Can rabbits chew on cardboard? Well, let’s find out! If you’re a rabbit parent then you should know that bunnies love chewing. They can literally chew on anything, from your carpets, towels, wood chips to those cardboard boxes lying on the floor. But the question is, is it safe to let them chew on certain things specifically cardboard?
For rabbits, chewing not only keeps them engaged, it is a part of their dental care routine. It helps them to condition and wear down their teeth. For this reason, they like to chew on almost anything and everything that comes in their way including pieces of paper, wood, clothes, carpet and whatnot.
But not everything they chew on is good for them. The thing is, rabbits have very sensitive digestive systems and they sometimes end up ingesting the items while chewing on them. Hence, it’s very important to provide them with the right chewable, so that they don’t end up consuming harmful things.
Coming to whether or not can rabbits chew on cardboard? The answer is, yes, they can. Of course, cardboard shouldn’t be the main part of their food intake, but eating small amounts of it is not gonna harm your bunnies. In fact, cardboard is a great chewable material for rabbits.
It is cheap, easily available and harmless. They can chew on it to prevent their teeth from overgrowing. However, there are a few important things that should be kept in mind whilst giving your rabbits cardboard to chew or eat.
Why Chewing Is Important For Rabbits?
Giving your rabbit something he can chew on is a great way to help him in having healthy teeth. If you already don’t know, the teeth of rabbits grow very quickly, just like our fingernails.
So, to keep them short and well-trimmed, they need to chew. Of course, they need a balanced diet containing ample of hay, pellets and fresh foods but providing them with cardboard or wooden toys can help them greatly.
Also, when you don’t provide them the right chewable, your bunnies end up chewing on harmful things that they shouldn’t, such as wires, furniture legs, plastics etc. Chewing is the natural instinct of rabbits, it keeps their mind active and keeps them engaged.
What Kind Of Cardboard Is Safe For Rabbits To Chew?
Cardboard boxes are easily available in all the homes. Flattening and standing boxes that don’t have any kind of lamination or paint are safe for rabbits. You can make various toys using cardboard boxes such as a tunnel or a digging box that will be loved by your pets.
You can even use the large boxes as temporary mats by flattening them. They work great as liners on the baseboards by preventing the bunnies from chewing on them.
Before using the cardboard boxes for bunnies, just make sure to remove the staples, pins and tapes so that your little pet doesn’t get hurt while playing.
When Does Chewing On Cardboard Become Harmful For A Rabbit?
Not all cardboards are safe for your bunny, so there are a couple of things you should keep in mind when you give your pet a piece of cardboard to chew on. As we mentioned above, you should take out the harmful attachments like staples, pins and tapes, but there are a few other things to look out :
- Laminated And Colored Cardboard
Be very careful of what type of cardboard you’re offering your rabbit. Most of the store-bought cardboard boxes have laminations and different prints which can be very harmful for your pet. The inks used for printing the boxes are highly toxic and the thin plastic sheets on them are life-taking.
So, avoid giving them anything like product boxes or cereal boxes. Not just the cardboard boxes, avoid giving them anything that is printed or glossy such as books, magazines etc.
Use only plain cardboard boxes that we usually use for packaging.
- Eating Cardboard In Excess
There is no doubt that eating a small quantity of cardboard is not at all harmful for a rabbit but if they ingest it in large quantities, it can be an alarming issue. First of all, cardboard doesn’t provide any nutritional value, second you don’t want your bunny to fill his stomach with some senseless stuff instead of a proper diet.
If your pet looks like eating cardboard in excess, limit the quantity immediately and try giving them another safe chew toy instead. Wooden toys are great for bunnies, they satisfy their chewing instinct without allowing them to ingest the material.
Other Types Of Papers Your Rabbit Can Play With
If your rabbits can safely chew and eat small amounts of cardboard, you might be wondering if there are any other types of papers he can eat?
The answer is yes, as long as the papers aren’t glossy or have harmful inks on them, they can be given to a rabbit. Papers like magazines, used printer paper, receipts, book pages etc. shouldn’t be used.
Also remember, papers don’t do anything for a rabbit’s teeth as they don’t offer any resistance. Papers can be only used for playing purposes, good use is to create a digging box for your pet’s enrichment.
Below Are Some Types Of Papers That Are Safe For Rabbits
- Toilet Paper Rolls
Yes. Rabbits love playing with toilet paper rolls. The best part is, toilet papers aren’t printed or glossy, hence safe for little animals. There is no harm even if they end up eating a small amount of paper towel.
Bunnies have great fun tossing around toilet paper rolls. A good idea is to make fun DIY toys using these hard tubes. Use them for hiding treats by blocking one end and allow them to play and find their favorite treats.
Another use of these cardboard tubes is, use them as hay baskets. Stuff them with some hay or other greens and hang them to your rabbit’s cabin.
Although ink is harmful for rabbit’s health, most of the newspapers are printed using soy ink which isn’t toxic. This is the reason why newspapers are considered to be safe around pets. In fact, there are many litter brands that use recycled newspapers for manufacturing rabbit litter boxes.
Also, a majority of pet owners use newspapers for toilet training their pets. So, you can safely use newspapers as toys for your bunny. Simply crumble the paper and make a ball out of it and then let your fur baby have fun with it.
Also, don’t panic if the paws of your bunny start turning black after playing with the newspaper. This is because of the ink that is rubbed off by paws. You don’t need to be alarmed as this ink is safe and the stains will go away on their own after a few days or weeks of being away from their newspaper toys.
- Brown /White Packing Paper
Browns and white packing papers excluding the glossy and printed ones are safe around rabbits.
Such papers are very common these days as they’re switching from plastic bags. So, next time when your parcel arrives in a paper bag instead of a plastic one, save it for your bunny.
You can make DIY toys by crumbling the paper, these will keep your rabbit engaged for hours. Plus, you don’t have to worry about your pet’s paws getting black just like they do when playing with inked newspaper.
- Shredded Paper
You can also use shredded paper for your bunny. The best use out of it is creating a digging box by stuffing a lot of shredded papers. Simply take a cardboard box and stuff it with huge clumps of shredded paper and let your pet get inside the box and play till he gets tired. You can also increase his fun by hiding some treats or toys in the box.
Other Chew Toys For Rabbits
Apart from cardboard for your rabbits to chew on and different types of papers, there is a wide variety of chew toys you can purchase for your bunnies. Having good chew toys will not only satisfy the chewing instinct of the rabbits but will also keep them mentally stimulated.
It’s always a good idea to provide various options for your rabbit to choose from. This will keep him happy and engaged.
Wooden toys are a great option for the starters. You can easily get them from your local pet stores and even online. They are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Some of the most interesting ones are hanging toys and puzzle toys.
The best part about wooden toys is, they are hard, so rabbits don’t end up eating the amount of wood as they do with cardboards or other kinds of papers.
When you purchase the wooden toys, male sure they are painted with rabbit-safe paints or vegetable dyes otherwise avoid purchasing painted stuff.
Applewood sticks or chips are another great chewable for bunnies. Also, if your bunny is extremely fond of these wood sticks and end up eating them whole, avoid giving them. You can give them pinecones instead but make sure to clean, wash and dry them completely before allowing your pet to play with them.
Wicker baskets also make good chew toys for bunnies. However, keep an eye on the painted and treated wicker and exclude it. While we don’t advise allowing your pet to chew on wicker furniture for the same reason, you can buy some cheap unpainted baskets made of wicker.
Other than these, there are plenty of other toys and DIY ways to keep your bunnies teeth healthy and himself happy.
What Can My Rabbit Eat?
Besides letting your rabbits chew on cardboard… a rabbit’s diet should consist of good quality hay (oats, Timothy), vegetables, greens and rabbit pellets. Provide your bunny with plenty of fresh foods and limit the quantity of pellet to a specific amount. Moreover, avoid feeding human food, sweets and chocolates to your pet.
How to prevent my rabbit from chewing on cables and wires?
Rabbits chew on wires and cables mainly because they look like roots which are the main chewables in the wild. Wires can be very harmful for the pets as they’re mostly made from plastic and rubber. The best way to prevent this is keeping your wires /cables away from your bunny’s reach. You can also keep them covered using tubes.
What Are Some Best Chewables For Rabbits?
There are a lot of things that you can give your rabbit to chew on. These include their own towels, cardboard, Applewood sticks, pinecones, toilet paper rolls etc. But make sure he isn’t ingesting anything in large amounts.
Provide them plenty of grass /fresh hay such as oats, orchard grass or timothy hay. Hay should be the main part of a rabbit’s diet as it keeps their digestive system clean and healthy.
Most of the tree branches like apple, peach and apricot contain toxic compounds when they’re attached on the trees. However, once they’re cut and dried, they don’t remain harmful. But this doesn’t mean you should allow your pet to gulp down large quantities of wood, keep the amount limited and avoid giving it very frequently.
Is it ok for my bunny to chew on carpet?
No. You shouldn’t allow your rabbit to chew on carpet mainly because it can ingest carpet fibers that can mess with his digestive tract. Not just that, carpets are made up of synthetic materials and are also treated with chemicals which can cause a major health hazard to your bunny.
How to train my rabbit for not chewing?
Any training or discipline will not stop your bunny from chewing. And most importantly, you shouldn’t do that because chewing is very important for a bunny. It keeps him mentally stimulated and helps in wearing of the teeth.
But at the same time, it’s important to make sure that he is not chewing on anything that he shouldn’t. So, instead of disciplining him, offer him plenty of safe options that he can chew on.
We have discussed about the safe chew things you can give your rabbit without worrying about his health. We hope this guide helps you in keeping your bunny happy and healthy.