Are Paper Towels Safe For Rabbits?

If you own a rabbit, you will know that these furry friends chew on everything! Nothing is safe and so owners always need to be on their guard when allowing their bunnies to roam the house. Preventing things from becoming damaged and stopping the rabbits from nibbling on something they shouldn’t is a full-time job. But what about the rabbits’ bedding? If you want to be thrifty you might use things you already have around the home, like paper towels, but are paper towels safe for rabbits?

Paper towels are made using a variety of materials and this includes certain chemicals including chlorine and the by-products created by this can be irritating to a rabbit’s digestive system. While it won’t harm your rabbit if they ingest small amounts of paper towel, doing this regularly can be harmful.

The problem is that rabbits enjoy chewing so much that, as owners, we must be incredibly vigilant and mindful of what we give them.

Things That Are Dangerous For Your Rabbit

Paper towels contain chlorine and this chemical is known to create such by-products as furans and dioxins. These products can have a devastating effect on the immune system and this doesn’t just apply to your rabbit but to you as well. What’s more, both products have the ability to compromise reproductive health and may be responsible for causing certain types of cancer in both rabbits and humans.

These toxins are not only found in paper towels but several other common items that many of us keep around the home. While long-term exposure is the most problematic, it pays to err on the side of caution and avoid offering anything that may contain toxins to your rabbit.

You may be tempted to offer toilet paper to your rabbit for bedding or simply for chewing on but this is likely to also contain those furans and dioxins so should also be avoided.

Many rabbit owners will line their pet’s enclosure with wood shavings or chips but do not realize that these are not suitable for rabbits. If ingested, they aren’t harmful, but there could be a risk of choking or that the shavings may partially block the rabbit’s airways.

What Foods Should I Avoid Giving To My Rabbit?

As well as certain products, there are a number of foods that could be incredibly dangerous for your bunnies. It is recommended that in any event, should your rabbit develop digestive issues, to always revert back to feeding nothing by hay. This is the most natural food for your pet and is extremely unlikely to cause any digestive or health issues.

However, rabbits also appreciate a diverse diet containing pellets and a selection of vegetables. That being said, there are some foods that will do more harm than good and should never be offered to a rabbit.

Avocados may look like the type of food that would appeal to your bunny but they carry a significant risk; heart failure! Avocados contain a compound known as persin, which while harmless to humans, could be fatal when ingested by a rabbit who is unable to break the compound down. As a result, these fruits are incredibly toxic and in the worst case scenario could result in heart failure.

Furthermore, rabbits should avoid eating onions, garlic, seeds and cauliflower. Again, these are foods that might seem like something that would benefit a rabbit but each of them has its own qualities that makes it unsafe. Having said that, there is nothing more dangerous, aside from avocados, for a rabbit than iceberg lettuce. Yet many owners are unfamiliar with this fact.

Iceberg lettuce can cause severe diarrhea in rabbits because of something called lactucarium. While this might not do much harm in small amounts, if the rabbit eats too much and becomes sick, it will soon develop digestive issues which could weaken the animal significantly.

What Foods Are Safe For Rabbits?

We must reiterate the fact that hay is the most suitable food for your pet. Not only will it provide them with everything they need to thrive but it has a texture that is ideal for chewing. A rabbit needs to chew to keep its teeth in check and avoid them becoming overgrown. For this reason, even if your rabbit enjoys other foods, you should always supply them with fresh hay.

Aside from this, however, your rabbit may enjoy a selection of fruits and vegetables which can give them a bit of variety as well as additional nutrients. Rabbits typically prefer veggies as opposed to fruits but it is worth trying different foods since each rabbit will have its own preferences.

Some of the best things you can offer are romaine lettuce, carrots, broccoli, beetroot greens, celery, and many others. You can read more about the ideal rabbit diet in our extensive guide here.

Can You Use Paper Towels For Rabbit Beddings?

It is not advisable to use paper towels for your rabbit’s bedding. Many owners may be tempted to use this when they run out of their usual bedding or as a way of saving money. However, as we have discovered, this common household item can pass on toxins to the rabbit so it should never be put into its cage.

What Paper Is Safe For Rabbits?

Just because you cannot use paper towels or toilet paper in your rabbit’s cage, this does not mean that paper is out of the question altogether. In fact, many rabbit litters and bedding pellets are made from paper.

Furthermore, if you wish to recycle things from around the home, shredded recycled paper or newspaper are both viable options for rabbit bedding. Your pet shouldn’t ingest these in high quantities as this could block the intestines but from time to time, these are OK to use.

In addition to using appropriate paper for bedding, some owners like to provide their rabbits with paper for digging. This is a natural activity for rabbits and while they won’t be able to burrow under the ground at home, piles of paper can be a great alternative.

Can Rabbits Eat Cardboard And Paper?

One of the main concerns of rabbit owners is that their pet will eat cardboard and paper. While your rabbit isn’t going to replace his normal diet of hay and vegetables with the packages from your Amazon deliveries, he might ingest small amounts when chewing on the boxes.

Cardboard boxes make a great and inexpensive toy for rabbits who will love hopping in and out of them as well as chewing on them. As long as the boxes do not have high levels of ink printed on them, they should be perfectly safe for your bunnies. Furthermore, you should ensure that any staples, sticky tape, and other packaging materials are removed from the box before giving it to your pet.


Darren is the founder and editor at Bunny Advice and has been caring for rabbits for over a decade. He has a passion for helping animals and sharing his experience and knowledge with others.

Recent Posts