Rabbit Poopy Butt: How to Clean and Prevent It

Has your rabbit’s rear end ever resembled a fuzzy poop magnet? Do you dread discovering another mess matted in your bunny’s beautiful fur? Poopy butt is no joke – this common rabbit ailment causes caked feces, urine scalding, painful irritation, and serious health risks if left untreated. Join us on an epic quest for clean buns as we battle sticky butt! You’ll discover the cunning causes of poopy butt, arm yourself with cleaning techniques to vanquish cling-ons, and master prevention strategies to save your rabbit from rear end woes. From diet tips to disinfectants, we’ve got your bunny’s backside covered! Keep reading for the down and dirty on keeping your rabbit’s bottom happy, healthy, and hopping with the help of pro active poop patrol!

What is poopy butt?

Poopy butt, also known as sticky butt, is a common condition in rabbits where their bottoms become matted with feces. This happens when the rabbit's soft feces, called cecotropes, get stuck to their fur around the anus area instead of being eaten directly as they normally would. Cecotropes are an important part of a rabbit's digestive process – they are nutrient-rich pellets that the rabbit produces and then eats again to fully absorb nutrients. However, when they get stuck in the fur around the bunny's bottom, they can collect bacteria and become quite messy and uncomfortable for the rabbit.

The matted poop and dampness on the skin can lead to irritation, inflammation, and even infection. Poopy butt is not only unsanitary but also very unpleasant for rabbits. The compacted feces and urine soaked into the fur causes significant discomfort. The rabbit may try to scratch or bite the area to relieve the irritation. This can cause further pain and inflammation.

Poopy butt is usually identifiable by dried feces clinging to the rabbit's rear end in clumps. The surrounding fur will be damp, dirty and stained yellow or brown from the urine. The skin beneath may be red and sore. There may be a noticeable and unpleasant odor coming from the matted fur around the anus. Immediate cleaning and grooming is necessary to resolve poopy butt and prevent further problems.

What causes poopy butt?

There are several potential causes of poopy butt in rabbits:

  • Obesity – overweight rabbits may have difficulty grooming their bottoms properly leading to stuck on feces.

  • Lack of grooming – rabbits that do not or cannot adequately groom themselves due to age, mobility issues, or other health problems may experience build up of cecotropes.

  • Diarrhea – loose stool makes it more likely that feces will stick to fur. Diarrhea may result from intestinal disease, parasites, antibiotic use, diet changes, etc.

  • Wet tail – this specific kind of diarrhea in rabbits leads to very messy bottoms. Wet tail typically affects juvenile rabbits.

  • Loss of muscle control – neurological conditions, muscle weakness due to old age, or spinal injuries may make it difficult for a rabbit to control bowel movements or properly lift its bottom when urinating.

  • Fur matting – long fur around the rear can trap feces and urine, as well as obscure the problem from view. Common in angora and other long-haired breeds.

  • Overgrown claws – nails that are too long may scratch the skin near the anus, causing pain and irritation when feces passes through.

  • Environment – Unsanitary housing conditions,accumulation of feces in living space, or constantly wet fur from sitting in urine soaked areas can lead to poopy butt.

  • Underlying illness – Intestinal diseases, bacterial infections, and parasites may cause diarrhea or make it difficult for the rabbit to pass stool normally. So the feces sticks to the fur rather than dropping away.

Identifying and addressing the underlying cause is key to resolving poopy butt and preventing recurrence. Consulting an exotics veterinarian to accurately diagnose and treat any health issues is recommended.

Does poopy butt always come back again?

Poopy butt may recur in some rabbits, while other bunnies only experience it as a one-time problem. There are a few factors that contribute to poopy butt coming back again:

  • Persistent underlying health issue – If the original cause of the poopy butt, such as diarrhea from intestinal disease, is not properly treated and resolved, then the condition will continue to return.

  • Inability to properly groom – Elderly, obese, or disabled rabbits who struggle to reach and clean their bottoms will likely deal with repeated episodes of sticky poop. Providing sanitary living conditions and assisting with grooming helps manage it.

  • Fur type – Long and fluffy fur around the rear can conceal feces accumulation and make thorough cleaning difficult. Some breeds like Angoras are prone to recurring poopy butt. Regular trimming of fur may be necessary.

  • Change in living situation – Stress from situations like adjusting to a new home, bonding with a new rabbit partner, or disruption to their environment can temporarily cause changes in bowel habits and lead to another bout of poopy butt.

  • Intermittent diarrhea – Diarrhea does not always present consistently. If a rabbit has an intestinal issue that flares up off and on, this can cause poopy butt to coincidentally reappear at times.

  • Decrease in mobility – As rabbits age and lose muscle strength and flexibility, they may not be able to properly groom themselves which allows poop to build up again.

With attentive pet parents who monitor their rabbit's health, grooming, diet, and environment, as well as take them to the vet at the first signs of recurrence, poopy butt can often be managed and prevented from becoming a chronic problem. Open communication with an exotics vet is key to get to the bottom of what is causing repeat issues.

How to clean a rabbit's poopy bottom

Cleaning a rabbit's poopy butt takes patience, care, and delicate work to gently remove the compacted feces and clean the irritated skin without causing further discomfort or pain. Here are the steps:

  1. Prepare supplies – Have ready cotton balls, wipe or wash cloth, warm water, rabbit or small animal dry shampoo, scissors, comb, and rabbit-safe disinfectant. Never use soaps, shampoos, or disinfectants made for other animals as these can be toxic to rabbits.

  2. Softly trim fur – Carefully use scissors to snip away any badly matted chunks of fur around the anus. Avoid nicking the sensitive skin.

  3. Gently wipe away debris – Dampen a soft cloth, cotton pad, or wipe with warm water. Very lightly dab and wipe to loosen caked-on feces from the fur and skin. Do not scrub hard.

  4. Apply shampoo – Squirt a small amount of rabbit dry shampoo onto dampened cloth and lather up. Gently wipe soiled areas to cleanse fur and skin.

  5. Rinse – Use a fresh damp cloth to remove shampoo residue. Dry the area thoroughly with a towel or dry cloth.

  6. Groom fur – Use a fine tooth comb to gently detangle and fluff fur once the area is clean and dry. Be extra delicate around sore skin.

  7. Apply antiseptic – If there are any broken areas of skin, dab on a rabbit-safe antiseptic cream using a cotton swab. This prevents infection.

  8. Disinfect habitat – Thoroughly clean the rabbit's living space using a pet-safe disinfectant to prevent recontamination.

  9. Monitor rabbit's health – Keep a close eye on their condition and appetite. Take to the veterinarian if swelling, oozing, or behavior changes occur which may indicate infection.

  10. Schedule follow-up cleaning – Check bottom daily and spot clean as needed to prevent another poopy butt episode. Fur may need trimming around anus for easier cleaning.

With the proper supplies and techniques, rabbit owners can safely clean up mild cases of poopy butt at home. More severe cases with considerable skin inflammation and irritation may need veterinary attention, sedation, and prescription remedies to properly treat.

Spot cleaning every day to avoid another build up of poo.

To prevent another messy, uncomfortable bout of poopy butt, rabbits need diligent daily spot cleaning around their bottoms:

  • Check bunny's bottom each morning and evening for any stuck on poop or dampness. Look for reddened skin.

  • Have a soft dry cloth ready to lightly blot and dry the area if damp. Gently wipe away any feces buildup with a warm damp cloth.

  • Use a fine tooth comb to lightly detangle and fluff fur, lifting away debris caught in the coat. Be very gentle if skin is irritated.

  • Apply a small amount of rabbit dry shampoo to soiled fur as needed, then wipe clean. Follow with a damp cloth to rinse.

  • Offer a shallow pan of warm water for the rabbit to sit in and soak their bottom, which can loosen dried poop. Supervise to prevent face submersion.

  • Dry thoroughly after wet cleaning. Consider using a low powered hair dryer on a cool setting to blow out clumped fur and aid evaporation.

  • Check that the rabbit is readily eating cecotropes to ensure healthy digestion.

  • Keep living areas fastidiously clean and dry. Remove soiled bedding promptly. Disinfect litter pans and cages regularly.

Staying on top of daily grooming and hygiene prevents recurrence of messy, uncomfortable poopy butt in bunnies. It also avoids progression to more stubborn matting and skin infection that requires extensive treatment. Noticing slight changes early makes a big difference.

Steps to take to prevent poopy butt

Poopy butt can be an annoying, messy, unhealthy problem for rabbits and their owners. While not always preventable, there are steps rabbit guardians can take to lower the risks:

  • Grooming: Regularly brush and comb to remove loose fur and debris around bunny's bottom. Trim longer fur if needed for hygiene.

  • Litter habits: Provide adequate litter boxes. Scoop frequently to keep very clean. Use non-irritating, absorbent litter.

  • Hydration: Ensure rabbit is drinking enough water to prevent dehydration and constipation.

  • Diet: Feed a balanced amount of hay, vegetables, and rabbit pellets. Treats only in moderation. Keep fiber and hydration high.

  • Exercise: Allow rabbit daily active time and space to hop and play which supports intestinal mobility and bowel regularity.

  • Weight: Help bunny maintain a healthy weight if needed through proper nutrition and limiting treats. Obesity makes grooming difficult.

  • Sanitation: Disinfect litter boxes, cages, and living areas regularly to prevent communicable illnesses.

  • Health monitoring: Note any signs of diarrhea, lethargy, poor appetite, or illness and see a vet promptly. Have annual wellness exams.

  • Grooming assistance: If rabbit is unable to properly clean themselves, gently wipe bottom daily for cleanliness. Trim fur if it traps debris.

  • Stress reduction: Monitor bunny's environment for stressors. Introduce changes gradually. Lavish affection.

With attentive, proactive care of a rabbit's health, hygiene, housing, and wellbeing, guardians can help minimize the risks of poopy butt and keep bunny's beautiful bottom clean!

The potential dangers of letting a rabbit live with poopy butt

While poopy butt may seem like just a harmless, messy nuisance, there are potentially serious health consequences for a rabbit if the condition is left untreated:

  • Infection – Feces and urine soaked into the skin breeds bacteria which can lead to infected sores. These open wounds can allow the infection to spread to the bloodstream.

  • Flystrike – Flies are attracted to the soiled fur and can lay eggs which rapidly hatch into flesh-eating maggots that tunnel into the skin. Flystrike is often fatal if not caught immediately.

  • Rectal prolapse – The straining and inflammation from poopy butt can cause part of the rectum to protrude and become traumatized. This is very painful and can lead to dangerous infection or rectal necrosis.

  • Impaction – Hardened feces may obstruct the gastrointestinal tract, making it impossible for the rabbit to pass stool. This requires emergency medical care.

  • Toxin buildup – The cecotropes stuck to the fur contain important nutrients that rabbits need. If they cannot eat them, toxicity from excess bacteria can develop.

  • Dehydration – The moisture lost from watery diarrhea combined with potential reduction in water intake due to discomfort may lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, kidney damage, and death.

  • Discomfort – Rabbits are stoic prey animals that hide pain and illness. Significant behavior changes like lethargy, reduced appetite, teeth grinding, and isolation signals they are unwell and suffering.

  • Self-mutilation – Frantic to relieve the discomfort, the rabbit may bite, scratch, or excessively lick the affected area leading to wounds that further complicate treatment.

Poopy butt appears as just a hygiene issue, but it can quickly escalate to life threatening conditions if left unmanaged. Seeking prompt veterinary care is critical, as is following up with preventive grooming and sanitation at home. Rabbits rely entirely on their guardians for health and wellbeing.


Poopy butt is a common and troublesome problem for companion rabbits. Understanding the causes, diligently cleaning and drying the rabbit's bottom when it occurs, and taking proactive steps to promote healthy digestion, grooming, and sanitation can help prevent recurrence. While poopy butt may seem like just a cosmetic nuisance, it can lead to very serious medical issues if ignored. With attentive daily care and open communication with your veterinarian, rabbit guardians can keep their bunny's backside clean, dry, and healthy.

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