The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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If you are looking at adopting a rabbit as a pet, you may come across quite a few conflicting beliefs about rabbits and what they are like as pets.
Some people might say that rabbits love to be held and cuddled, while other people will say that rabbits hate to be held and would rather simply be pet. Some people will say that rabbits shouldn’t be outdoors, while others will say that rabbits should exclusively be outdoors.
While some of these questions and situations with rabbits can be resolved and answered through enough research and diligence, there are some problems that have enough arguments on both sides that it can be somewhat hard to know for sure what the truth is.
The most common example of this is going to be whether or not rabbits are messy animals. Part of the reason why it is so hard to answer this question clearly is that there are different definitions of “messy” when it comes to pets.
To some people, a messy pet is one like a pig or a dog that remains outside most of the time, or any other animal that would track mud and dirt into the house without a care in the world.
To other people, messy means that you have to deal with scooping and cleaning litter on the regular, rather than just leaving it alone as you would when you let your dog out into your yard. With these different definitions of what “messy” constitutes in terms of a pet, it can be hard to say whether or not rabbits are messy creatures.
As a bottom line and a quick summary, rabbits are absolutely messy pets. You need to tend to their litter on a regular basis, they can spill and move their hay all across their homes (and subsequently the floor), and they shed several times a year.
If the rabbit is not litter trained, then you can expect it to be even more messy, and if the rabbit hasn’t been fixed yet, then this is also a contributing factor to the amount of mess that a rabbit will make.
With all of this being said, there are quite a few ways that you can efficiently deal with this mess. You just have to know what to expect when you bring your brand-new rabbit home so that you can help provide the best environment possible.
Keeping the Potential to a Minimum
There are some aspects of a rabbit’s mess that are going to be unavoidable. Rabbits will shed on a quarterly basis, meaning that it is inevitable that you will deal with rabbit fur everywhere.
However, you should still try to do what you can to minimize the potential for a mess that your rabbits will make. An example of this is getting your rabbit fixed before it has the chance to begin exhibiting territorial behaviors.
Getting a rabbit fixed will not eliminate the chances that your rabbit will spray completely, but it will drastically lower the amount of times that your rabbit feels the need to do this. When your rabbit is not going to be as high-strung and territorial after it has been fixed, it will not have as much of a reason to mark its territory and spray.
This is one example of preventing a problem before it starts. The ideal time that you would want to fix a rabbit will be before it reaches sexual maturity, which happens between five and eight months of age.
Because most of a rabbit’s diet is going to be hay, you will want to find a way to keep the hay contained. This is far less of a concern when your rabbit lives outside and spilling hay on the ground doesn’t become an eyesore inside. There are numerous types of hay racks, feeders, and containers that you can look at for your rabbit.
By containing the hay to one area that your rabbit eats out of, rather than creating a bed of hay for it to frolic through, you can reduce the chances that the rabbit will spread hay everywhere in the house.
Finally, you will want to try and stay on top of the shedding. There is nothing that you can do to prevent the process of shedding itself, but you can try to remove some of the loose fur before it ends up being all over the house.
Just as you brush cats and dogs regularly, you would want to invest in a rabbit brush and run it through your rabbit’s fur every few weeks to help dislodge the shed fur before it goes everywhere.
These are some of the ways that you can keep the potential for your rabbit’s mess to a minimum. By managing some of the problems before they even have the chance to begin, you can get a head start on making sure that your house remains as clean as possible when you are keeping a rabbit.
For the rest of the potential mess that rabbits can make, there are still some ways that you can minimize the damage done.
Keeping Clean with Litter Training
While rabbits do tend to be messy animals to begin with, they are also quite easy to litter train. There are even some rabbits who don’t even need to be trained. They may see a litter tray and their instincts will tell them that this is the best place for them to eliminate.
Having a litter tray for your rabbit, even if its home has a pull-out drawer to manage, is going to significantly reduce the amount of mess to deal with at a time.
Litter training the rabbit is an important task if you are going to allow your rabbit outside of its home at all. A rabbit that is successfully litter trained is going to be a rabbit that will not eliminate on your carpets, rugs, and couches.
By keeping the rest of your house clean in this manner, you won’t have to worry as much about the external mess of owning a rabbit.
As for the litter tray itself, you care for that in almost the same way you would with a cat’s litter box. You don’t necessarily scoop out the poop alone, as rabbit litter trays tend to be small.
Instead, you usually dump all of it into the trash and replace the litter on a regular basis. Do keep in mind that you should add this to the overall price of owning a rabbit, as you will want to make regular investments into the litter to keep it happy.
When you make sure that you stay on top of controlling all the ways that your rabbit could make a mess, you can feel confident in knowing that you will be able to prevent messes in your house as much as possible.
Just because rabbits are messy creatures doesn’t mean that they have to be. Rabbits are one of the few pets that may be inherently messy, but they are also incredibly easy to train not to be messy when you put the time, effort, and diligence into it.
In some cases, you can even have a rabbit inside your house with little more than the occasional poop that doesn’t make it into the litter box, the occasional piece of hay that fell out of the container, and the occasional fluff of rabbit hair floating around, turning them into one of the cleaner pets that you can own.
In a worst-case scenario, you can safely house your rabbit outside, where much of this kind of mess will not affect your house as much as you can still enjoy being able to care for your rabbit.