"How often should you change rabbit bedding?" is one of the most important questions to answer for new rabbit owners.
When I got my first bunny, I didn't change the bedding for the first few weeks, and my pet almost got sick due to my negligence.
So, I'm here to ensure you don't make the same mistake and learn to maintain hygiene in the rabbit hutch.
Just keep reading.
- Keeping your pet rabbit's enclosure as clean as possible is vital to prevent disease outbreaks and other health problems.
- How often you should change the bedding depends on what type of bedding you use in the cage and litter box.
- You should clean the rabbit cage at least once a week to maintain proper hygiene.
6 Factors That Determine How Often You Should Change Rabbit Bedding
My first rabbits got sore hocks because I neglected to change the straw for the first weeks, thinking it could last a month. And after the vet visit, I learned that wet bedding, like insufficiently changed bunny cage liners, can cause other health issues.
First, soiled bedding is a breeding ground for bacteria and mold that can cause respiratory problems. It also attracts insects and bugs.
And that's bad because rabbits are at risk of a dangerous disease called flystrike, which develops when flies lay eggs on your bunny's skin.
Regular cleaning is also vital for keeping bad odors at bay around the house. Bunnies can be cute, but they have stinky pee!
But how often should you change rabbit bedding? I wish I could give you a good answer, but you must consider several factors to determine how often to put fresh bedding in the cage.
#1 Types of Bedding
You can use several safe bedding types in the cage and litter tray, but they're not equal when it comes to absorbency. If you're seeking recommendations, the "best bedding for rabbits" offers a comprehensive list and comparison.
- Paper-based litter, such as paper pellets or shredded paper. It's absorbent bedding and can last up to four to five days before you need to provide fresh litter.
- Shredded newspapers. They're cheap and easy to use but are not the safest natural material for rabbits and quickly get wet. You'll need to change it every day or so.
- Straw/hay. They're an excellent option because they're absorbent and need changing about once a week, making them a popular option for outdoor bunnies.
- Wood shavings. They're also good at absorbing urine and can control foul odors in the litter tray with weekly cleaning.
- Wood pellets. They also last about a week and are perfect for the litter box.
- Washable bedding, such as fleece or cotton. It needs frequent washing, so plan on putting a clean bedding every week or every 4-5 days.
Avoid cedar and pine shavings because they're toxic and cause liver damage. Clumping litter can cause digestive issues, so it's also not a suitable bedding option for rabbit pet owners.
As Laurie Hess from VCA Animal Hospital says, "Most rabbits prefer to urinate and defecate in the same spot." So, it's possible to litter train your fluffy pet. (1)
Litter box training for rabbits has a few important benefits:
- You'll need to change the bedding in the cage less often if your bunnies use a box to do their business.
- It's far easier to clean the rabbit litter box than the entire hutch. But you still need to provide fresh litter every couple of days.
- You can monitor your bunny's toilet habits and spot health problems like diarrhea, constipation, or UTIs.
#3 Number of Bunnies
The more bunnies live in the same hutch, the more often you must change the bedding material since it gets dirty and wet quickly.
Bunnies poop and pee often, so if you have three or four pet rabbits, I recommend putting fresh bedding every couple of days.
#4 Your Bunny's Breed
The breed matters because larger rabbits weigh up to 13 pounds, while the smallest breed of rabbit weighs up to 2.5 pounds.
Large bunnies produce more waste than small ones, so you must change the entire bedding frequently to keep the cage clean and free of foul odors.
If you're wondering about specific bedding requirements based on breed size or other factors, you might want to check out "Do Rabbits Need Bedding" for more information.
Rabbits are prone to digestive problems. If your bunny is sick, you may have to change the rabbit cage bedding a couple of times per day to keep your pet comfortable and prevent the spread of infection.
Baby rabbits pee a lot more than adult rabbits and are more likely to have accidents outside the litter box because they're not trained yet. So, you'll have to change the bunny bedding several times per week.
Senior rabbits also can have problems going in and out of the litter box and are more likely to get sick. You should check the bedding often and replace it if it's soaked.
Moreover, according to studies, senior rabbits are at higher risk of flystrike, so it's best to change the bedding frequently to avoid attracting flies into the habitat. (2)
And now, let's talk about how to change your rabbit's bedding.
How Do You Change Rabbit Bedding?
To keep your rabbit healthy, you should develop a regular hutch cleaning routine, including changing the bedding. Here's what to do:
- Perform daily spot cleaning to remove leftover food and any accidents outside the litter box.
- When the bedding gets dirty, remove it from the cage. Depending on the type of bedding, you'll either dispose of it or wash it.
- Wipe the cage with vinegar and warm water to remove urine stains, unpleasant odors, and bacteria.
- Put fresh bedding inside the hutch.
- Don't forget to clean the litter box and put fresh litter for your bunny to use!
- Check this video for more information on how to keep the rabbit cage spotless!
I usually clean the entire habitat at least once a week, but if you have more than two rabbits or your pet gets sick, you may have to clean it several times per week.
1. How often do you clean rabbit poop?
You should scoop poop from the litter tray every day to prevent waste from building up. Replace the litter weekly, and don't forget to wash the litter box!
2. Can my bunny eat his bedding?
Bunnies can eat their bedding when it's made from natural materials like straw, paper, or wood pellets. It can be a problem if they eat too much fabric or cardboard.
3. Can rabbits go without bedding?
Indoor rabbits don't need bedding in their habitat, but you should provide bedding for outdoor bunnies since they need it for protection against the elements.
A good rule of thumb is to change the rabbit bedding at least once a week. But depending on the type of bedding and number of your pets, you may have to put fresh substrate every couple of days.
I recommend you check the bedding daily to remove soiled parts and waste. This routine will also help you spot health problems.
What do you think about this topic? How often do you change your rabbit bedding? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
1. Housing Your Rabbit | VCA Animal Hospitals [Internet]. Vca. [cited 2023 Sep 22]. Available from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/housing-your-rabbit
2. Turner R, Arsevska E, Brant B, Singleton DA, Newman J, Noble P-M, et al. Risk factors for cutaneous myiasis (blowfly strike) in pet rabbits in Great Britain based on text-mining veterinary electronic health records. Preventive Veterinary Medicine. 2018;153:77–83.