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Forum HABITATS AND TOYS is cotton really safe?

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    • Owlet
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      So, i come from the world of parrots where cotton is heavily frowned upon because chewing it can cause crop impaction since it doesnt properly digest unlike other fibers like jute, hemp, sisal, etc. I know rabbits are WORLDS different from parrots but I keep hearing that cotton is safe for rabbits, presumably those that may chew it. Is that true?


    • Bam
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      I wouldnt say cotton is safe for buns if they ingest it. Many buns only chew fabric though, and wont actually eat it. For rabbits, fleece is often recommended, if they hapoen to ingest a tiny bit of fleece, it’s likely to come through.

      I never give a rabbit cotton unless I know it’s a rabbit that won’t actually eat it. They will make holes in most fabrics though, so you dont want to give them sth you dont want ruined.

      Hemp and sisal are considered rabbit safe. There are also seagrass mats that are rabbit safe.

      Very interesting to hear about parrots and cotton! I didnt know that!


    • Wick & Fable
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      The go-to phrase I’ve heard is that cotton is “safest” because it’s most natural and therefore has a better chance of breaking down in the GI — whether there is truth in that, I don’t know. In general, rabbits can and will chew on mainly everything, so it is being mindful of what material they are actively ingesting in large quantities that is the main issue. Cotton and fleece are both used often for rabbits, though neither are recommended in any given place/arrangement if the rabbit is particularly inclined to digest a lot of it.

      The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.


    • Owlet
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      Interesting, so it is rather similar to parrots just a little less severe? I intend to adopt an older pair from a rescue in my state so I will clarify with the rescue on their chewing habits before I determine what I’ll line their pen with.


    • Bam
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      I couldnt say that they’re similar to parrots, rabbits obviously dont have crops, but they do have big cecums, being hind-gut fermenters, and they can get cecal impaction.

      My buns have chewed fabric, I’ve had to mend lots of bed linen and also favorite t-shirts etc, using the Japanese boro-technique. But I’ve had no instance of gut impaction, thank goodness.

      Rabbits chew whatever they are to swallow meticulously, otherwise the material cant pass through the very narrow passage between the esophagus the stomach. Theorethically, a bun should eat so much hay (and drink so much water) that the hay fibers carry with them most kinds of foreign material through the GI canal. Rabbits are not like dogs that can swallow socks whole or cats that can swallow lenghts of Christmas tinsel. The GI-system of a rabbit is very similar to that of a horse.


    • DanaNM
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      Agreed, my understanding is that no fabric is safe if large amounts are ingested. One risk I heard with using cotton fabrics was that a loop of thread could get caught on the bun’s mouth, vs. fleece which wouldn’t have threads like that as entanglement risks.

      I agree with Bam though, I’ve had my share of buns chewing fabric accidentally (bed sheets, couch upholstery, favorite pairs of jeans left too close to the x-pen) and thankfully I haven’t had an issue! I definitely keep a close eye on the blankets I do have in their pens to make sure they aren’t eating them.

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  

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Forum HABITATS AND TOYS is cotton really safe?