What to Use for Your Rabbit’s Litter (and what NOT to use)

Is your rabbit’s litter box more stinky than Thumper after a mud bath? Don’t let a smelly, messy litter box ruin your relationship with your bunny! Proper litter training is key to rabbit health and happiness at home. In this paw-some guide, you’ll discover the ins and outs of litter box success. From amazing absorbent litters to spot-cleaning secrets, you’ll learn how to maintain the perfect rabbit restroom. We tackle all the biggest litter box questions like adding hay and washing techniques. Train your furry friend to keep their poops in one place with our proven tips. With the right litter know-how, you can have the tidiest tailed companion on the block! Let’s dig in!

What to use for your rabbit’s litter

When choosing litter for your rabbit, you'll want to select a material that is absorbent, odor controlling, and comfortable for your bunny's sensitive feet. The best litters for rabbits are paper-based or wood-based products that can soak up urine and allow stool to sit on top for easy cleaning. Some top recommended litters for rabbits include yesterday's news unscented paper litter, Carefresh natural paper bedding, Kaytee clean and cozy bedding, and wood stove pellets. Avoid using litters with perfumes, deodorizers, or baking soda as these can be harmful to your rabbit's respiratory system. The texture of the litter should not be dusty, which can also cause respiratory irritation. Look for litters made from recycled paper or kiln-dried wood that are free of chemicals, inks, and oils. When transitioning your rabbit to a new type of litter, mix it in gradually over 1-2 weeks to avoid digestive upset. Providing at least 2-3 inches of litter in the box will allow your bunny to dig, forage, and use the litter box comfortably. Scoop and change the litter box at least once a day to keep your rabbit healthy and prevent odors. With an appropriate litter material, your rabbit can enjoy using their box for both urination and defecation.

Top Recommended Litter Brand for Rabbits

When it comes to choosing the best litter brand for rabbits, here are some top recommendations to consider:

  • Yesterday's News Unscented Paper Cat Litter – This litter is made from recycled paper and provides excellent odor control. The unscented version avoids any irritants for sensitive rabbit respiratory systems. The pellets break down as they absorb moisture and can be composted after use.

  • Carefresh Pet Bedding – Carefresh makes several paper-based litters but their natural bedding provides great absorbency for rabbit urine with low dust. It's soft on rabbit feet and free of inks, dyes, and chemicals.

  • Kaytee Clean & Cozy Pet Bedding – This is a 99.9% dust-free paper litter made from recycled paper pulp. It absorbs odors and liquids quickly while allowing stool to sit on top for easy removal. It's biodegradable and comfortable for rabbits.

  • Feline Pine Original Litter – Feline Pine makes a clay-free pine litter from kiln-dried pine wood. The litter is biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable, while effectively controlling odors. The larger pellets allow urine to pass through and feces to rest on top.

  • Equine Fresh Pine Pellets – These pine pellets made for horses also work well for rabbit litter. The kiln-dried pine breaks down as it absorbs liquid but doesn't stick to rabbit feet. It's an affordable and effective odor-controlling option.

No matter which brand you choose, avoid heavily scented, clumping, or clay-based litters. Look for natural paper, pine, or wood litter that is comfortable for sensitive rabbit feet and absorbs urine odors. This will help encourage good litter habits.

What NOT to use for your rabbit’s litter

While there are many great litter options made specifically for bunnies, there are also some materials you'll want to avoid using in your rabbit's litter box:

  • Clay cat litter – The dust in clay litter can cause respiratory problems. Clay clumps also stick to rabbit feet and fur.

  • Pine or cedar shavings – The phenols and oils in these woods can be irritating to your rabbit. Instead choose kiln-dried pine pellets.

  • Corn cob bedding – Corn cobs are very dusty, absorb odors poorly, and are not very absorbent. The dust can cause sneezing or coughing.

  • Clumping cat litter – Clumping litter can stick to your rabbit's bottom and become impacted in the fur requiring veterinary removal.

  • Fabric, newspaper, or towels – These absorb urine poorly and must be changed more frequently. Urine can soak through and damage floors or carpeting.

  • Deodorizing or scented litters – Scented litters contain chemicals and perfumes that are respiratory irritants for rabbits.

  • Small grain litters – Sand, wheat, and other small grain litters are very dusty and easily get stuck in rabbit fur. Specialty rabbit-safe litters are a better choice.

  • Hay or straw – These attract rabbits to eat instead of use the litter box which causes confusion. Hay in litter boxes can also become soiled with urine and feces.

Stick to paper, pine, or wood-based litters specifically marketed for rabbit use. Avoid dusty, scented, clumping, or absorbent litters not made for bunnies. Read labels carefully and choose products that are chemical-free and fragrance-free.

Is cat litter safe to use for rabbits?

Cat litter can be safe for rabbits but only certain types should be used. Here are some guidelines when considering cat litter for your rabbit's litter box:

  • Avoid scented, clumping, and clay-based cat litters – The fragrances, chemicals, and dust in these can irritate your rabbit's respiratory tract. Clay clumps can also stick to your rabbit's fur and feet.

  • Use paper-based or wood-based cat litters – Paper pellets, like Yesterday's News, or wood stove pellets are safer options. Look for non-toxic, fragrance-free varieties.

  • Choose a litter made for cats with respiratory issues – Since rabbits have sensitive respiratory systems, litters made for cats prone to respiratory irritation are a good bet. They limit dust, perfumes, and chemicals.

  • Use extra-absorbent cat litter – Highly absorbent litters will do the best job soaking up urine and ammonia odors. Just avoid super clumping varieties.

  • Get feedback from other rabbit owners – Check rabbit forums and groups for recommendations on cat litter brands that other owners use successfully with their bunnies.

  • Transition slowly to any new litter – Mix in increasing amounts over 1-2 weeks to give your rabbit's digestive system time to adjust.

  • Make sure litter is at least 2-3 inches deep – This allows digging and prevents urine from pooling on the bottom.

The right cat litter can work well for rabbits if you avoid irritating ingredients. Stick to paper, wood, or plant-based litters that are highly absorbent and low in dust. When in doubt, consult your vet on safe, non-toxic litter options for your bunny.

How much litter to use in a rabbit litter box

When setting up a litter box for your rabbit, using the right amount of litter is important. Here are some tips:

  • Provide at least 2-3 inches of litter in the box. Any less than 2 inches and urine can pool at the bottom of the box.

  • Allow 1-2 inches of space between the top of the litter and the rim of the box. This prevents litter from being kicked out.

  • For larger rabbit breeds, use 3-4 inches of litter to accommodate larger urine puddles.

  • For smaller dwarf breeds, 2-3 inches is usually sufficient.

  • Add extra litter to corners where bunnies tend to urinate more.

  • Top off litter periodically to maintain proper depth as it becomes saturated.

  • Adjust litter depth if you notice your rabbit digging down to the bottom of the box. Increase depth to accommodate this natural behavior.

  • Litter that is too shallow can stick to a rabbit's wet fur. Deeper litter prevents this.

  • Change out soiled litter completely at least weekly to provide a clean box.

The right amount of litter prevents messes, absorbs urine, controls odors, and gives your rabbit room to dig and forage. Providing the proper depth for your rabbit's size and habits will encourage good litter box use.

Should you include hay inside your rabbit’s litter box

Whether to put hay in a rabbit's litter box is a topic of debate among bunny owners. Here are some things to consider:

Reasons to include hay:

  • Rabbits like to snack when they use the litter box, and providing hay encourages use.

  • It provides a familiar texture and scent that may attract the rabbit to the litter box.

  • Rabbits will sometimes eat soiled hay, allowing them to reingest nutrients from cecotropes.

Reasons not to include hay:

  • Wet urine can soak into the hay, creating more waste and mess.

  • Rabbits may play and dig in the hay instead of using the litter box.

  • Eating soiled hay can lead to intestinal parasites or conditions like coccidia.

  • Hay pieces can scatter outside the litter box creating waste.

Tips if including hay:

  • Use limited amounts of hay in just one corner of the box.

  • Use timothy or oat hay which is less tasty than alfalfa.

  • Place hay in a hay rack above the box instead of directly in litter.

  • Change out soiled hay daily to limit spread of bacteria.

There are good arguments on both sides. In the end it depends on your specific rabbit and their litter habits. Some rabbits use the box better with hay while others make more of a mess. Try it both ways and see what works best for you and your bunny.

Cleaning a rabbit litter box

Keeping your rabbit's litter box clean is important for both health and odor control. Here are some tips:

  • Scoop the box at least once per day, removing urine clumps, soaked litter, and any stray feces.

  • Dump out the entire contents of the litter box once per week, or sooner if very dirty.

  • Use white vinegar or rabbit-safe enzymatic cleaner to wipe down the empty litter box weekly. This helps deodorize.

  • Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia that are unsafe to use around rabbits.

  • Use a sifter scoop daily to separate out clean litter from soiled clumps to extend litter life.

  • Add additional litter periodically to replace what gets removed during cleaning. Keep litter 2-3 inches deep.

  • Occasionally sanitize the litter box with boiling water or a rabbit-safe disinfectant.

  • Provide a second litter box while cleaning the primary box so your rabbit always has access.

  • Wash and dry hands after cleaning the litter box.

By scooping daily and changing out the contents weekly, you can keep your rabbit healthy and make sure their litter box doesn't become too dirty or smelly. Proper cleaning is essential for good rabbit hygiene.

How to wash a rabbit litter box

Regularly washing your rabbit's litter box helps control odors and prevent spread of bacteria. Here are tips for effective litter box washing:

Supplies Needed:

  • White vinegar or enzymatic pet odor cleaner
  • Mild dish soap
  • Paper towels or scrub brush
  • Old toothbrush for corners


  1. Scoop out all litter and solid waste from the box. Remove any caked on debris.

  2. Fill the box with hot water and a splash of white vinegar. Let soak 5 minutes.

  3. Scrub all surfaces with a paper towel or scrub brush and hot, soapy water.

  4. Use an old toothbrush dipped in vinegar to scrub corners and crevices.

  5. Rinse box thoroughly with hot water. Make sure no soap residue remains.

  6. Allow box to fully dry before refilling with litter. Place in sunlight to facilitate drying.

  7. Periodically sanitize box by washing with 1 part bleach 9 parts water rinse.

Proper scrubbing removes odors, while vinegar neutralizes urine. Letting the box fully dry prevents lingering bacteria and mold. Wash litter boxes at least once a month for cleanliness.

Disposing of rabbit litter

When cleaning out your rabbit's soiled litter, there are some disposal options to consider:

  • Composting – Paper or wood-based litters can be added to a compost pile or bin after removing solid wastes. The composted litter provides excellent soil nutrition.

  • Trash – For those without access to composting, used rabbit litter can be bagged up and disposed of with household trash. Double bag to control odors.

  • Flushing – Urine-soaked litter can be flushed down the toilet as long as your municipality allows this. Avoid flushing clumping litters.

  • Landfill – Check if your local landfill accepts small animal litter, especially if compostable or biodegradable. Call ahead to confirm policies.

  • Litter genie/diaper pail – Specialized odor-controlling pails allow you to collect used litter easily until ready for composting or trash day.

  • Cat litter disposal service – Some cat litter companies, like Arm & Hammer, offer mail-back box services for convenient litter disposal.

  • Grey water system – Rabbit urine can provide nitrogen for grey water irrigation systems. Research requirements for connecting litter boxes.

No matter the disposal method, never flush or compost uneaten medications, supplements, or soiled hay/bedding. Always throw away waste not appropriate for composting. Plan proper litter disposal to keep things clean, reduce waste, and limit environmental impact.

Litter box odor control

A stinky litter box is one of the biggest complaints of rabbit owners. Here are some tips to help control rabbit litter box odors:

  • Scoop litter box daily to remove urine clumps and feces which generate odor as they decay.

  • Use an absorbent litter like paper pellets, pine pellets, or aspen shavings to soak up urine. Avoid clay, straw, or fabrics.

  • Provide an adequately sized box so urine and feces don't overflow the edges.

  • Clean the box fully each week replacing all used litter to start fresh.

  • Spray box weekly with white vinegar or enzyme cleaner after removing all litter.

  • Use activated charcoal or zeolite litter deodorizers changed monthly. Avoid scented deodorizers.

  • Place a thin layer of baking soda under the litter to help absorb odors without direct contact.

  • Consider a litter box liner to trap urine odors like Fresh Scent from Marshalls. Change weekly.

  • Air out the room frequently and use window fans to keep fresh air circulating.

  • Neutralize airborne odors with an air purifier containing activated charcoal filtration.

With proper litter maintenance and odor eliminating products, you can successfully control unwanted litter box smells. Maintain cleanliness for a healthy, happy house bunny.

What type of litter box to use for rabbits

Choosing an appropriate litter box for your rabbit is key to successful litter training. Here are the best types of litter boxes for rabbits:

  • Basic plastic cat litter box – A large, basic plastic litter pan with low sides allows easy entry for rabbits. Look for a length over 18 inches to allow room.

  • High-backed litter box – Boxes with higher sides prevent litter spread but still allow entry. Great for messy bunnies.

  • Corner style litter box – Wedge shaped boxes fit neatly into room corners while providing space.

  • Sifting litter boxes – Grates allow urine and feces to fall into a bottom tray for easy cleaning.

  • Cement mixing trays – Sturdy and long trays sold at hardware stores provide extra space for large breeds.

  • Disposable litter boxes – Paper litter trays are an affordable, easy cleanup option if you want to replace regularly.

  • Specialty rabbit litter boxes – Companies like Purlove make boxes sized for rabbits with smart features like odor control flaps.

Avoid covered litter boxes which trap odors, scary hooded boxes, or tall-sided boxes that hinder use. Opt for an open, spacious box that makes your rabbit feel comfortable. You can even make a custom box to suit your unique bunny's habits and preferences.

Litter training rabbits

Litter training your rabbit takes consistency and patience but is very worthwhile for cleanliness and odor control. Here are top tips for litter training success:

  • Start training bunnies under 6 months old for easiest success. Older buns take more time.

  • Neuter or spay your rabbit first, as this reduces territory marking urges.

  • Place litter box in bunny's chosen bathroom corner of cage or room. Observe where they go naturally.

  • Use a litter material like paper or wood pellets that bunnies like. Avoid clay, scented, or clumping litters.

  • Gradually reduce free space as training progresses. Apply gentle guidance back towards the litter box.

  • Use positive reinforcement. Offer a treat when your rabbit uses their litter box properly.

  • Scoop urine and droppings from box daily. Thoroughly clean box weekly to control odors.

  • Be patient and consistent. Proper training takes 4-6 weeks of repetition and reinforcement.

  • If accidents occur, clean area with vinegar and place soiled items in box to remind bunny.

Remember that rabbits instinctively like to use one corner as their bathroom area. With the right set up, guidance, and reward, you can teach them to only use their designated litter box for both pee and poop. Invest time into litter training for a tidier home and healthier relationship with your rabbit.

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