Are Wood Shavings Safe for Rabbits? {Why You Should Avoid Them}

I want my rabbit safe and comfortable, but I need this caregiving process to be simplified. Are Wood Shavings Safe for Rabbits?

Is there a better type of bedding? Why would certain types of wood shavings be harmful to rabbits?  What can I use instead?

In this article, we will discover why and are wood shavings safe for rabbits?

Are Wood Shavings Safe for Rabbits?

There are multiple kinds of wood derived products for rabbits. Some are safe and some are not. Wood shavings can be an absorbent layer in a rabbit sleeping area, but we do not advise it.

They can irritate the lungs or respiratory system of a rabbit including their skin because they usually contain oils and phenols.

A rabbit can easily absorb these oils into their organs and cause inflammation. Avoid pine and cedar shavings, but consider Aspen shavings as your best form of wood shavings for rabbits.

What Wood Shavings Are Toxic to Rabbits?

Not all wood shavings are toxic to rabbits, but you must be able to determine which ones contain oils and phenols. Treated wood especially can become toxic for rabbits who can ingest it and this can lead to many complications in their livers.

They may also develop digestive issues or respiratory problems as well. The only type of wood shavings that we recommend for rabbits are Aspen shavings or wood derived products formulated and sold in pet stores intended for rabbits.

Types of Toxic Wood for Rabbits

The following types of wood are considered toxic or harmful for rabbits and should not be used in their enclosures. They are as follows:

  • Cedar
  • Pine
  • Peach tree
  • Cherry tree
  • Yew
  • Holly
  • Bamboo
  • Elder trees

There are many other types of wood in their raw form that a rabbit can safely chew on. When it comes to wood shavings however, it’s best to avoid the natural forms of sawdust and other wood derivatives that we find outside of pet shops.

We should use Aspen shavings that are naturally formed and created in packages deemed safe for rabbits.

What Is the Safest Bedding for Rabbits?

The safest bedding for a rabbits are those that have been tried and tested many times by members of the rabbit community or in professional settings. They include:

  • Aspen shavings
  • specialized rabbit litter
  • shredded paper

If you enter a pet shop you will find many options that are written on the packaging to indicate if they are safe for rabbits.

Shredded paper is a cheap, easy and viable solution for anyone who is looking for the best or safest bedding for rabbits on a budget.

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Can Rabbits Bed in Pine Shavings?

We do not recommend pine shavings for rabbits because they are a type of softwood that contains phenols. This can create problems in the liver enzymes of a rabbit.

A rabbit can try to gnaw on these types of wood and remove the phenols at the same time. These chemicals can destroy the insides of a rabbit starting from their liver to their lungs.

Pine and cedar shavings are environmental toxins for rabbits.

Can Rabbits Use Pine Bedding?

Yes, rabbits can use pine bedding. Pine bedding is a popular choice for rabbit owners as it can provide a comfortable and absorbent surface for the rabbit’s living area. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind when using pine bedding for rabbits.

  • Avoid aromatic or cedar-based pine bedding: Some pine bedding products may contain aromatic oils or cedar, which can be harmful to rabbits. These substances can cause respiratory issues and other health problems. It’s crucial to use kiln-dried pine bedding specifically made for small animals, which should be free of harmful additives.
  • Dust-free bedding: Ensure that the pine bedding you choose is dust-free. Dust particles can irritate a rabbit’s respiratory system and lead to health problems. Always check the packaging or product description to verify that the bedding is dust-free.
  • Monitor your rabbit’s health: While pine bedding is generally safe for rabbits, it’s essential to monitor your rabbit’s well-being. Some rabbits may be sensitive to pine bedding, and it can cause respiratory or skin irritations. If you notice any signs of discomfort or health issues, consider using an alternative bedding material, such as paper-based bedding or hay.
  • Provide additional enrichment: Pine bedding alone may not be enough to meet all of a rabbit’s needs. It’s crucial to provide additional enrichment items such as tunnels, toys, and plenty of hay for them to chew on. Rabbits also need a clean litter box with a suitable litter material, like paper-based litter, in addition to the bedding.

What Can I Use Instead of Sawdust for My Rabbit?

Some types of sawdust pulp are considered safe for rabbits, but it’s better that you do not take the chance.

Here are the types of bedding for rabbits that you can use instead:

  • Paper pulp bedding.
  • Wood pellets
  • Paper pellets
  • Shredded cardboard
  • Shredded paper towels
  • Shredded paper
  • Aspen shavings
  • Hay

What Do Bunnies Like to Sleep On?

Rabbits enjoy eating and also sleeping on hey. They can play with it, chew it and rest on it. Hey is soft and enjoyable for all types of rabbits because it mimics their natural environment. Hay can be easily grown or purchased.

A rabbit needs copious amounts of hay as part of their daily routine. You can couple hay with other types of bedding such as Aspen shavings or shredded paper.

It is best to remove damp or used and soiled hay and other bedding every day or two to prevent any type of bacteria buildup that can cause illnesses in a rabbit.

Maintenance of your rabbit enclosure is the key to maintaining a rabbit’s health.

How Often Should You Change Rabbit Bedding?

Although I change my rabbits bedding daily, you can possibly wait until a once-a-week scheduled time that you are available to do a full cleaning of your rabbit’s litter box.

If you are only using hay as a rabbit bedding, then you should change it at least every other day. Continue to add hay on a daily basis because your rabbit not only uses it for bedding, but also as chewing exercise and nutrition.

Can You Use Aspen Shavings for Rabbits

When it comes to wood bedding choices for your rabbit, nothing beats Aspen shavings in our opinion. The reason being is because they do not contain phenols and other oils.

These types of chemicals are found in many other types of softwood and should be kept far away from rabbits.

Unlike Pine or Cedar, Aspen shavings are dust free and odorless. They provide the best form of comfort if you are continuing to use wood derived products for your rabbits.

Is Aspen Wood Safe for Rabbits

Yes, aspen wood is generally considered safe for rabbits. Aspen bedding or aspen shavings can be used as a substrate or bedding material for rabbits’ enclosures. Aspen wood is commonly used in small animal bedding due to its soft texture, absorbency, and low dust content.

Aspen bedding is non-toxic and does not contain harmful aromatic oils or chemicals that can be found in some other wood types, such as cedar or pine. These oils and chemicals can be irritating to a rabbit’s respiratory system and potentially harmful to their health.

Is Straw Good Bedding for Rabbits?

Yes. You can use soft straw as a bedding form for rabbits to provide comfort and warmth. Outdoor rabbits prefer straw straw, but it can become messy inside your home.

Hollow strands trapping the warm air in straw is also considered very absorbing. Straw is different from hay in many ways and it’s best that you utilize both if you intend to use one or the other.

You can forgo using straw if you are going to use hay only. Straw is best for rabbits in outdoor environments.

What Wood Shavings Are Safe for Rabbits?

The best wood shavings that are safe for rabbits are Aspen shavings. They are odor free and do not contain phenols or oils. Instead of using wood shavings however, you can focus your attention on paper-based litter or bedding.

Many rabbit companions and caregivers buy paper shredders for this reason. You can also use cardboard that doesn’t have any ink on it. Paper towel bedding also works.

You can find many different types of bedding that is tested and approved for rabbits if you visit a pet shop or search online. Keep your eyes open for any products that contain phenols or any scented oils.

There should not be any odors add to bedding for a rabbit who has a sensitive liver and lungs and needs to stay far away from those types of products such as pine or cedar.

Wooden Items That Rabbits Might Chew On

Humans go to work and rabbits chew. Rabbits can find so many different kinds of household items to chew on. This is why it’s important to give them plenty of hay and other types of rabbit toys so they can leave your furniture or baseboards alone.

If your rabbit has access to it, chances are they will chew it. Here are some common wooden items that a rabbit may chew on:

  1. Wooden hutch or enclosure: Make sure it is made of non-toxic wood.
  2. Wood pellets: Some rabbit litter is made of wood pellets. Make sure they are not made of pine and cedar because those are harmful to the liver of a rabbit.
  3. Furniture: It goes without saying that your household furniture can easily be chewed on by rabbits. Be careful of the varnish and wood finishing that could be toxic. Spray deterrents on them such as vinegar to keep rabbits from chewing on them.
  4. Toys: Toys for rabbits should be safe, but sometimes they are not. Other types of toys around the house intended for children could be made of wood and might also contain toxins.
  5. Baseboards: Rabbits are known to chew on baseboards. If there’s any paint on them this can become toxic and cause digestive issues for your rabbit.
  6. Branches: If there are branches that are easy for your rabbit to get a hold of, they will start to chew on them. Some are safe and many are not.

Why Does My Rabbit Eat Wood Shavings?

Rabbits like to chew on many types of items including wood shavings. They are doing this naturally to prevent their teeth from overgrowth. It is their natural instinct.

The open roots of rabbit teeth will continue to grow nonstop. This is why we should give them healthier items to chew on such as hay.

Wood shavings that are fragrant or contain phenols should be kept far away from your rabbit’s cage. This is why we tend to stay away from wood shavings. The only one that we accept is Aspen shavings.

Can Rabbits Be Allergic To Wood Shavings?

Yes. Rabbits can be allergic to different types of wood shavings that contain

  • chemicals
  • treatments
  • varnish
  • phenols
  • scented oils

It can develop respiratory illnesses, infections or sustained liver damage. You might notice your rabbit with extra nasal discharge or watery eyes because of contact with wood shavings.

When your rabbit develops any type of illness that causes him or her to stop eating and drinking, you are now facing a severe situation that needs immediate help from a veterinarian.


Thank you for visiting for the best information to help you enjoy the life of your pocket pet companion in a fun, safe & healthy way.


My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.