. There are also more absorbent litters on the market. Also, if bunny should ingest this litter, it could be fatal.
DO NOT USE clumping cat litters with rabbits. This litter clumps when exposed to moisture, and it can't tell the difference between external and internal moisture. Rabbits tend to nibble on everything, and should they ingest clumping litter, they risk a potentially deadly intestinal blockage.
Corn cob: Relatively absorbent, but very light and tends to get tracked and kicked out of the litter box easily.
Cat Country: Made primarily from plant fibers, this pelleted litter is absorbent as well as compostable.
Yesterday's News: This pelleted litter, made from recycled newspaper, is absorbent and can be flushed in small quantities.
Feline Pine: Kiln-dried pine shavings, with no aromatic hydrocarbons. Liquid waste is absorbed by these pellets, which swell and become wet sawdust.
Shredded paper: Layers of newspaper and shredded paper topped with hay can be used in the litter box, but we've found it may tempt rabbits to ingest large amounts of paper. Rabbits also love to get a grip on the paper and make a big mess. Economical and a good way to get second use out of the news, shredded paper may or may not work well, depending on your rabbit's habits.
Selecting the right litter box and litter for your rabbit will depend on the products you can find, as well as your rabbit's activity level and special needs. Sometimes testing the different products is helpful, and we hope we've given you some "litter for thought!"

To read the entire article, visit SanDiegoRabbits.org