Why do rabbits stink? Rabbits are actually not overly smelly pets and will keep themselves very clean. However, build up of urine, feces, and old fruit and veg can lead to a smelly hutch, or smelly bedding.
If you notice a bad smell from your rabbit or their living area, it could be a sign that your rabbit is unwell, or that you are not cleaning their hutch as often as you should.
Upping your cleaning routine or training your house rabbit to use a litter tray is a great way to minimise smells from your bunny.
Why Do Rabbits Stink?
There are a number of reasons why pet rabbits might smell, but generally, these little pets are not a very smelly choice.
If you have a rabbit that is giving off a strong smell, it could be a sign of sickness or infection. Take your rabbit to the vet if they are very smelly, and you’re sure it’s not a result of poor cleaning.
One of the main causes of strong smells from pet rabbits is urine. Urine spraying is a common behavioral issue in bunnies, which can lead to smells around your house.
If you keep your rabbit in a hutch, urine, and therefore smell, can build up a lot faster than a rabbit kept free around your home.
So, it’s important to ensure that your rabbit’s hutch and bedding is fresh and clean.
Try to identify where the smell is coming from. This will help you eliminate it, and to ensure that your rabbit is not unwell.
Does Rabbit Poop Smell?
Healthy, normal rabbit poop will not be overly smelly. Normal rabbit poop will look like small, round balls, often pea sized or a little larger.
As the individual poops dry out, they get much harder. They generally do not smell at all, but you may notice a slight smell if they build up.
Smelly rabbit poop can be a sign of stress, illness, or nutritional imbalances. Your rabbit may be eating too much starch, sugar, or fat.
If you notice smelly poop in your rabbits hutch, litter tray, or around the house, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet. You may also choose to monitor their feces to see if the smell is persistent over several poops.
Make sure to clean our your rabbit’s hutch or litter tray regularly to minimise the build up of feces.
Does Rabbit Urine Smell?
If you’re noticing a bad or strong smell from your rabbit’s hutch or around your house, it’s probably coming from rabbit urine. This is the most common reason for rabbits to smell.
House rabbits may pee in multiple places around the house if you don’t train them to use a litter tray. This means you may easily miss urine when cleaning up after your bunny.
Consequently, this can create a very smelly house.
If you keep your rabbit in a hutch, urine smells will build up much faster. So, you will need to clean their hutch out regularly to reduce the risk of strong and bad smells.
Do Pet Rabbits Smell?
In general, the smell from pet rabbits will come from their urine, not the bunny itself. If you notice a strong smell from your rabbit, you should check them over for infection or illness.
Rabbits will generally keep themselves very clean.
But, if you notice a strong smell coming from them, it may be worth checking in with your veterinarian.
How to Reduce Rabbit Smells
Most rabbit smells come from urine, rather than feces or the rabbit itself. But in rare instances, you may notice smelly poop, or a bad smell coming directly from your rabbit.
In these rare cases, take your rabbit to the vet for a check up.
But, if it is just a case or smelly urine, you can solve the problem with a good cleaning schedule.
If you have a rabbit in a hutch, make sure to clean out their hutch at least once a week. This may need to be even more frequent if you have multiple rabbits.
If you have a house rabbit, try to train them to use a litter tray to keep urine in one place. Line the floor around the litter tray with newspaper to soak up excess urine. Clean the litter tray itself every couple of days, or more often if you still notice a smell.
If you notice that your rabbit is peeing elsewhere in the house, clean this as soon as possible with an enzyme spray to break down the proteins in the urine and eliminate the smell.
On top of cleaning any urine, clear away any leftover fresh food at the end of each day. Mouldy or spoiled food will be smelly but also has the potential to harm your bunny.
Why Do Rabbits Stink? A Summary
So, for most rabbit owners, a smelly bunny won’t be a problem at all. Keep your rabbit’s hutch or litter tray clean to minimise smells.
And, if you notice smelly poop, or a bad smell from your rabbit itself, it’s best to check in with your veterinarian.
Have you had trouble with a smelly rabbit before? What are your best hutch cleaning tricks?
References and Resources
- Crowell-Davis, S. ‘Behavior Problems in Pet Rabbits’, Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine (2007)
- Taylor, C. ‘Guide to Bunny Poops’, Buns (Accessed 2021)