Rabbits love to nibble and chew on things.
It’s part of their natural instinct and is common for many pets. But of course, just because they enjoy chewing doesn’t always mean they should be allowed to chew on everything.
Rabbits will often chew on cardboard and paper if they are given the chance to.
But should rabbits eat cardboard and paper or is it potentially dangerous for them?
In this article, I’ll explore whether rabbits should chew and eat cardboard and papers and whether there are any types that could pose a threat to their health.
Rabbits are able to chew and eat both cardboard and paper. They gain a small amount of nutritional value from the cellulose in them but any cardboard or paper with ink or dye coloring should not be given to a rabbit. You should also only give your rabbit cardboard or paper in moderation.
Should rabbits chew on cardboard
Rabbits love to chew and cardboard and this is perfectly safe behavior.
Rabbits will naturally find things to chew on and chewing cardboard will help them to properly maintain their teeth.
It also offers some mental stimulation for your rabbit who will enjoy chewing on the cardboard and it can act as a (very inexpensive) toy for them.
However, you should ensure that any cardboard you give your rabbit to chew is plain, with no ink printed sections and no other materials such as staples or packaging tape.
These could potentially harm your rabbit, so always ensure they only have access to standard, plain brown cardboard.
Can rabbits eat cardboard
Rabbits can eat cardboard and may even get some benefit from it. However, they should not be allowed to eat too much cardboard.
You might think, ‘wait a minute, how can cardboard be ok to eat?’
I don’t blame you, as humans we would get little to no benefit from eating cardboard.
But rabbits are unique in the way they can handle it, and it’s to do with their digestive system.
Cardboard contains cellulose. Ordinarily, cellulose is insoluble, but plants are packed with it. As a result rabbits, digestive systems have evolved to digest cellulose efficiently, allowing for the release of most of its nutrients.
As humans we wouldn’t be able to break down the cellulose, so we wouldn’t get any benefit from cardboard, but rabbits do.
However, the nutrients in cardboard are quite one-dimensional, they certainly aren’t going to provide your rabbit with a balanced diet!
That’s why it’s important to not let your rabbit eat lots of cardboard as it may stop them from eating the rest of their food and their body’s nutritional needs will be affected.
Eating too much cardboard also runs the risk of digestive blockages, so you should avoid giving your rabbit lots of cardboard for that reason too.
Do rabbits like eating cardboard
Most rabbits will love chewing on cardboard, only some will actually eat it but ingesting small amounts of cardboard is perfectly fine as I’ve discussed above.
Rabbits love to chew on things and the harder texture of cardboard gives them something to literally get their teeth into.
From an owner’s point of view, cardboard makes the ideal homemade toy for a rabbit. You can twist and turn it to make little contains for treats, giving your rabbit more of a challenge.
You can even get some cardboard that basically comes ready-made as a treat container, so let’s look at something ideal for that job next.
Are toilet paper rolls safe for rabbits
Empty toilet paper rolls are perfect for a pet rabbit.
They are made with plain, ordinary cardboard so they are perfectly safe for your rabbit to chew and it won’t harm them if they eat it.
You can also use a toilet roll as a toy. Stuffing the tube with hay makes for the ideal rabbit challenge.
You can even put a tasty treat, like a few slices of bell pepper, in the middle of the tube with hay tightly packed on either side.
Your rabbit will have lots of fun and mental stimulation chewing away at the cardboard and hay to get to the treat.
It’s a much better way of stimulating them both physically and mentally than just handing them a treat with no challenge.
Can rabbits eat toilet paper
I would generally advise not giving your rabbit toilet paper to chew or eat.
Toilet paper can contain ink or other chemicals, especially if it is scented or has added properties such as Aloe Vera.
Toilet paper is also specifically designed to be super absorbent.
That means it can easily cause a blockage in your rabbits digestive system.
In reality, your rabbit would probably be ok if they only ate a little bit of toilet paper.
But it’s difficult to know for sure what was used in the manufacturing process which is why I would just advise that it is avoided altogether.
Can rabbits eat colored cardboard or paper
You should not let your rabbit eat colored cardboard or paper.
If there is printed text or an image on the cardboard or paper or the whole lot is a single block color then it must either be ink or dye.
Either way, ingesting ink or dye can be harmful to your rabbit and may have some toxic effects so you should only ever give them plain, ordinary cardboard.
Can you put cardboard in a rabbit’s cage
Cardboard can act as a great toy for your pet rabbit and it is perfectly safe to put a small amount of plain cardboard in their cage.
They will enjoy nibbling on it and they may even eat it.
You should only put a small amount in because if they do decide to eat it, you don’t want them to eat so much cardboard that they don’t eat their ordinary food. Although rabbits can get nutritional value from cardboard it is no replacement for a balanced diet.
You could also avoid potentially dangerous materials that often come with cardboard, such as staples, packaging tape or ink colored cardboard. All of these could be harmful to your rabbit.
Can rabbits eat paper
It is perfectly safe for rabbits to chew and eat paper.
It is much the same as cardboard in that your rabbit will be able to break down the cellulose in paper to gain a little bit of nutritional value.
However, you should not give your rabbit lots of paper as if they do decide to eat it they may not eat enough of their normal daily food to get a fully balanced diet.
Eating lots of paper also increases the risk of blockages in the digestive system, but as long as you keep the amount you give your rabbit small they should be perfectly fine.
Can rabbits eat newspaper
You should not give your rabbit newspaper to chew or eat.
Newspaper can be dangerous for your rabbit due to the high amount of ink in the paper.
This ink could have toxic effects for your rabbit so you should never let them chew newspaper.
That’s the same for any magazines which can contain all sorts of chemicals that would be bad for your rabbit.
If you want to give your rabbit paper or cardboard you should only give them plain brown cardboard or plain white paper, with no ink or any other treatment.
Which cardboard should I avoid for my rabbit
Always use plain cardboard or paper for your rabbit.
Never use anything with ink or covered in packaging tape or staples.
Generally, the thinner types of cardboard are better, the type used for general household deliveries.
You should avoid very thick industrial cardboard, this is much more likely to cause a digestive upset or blockage for your rabbit.
If you stick to a small amount of plain paper or cardboard then it should be perfectly safe for your rabbit to chew on or even eat.