Rabbits are cute and cuddly, but caring for them comes with its fair share of requirements and chores. Cleaning and grooming your bunny are inevitable tasks that you’ll need to do at least once a week.
While rabbits do groom themselves by licking, sometimes their fur becomes stained beyond what their tongues can handle. Among the worst stains are ones resulting from pee.
Not only do urine stains leave your bunny’s fur yellow, damp, matted, and smelly, but they lead to painful conditions such as urinary scalding and fly strike.
In today’s guide, we’re answering related questions and discussing different methods for how to get rid of urine stains on rabbits’ fur to help you keep your hopping buddy healthy, happy, and fresh.
How Can I Tell If the Stains on My Rabbit’s Fur Are from Urine?
Several reasons could cause discoloration of a rabbit’s fur including rust from the enclosure’s material, dirt, dust, ink bleeding from the litter’s material (newspaper/paper print), and of course, pee.
Not to mention, discoloration may not be because of a stain at all. When rabbits molt, the new fur beneath the old fur shows a different shade or color.
This is why some owners get confused about the exact culprit behind the stains or discoloration on their pet’s fur.
That said, if you notice yellow or dark patches on the fur around the underside and rear area of the rabbit’s body, then it’s probably from urine.
How Does My Rabbit’s Fur Get Stained By Urine?
As a rabbit owner, you’re probably wondering how urine stains on your pet’s fur happen.
The first thing you should know is that bunnies pee a lot — especially during the hot months of summer during which they drink more frequently to cool down their bodies.
Once they’re done with their business, some rabbits will stay and sit in the litter box where urine makes contact with their fur. This behavior is more often seen in younger bunnies.
Another reason for pee staining is the inability of some bunnies to properly urinate. This can also occur if the rabbit fails to properly clean itself.
In any case, the result is a yellow discoloration of the rabbits’ fur on the rabbit’s underside and lower belly, the inside of its back legs, its rear area, as well as its feet pads.
Can Urine Stains Cause More Serious Problems?
Due to their playful and curious nature, it can be tricky to keep your bunnies spotless all the time.
Some localized yellow pee stains every now and then shouldn’t be a matter of worry for owners as long as there appears to be nothing else wrong. However, you’ll need to take extra care if your rabbit develops stubborn mats or lesions on its skin at or around the sites of the stains.
Does this mean that urine stains can be dangerous? Well, if you don’t regularly clean your rabbit and allow the stains to linger for too long, things can get serious.
If your rabbit has yellow, damp, matted, or smelly patches of fur, it could lead to the following:
- Urine scalding — with prolonged contact between the skin and urine, the wetness combined with friction from movement can result in the skin becoming inflamed (redness accompanied by a painful burning sensation).
Not to mention, this annoying soreness will be further amplified by the nasty smell of the aged urine.
- Fly strike — if urine scalding is left untreated, it can cause complications such as “fly strike.” This condition happens due to the moisture and scent of the urine stains that attract flies.
When flies land on the bunny’s fur, there’s a chance they’ll lay their eggs in these patches. The wetness there can encourage the growth of the eggs, resulting in the appearance of maggots.
These maggots can wreak havoc on the rabbit by eating through its flesh and depositing toxins at the same time, which can lead to shock and even life-threatening consequences.
Also, if your rabbit shows yellow, damp, matted, or smelly patches of pee stains on its fur more than usual, it could be a sign of the following:
- Urinary issues — if you keep track of your bunny’s urination and cleaning frequency and notice that the stains are showing up more often than usual, the increased urination could be a reflection of a urinary problem.
For example, urinary tract infections, bladder infections, and kidney issues. These can also cause urinary scalding.
- Unfavorable living setup — too many urine stains can also be a clue that the living situation of your rabbits isn’t ideal; probably a too-small cage that leaves the bunny no choice but to make repeated contact with its pee.
In this case, getting a larger hutch can reduce the occurrence of urine stains.
- Hostile roommates — spraying urine in male rabbits can start early in life. If your hutch houses unneutered male bunnies, their presence around each other can trigger dominant behaviors where one rabbit sprays the other.
Also, if one bunny is scared of the other, it may use the litter box as a hiding spot. Either case will result in yellow discoloration of the less dominant rabbit’s fur.
How to Get Rid of Urine Stains on Rabbits’ Fur
Now that you have a better idea of how urine stains happen, how to identify them, as well as their potential causes and risks, let’s discuss how you can remove them from your bunny’s fur.
Method 1: Dry Bath
If the pee stains on your rabbit’s fur aren’t that heavy, you can probably get rid of them by giving your bunny a dry bath. Rabbits can generally tolerate these as long as you’re gentle and careful.
Here are the steps of a dry bath using corn starch powder:
- Find a position that’s comfortable for your rabbit but also allows you to work without hiccups. Generally, putting the bunny in a belly-up posture is the go-to solution.
In this position, be sure to place the bunny on a soft cushion or blanket to provide support for its neck and back without irritation.
Also, if your pet rabbit starts to twist and turn in an attempt to get out of the position, don’t force it. Just try to find a different position that the bunny can hold.
- Grab the cornstarch powder and apply some of it directly to the urine stain. Make sure you’re using a baby-targeted cornstarch powder, not talc powder or a powder with chemicals or scents that could cause skin or nasal irritation.
- Rub the cornstarch powder into the fur in the stained spots. Be sure to go over all the stained areas with a generous amount of powder.
- Let the powder sit for a few minutes so it thoroughly coats and picks up the urine to help you wipe it away easily with a patting and stroking motion. After this, you can gently comb the bunny’s hair using a flea comb to remove excess powder and smooth out any formed knots.
- Once you’re sure there’s no more powder left behind, put your bunny back in its hutch. Clean up its litter box and vacuum the fallen debris from the dry bath.
Method 2: Wet Bath
Many rabbit owners immediately think of giving their pets a wet bath once they notice urine stains on their fur. However, this shouldn’t be your first resort because:
- Bunnies can lick themselves clean.
- Bunnies can get very nervous or scared when you cover them with water. This could result in accidents or injuries.
That being said, wet baths can be beneficial when the stains are too heavy or smelly or if the bunny is incapable of properly grooming itself because of a medical condition such as arthritis in older rabbits.
A wet bath is also necessary in case of urine scalding to prevent it from developing into more serious conditions such as fly strike. Here are the steps of a wet bath:
- Prepare your bathroom sink for the bath by filling it with 2 or 3 inches of lukewarm water.
The sink is the most convenient option for bathing your bunny, but you can also use a plastic container or a baby bathtub.
- Add a teaspoon of rabbit shampoo and make sure the water temperature doesn’t exceed 90 degrees F.
Make sure you’re using specialized bunny shampoo and not regular human shampoo because the latter can be very harsh on the sensitive skin of a rabbit.
If you don’t know which exact product to use, you can ask your vet to recommend an appropriate formula.
- To make the bath as effective and as quick as possible, ask for an extra pair of hands to help you with bathing the bunny.
One person should gently hold the bunny over the sink, just a couple of fingers above the water. Meanwhile, the other person should take some of the shampoo water and gently rub the stained spots to lather them up.
- Be sure to work fast yet thorough to keep the little hopper from feeling cold. Also, you can let your bunny stand in the sink to submerge its feet in the water. But do this only if your rabbit can tolerate it without acting up.
- After you get all the stained areas well lathered, grab a cup and fill it with water then gently rinse the suds off of your bunny’s fur.
- Once you’re sure there’s no shampoo left behind, dry your rabbit using a soft microfiber towel. Be careful not to rub too harshly.
Method 3: Cornstarch Paste
This is an alternative method to dry bathing and is often effective against more stubborn urine stains, especially if you don’t want to get water involved. Here are the steps:
- Mix cornstarch powder with white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. The consistency of the concoction should be close to toothpaste.
- Grab some of the paste and apply it directly to the stained patch.
- Rub the paste into the dirty fur. Remember to do it gently but thoroughly.
- Let the paste sit on the stained areas for a few minutes so it properly lifts off the urine.
- Wipe the paste off with a soft, clean paper towel.
Method 4: Apple Cider Vinegar
Speaking of vinegar, did you know that you can use apple cider vinegar on its own to remove pee stains from rabbits’ fur? Contrary to what you may think, vinegar won’t hurt your bunny or worsen the stain’s condition.
In fact, apple cider vinegar can benefit your rabbit’s health by repelling fleas and ticks. It can also soothe the skin and keep your bunny’s coat shiny and soft. Not to mention, vinegar can be used for cleaning hutches
To use this method, simply spray some apple cider vinegar onto the stained areas of the fur or wet a clean cloth with some apple cider vinegar, then gently rub the stained spot until the discoloration is wiped off.
For more stubborn stains, you can mix in 1 teaspoon of baking soda with a quarter cup of vinegar and follow the same steps.
Method 5: Lemon Juice
Another natural yet effective method of getting rid of urine stains on rabbits’ fur is lemon juice.
Just spray some lemon juice onto the stained spots of the fur or wet a clean cloth with some lemon juice, then gently rub the stained patch until the dirt discoloration is wiped off.
For more stubborn stains, you can also mix in 1 teaspoon of baking soda with a quarter cup of lemon juice and follow the same steps.
There you have it, everything you need to know about how to get rid of urine stains on rabbits’ fur.
You can also work on reducing pee stains on your bunnies by providing a more spacious hutch, implementing a healthy diet, and neutering the rabbit(s).
Additionally, when you see your bunny spending too much time in the litter box, encourage it to go to a different spot and reward it with a treat to reinforce such positive behavior.
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.