Are Pine Shavings Safe as a Rabbit’s Bedding?

Are Pine Shavings Safe As A Rabbits Beddings

Your pet’s bedding should be comfortable and safe. This will help them to have relaxing sleeping habits. Over the years, pine shavings have been the standard material for pet bedding. Generations of rabbits have been raised in cages using this bedding, but some experts claim pine shavings may not be good for them. 

According to the House Rabbit of Society, owners should avoid using pine shavings. It is not safe for your pet due to many reasons. In this article, we will discuss the danger of pine shaving and the alternative option you can use as bedding for your rabbits. If you want to know more details, keep on reading.   

Disadvantages of Using Pine Shavings as a Rabbit’s Bedding

Every aspect is important to consider when taking care of an animal. If you want the rabbit to stay healthy, you must provide food, give them water, and ensure they get a lot of sleep. 

Rabbits sleep at least 7-8 hours a day. It helps them regain their energy and rest. You must give them a relaxing sleeping area and use comfortable bedding. The use of pine shavings is not recommended. To guide you better, here are the two major risks of using pine-shaving bedding for rabbits.  

1. Pine Shavings Contains Phenols

Phenols are one of the dangers that your rabbit can encounter in pine beddings. Phenols are a chemical compound that is similar to alcohol. They are commonly found in wood, where pine shavings are made. 

Once you open a bag of pine shavings, you can immediately smell its phenolic compound. It has a distinct aromatic pine scent, refreshing for humans but bad for rabbits. Take note that rabbits’ nasal scent is different from humans. They are more sensitive, and sometimes strong odors can affect their stress level.     

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention affirms that long exposure to phenols affects some of the body systems. This could result to skin burns, liver damage, and bad urination.      

However, a rabbit’s body system has a way of protecting itself from the dangers of phenols. Their liver is one of the primary defenders. They remove the phenol through the secretion of enzymes that fights off that chemical. 

But, it does not mean that it is safe for rabbits to sleep in high-phenol percentages just because they can fight off the content.  Phenols can stimulate the liver to produce enzyme chemicals in very large amounts, where problems arise. 

If your rabbit takes antibiotics, their system might not react to the drug because of the high amount of liver enzymes. Some of the common drugs affected by this are painkillers. Thus your rabbit cannot take medication during an injury or accident. 

2. Pine Shavings are Cancer Risk

Some claim that over-exposure to pine dusk and shavings is correlated with the development of cancer in the body. Since pine shavings have a chemical compound called phenol, they can trigger some diseases. The National Cancer Institute claims that in one study, some sawmill workers have been observed to have cancer after exposure to phenol shavings.   

Although more studies are needed to support the correlation between the two, you should still avoid risking your rabbit’s health. Instead of using pine shaving, you can buy more quality and safer bedding for rabbits. 

Tips for Choosing the Right Beddings for Rabbits

Ensure your Rabbit is Comfortable

The primary thing that you should consider is the feelings of your rabbit. The bedding is an area where your rabbit sleeps. Meaning they will spend most of their hours there. 

According to the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund, warmth, and comfort help rabbits sleep.  Moreover, part of your pet’s comfort is security. They are prey animals, so they wanted an area where they feel safe and not vulnerable to predators. 

Choose a Durable Bedding 

The rabbit will likely make a mess around their bedding. You must choose a durable brand and material for your playful rabbit. There is also a possibility that they will poop and urine in their bedding. Unless you trained them to litter in the right place, their bedding area could be their anything.  

Easy to Clean and Change

Another thing to consider is bedding that is easy to clean. Since there is a tendency for rabbits to poop in their beddings, cleaning it is advisable. 

Moreover, your pet is prone to different parasitic infestations like ear mites. It is transmissible, so it’s ideal to have a regular change of bedding to maintain a safe space for your rabbit’s sleeping area. 

If you want to know more about Taking Care of Rabbits, Read this Article: The Ultimate Guide to Taking Care of Rabbits

Alternative Bedding Options for Rabbits


Hays is not just rabbit food; you can also use this as their bedding. It is safe for pets and has a comfortable texture for them to sleep in. But hay needs to be changed daily as with other natural materials. 

Some reports say that hays develop molds easily because of exposure to moisture. So you need to ensure that your rabbit is not sleeping with molds because there is a possibility they will inhale and ingest it. 


Straw bedding is another great option to use as bedding for rabbits. They are common bedding for other animals like hamsters and chickens. Straw is edible and will keep rabbits warm. Consider using a straw if your pets are in an outdoor enclosure. 


If you want cheap and easy-to-manage bedding, consider using cardboard. They are lightweight materials and absorbent to the urine and poop of rabbits. But the pitfall in using cardboard is changing it frequently because it is made from paper. If you leave it for days, it can be a surface for bacteria and germs.  

News Paper

New papers are environmentally-friendly and comfortable for rabbits. They would also be good for absorption, especially if you used them in their litter area. But you must be careful in using paper in your pet’s shelter. There is a possibility that rabbits will chew and eat pieces of this if they are bored. Mixing it with a good amount of straw or hays is ideal for covering the newspaper.   


Instead of using pine wood, consider aspen shaving. It is a safe and economical material to be used as rabbit bedding. Some of the rabbit owners understand that this is an alternative option too. But remember to remove dust and debris before putting it inside your pet’s cage.    

Key takeaways

  • Caring for rabbits ensures they sleep in comfortable, safe bedding. This will help them complete the right amount of sleep, which is 7-8 hours daily. Sleeping assists rabbits in regaining energy and resting their eyes after a tiring day. 
  • Pain shavings have been common bedding for the past year in rabbits. But recently, there have been claims that it is harmful to animals. 
  • Pain shavings contain a chemical compound called phenol. It is commonly present in wood shavings and is bad for your health. It has a strong smell that irritates your rabbit’s nose.  
  • Tips on choosing the right bedding for your pet; ensure that your rabbit is comfortable, and choose durable bedding, and easy to clean and change. Bedding will determine your rabbit’s sleeping habits, so you must know the best quality and suit your pet. 
  • Here are some bedding options instead of pine shavings; hays, straws, cardboard, newspaper, and aspen.       
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