Rabbits are not picky about their food. They get bored quickly and pass the time by chewing anything that comes their way. If there is paper in the rabbit hutch, your rabbits will probably chew on it or even eat it.
Rabbits can get sick if they overeat paper. Rabbits have special dietary needs and require a large amount of fiber. However, there is no fiber in paper. They cannot digest paper properly, which can lead to constipation.
However, this does not mean you should keep your rabbits away from paper altogether. Rabbits have an instinct to burrow and dig, and paper provides them with that opportunity.
Rabbits also like to undertake projects that take them some time to complete, and shredding paper can provide them with that opportunity.
We’ll explain why your rabbit shouldn’t eat paper and how it can enhance your rabbit’s habitat.
Why Do Rabbits Eat Paper?
Rabbits are usually more interested in playing with paper than eating it. Rabbits need stimulation and are always looking for a challenge to occupy themselves with.
This does not mean your rabbit will not eat the paper when finished.
Your rabbit may eat the paper because it is hungry. In this case, make sure your rabbits get fresh hay regularly.
Your rabbits may also be lacking fiber in their diet. This leads them to try to get it from alternative sources such as paper and cardboard.
However, the paper does not meet your rabbits’ nutritional needs.
Your rabbit may be eating the paper out of boredom. A rabbit needs stimulation through exercise, toys, and social contact.
Especially if your rabbit lives alone, he will likely become restless and bored often.
When in doubt, a rabbit will entertain itself by chewing things up. They will find wires and furniture to nibble on if they can move around the home.
In the confines of a hutch, a rabbit will make do with what it can find. Since many rabbit owners line the cage with newspaper or paper scraps, they also have access to this material.
Will My Rabbit Get Sick if He Eats Paper?
Whether your rabbit gets sick from eating paper depends on how much your rabbit eats. A small amount should not have drastic effects. Most rabbits tear the paper into tiny shreds that they can digest.
Like anything else, however, too much paper can harm a rabbit’s health.
However we look at it, paper is not food. Eating it has no benefits and carries a lot of hidden health risks.
This is mainly related to the digestive process of rabbits. A rabbit’s intestines are designed for fibrous green food and grass.
Paper is neither. If your rabbit eats it in excess, it can get sick.
The greatest danger to a rabbit that eats paper is intestinal blockage.
Paper is not broken down in a rabbit’s digestive tract. If a rabbit does not swallow it in small pieces and quantities, it can cause constipation.
Constipation can be fatal to rabbits. Symptoms of constipation include:
- Your rabbit refuses to eat his food or hay.
- Your rabbit’s abdomen is visibly swollen.
- Your rabbit is huddling and has apparent abdominal pain.
If you recognize these warning signs, you should see a veterinarian. It doesn’t take long for constipation to become an emergency.
In the short term, you can give your rabbit small amounts of vegetable oil as a first aid measure.
How Can I Keep My Rabbit from Eating Paper?
The easiest way to keep a rabbit from eating paper is to keep it out of your home.
However, paper is also a popular material for rabbit hutch bedding. Newspaper is especially commonly used for this purpose.
Alternative, more suitable bedding for rabbit hutches include:
- Wood pellets
If you use these things, make sure there is adequate ventilation. These materials, while widespread, have been associated with liver disease and respiratory problems.
Ensuring your rabbit’s basic needs are met will also make it less likely to eat paper.
This means making sure your rabbit is getting plenty of hay to eat, which will provide him with fiber.
You must also ensure your rabbit has a rich, fulfilling social life. If you can’t take in a second rabbit, spend time with it yourself.
Rabbits get bored and depressed when left alone. One of the ways they fill this void is by eating.
Toys are also essential for a rabbit. If your rabbit has enough toys to keep him busy, he is much less likely to eat paper.
Fill your rabbits’ home with some things to chew on and hide in.
Is It Bad if Rabbits Eat Printed Paper?
Recycling bills and other paperwork in your rabbit’s hutch sounds tempting. Plus, it’s safer than throwing personal information directly into the trash.
However, think about the ink used on that paper. Some types of ink are toxic to small animals. While most modern inks are safer today, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
The most harmful ink for rabbits is found on flyers and brochures. These mass-produced communications tend to use cheap, potentially toxic ink.
But even high-quality brochures are a problem because of the waxy nature of the paper.
Another issue is that ink can discolor your rabbit’s fur. If your pet is white, it may not stay that way when it pores over a brochure.
So don’t be surprised if your rabbit’s bright white paws turn a dull shade of gray. That’s certainly the last thing you want.
Is Printer’s Ink Toxic to Rabbits?
Newspapers are still the most popular paper for rabbit hutches. You can read your newspaper over breakfast and then line your rabbit’s house with it. But is it safe?
Like most paper-based communications, newspapers are now printed with less hazardous inks. While older printing inks used petroleum as a base, soy, and water are more common today.
However, you should always test this before bringing your rabbit into contact with such printed materials.
Rub your finger over the ink. Does it smear and stain your fingers? Does it stubbornly stick to your fingers when you try to wash it off?
If so, it is petroleum-based ink, and you should keep it away from your rabbits.
Petroleum-based ink never dries completely. It also contains the same oils that auto mechanics would use.
Using paper with such ink as bedding for your rabbit’s home is not a good idea.
Can You Put Paper Shreds in a Rabbit Hutch?
In many ways, paper shreds are safer than whole paper. It’s already broken up into smaller pieces.
Should your rabbit swallow the paper, there is less chance of intestinal blockage.
Still, paper shreds alone as bedding is not a good idea. Only use paper shreds under straw or hay if you absolutely must.
Another option is to provide your rabbit with harmless paper to shred himself.
Many rabbits enjoy this activity. It can keep them busy, and they can use the shreds as nesting space.
Can Rabbits Eat Paper Bags?
Paper bags are great fun for rabbits. You can place them in your rabbits’ cage so they can use them as toys.
Your rabbits can chew, shred, and hide in the paper bags.
As always, there are caveats. A paper bag is not easy to digest. They are large and tough. Like all paper, this bag can cause stomach problems for your rabbit.
It is best to fill a paper bag with hay or straw. This way, your rabbit can enjoy everything the bag offers while having a safe food source.
Nothing is wrong with your rabbit enjoying playing with a paper bag, but be careful. Take it away if it feels more like eating the bag than its regular food.
Can Rabbits Eat Toilet Paper?
Of all the types of paper available, toilet paper is the least harmful to rabbits’ intestines. However, that doesn’t mean it’s good for your rabbit.
Don’t offer your rabbit toilet paper as a snack instead of celery, peppers, or other vegetables.
If your rabbit nibbles on a corner of the toilet paper, it’s not the end of the world.
This material has much softer and looser fibers than a regular sheet of paper. This makes it easier for your rabbit’s intestines to expel it.
When you’re done with a toilet paper roll, the leftover cardboard roll makes an excellent toy for rabbits. Your rabbits will enjoy chewing on it and pushing it around the hutch.
You can also fill the toilet paper roll with hay, straw, or treats. You can even glue sticks to the toilet paper roll to create a makeshift toy.
Can Rabbits Eat Paper Towels?
While toilet paper may not be a problem for rabbits, the same is not valid for kitchen rolls and paper towels.
It can be challenging for rabbits to digest if you have a sturdy and absorbent kitchen roll. The same is true for paper towels.
However, just like toilet paper rolls, the cardboard roll with paper towels wrapped around it is a versatile toy. Just be sure to remove all remnants of the paper before offering it to your rabbits.
It’s best to avoid napkins altogether. At the same time, rabbits will enjoy using them for various reasons.
They may use a napkin as a makeshift blanket or shred it for fun. However, if they eat the napkin, it is dangerous.
Napkins are tough and challenging to swallow. Since rabbits like to chew for long periods, the problem is more with eating the bulk that comes out of it.
Napkins are also not easy for your rabbit to digest. They are more likely to cause constipation than toilet paper, for example.
Also, most napkins are heavily colored for decorative reasons. So unless you are sure this color is safe for rabbits, you should keep them away.
Is Cardboard Safer for Rabbits Than Paper?
Cardboard is more dangerous to your rabbit than paper. It is thicker and sturdier than paper, making it even harder to digest.
Fortunately, this means your rabbit probably won’t eat excessive cardboard. They spend so much time and energy chewing and destroying it that they may be too tired to eat.
Cardboard is an excellent toy for rabbits to play with for hours. It would be best to watch your rabbits while doing this, though.
Chewing cardboard is a good thing for rabbits. It entertains your rabbits and helps them grind their teeth.
However, eating cardboard is potentially dangerous for rabbits. Therefore, you should discourage it.
So rabbits and paper are not necessarily the best of friends. If you can use other materials for bedding and entertainment, do so. But paper can be a valuable addition to your rabbit’s life.
It’s just important that your rabbit uses the paper for entertainment and not for food. It is not good for your rabbit to eat paper.