Rabbits love blankets for many reasons, whether for entertainment or bedding. As a giving pet owner, you may be debating whether to give a blanket to your rabbit.
Your suspicion is correct because blankets aren’t the safest option for rabbits. There are some factors you need to consider if you want to provide your rabbit with a blanket, regardless of the reason.
This article will help you if you want to know more about why a blanket could be unsafe for your rabbit and what are some better alternative options.
Why do rabbits like blankets?
When looking at the natural behaviors of rabbits in the wild, it’s easy to see why rabbits like blankets.
Rabbits use chewing, burrowing, and snuggling as entertainment and survival. Even though your rabbit is a domesticated pet, he still exhibits the natural behaviors of a rabbit in the wild.
Many pet owners primarily think of a rabbit’s blanket as bedding, but a bunny sees it as more than that. This section will tell you why exactly rabbits love their blankets!
Comfort and warmth
Blankets are soft, and rabbits love something soft to cuddle and play on. They may snuggle up on rugs, towels, pillows, or any soft textures they can find.
A blanket is comforting to a rabbit because it mimics the coziness of cuddling with her mother and siblings.
Blankets provide warmth, which is essential for a rabbit that lives in a cool place. Even an indoor rabbit may enjoy the warmth of a blanket.
Blankets provide entertainment for rabbits. They enjoy rearranging blankets, burrowing underneath them, and rolling on top of them.
If you give your rabbit a blanket, he will probably bunch it up and move it around his cage. This is your rabbit’s way of playing and taking ownership of it.
Blankets provide cushioning for a rabbit’s paws, helping to prevent soreness from hard surfaces.
A rabbit burrows for the secure feeling of being in a dark, cozy space, and a blanket is perfect for this purpose. Having a blanket for bedding helps them feel safe while they rest.
Why blankets may not be suitable for rabbits? (4 reasons)
However, as much as bunnies love blankets, blankets may not be the best option for them.
A rabbit’s natural behavior is to chew on anything, including their bedding and blankets. This tendency could present you as the pet owner with some problems.
#1 Chewing and ingesting
Rabbits may swallow fibers of the blanket if they chew it, causing digestive problems and a potential vet visit.
Bunnies do not throw up, so they cannot rid themselves of any swallowed fibers in this way.
No amount of fabric ingestion is safe for your rabbit’s digestive system. It may not seem harmful at first, but if continued over time, it becomes a health concern.
#2 Injury and suffocation
Rabbits may burrow too deep in the blanket and be unable to find their way out. This could be a dangerous situation because rabbits are susceptible to suffocation.
Although bunnies enjoy cozy spaces, they do not like to feel stuck and should not be bundled up in a blanket.
They may get a paw stuck in a hole they created by chewing. This might scare a rabbit, and she could get injured while trying to free herself.
#3 Territorial behavior
Rabbits may become territorial about their blanket and don’t allow anyone else to have access to it.
This could be a problem if you have multiple rabbits and they start to snatch blankets from one another.
Sometimes, a rabbit may even show signs of being upset if you want to remove the blanket for washing.
Rabbits may overheat from the warmth provided by the blanket. They generally don’t do well with too much heat since they cannot sweat.
Are fleece blankets safe for rabbits?
If you want a blanket for your bunny, the best option is to buy one that’s explicitly made for rabbits. These are typically made from fleece.
The fibers of fleece material are shorter, denser, and stronger than the fibers of many other types of fabric, making it more durable for the wear and tear of rabbits.
Keep in mind that even so, a fleece blanket will not necessarily keep your rabbit from chewing it, and fleece is not safe for a rabbit to ingest.
Can I put a blanket over my rabbit’s cage?
Some owners use a blanket over their rabbit’s cages to keep the warmth.
Well, I’m having mixed feelings on this because rabbits are cold hardy, and can quickly overheat. So, you need to ensure proper ventilation if you really want to do that.
Indoor rabbits do not need a blanket over their cage; outdoor rabbits, however, may benefit from a blanket if temperatures dip below freezing, particularly if they have little bedding.
Another factor to consider is that a bunny might pull the blanket through the cage’s bars to chew on it, so supervision is important.
4 Tips if you really want to use blankets
Perhaps you have decided that you want your rabbit to have a blanket. Maybe your rabbit has already made that decision for you! If so, here are some tips to make blankets safe for your pet.
Choose the right fabric
Thin, stretchy, or loosely woven materials are prone to chew and tear, which poses problems. This eliminates many thinner woven and knit fabrics such as bed sheets and jersey knit material.
If your rabbit really wants a blanket, choose dense fabrics with short, strong fibers, such as fleece or towels.
Check for holes on the blanket caused by biting and remove the blanket if any holes are found. You don’t want your rabbit’s leg to get caught in the blanket and injure itself. A rabbit with a fractured leg is no joke.
Remember that although this removal may upset your rabbit, it is for her good.
Not too big
Choosing a smaller blanket can help minimize the chance of your rabbit getting tangled up and possibly suffocating.
A small blanket (2 ft by 2 ft, for example) will still provide warmth, comfort, and fun for your pet.
A larger rabbit might be fine with a bigger blanket, but a tiny or young rabbit will need something smaller.
Close supervision is important. Hours of unsupervised time with a blanket could result in a destroyed blanket and a sick rabbit.
Some pet owners only allow blankets when the rabbit is out in a supervised play space. Since many rabbits prefer sleeping on a flat surface anyway, this works out well.
But if your rabbit continues to chew on blankets, you may want to explore alternative options.
Chew toys and other options for entertainment may help deter a rabbit from chewing his blanket, and this will be discussed in the next section.
Alternatives to using blankets
Perhaps after reading about how a blanket can be unsuitable for your rabbit, you’re curious about other bedding options. Some options must still be used with caution, and other options might be messy.
Hay and wood shavings
Hay is a great natural bedding and burrowing option for rabbits. If you use good quality hay such as Timothy hay, the bedding can double as a healthy snack for your pet to nibble on.
Grass mats made from straw, hay, or safe tree fibers make great cushioning for a rabbit’s paws. As a plus, they’re safe for chewing and eating too.
Wood shavings are another option frequently used by rabbit owners. Cedar and pine shavings can be toxic to your rabbit if he eats them, so hardwood shavings such as aspen are recommended instead.
The downside of hay or wood shavings is that they can get really messy.
Cardboard and paper
Newspaper and shredded paper are two common options. Unfortunately, some newspaper ink can be toxic for rabbits, depending on the type of ink used. As normally, you have no way to find out if any ink is safe, so we rather avoid it altogether.
Cardboard can be used as padding, but it may not satisfy a rabbit’s desire to burrow. Bunnies will also chew on cardboard.
Although cardboard is safer to ingest than fleece material, too much of it may upset your rabbit’s digestive system.
Fleece snuggle toy or mat
A sturdily stitched fleece snuggle toy is an option for a rabbit who enjoys the texture of the fabric. It won’t keep the rabbit warm but will be comforting and entertaining.
If you want something bigger than a toy but not as big as a blanket, a small mat made from fleece material may be just what your rabbit needs.
A mat is big enough for your rabbit to nap on but less likely used for burrowing and chewing.
Rabbits can be destructive to their bedding and toys, but they may still enjoy having a blanket under supervision.
Luckily, other options are available if you decide that a blanket is not an option. As a pet owner, you might find that a trial-and-error method can help you find the best option for you and your rabbit.