Are Paper Towels Safe for Rabbits?

Rabbits will chew and eat just about anything they can get a hold of. This can be cute to a bunny owner, but you should wonder what is safe for your rabbit to eat and digest. Rabbits are vulnerable and it is up to the owner to keep them healthy.

Paper towels can cause harm to your rabbit. Paper towel production uses chlorine that creates toxins like dioxin and furans as a by-product which can be harmful if digested. Occasional digestion of paper towel will not cause any serious harm to your rabbit, but there are safer materials for a rabbit to play with and eat.

Rabbits can quickly go from healthy to sick in a short amount of time and it is important to know what can keep them healthy and what can make them sick.

Dioxins and Furans

Dioxins and furans are dangerous toxins not only to bunnies but to humans as well. They can highly compromise the immune system and create long-lasting effects. These effects can range anywhere from reproductive and developmental problems to cancer.

So why were these toxins created if they are so dangerous? Well like most things in this world they were accidentally created from the mixtures of certain chemicals in production lines and have been widely agreed as some of the most dangerous chemical toxins known to science.

Dioxins and furans are found in paper towels, toilet paper, pesticides, and even GMO’s. Often these toxins do not cause immediate damage but with long exposure to them, they can cause severe damage to the body. To keep your rabbit safe from these dioxins and furans, it is wise to know exactly what they can and cannot eat to keep them healthy.

Dangerous Items to Keep From Your Rabbit

Rabbits are often very vulnerable to certain foods and objects. They need to be watched to make sure nothing they eat will cause severe harm to them. This includes short term or long-term dietary problems.

As stated above, toilet paper is also full of dioxins and furans which will cause harm to your rabbit if eaten in large quantities. Toilet paper is just as harmful as paper towels to your rabbit and should be kept away from them. Toilet paper goes through similar production and therefore has similar chemical by-products.

Also, wood chips or shavings can be choking hazards for your rabbits. They do not cause any digestion problems if swallowed but may lead to restriction of your rabbit’s windpipe. This can be dangerous to your rabbit and it is just best to keep these small swallowable objects away from your rabbit.


A lot of people consider using puppy pads in their rabbits cage. After all, they are incredibly absorbent right? Well you might be surprised. To find out if this is a good alternative, see my article Are Puppy Pads Safe for Rabbits here.

Certain foods should be kept from your rabbit as well. They can range from many things that may seem obvious and some that are not so obvious. It is advised to keep your rabbit on a healthy diet that will give them the most sustenance without making them too fat.

Some obvious foods that should be kept away from your rabbits are sugary processed foods. These can harm the bunny’s digestion and can cause discomfort for the rabbit. Also, candy including chocolate should be kept from your rabbit.

Less obvious foods are some fruits and vegetables that you may think your rabbit enjoys, but can actually be harmful to your bunny. These can include onions, cauliflower, fruit pits, and seeds. Some of the most potentially harmful foods are avocados and iceberg lettuce.

Avocados are considered the most dangerous fruit for rabbits to eat. This is due to the toxic compound called persin which is harmful to certain animals including rabbits. It will ultimately lead to heart failure in your rabbit under too much exposure.

Iceberg lettuce can often be thought of as what rabbits are after. It’s their food, right? Against popular thought, iceberg lettuce is harmful to rabbits, and to young rabbits in particular. Iceberg lettuce contains lactucarium which in small amounts is not harmful, but too much can cause diarrhea and leave the rabbit physically weak. Because of this, it is just best to keep it away from your rabbit.

Safe Materials to Give Your Rabbit

One of the best things for rabbits to eat is hay. It is high in nutritional value for the rabbit. It provides the sustenance that your rabbit needs. It also creates a habit of long chewing which is important to wear down a bunny’s teeth, which grow consistently.

Also, it is safe to give your rabbit fruits and vegetables. Your rabbit will enjoy its vegetables more than fruit so I would focus on that as a treat for your rabbit. Also, an important note is that romaine lettuce is safe for rabbits to eat in substitution for iceberg lettuce.

TIP: If you are looking for some of the best litters possible for your rabbit’s cage, see my complete guide: Bye-Bye Bad Smells: 13 Best Litters for Rabbits here.

Some things are safe for your bunny to play with instead of paper towels or toilet paper. This could include branches from trees or even cotton towels. These are safe for your rabbit to have in their mouths and won’t cause any harm in regards to digestion.

Also, cardboard is safe for your bunny to digest in small amounts and can also act as a fun toy for your bunny to play with. This includes the center cardboard rolls in toilet paper and paper towels. As long as the paper is gone with no chance of digestion then it is safe for your bunnies to chew, and play with the cardboard.

Paper Versus Paper Towels

Paper towels are harmful to rabbits and should be kept away from rabbits in general. But that does not mean that paper as a whole should be kept from rabbits. There are many uses of recycled paper and newspaper when it comes to your bunny.

Recycled paper and newspaper first off are not as dangerous as paper towels when digested. Too much consumption will cause constipation and internal blockage, but small amounts are safe. The main purpose that could be seen with newspaper and regular paper is when it is shredded or placed in a rabbit cage.

Paper and newspaper can create an excellent stimulus for digging, which is healthy for your rabbit to get in the habit of. They will seek natural ways to dig which will keep them busy. They will also shred paper to keep themselves from being bored.

Paper can also be used to create a comfortable spot to lay or rest for your rabbit and will give them an opportunity to move around to get more comfortable.

Related Helpful Articles

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  • How to Set up a Rabbit Litter Box in 10 Steps – If you’re setting up your rabbit’s cage, you’ll certainly need to set up a litter box. Don’t miss any of these steps, or you’ll be causing a whole lot more work for yourself.

Laura Pierce

I'm the owner of and I've loved rabbits since I got my first one as a pet at 8 years old. Today I spend much of my time researching rabbit habits, exotic varieties, and ideal living environments.

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