Best litter for rabbits 2024 for cleanliness and comfort

Rabbit sitting on straw (not the best litter for rabbits) eating from bowl
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Choosing the best litter for rabbits may not sound like the most exciting of tasks but getting it right will make life much easier and comfortable for both you and your bunny. The aim is to provide a clean and inviting space for a rabbit to pee and poop while also ensuring it doesn’t have an adverse impact in your home. To that end, you need to consider the material used, its absorbency and its ability to control odor.

With the rise in popularity of the best indoor rabbit hutches, you also need to think about dust. If you use a lot of litter, then you certainly don’t want particles spreading around your home and, just as importantly, getting into your rabbits lungs. One thing’s for sure, you need to avoid the best cat litters, too. “Don’t be tempted to use clumping cat litter because if your rabbit ingests this it could cause blockages in their digestive system,” says expert vet Dr Rebecca MacMillan.

Instead, use material that will encourage your bunny to make use of the litter since figuring out how to litter box train a rabbit will be easier if you provide an ideal environment, which includes one of the best rabbit litter boxes. Indeed, as we’re about to see, there’s plenty of great products on offer so let’s check the best litter for rabbits and explore the different materials you can buy.

The best litter for rabbits 2024

How we compared the best litter for rabbits

Safety was a primary concern when shopping around for the best litter for rabbits. Given a bunny is going to be using litter often, we needed to be sure that the litter was soft and that it would be as dust-free as possible to avoid respiratory issues and would be sharp. We also considered:

Smells: We looked for litter that would control odors. No-one wants a stinky home.

Cleanliness: It’s important that spoiled litter can be easily and quickly cleaned.

The environment: Throwing litter into the bin seems wasteful so we were on the lookout for any litter that could be recycled or composted.

What do vets recommend as the best litter for rabbits?

There are other specific factors to consider when looking for the best litter, all of which take into consideration the health of your rabbit. According to expert vet Dr Rebecca MacMillan, the best litter to use in a rabbit’s enclosure and litter box is an unscented paper-based product.

“There are different types of paper-based litter available, including pulped, shredded, and pellets,” she says. “These all carry the same advantage of being low in dust, to reduce triggering respiratory issues. Paper-based products tend to be pretty absorbent too.”

If you do opt for paper, however, then you may need to supplement it.

“When choosing your litter, you may also want to consider the comfort of the product for your rabbit so if you choose paper pellets then you may want to put a layer of dust-extracted straw over the top to make them softer and more comfortable,” Dr MacMillan adds. She also advises you to avoid any shredded paper that has ink on it as some types of ink can cause issues if ingested.

What litter for rabbits should be avoided?

Just as there are litters best suited for rabbits, so there are litters that you really need to steer clear of and Dr Rebecca MacMillan says sawdust and wood shavings should be top of the list.

“Sawdust can irritate the respiratory tract and the skin, due to the oils/phenols contained in the wood as well as all of the fine particles of dust.”

She also says you need to avoid clumping cat litter just in case your rabbit decides to have a nibble only to find it causes a very unpleasant blockage.

“You should also steer clear of any products that are scented,” she says.

What household items could be used as litter?

What if you’re in a bit of a jam and you either don’t have any litter left or your waiting for your litter order to arrive. Is there a material that may be knocking around your home that you could use temporarily? Dr Rebecca MacMillan suggests using newspapers – and we’re talking the actual printed products here, of course: those rarities which you may have seen in a store.

Joking aside, newspapers are actually great. “If you are in a fix, you could use newspaper to line your rabbit’s cage but ideally cover this with a layer of dust-extracted straw to reduce the chances of your rabbit nibbling on it,” Dr MacMillan says.

“It is safer to use plain, non-glossy newspapers that are printed with non-toxic ink [most are these days]. If you are not sure, rub your finger over the print. Safe soy-based inks won’t smudge, whereas petroleum-based ink will.”

How often does litter for rabbits need to be changed?

Litter will get soiled. It’s what it’s there for but you can’t just leave your rabbit to live with it for days on end. It needs cleaning otherwise it could become harmful to your pet. How often cleaning your rabbit’s enclosure needs to happen depends largely on the type of litter you use but daily maintenance and removal of poops is essential.

“Rabbit litter should be changed frequently to keep your rabbit clean and to avoid the build-up of ammonia in the environment,” says Dr MacMillan. “Spot-checks to remove small amounts of soiled litter should be performed daily, but a full change of the litter needs to happen once a week.”

Dr Rebecca MacMillan
Dr. Rebecca MacMillan

Rebecca is a vet surgeon who graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2009. She has a wealth of experience in first opinion small animal practice, having done a mixture of day-to-day routine work, on-call emergency duties and managerial roles over the years. She enjoys medicine in particular and she is proud to have recently achieved a BSAVA postgraduate certificate in small animal medicine (with commendation). She writes on various feline and canine topics, including behavior, nutrition, and health. Outside of work and writing she enjoys walking her own dog, spending time with her young family and baking!

David Crookes

David Crookes has been a journalist for more than 20 years and he has written for a host of magazines, newspapers, websites and books including World of Animals, BBC Earth, Dogs and Canines, Gadget and The Independent. Born in England, he lives in a household with two cats but he’s also keenly interested in the differences between the huge number of dog breeds — in fact, you can read many of his breed guides here on PetsRadar. With a lifelong passion for technology, too, he’s always on the lookout for useful devices that will allow people to spend more time with their pets.