Having a pet bunny is quite enjoyable. Besides being extra fluffy and cute, bunnies are clean animals. Just like cats, rabbits are able to groom themselves. However, do rabbits smell?
Usually, rabbits don’t emit any odor. If your bunny does, it probably needs to see the vet. Rabbits’ urine, on the other hand, stinks. That’s why they have a reputation for smelling.
In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about rabbit smell and how to deal with it.
Although people tend to consider them smelly, rabbits’ cleanness is actually comparable to house cats. So, as long as they’re healthy, rabbits shouldn’t smell at all.
Occasionally, male rabbits can emanate a musky odor when there’s a female rabbit around.
That said, rabbits smelling bad may be due to being sick or living in a dirty cage. Other than that, you shouldn’t worry about the smell at all.
In fact, you shouldn’t even bathe your bunny. Doing so can be rather dangerous, as rabbits panic when they come into contact with water and might hurt themselves.
Additionally, being hard to dry, damp rabbits become prone to hypothermia and respiratory infections.
Pee smell is the only concern you should have about getting a pet rabbit. Their urine is pretty stinky because it has high levels of ammonia.
What’s more, the smell varies from one bunny to another. Male rabbits (bucks), for example, have more pungent-smelling urine than female rabbits (does).
Additionally, bucks tend to urinate more often to mark their territory. That said, cleaning the litter box on a daily basis should take care of this.
Doing so keeps the smell at a minimum level. In addition, maintaining the litter box’s cleanliness ensures that the rabbits keep using it, and don’t decide to pee somewhere else.
Getting your rabbit altered significantly decreases its urine smell within a month. It also eliminates the hormonal odor a buck emits to attract the does.
Additionally, spaying rabbits extends their life span by two to three years. That’s because it eliminates the risks of reproductive cancers.
Furthermore, it controls their temper by eliminating aggression, spraying, and the stress resulting from sexual frustration.
That said, it’s recommended to get your rabbit desexed as soon as it reaches six months of age.
Normally, bunny poop is completely odorless. Healthy rabbit feces is pea-sized, round, and hard to the touch. That’s because their main diet mostly consists of hay.
So, if you notice your rabbit feces looking watery or smelling bad, this is a sign that it might be unwell.
A runny stool can often be a result of intestinal parasites or other illnesses. That’s why it’s better to check with the vet if that happens.
Moreover, smelly rabbit poop can be a sign of stress or nutritional imbalance. This imbalance is probably a result of having too much sugar, fat, or starch in their diet.
This is a subtype of rabbit poop. Cecotropes are small mushy feces that are usually found in grape-like groups.
You usually don’t see that kind of poop, as rabbits consume it right out of their anus. As repulsive as this may sound, cecotropes are actually packed with undigested nutrients.
However, if you do see that type of poop, this is probably an indication that the rabbit isn’t getting the balanced diet it needs.
As previously mentioned, bunnies are quite clean, and they usually groom themselves.
However, if your rabbit smells even after you’ve cleaned its enclosure, you might want to take a look at the following tips:
Although you should never give your rabbit a bath, occasionally attending to its cleanliness is still recommended.
If there’s any dirt stuck inside your bunny’s fur, use a comb to clean it out. Before doing so, sprinkling some cornstarch over the dirt areas helps extract any remaining moisture.
Remember to never get your rabbit wet or use any chemicals over its fur. Even harmless talc powder can be carcinogenic or may endanger your rabbit’s respiratory system.
Having long fur can cause waste to get stuck on it. That’s why it’s essential to make sure that your rabbit’s coat is clean and trimmed out.
Use a damp cloth to wipe your rabbit’s body down. Then, get a small pair of scissors and trim down its fur, especially around its behind.
Rabbits have two scent glands on each side of their anus. These glands can get compacted with excretion over time.
As a result, they may cause your rabbit to smell bad. That’s why it’s crucial to clean them out now and then.
To know when you should clean your rabbit’s scent glands, look for a brown buildup around its anus. Usually, you can easily clean these glands using a cotton swab dipped in warm water.
Wipe around your rabbit’s anus with the cotton swab to remove any excretion. Then, use a blow dryer on the lowest setting to dry the area if it becomes wet.
Although rabbits don’t have a distinguishable odor, having them at home may cause the area to smell. This is due to a few issues, like the rabbits’ enclosure itself or the hay you store for them.
Here are a few tips to keep your home smelling amazing with all the bunnies around:
When you litter-train your rabbit, you don’t have to worry about cleaning the entire enclosure every day. Instead, you get to only scoop out the litter box.
Untrained bunnies usually pee and poop all over their cage. As a result, the smell gets stronger quicker and becomes harder to clean.
Furthermore, rabbits sitting around over their own waste is unsanitary and would cause their fur to stink. It may also cause urine and fecal scalding, which is a kind of moist dermatitis.
It’s crucial to ensure that your rabbits’ cage isn’t too small for them. When the enclosure is too tight, it makes it hard for rabbits to separate their dirty space from their clean space.
The minimum cage size for an ordinary bunny is at least 30×30×24 inches. Moreover, you should double that size for each extra rabbit.
Aside from scooping out the litter, you should clean your rabbits’ litter box at least one to two times a week.
The frequency mostly depends on how many rabbits you have, how many litter boxes you have, and how many times each rabbit goes to the bathroom.
To clean the litter box, do the following:
- Empty the litter box completely
- Wipe the litter box down with white vinegar
- Replace the litter box if it has urine stains
There are several kinds of litter, and some of them don’t play a huge role in masking out the rabbits’ urine smell. Here’s how to choose the right type:
- Use a safe absorbent kind that doesn’t contain any cedar or wood shavings
- Avoid cat litter, scented litter, and clay litter, as those can be toxic for your rabbits to use
- Don’t go for paper-based beddings either, because they can’t control the urine smell
- Try pelleted pine litter, as it’s safe and effective at masking urine odors
Essentially, a rabbit’s diet is mostly hay. However, it may smell unpleasant at times. That’s why it’s recommended to store it away from your main living area.
Mainly, you should keep large amounts of hay in a cool and dry place to avoid the smell. Areas like the garage, a shed, and the basement are all perfect for storing hay.
Monitoring your rabbits’ diet is quite vital to avoid any related complications, such as sticky bottoms, diarrhea, UTIs, etc.
A fiber-rich diet helps avoid all these problems that eventually cause your rabbit to smell bad. So, make sure to provide your rabbit with the following:
- Unlimited supply of hay
- Unlimited water supply
- Leafy greens
Aside from opening the windows and aerating the house, using air purifiers plays a major part in odor control.
That said, make sure to avoid the ionizer types, because they might be dangerous to birds and little animals.
Additionally, using essential oils enhances the smell of your living space and adds a kick of freshness to it.
However, ensure that the scents you’re using aren’t harmful to bunnies, as those essential oils may cause respiratory issues.
Here’s a list of safe-to-use scents:
Rabbits are great pets to have, especially when you have children. They’re affectionate and can simply be house-trained. The only question people usually ask is: Do rabbits smell?
No, rabbits themselves don’t smell unless they have a serious medical issue. Nevertheless, their urine can have a sharp ammonia odor to it. Luckily, you can easily avoid these smells.
Just make sure to provide those rabbits with a healthy diet, and regularly clean their litter box. If you follow all the previous tips, you should have an amazing pet and a fresh-smelling home.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.