Wood fibre dangerous




for your rodent or rabbit

Research Report - Sawdust

Sawdust contains many toxic substances that make it totally unsuitable as ground cover for rodents and rabbits. Simultaneously, the caregiver of the animal also runs a risk.

Sawdust is even moderately suitable as a ground cover for horses.

Sawdust is largely made of pine wood, which contains many toxic substances, including the infamous aromatic hydrocarbons (with abietic acid as a major component). Because of the frequent contact by rodents with their ground cover, this has a major impact on their health and increases the risk of tumours, pneumonia and significantly shortens their lifespan.

Various types of sawdust used in the Netherlands were recently investigated in the Wageningen University Research Centre laboratory.

The results were shocking; high levels of toxic hydrocarbons were detected. It is obvious that sawdust causes liver disorders and diseases, creates problems in the respiratory tract and increases the risk of cancer. We can therefore firmly conclude that sawdust is unsuitable as a ground cover for rodents and rabbits. At the same time, there are also risks for ferrets, horses and caregivers who work with this seemingly innocuous substance.

So why do people use sawdust?

Throughout the years, sawdust has been used by many rodent and rabbit owners because it is cheap and often smells good. Sawdust also has natural insect repellent and disinfectant properties thanks to the aromatic compounds in the wood (especially pine wood). However, many scientific publications and the data from the recent study at the Wageningen University demonstrate that it is irresponsible to keep our beloved pets in the vicinity of sawdust.

Veterinarians and pet shop owners have the duty to inform pet owners about the alternatives.

Peter Klaver, exotics and wildlife veterinarian