Rabbits

Which Wood Is Safe for Rabbits to Chew (Pine, Cedar, Balsa,…)?

bunny chewing on a branch
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Your rabbit’s teeth grow continuously throughout his life, so giving your bunny suitable chew toys will help wear down his teeth. Even better, it’ll also provide the sort of boredom-busting mental stimulation that every rabbit loves.

But when you’re searching for the best rabbit chew toys, how do you know which wood is safe for rabbits to chew?

Safe wood for rabbits is untreated and pesticide-free, with popular choices including willow, apple and spruce. However, there are several types of wood that should be avoided, such as cedar, fresh pine and wood from stone-fruit trees, as these can be harmful to your pet.

The last thing you want to do is give your pet something toxic or dangerous, so let’s take a closer look at the best rabbit-safe wood options.

Safe Wood for Rabbits

If you want to give your rabbit some wood to chew on, you can’t just pick up any old stick from your backyard or some leftover lumber from an old DIY project. Several commonly available kinds of wood can actually be toxic to bunnies, so you’ll need to choose with care.

You’ll also need to find wood that is untreated, free of paint and glue, and that hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides or any other nasty chemicals.

Some popular woods that are safe for bunnies to chew and that rabbits like to chew on include:

  • Apple
  • Arbutus
  • Ash
  • Aspen
  • Bamboo cane
  • Blackberry
  • Cottonwood
  • Hawthorn
  • Hazelnut
  • Pear
  • Pine (kiln-dried white)
  • Poplar
  • Raspberry
  • Spruce
  • Sycamore
  • Willow

Unsafe & Toxic Wood for Rabbits

There are also toxic woods for rabbits that should be avoided at all costs. These include:

  • Wood from stone-fruit trees. Wood from apricot, peach, cherry, avocado and plum trees is toxic to rabbits. While some sources say branches from some of these trees are OK when they’ve been dried for at least a month, they’re generally best avoided.
  • Cedar and fresh pine. Cedar and pine contain phenols, which are chemicals that give the woods their distinctive odor. These phenols have been linked to liver problems in rabbits, so these woods should not be given to your pet.

Other unsafe woods for rabbits that should be avoided include:

  • Alder
  • Almond
  • Beech
  • Citrus trees
  • Cypress
  • Elder
  • Elm
  • Fir
  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Olive
  • Redwood
  • Rosewood

Please note that this is not a complete list of woods your bunny should avoid. There’s also plenty of conflicting information on the Internet about which woods are and are not safe for rabbits.

If you’re unsure whether a particular branch is safe to give to your furry friend, consult your veterinarian.

Why Do Rabbits Need to Chew?

Chewing serves more than one purpose for bunnies.

You’re probably aware that rabbit teeth constantly grow throughout their lives. Chewing safe items like wood helps trim their teeth down and maintain good health.

Chewing also provides an outlet for your playful and energetic rabbit. It gives them mental stimulation throughout the day, ensuring that boredom doesn’t lead to destructive behavior.

Finally, giving your bunny safe items to chew will ensure that he doesn’t turn his attention to his hutch or your furniture. This will not only prevent him from damaging your belongings, but it’ll also stop him from chewing anything toxic or dangerous. Wooden and wicker furniture could be treated with a wide range of harmful chemicals, so be sure to stop your bunny chewing these items.

Where to Find Wood for Your Rabbit?

First and foremost, if you’re out foraging for sticks and branches for your rabbit, you’ll need to ensure that any wood you choose comes from a tree that’s safe for your bunny to chew.

But where you get the wood is also important. Any branches or sticks will need to come from a tree that hasn’t been sprayed with any pesticides or harmful chemicals. You’ll also want to avoid high-pollution areas, such as trees near major roads, and clean the branch thoroughly to remove any bugs, moss or mold.

A simpler option is to find rabbit-safe wooden chew toys at a pet store. There are plenty of options to choose from, many featuring interesting shapes, colors and designs to provide some mental stimulation for pets. However, not all small animal chew toys are created, especially for bunnies, so double-check that any toy you buy is made using a rabbit-safe wood.

Finally, it’s worth remembering that your bunny may also decide that he needs to chew on his hutch. Make sure the wood used in your pet’s hutch is safe for your furry friend to nibble.

FAQs About Safe Wood for Rabbits

Can Rabbits Eat Pine Cones?

Pine cones make a great chew and play toy for bunnies. However, they must be carefully prepared before being given to your bunny. Any pine cone you give to your pet must be entirely free of pesticides, plus it must also be thoroughly cleaned and dried (you can even bake them in the oven if you want) before your bunny gets their paws on it.

Can Rabbits Eat Balsa Wood?

Yes, rabbits can eat balsa wood. Some bunny chew toys are even made from balsa wood.

Is Treated Wood Safe for Rabbits?

No, the chemicals in treated wood could be harmful to your rabbit, so it’s best avoided when searching for safe wood for rabbits to chew.

Final Thoughts

Chewing is an important way for your rabbit to stay healthy, so ensuring that your pet has safe items to chew on is vital. When choosing wood for your bunny, make sure it’s from a tree that’s non-toxic to rabbits and that the wood is untreated and free of any dangerous chemicals.

Alternatively, you can also buy safe wooden rabbit chew toys from your favorite pet store. There are plenty of options to choose from, so shop around to find the toys your bunny likes best.

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About author

Steven is the guy behind SmallPetJournal. He has six years of experience keeping small pets, from guinea pigs, rabbits, to hedgehogs. He currently lives with his wife & three guinea pigs in Texas.

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