Rabbits are very curious household pets and if you are a rabbit guardian yourself, then you must have noticed your rabbit nibbling on newspaper pieces laid for lining the litterbox.
Rabbits will get their teeth on every chewable item in their territory, but it’s your duty to make sure that they don’t get into trouble every now and then by chewing something that isn’t safe for them. So, can rabbits eat newspaper?
Most of the newspaper companies use non-toxic soy ink to make newspapers that rabbits can eat safely. The remaining newspapers use petroleum-based ink which isn’t safe at all. In any case, too much newspaper may clog the digestive system and cause an internal blockage which may lead to severe issues.
Throughout this article, you’ll come to know why exactly rabbits develop a habit of chewing and eating newspapers and how safe it is for them.
Why Rabbits Eat Newspapers?
The two most common reasons why your rabbits are chewing on newspapers is Hunger and Boredom. Rabbits are very playful creatures by nature and will curiously interact with their surroundings. Sometimes when they do not find anything opportune or feel boring, they often dig or chew anything that crosses their path.
Many rabbit parents use newspapers as bedding of their rabbit’s hutch which is often covered with a lot of hay on top of it. When there isn’t enough hay or any other food for rabbits around their hutch, they will start ripping around the newspapers laid for their bedding and may eat some in the process.
This habit is very common and there’s nothing much to be worried about. However, if you find that your rabbit has suddenly stopped eating or any other detrimental health changes, please contact your vet as soon as possible. Such changes often indicate gastrointestinal problems.
How safe newspaper are for rabbits?
You must be wondering how a simple thing like a newspaper can be dangerous to your cute little friends. Newspapers have been around the world for more than 4 centuries now and their production methodologies and required raw materials have changed dramatically over a period of time.
The Two major contents that go into making newspapers are Paper pulp and Ink. The paper is not something you should be worried about as it is made of recycled wood and mostly consists of cellulose fibers which in fact is beneficial for your rabbit if given in the right quantity.
The major concern stands with the type of ink that was used in the production of newspapers. The two types of inks that are commonly used in the newspaper industry are Petroleum-based ink and Soy ink:
Not long ago, most of the newspaper companies were using this type of ink because of its capability to dry out fast. This type of ink contains VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) like toluene, Hexane, methanol, and other compounds that can impair the health of rabbits.
This ink can easily be differentiated from Soy ink due to its less crisp and less dark color. Another indication is that this ink smudges easily and will leave its stain on the paws of your pet while wet.
if you see any of the above signs, then immediately stop using such newspapers for bedding.
Soy ink is a safer option than traditional petroleum-based ink for your rabbits. The use of this ink for printing newspapers has quadrupled in the USA during the last decade due to its environmental benefits.
According to the American Soybean Association, More than 90% of the USA’s daily newspaper is printed using Soy ink. Some of the top newspaper which uses Soy Ink to print their newspapers are:
- USA Today
- New York Times
- The Washington Post
- The Los Angeles Times
- Denver Post
- Detroit Free Press
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
- Boston Globe
- St. Petersburg (Florida) Times
If you use any of the above newspaper for your rabbit’s hutch, then you need not worry much about your rabbit’s health.
However, if you can’t find your newspaper in the above list just check their website to make sure what kind of ink they use. If the Information is not available on their website you can call them and get the required information.
Even though newspaper containing soy ink doesn’t possess much threat to your rabbits, swallowing too much newspaper can still harm your bunnies. This can cause various issues like Constipation, Swollen stomachs, and Gastrointestinal problems.
If you are still unsure about using newspaper as bedding, you can find some other alternatives towards the end of the article
How to stop your rabbit from eating newspaper?
You have now become aware of what kind of newspapers are safe for rabbits. However, you would not want to take the slightest of risk with your cute little buddies. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered, following are some of the tips to stop your rabbit from eating the newspaper:
- Rabbits are social animals; it is recommended that you enhance their social life by introducing a new rabbit. In this way, it will never get bored.
- Avoid spreading or throwing papers in the precincts of the rabbit’s hutch.
- Arrange interesting toys, water, and soft things for the bunny in its room or cage to avoid them getting bored.
- Provide vast spaces for the rabbits to run and jump so that they never feel bored and as a result start hunting for newspapers to chew.
- Make sure your bunny has enough to eat. Provide them with an ample amount of hay and fibers.
Other types of papers that are suitable for chewing or eating
- Toilet paper
It is advised not to give toilet paper to rabbits to eat instead of their natural diet besides the fact that it is the least harmful paper that a rabbit can eat.
Toilet paper usually comes up with some amount of chemicals which should not be given to rabbits as it can upset their stomach and make them sick.
But if your rabbit eats a small amount of toilet paper that doesn’t mean it is definitely going to be sick as this material will ball up to a much smaller size than a traditional sheet of paper. This makes it easier for your rabbit to pass.
Napkins should be avoided. The rabbit may have fun playing with it but it can be dangerous for it, in case, it eats the napkin.
While the rabbit enjoys chewing napkins for a long time but it is quite tough and hard to swallow for them which leads to their digestive problems.
Most of the napkins come up with decorative dyes that are not at all safe for the rabbits.
Rabbits love those kinds of stuff that they can chew for a prolonged period but at the same time they hate such things that they cannot swallow easily and cardboard is one such thing.
But eating cardboard is good for your rabbit as it can help them in wearing down their teeth. Rabbit’s teeth grow very fast and they have to chew a lot to keep them healthy. Make sure they don’t eat it much as it can be potentially dangerous.
The above-mentioned papers don’t add up nutrients to your rabbit so better add Straw, hay, wood pellets, and sawdust or pine shavings. It is okay if your rabbit eats the above-mentioned paper in a small amount but if they consume it in significant quantity then it may lead to their intestine and digestion problems.