A Guide To Keep Your Rabbit (and House) From Smelling Bad

Do you adore your fluffy rabbit friend but not the unpleasant smells that can come with them? Rabbit urine and feces have distinctive odors that can quickly stink up your whole home if you’re not diligent. As a devoted rabbit owner, you want to keep your house and fuzzy companion smelling fresh. Never fear – with the right cleaning regimen, litter training, and odor containment strategies, you can have the best of both worlds. Read on to discover insider tips to effectively eliminate eau de rabbit from your home. You’ll learn how to attack everything from stinky cages to litter box woes to keep your home and bunny smellingspringtime fresh. Let’s hop to it!

The basic rabbit smells you might encounter

Rabbits are adorable, fluffy pets that can bring immense joy into any home. However, they do come with some distinctive smells that owners must stay on top of to keep their homes fresh. The two main sources of rabbit smells are their urine and feces. Rabbits produce hundreds of round, dry fecal pellets per day. They also urinate often. If these wastes build up in the cage or litter box, ammonia odors from the urine can become overpowering. Rabbits also have scent glands that can produce odors when they feel threatened. Being attentive to your rabbit's bathroom habits and keeping their living space clean are key to avoiding unpleasant smells.

Rabbit poop

Rabbit poop is one of the main sources of smell that rabbit owners have to deal with. Rabbits produce hundreds of tiny, round, dry fecal pellets per day. These pellets have a hay-like smell when fresh. However, if allowed to accumulate in the cage or litter box, the ammonia from the urine they excrete will make the poop smell much worse. It's important to spot clean your rabbit's litter box at least once per day. Their cages should also be fully cleaned out weekly. Use gentle, rabbit-safe cleaners and replace soiled litter frequently. Allow the cage to fully dry before putting your rabbit back in to avoid mold and mildew smells. Staying on top of poop clean-up is essential to avoiding major odor issues.

Rabbit pee

In addition to prolific poopers, rabbits also pee a lot! Rabbit urine has a very strong, ammonia-like odor that can make your whole house reek if allowed to accumulate. Like other pets, rabbits tend to have favorite spots they like to relieve themselves. Place litter boxes with absorbent litter in these spots to contain the mess. Soiled litter should be changed out completely at least once per day, if not more often, to keep odors at bay. Be sure to clean any accidents thoroughly with an enzyme cleaner formulated to eliminate pet urine smells. Avoid using heavily scented cleaners that can irritate your rabbit's sensitive respiratory system. Staying on top of urine cleaning and containing it in litter boxes are key to keeping rabbit pee from stinking up your home.

Spay or neuter your rabbit

Intact rabbits have stronger smelling urine that can really make your house reek! Both male and female rabbits benefit from being neutered or spayed. This eliminates hormone-driven territorial marking and spraying behaviors that exacerbate urine smells. Spaying females also prevents the discharge they experience when in heat, which can cling to their fur and make them stinky. Overall, altered rabbits have better bathroom habits and are less inclined to liberally spray urine around your home. Work with your vet to get your rabbit fixed around 6 months of age to avoid the worst hormone-induced smells down the road.

How to keep a rabbit's cage from smelling

To keep unwanted odors at bay, it's important to be diligent about cleaning your rabbit's cage. Feces and urine can quickly build up on the floor and coat cage wires, leading to an ammonia stench. Follow these tips:

  • Spot clean daily by removing soiled litter, uneaten food and poop.

  • Dump litter boxes completely at least 1-2 times per week.

  • Every 1-2 weeks, take everything out of the cage to thoroughly clean & disinfect it.

  • Use gentle, pet-safe cleaners and rinse thoroughly.

  • Let the cage fully dry before putting your rabbit back in.

  • Air out the cage outside or near open windows when possible.

  • Use litter deodorizers and air fresheners made specifically for pets.

With a proper cleaning routine, you can keep your rabbit's housing smelling clean and fresh.

Litter train your rabbit

Litter training your rabbit is an effective way to minimize odor issues in the house. Rabbits tend to pick favorite spots to relieve themselves. Place litter boxes containing absorbent, unscented litter in those spots. Gently put your rabbit in the box at times when you see them preparing to go. With time, they will associate the box with going potty. Properly litter trained rabbits tend to develop good bathroom habits. The litter contains urine and feces odors. Just be sure to clean boxes frequently and replace soiled litter. This prevents ammonia and other unpleasant smells from spreading in your home.

Choosing an easy enclosure to clean

The proper enclosure for your rabbit can make cleaning up after them much easier. Look for large cages with wide doors and full pan bottoms that slide out. This allows you to fully access all corners for cleaning. Wire cages with minimal pan coverage can allow feces and urine to fall through to the floor beneath. Look for cages with leak-proof pans that keep everything contained. Plastic bottom trays are easy to wipe down and disinfect as needed. Steer clear of fabric housing or absorbent wood that can trap odors. Opt for cages with minimal nooks and crannies where waste can hide and smell. Your setup should be focused on containing the mess and allowing thorough, easy cleaning sessions.

Cleaning the cage

Here are some tips for effective and thorough rabbit cage cleaning:

  • Remove your rabbit and all items from the enclosure.
  • Remove any feces, uneaten food and soiled litter.
  • Dump and disinfect litter boxes.
  • Wipe down all surfaces with gentle cleaner and rinse.
  • Disinfect with pet-safe products if needed.
  • Rinse thoroughly and allow to fully dry before replacing items.
  • Replace litter, bedding, toys, etc.
  • Refresh hay rack with new, dry hay.
  • Air out cage near fresh air if possible.

Deep cleaning the cage at least weekly is key to removing all traces of odors. Be sure to use appropriate pet-safe cleaners to avoid irritating your rabbit's sensitive skin and respiratory system.

Health problems can make your rabbit smell

Sometimes a stinky rabbit is a sign of an underlying health issue. Diarrhea, urine scald and neglect of elderly or disabled rabbits can cause bad smells. Be alert for these problems:

Diarrhea or mushy poops

Diarrhea leads to stuck-on stains and a foul odor. Schedule a vet visit to diagnose the cause, such as diet issues or intestinal parasites. Adjust their diet accordingly and keep their hindquarters clean.

Elderly, disabled and obese rabbits

Rabbits with limited mobility can have trouble staying clean. Gently wipe their fur and check for urine scald. Keep bedding clean and dry. Consider diapers or pads to manage waste. Call the vet if you notice sore hocks or urine scald.

Other ways of reducing rabbit smell in your home

In addition to cleaning cages and litter training, use these tips:

Using an air purifier

Air purifiers with HEPA and carbon filters remove airborne allergens, dander and odors. Place them near the rabbit area and run often to purify the whole room.

Essential oils

Some gentle essential oils can help overcome animal odors. Diffuse them in the room or apply to cotton balls placed discreetly in the cage during cleaning. However, always research an oil's safety for rabbits first, as some can cause respiratory irritation.

Keeping rabbit smells at bay takes diligence, but it's completely possible with proper cleaning habits and litter training. Be attentive to your rabbit's health, as sickness can sometimes cause odor issues. With good pet care practices, you can enjoy your fluffy friend without offensive smells taking over your home.


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