We all like to pamper our pets and anyone who has owned a rabbit will have noticed that these animals seem to love comfort. If you have a house rabbit you might often see your pet stretch out on the rug or even lounge on the couch. We often hear questions relating to blankets and their suitability for rabbits, but can rabbits have blankets? We’ll discuss this in this short post.
Rabbits can have blankets, they enjoy the feel of soft fabrics and blankets provide a comfortable place for them to relax. Fleece blankets are particularly safe for a rabbit as the short fibers are less likely to cause problems if ingested.
Before writing this post we wanted to get some opinions on blankets from other rabbit owners so we asked over a hundred of them what they thought. The results were interesting. While the general consensus was that giving a rabbit a blanket is a good thing, there were a lot of differing opinions on the types of blankets that were suitable, were going to cover these here.
What do rabbits use blankets for?
The most obvious use of a blanket for a rabbit is comfort, if you give a rabbit a blanket you may see the rabbit pushing at it with its paws (a movement which seems to bear similarities with us making our beds) stretching out, rolling around on their backs and everything in between. Rolling around is a curious behaviour but it seems to be a rabbits way of finding a comfortable position to relax (or maybe scratch an itch?).
Baby rabbits are reliant on their siblings for warmth, and very young kits won’t survive outside the nest for long. Rabbits will also snuggle up with their bonded companions for warmth when they are cold or to sleep.
While we always recommend getting bunnies a companion of their own species we appreciate that not every owner has the time or space for two bunnies. This is where blankets can come in handy.
Just like a duvet does in our own beds a blanket can hold body warmth which a rabbit will certainly appreciate when it is feeling cold. For single bunnies, a fluffy toy bunny may also help the rabbit feel less lonely.
Rabbits find fun in all sorts of unusual places, even something as simple as a used toilet roll can be fun for a bunny. Blankets can also be good entertainment for a bunny they might dig on it, pull it around the house even crawl underneath it.
Rabbits have active minds and should be given a variety of toys to play with, while a blanket is not really what we might think of as an entertaining toy, rabbits seem to enjoy playing with them.
Although you will probably give your bunny a blanket with the intention of watching the cute bunny curl up and go to sleep on it, this isn’t always the case. It’s not unusual for rabbits to use their blankets for more ‘unsavoury’ purposes.
Depending on the location of the blanket some rabbits may decide that it’s a good place to go toilet! If your bunny is exhibiting this behaviour blankets will become smelly and unhygienic pretty quickly. If you want to keep having visitors, you’ll want to stamp it this behaviour as soon as possible!
Choosing a safe blanket
When it comes to giving a blanket to a rabbit, safety should be the number one priority (in fact safety should be at the forefront of any decision you make on behalf of a rabbit). Rabbits don’t have hands to feel soft textures so when they are first given a blanket they will investigate it by smelling and chewing.
Problems arise with fabrics when the rabbit continues to chew the blanket after the initial ‘feeling out’ a rabbits digestive system relies on high fiber to keep the gut mobile and ingested fabrics put a rabbit at risk of impactions and gut stasis which can be life-threatening.
There are many different ideas about what makes a good material for a rabbit blanket. Not only that but rabbits often have different preferences to the kind of blankets they like, quite understandable as rabbits each have very distinct personalities.
5 Popular rabbit blanket choices
Here are five popular choices for rabbit blankets, aside from cotton blankets which may cause issues due to the long cotton strands, all have been tested by us over a significant period of time with no negative health effects.
Towels are often used as blankets for rabbits. They are almost always made of cotton but can be bought in various different colors, absorbancies and levels of softness. The main issue we’ve found with towels is that rabbits tend to enjoy chewing cotton and can create rather large holes in no time at all.
Short fiber towels reduce the risk of the rabbit ingesting a lot of cotton fabric however, these aren’t particularly comfortable for a rabbit, especially if you are using it in the hope of replicating the warmth of a rabbit companion.
Cotton blankets seem to be the least suitable choice blanket choice for those looking to buy a rabbit blanket. As we’ve mentioned safety is the first concern and these blankets just like knitted items are usually woven from very long lengths of cotton.
This can become a problem if the rabbits starts breaking down the blanket into its composite thread resulting in long strands. We spoke to one rabbit owner who had experienced a pet that had become tangled in thread from a cotton blanket and had it wrapped around a leg.
Fortunately on this occasion the rabbit was fine but this obviously is a dangerous situation for a rabbit who might have lost its leg or worse.
Fleece blankets seemed to be the preferred choice of most of the rabbit owners we asked. Fleece is a luxuriously soft fabric (usually cotton or polyester) with a deep woven or knitted pile for better insulation, it has a raised fluffy surface (napping) which adds to the comfort of the fabric and of course the rabbits enjoyment.
From our own experience fleece seems to be one of the least ‘nibbled’ fabrics by rabbits however it does seem to attract hay particles which can be difficult to remove even through washing. Fortunately these blankets are very cheap to buy and widely available so a replacement won’t break the bank.
4. Faux (Fake) Fur
Faux fur blankets will certainly be the closest thing a lonely rabbit may find to snuggling up to a companion.
Not a blanket as such but certain dog or cat cushions also make a good alternatives for blankets, some rabbits simply love lying or stretching out on their own cushion
Which blanket type should I choose?
Different rabbits will each have a preference as to the type of blanket they enjoy. They may also respond differently to certain kinds of fabric so you will probably need to test different types before you find a blanket that is suitable for your own rabbit.
Once you give a blanket to a rabbit it will be up to you to monitor what the rabbit is doing with it as well as the condition of the blanket. Allowing larger holes to form in blankets increases the risk of a rabbit getting stuck.
While getting stuck might not seem like it could be potentially life threatening, rabbits are easily stressed and scared and being suddenly incapacitated and unable to move could seem like being captured by a predator. The stress of such a situation is certainly enough to kill a rabbit if you aren’t quickly able to help.
The issue of stress also applies to large blankets somewhat. Imagine your rabbit finds itself underneath the blanket but unable to find the sides to make his way out, It may seem unlikely but rabbits love to dig and explore and putting themselves in a potentially dangerous situation is not unheard of. Ever had a rabbit chew an electric cable? Also potentially life threatening!
Blankets for bunnies do not need to be too big. A blanket big enough to cover a king size bed is unneccesary and may risk the rabbit being exposed to the situation described above, smaller size baby blankets are better as they can be folded into a small and comfortable size for a rabbit and will also allow the rabbit to quickly find its way out from underneath if it needs to.
Giving a rabbit a blanket seems to be an accepted thing for rabbit owners to do, certainly our poll showed this and rabbits certainly seem to appreciate the comfort. Fleece blankets were certainly the preferred choice for most of the rabbit owners we talked to as they are comfortable and it seems that a lot of rabbits have little interest in chewing them, likely due to the texture of the fabric.
Whichever blanket your rabbit prefers It’s your responsibility to keep a close eye on its behavior with the blanket and ensure that it is kept in a safe condition.
Safest type of blanket to put in cage? rabbitsonline.net
Should i give my bunnies a blanket? binkybunny.com
Can Rabbits have Blankets? bunspace.com