Owners want to prevent terrible things from happening to their rabbits as much as possible since there are dozens of hazards that owners need to watch out for.
Rabbits are curious animals and will eat anything that it fancies, and unfortunately, paper is one of them.
When owners look at paper, it doesn’t seem to look like a potential threat to their rabbits but once rabbits tear it up into little bite-sized pieces, that’s where it gets alarming.
So how dangerous is paper for rabbits? Will it cause irreversible side effects once ingested? Find out more about these questions as you read along.
Can Rabbits Eat Paper?
No, rabbits can’t eat paper.
Paper isn’t technically an edible thing which is why people get sick when they attempt eating it for reasons unknown.
If a paper is unsafe for human consumption, it’s more likely to be dangerous for rabbits. The toll on a rabbit’s health the moment they eat paper depends on how much they actually consumed.
For instance, if a rabbit only ate a few pieces, then that will not cause any severe effect on its health. However, the moment a rabbit eats more than a handful of paper, then that in itself is already a cause for concern.
The main health issue that rabbits will encounter once they eat paper is digestive problems such as blockage or constipation.
Why Do Rabbits Eat Paper?
Rabbits eat paper because it’s actually a part of its behavior called shredding.
Shredding happens because a rabbit is bored, wants attention, being territorial, or they’re not neutered or spayed.
Shredding falls under destructive behavior since the majority of rabbit owners get stressed out when their rabbits suddenly tear through things such as paper, carpets, cleaning cloths, etc.
Also, to make things clear, rabbits don’t necessarily enjoy eating paper and these animals won’t choose paper over delicious pellets. They simply do this because of their shredding behavior.
What Happens If My Rabbit Eats Paper?
Once your rabbit eats paper, it may or may not show signs of discomfort. It will all depend on how much paper the rabbit ate.
The signs of discomfort that a rabbit may show after consuming paper will vary and this heavily relies on how much they ended up eating.
Some owners have reported that after their rabbits ate paper, they didn’t show any signs of discomfort. One owner claimed that their 11-year-old rabbit didn’t show signs of trouble after ingesting paper.
The owner didn’t fuss about it too much since their rabbit didn’t show any signs of problems. However, for some owners , the experience may be the exact opposite.
Since the digestive system of rabbits are only able to digest fibrous foods, they won’t be able to break down the ingested paper.
As soon as the paper reaches a rabbit’s digestive tract, especially in large amounts, it will start to clog and cause intestinal blockage.
Intestinal blockage will make a rabbit feel severe abdominal pain, this will ultimately lead them to becoming anorexic, they won’t have the energy to move around, and they will start to grind their teeth because of the pain they’re feeling.
Owners can also determine if their rabbit is suffering from intestinal blockage if their rabbits start to press their abdomen on the floor, the abdomen will also appear to be bloated, and they will stop excreting fecal pellets.
Can Rabbits Die From Eating Paper?
Yes, rabbits can die from eating a considerable amount of paper.
If rabbits end up consuming a lot of paper, this will cause an intestinal blockage inside their bodies since their digestive tract isn’t built to break down and digest anything other than fibrous foods.
If intestinal blockage remains to be untreated, this will result in the death of a rabbit after 4 – 24 hours.
Intestinal blockage is commonly referred to as gastric dilation and this is one of the most common causes of deaths in rabbits.
The best way to prevent such a deadly disease from taking place in your rabbit’s life would be to keep them away from hazardous things that can cause blockage such as paper, towels, rags, carpets, etc.
How To Stop Rabbits From Eating Paper?
The best way to stop rabbits from eating paper is to keep them busy and change the type of material used to line their hutches.
Newspaper is a commonly used material in lining a rabbit’s hutch due to its availability and cheap price. However, since newspaper is, well, made out of paper, without a doubt, rabbits will tear those into little pieces, create a mess, and devour the little shreds of paper.
Luckily, owners can rely on alternatives so that they won’t put their rabbit’s life in harm’s way. Owners can choose among the following materials for lining up their rabbit’s hutch:
- Wood pellets
- Wood bedding
- Hay or straw
- Woven mat
The good thing about wood pellets is they have good absorbency. On the other hand, the downside of wood pellets is they break down into dust when it gets wet.
Wood pellets also lean on the heavy side in terms of weight so this may not be ideal for large-sized litters or hutches.
Wood bedding is commonly known as wood shavings since owners would have to make use of different kinds of wood. However, it’s essential for owners to know that not all wood types are safe for rabbits.
A certain type of wood that should be avoided is cedar. While this may have a gorgeous color and pleasant aroma, the oil that gives this particular aroma is dangerous to rabbits and can even cause liver and respiratory problems.
The best type of wood to be used would be pine shavings and kiln-dried wood. These woods don’t pose any threat to a rabbit’s health so it won’t cause any respiratory or liver problems.
The cons of using wood beddings would be the inability to use it for a hutch that has a wire mesh floor and these are absorbent materials as well so they would have to be changed often.
Hay Or Straw
Hay or straw is not only used as food for rabbits but it can actually be used as floorings or beddings, and insulators inside a hutch.
These are the safest materials for rabbits so owners won’t have to worry about anything bad happening to their little ones.
Hay or straw have a lot of benefits such as its price point (relatively cheap and accessible), it has the ability to insulate, it’s edible, and it’s environment-friendly.
The only downside to this is it has to be changed often so that mildew and mould would not form in it.
Another inexpensive material that is a great bang for your buck, this particular material will be perfect during winter as well.
It’s reusable since it can be washed, it’s durable enough, and it’s safe for rabbits overall because it’s non-toxic.
The only downside of fleece is it’s not an absorbent material and it can’t be used in places where hot climate frequently happens.
This comes second as one of the best lining materials for hutches (the first one being wood beddings). This is totally safe for rabbits since it’s made up of natural things like grass and whatnot.
These also lean towards the thick side so owners won’t have to buy a ton of these in order to cover the flooring of their rabbit’s hutch. It’s also chew-safe, so rabbits won’t be able to go all out on these and create a mess.
This would’ve been the best option for rabbit owners if it weren’t for its price. Sadly, woven mats don’t come in cheap, but this is a good investment nonetheless.
Another cheap alternative is cardboard. This is great for rabbit owners who don’t want to spend too much when it comes to beddings and floorings.
This is widely accessible, inexpensive, and entirely rabbit-friendly. Rabbits can chew on these when they get bored and not get sick even if they accidentally end up eating it.
These aren’t absorbent materials though, so it can get tedious to change these every once in a while. But hey, you can’t really expect much from a cheap material right?
What Kind Of Paper Can/Can’t Rabbits Eat?
1. Tissue Paper
Rabbits can’t eat tissue paper. Tissue paper is made up of synthetic materials and other unnatural chemicals which is why it isn’t safe for a rabbit to consume.
2. Shredded Paper
Rabbits can eat shredded paper but only in small amounts because it usually won’t cause any life-threatening issues. However, it would be dangerous for rabbits to eat a large amount of paper.
3. Toilet Paper Rolls
Rabbits can’t eat toilet paper rolls. These are also similar to tissue paper which is why owners must keep these away from rabbits. Owners can instead make use of an empty tissue roll and have their rabbits play with that.
Rabbits can’t eat newspaper as it is paper and paper is generally dangerous for consumption because rabbits can’t digest these, especially in large amounts.
5. Paper Bedding
Rabbit’s can’t eat paper bedding because it’s made out of paper.
Rabbits can eat cardboard. Although, owners must be wary not to make these their rabbit’s main source of food. The consumption of cardboards are not harmful for rabbits.
7. Paper Towels
Rabbits can’t eat paper towels since these are made out of paper.
8. Paper bags
Rabbits can’t eat paper bags since these are made out of paper.
9. Paper With Ink
Rabbits must steer clear from paper with ink since these are poisonous to them. If a rabbit happens to eat a paper with ink on it, do bring the rabbit to the vet immediately.
10. Paper Plates
Rabbits can’t eat paper plates since these are made out of paper. Also, some paper plates have these silver laminates on them, which is no doubt harmful for rabbits.
11. Paper Litter
Rabbits can’t eat paper litter since it’s not food in the first place and it’s made out of paper.
12. Brown Paper
No matter what type of paper it is, it will never be safe for rabbits to eat them. So brown paper can’t be eaten by rabbits because it’s bad for them.
13. Wrapping Paper
Wrapping paper can’t be eaten by rabbits since these are made out of paper and some wrapping papers contain glitters and such, you surely don’t want your rabbit eating those right?