“Don’t poop where you eat!” Bunnies are one of the smartest and cutest animals out there, but they do the exact opposite (unless they are litter trained). Urine-soaked bunny paws and upset tummies don’t sound great, right?
So can you use puppy pads for rabbits, and are they safe to use?
You shouldn’t use puppy training pads for rabbits because the pads aren’t safe. They contain an array of chemicals to soak up the urine. If ingested, these chemicals are very dangerous for your bun, resulting in constipation, a swollen tummy, and loss of appetite.
Ready to learn everything you need to know about the uses and safety of puppy training pads for your fluffy friend? Yes? Great!
Can You Use Puppy Pads as Rabbit Beddings?
Some puppy training pads have a quick-drying gel in them. Your rabbit will most likely try to remove the “stuffing/gel” from the pee pad to make their rabbit nest/rest area because the absorbent layer is thicker and softer, which is attractive to your bun.
However, this absorbent material could get stuck to your bunny’s fur, and the chemicals could irritate their skin, resulting in a vet visit and meds.
Risks of Using Puppy Pads for Rabbits
Let’s have a look at some of the risks involved when using puppy pads for rabbits.
Not only is ingesting the chemicals dangerous for your furry friend, but they can also inhale the toxins from the puppy training pad.
Most pee pads contain a fragrance to mask the strong smell of urine. They also contain chemical pheromones to attract dogs and cats to the pad.
Rabbits have a very sensitive sense of smell, and these chemicals can cause irritation and an allergic reaction.
Gastrointestinal (GI) Stasis
GI stasis is a very dangerous and common condition found in rabbits. Their digestive systems are very sensitive and can be disrupted easily.
Bunnies love to chew. Chewing on and ingesting a pee pad can be fatal for rabbits.
Eating the plastic can cause a blockage in their digestive tract and further discomfort for your rabbit. The ingested pieces of a puppy pad can swell in your bun’s tummy, causing tenderness and pain.
Because puppy training pads are so good at absorbing and trapping urine, they tend to breed bacteria, especially if they aren’t changed often.
A large rabbit can produce up to 22 fluid ounces of urine a day. If you have a bonded pair of rabbits or more buns, there will be more pee, which means more bacteria.
Bunnies are exposed to the bacteria that are trapped in the puppy pads when they tear and shred them, which is something rabbits love to do.
When to Use Puppy Pads for Rabbits?
Now, of course, there are some instances where using a puppy pad is beneficial and sometimes necessary for your rabbit (but there are precautions to take too!).
Here are a few examples of when it is okay to use puppy pads for rabbits:
Rabbit Is Sick
If your rabbit is ill or recovering from surgery, a pee pad may be the perfect solution for keeping the area (your rabbit’s cage, hutch, or living room) urine-free.
It’s important to change the training pad regularly and make sure your bun doesn’t chew on the pad.
Senior or disabled rabbits often suffer from incontinence issues. Keeping your bunny’s area clean will prevent urine scald and aggravation.
Not having to get into a litter box is also a huge help for a disabled bun.
Cage Has an Unreachable Liner
Some cages have a removal tray at the bottom to keep your bun away from the puppy pad. This removes your pet rabbit’s temptation to chew on the pad and gives you peace of mind.
Although, it’s essential to make sure your puppy pad is not fragranced because fragranced pee pads can cause an allergic reaction.
Bottom Layer of the Litter Box
Puppy training pads can also be used to layer the bottom of the litter box to absorb the rabbit urine better. Remember to place hay or newspaper over the pee pad to prevent your bun from snacking on it.
This can be tricky as bunnies are inquisitive, and chances are, they will find a way to tuck into the training pad.
Other Alternatives to Puppy Pads for Rabbits
What alternatives can we use now that we know puppy pads aren’t a great solution for your furry friends? Let’s look at a few options:
Hardwood shavings absorb urine very well, and what’s great is that most pet stores stock wood shavings. These shavings are inexpensive.
On the downside, hardwood shavings do not mask the odor very well and they tend to get stuck to your bun’s fur.
Newspaper or shredded paper is a great option to use as the bottom layer for a litter box because it’s cheap and available.
This litter option will need to be changed often.
Reusable or Washable Puppy Pads
Yes, they do exist.
Washable puppy pads are eco-friendly and a better option for your bun if you need to use training pads.
Using this option will give you peace of mind that your bun is not exposed to harmful chemicals. However, keep a close eye on your bun because they might try to remove the absorbent stuffing.
Hay or Straw
Natural options are always best. And hay and straw are great natural options because these materials absorb urine well. It’s also super comfy and soft for your bun to snuggle in.
Fleece blankets are soft and very absorbent. But keep an eye out to ensure your rabbit doesn’t ingest too much fleece because it can also cause intestinal blockages.
A downside is that urine-drenched fleece blankets will need to be washed almost daily.
My Last Bunny Thoughts
When doing their business, rabbits enjoy chewing and nibbling on hay or pellets. Continuous chewing is vital for rabbits because it aids with their sensitive digestion (and keeps their teeth from overgrowing).
Keep your bun healthy and happy by choosing the right litter and bedding for them. If all else fails, you can always train your bun to use a litter box and keep pee pads away from your rabbit.
Lining the litter box with newspaper and getting a hay dispenser means you won’t need to worry about those pesky puppy pad chemicals.