Rabbits are adorable, cuddly critters that are great for pet owners. However, they require a lot of attention and care in order to live a long, happy life. The most important part of caring for rabbits is providing them with an adequate supply of wood to chew on. In this article, we’ll talk about the types of wood that rabbits can safely chew on without compromising their health or safety.
Why Rabbits Need To Chew
You might be wondering why your rabbits need to chew. Well, in short: because they’re rabbits. Teeth are an essential component of any rabbit’s life, and they can only be maintained by chewing on things. The act of chewing helps keep the teeth at an ideal length and spacing. It also helps relieve stress by releasing endorphins in the brain (endorphins are those feel-good chemicals that give you a natural high).
How do you know when your bunny is stressed? Look for signs like drooping ears or tail, stress vocalizations such as squeaking or squealing, and pacing back and forth across the cage repeatedly without stopping to eat hay or dust baths; these are all signs that your bunny might benefit from more opportunities for safe wood chewing.
Apple and Pear Trees
Fruit trees can make a great addition to your rabbit’s diet. Apple and pear trees are high in fiber and low in calories, which makes them a good option for rabbits who are prone to obesity. Additionally, apples contain vitamin C and iron, while pears are an excellent source of vitamin C. The only downside is that these fruits can cause gastrointestinal irritation if eaten too much, so don’t let your bunny eat them alone.
Alfalfa is a good alternative to hay and can be used as an ingredient in treats. It’s also a great choice for rabbits who have a tendency to overeat since it has less protein than other foods like Timothy hay. Additionally, alfalfa contains calcium and phosphorus, which are important nutrients for rabbits.
Cottonwood is a soft wood that’s easy for rabbits to chew. It’s non-toxic and great for making toys. This one might even give your rabbit a little boost of fiber in its diet.
Willows are an excellent wood for rabbits to chew. Although willow is a soft wood, it can be used to make toys for your rabbit if you have access to one. Many people use willow branches as chew toys for their pet bunnies and report having no problems with them.
Willow trees are also said to be a good source of calcium, which is essential for the growth and strength of bones, including those in your pet rabbit’s teeth. This means that willow may help prevent dental issues such as tooth decay or broken teeth from occurring in your rabbit if you provide them with regular access to this type of tree (and its branches).
The citrus family of plants is not toxic to rabbits but can cause a lot of gastrointestinal distress. Your rabbit should not be eating any part of the citrus tree, including leaves and bark. The oils in citrus trees can cause liver damage and limonene, which is a carcinogen. Citrus trees may also cause diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and other symptoms that aren’t fun for your bunny to experience.
Make sure you don’t let your bunnies near lemon trees or oranges either.
Kudzu, a fast-growing vine that can grow up to four inches per day, is an invasive plant that you may have seen in your neighborhood. It’s not safe for rabbits to eat because it contains toxic chemicals, but they’ll probably take a bite or two anyway: rabbits love to chew on things and kudzu provides something that resembles fresh hay.
If your rabbit nibbles on kudzu out of curiosity (it looks like grass), don’t worry too much; he’ll be fine as long as he doesn’t eat enough to make him sick. However, if you see some wilting leaves or other signs of sickness, like runny eyes or nose, take him to the vet right away.
Birch and poplar
The birch tree is safe for rabbits to chew on. In fact, it’s a great choice, the wood is soft and easily chewed and digested. You can find birch in many forms, from logs to plywood, which makes it a convenient option.
Birch trees are fairly common in North America, so they may be more readily available than other types of wood that are safe for your rabbit to eat (like cedar). If you’re looking for trees that aren’t toxic to rabbits but want something more exotic than common trees like pine or maple, birch might be a good option.
Poplar trees are also found all over North America and can provide plenty of tasty treats for your pet rabbit. However, there is one problem with poplars: they contain chemicals called phenols that are toxic to rabbits when ingested by them in large quantities over time; so don’t go overboard with the chewing just yet.
Hazel trees are a safe wood for rabbits to chew. They provide a good source of fiber, calcium, vitamins C and A, E, and a low glycemic index. Hazel trees also have the added benefit of being easy to find in your backyard or front yard. Most people don’t even know they’re there because they look like shrubs.
The bad news is that hazel trees aren’t very tasty (unless you’re a squirrel). So if your rabbit has started chewing on this plant… it’s because he needs something else more palatable than bark or twigs.
Raspberry and blackberry bushes
Raspberry and blackberry bushes are safe for rabbits to chew on. Rabbits can eat the fruit and leaves of these plants, as well as their wood.
Raspberries and blackberries are often grown in places where most rabbits live. These plants can be found in gardens, forests, or on hillsides. The berries are attractive to many animals including birds, rodents, and humans alike.
Okay, so aspen isn’t hardwood. But it’s still pretty darn good for rabbits to chew on. Why? Because it’s not toxic to rabbits or humans, other pets, and the environment.
Aspen is a softwood that comes from deciduous trees in the poplar family (commonly known as cottonwoods), which grow well in wet soils along stream banks and riverbanks. These evergreens reach heights of up to 100 feet tall but are often cut down by humans for lumber or paper manufacturing due to their rapid growth rate and ability to thrive in poor soil conditions. That makes them one of the most plentiful softwoods available on Earth, which means lots of cheap products made from them.
But don’t worry: If you have an environmentally conscious bunny who just really wants some cheap product made with locally sourced materials instead of imported ones like plywood or particleboard (which can come from overseas), they’ll be happy with kiln-dried aspen wood chips too.
Roses, like many other plants, are toxic to rabbits. This is especially true of the leaves and stems. However, due to their generally small size and dainty nature, it’s unlikely your rabbit will nibble on them (in fact they’re more likely to be frightened off by the thorns). But if you have a particularly large rose bush in your garden, or if you live somewhere where there are wild rose bushes growing close by, it’s worth keeping an eye on it just in case.
If you’re worried about your rabbit eating these poisonous plants, don’t worry: rabbits can’t eat enough toxic plants to cause serious harm (except for maybe foxglove or nightshade). The plant will have little effect unless eaten in massive quantities; otherwise, its toxicity is too low for any real harm to result.
Toxic wood for rabbits
While it’s tempting to let a bunny chew on any old thing, keep in mind that some woods are toxic for your rabbit. There are two basic categories of toxic wood: those from trees that are known to be poisonous and those that have been treated with chemicals.
Trees known to be poisonous include yew trees, Brazil nuts (the nut itself is not poisonous but the compounds contained in the skin can cause problems if ingested), walnuts (the shell can be toxic), pecan shells, Cedar, and cherry pits. But even if you have no problem with these items being chewed by your pet rabbits, there are other possibilities and pitfalls beyond toxicity that must also be considered.
Wood treated with chemicals should be avoided as well because they can result in serious health issues when ingested by rabbits over time. Chemicals such as paint or stain may appear harmless at first glance but could contain harmful substances like lead or arsenic which will eventually build up inside a rabbit’s system over time if eaten regularly enough (and often).
The same goes for other manmade materials (plastic etc) which may not seem like they would hurt something so small but end up having negative effects on their digestive tract over time due to repeated ingestion of unsafe material
Most wood is safe for rabbits to chew, but some are better than others.
A word of caution: don’t give your pet any wood that’s been treated with chemicals or paints. This includes untreated lumber like that used in playground equipment and decks, as well as wood with stains, sealants, and varnishes applied after it was milled. These types of finishes are toxic to pets (especially dogs), so they shouldn’t be allowed around your rabbit’s mouth at all.
Keep in mind that while your bunny may not want to chew on some types of wood, it’s still okay for them to eat the leaves and bark. They don’t need to chew on everything they eat. Just make sure you aren’t giving them anything toxic like pine or cedar.