Rabbits are extremely cute. They’re also some of the quietest pets you can own. That’s why it might be concerning when these lovable rodents suddenly sneeze.
The most obvious –and concerning– cause of sneezing is that your rabbit has an illness. A common respiratory infection that causes sneezing in rabbits is snuffles. Alternatively, your bunny might have an allergy to dust or its own shedding fur!
If you’re wondering why does my rabbit keep sneezing? you’ve come to the right place. In today’s article, we’ll explain the causes of sneezing in your bunny and how to treat your furry pet. Let’s dive in.
Reasons Why Your Rabbit Is Sneezing
Rabbits can sneeze for various reasons. It isn’t always a cause for worry, though. If there aren’t any other symptoms, your bunny might just be suffering from allergies.
Here are all the reasons why your rabbit keeps sneezing:
1 – Irritation
If a new smell or some dust can make you sneeze, imagine how it might affect your tiny rabbit!
A small environmental change is enough to tickle the pet’s nose. Your bunny will sneeze if its cage is full of dust and fur or if you’ve just cleaned it using a powerful detergent.
Here are some irritants that can mess with a rabbit’s sensitive respiratory tract:
- Air freshener
- Shedding of fur
2 – Illness
If your rabbit’s sneezing doesn’t seem to have a specific cause, then it can be a sign of an illness.
Still, this doesn’t always mean your furry friend has a respiratory disease. Dental and eye infections can also make your bunny sneeze. After all, the tear ducts and tooth roots are near the rabbit’s nasal passage.
Discharge from your pet’s nose means it might have a respiratory infection. You should note that rabbits are pretty hygienic. They’ll immediately clean their nose and face, even when they’re sick.
So, you might not notice the discharge at first. That’s why you’ll have to check your bunny’s paws or bed for any nasal discharge.
Here are the most common illnesses that can cause your rabbit to sneeze:
Snuffles is the most common respiratory infection in rabbits. Though, this illness isn’t as adorable as it sounds.
Other than consistent sneezing, snuffles cause your bunny to have a runny nose and eyes. Your furry friend will also suffer from breathing problems, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
Rabbits with snuffles basically have a cold. While a cold might not be a big deal in humans, your rabbit’s tiny body can’t handle the bacteria.
There’s more than one type of bacteria responsible for snuffles. Most commonly, snuffles is caused by Pasteurella multocida. Other culprit bacteria are Pseudomonas and Bordatella.
The infection is highly contagious. For this reason, you’ll need to keep an eye on your other rabbits and even separate them, if possible.
You should immediately consult the vet if you suspect your bunny has snuffles.
Rabbit pneumonia can be due to numerous causes, from bacteria and viruses to prolonged irritation. This lower respiratory tract disease is a serious condition that might result in death without proper treatment.
So, if you notice any of the following symptoms, take your bunny to the vet as soon as possible:
- Difficulty breathing
- Excess salivation
Can a Rabbit Catch a Cold From a Human?
Rabbits can’t catch a cold from humans. While the tiny rodent has a weak immune system, the pathogens that can give us colds rarely infect rabbits. This means you can safely snuggle with your bunny even if you have a cold.
That said, it’s crucial to understand that rabbits are sensitive to extreme weather changes. If you’re affected by the cold winter, chances are your rabbit is affected too.
Even though rabbits tolerate the cold quite well, they don’t do well in wet or freezing conditions. So, if you keep your rabbits outside, you should consider getting them an outhouse or moving them indoors during the colder months.
On the other hand, if you’re suffering from cold sores, you should stay away from your rabbit. These winter-triggered lesions can definitely be transmitted to your pet.
In this case, your rabbit will catch the herpes simplex virus. There are numerous ways your pet might be affected by this virus, from skin lesions to blindness.
Can Humans Catch a Cold From a Rabbit?
Catching diseases from rabbits is a fairly common concern for pet owners. However, most rabbit owners shouldn’t worry about getting a cold from their furry friend.
Immunocompromised individuals can catch rabbit snuffles. Yet, the infection will only present as a mild, self-limiting cough.
The only way to transmit snuffles’ bacteria from a rabbit to a healthy human is through biting. In this case, it’ll result in a superficial wound infection. Nevertheless, rabbits are unlikely to bite humans!
Alternatively, some rabbit owners might mistake an allergic reaction to rabbit fur for a cold.
Can Rabbits Get Allergies?
Just like humans, rabbits can also get allergies. Sneezing is the most common symptom of allergies. Your bunny might also have red eyes and clear nasal discharge.
Another way of telling if your furry friend is suffering from allergies is if it’s constantly rubbing its nose. The tiny rodents are also famously clean, so your bunny might excessively groom its face.
The first thing that can cause your rabbit to sneeze is overpowering scents. However, your pet might be allergic to pollen, new food, or its own bedding.
Additionally, it’s common for mites and fleas to cause allergies in rabbits. Yet, this will most likely appear as skin lesions instead of sneezing.
How to Treat a Sneezing Rabbit
If you’ve determined that your bunny is suffering from snuffles or another infection, you should consult your vet for proper treatment.
Yet, if you’ve determined that your rabbit is sneezing because of allergies, here are some ways to help your tiny friend:
Remove the Allergen
Prevention is the best treatment. So, the best way to treat your sneezing rabbit is to remove the cause.
If you’re unsure what’s causing your pet to sneeze, you should start by doing the following:
- Groom your bunny to prevent excess shedding.
- Avoid smoking near the rabbit.
- Switch the pellet or hay if you’ve recently changed the rabbit’s diet.
- Remove any dust in the rabbit’s cage.
- Keep your bunny away from disinfectants and detergents.
Ventilate Your Rabbit’s Cage
Indoor bunnies don’t get as much fresh air. That’s why you should make sure to give your pet some outdoor time. If this isn’t possible, simply cracking open a window should be enough to ventilate the area.
In addition, you should place the rabbit’s cage in a well-ventilated room. Avoid stuffy, humid rooms or areas exposed to smoke and detergents.
Frequently Clean the Bunny’s Bedding
Many rabbit owners overlook cleaning the bedding. Still, cleaning your pet’s cage isn’t enough if your bunny is prone to allergies.
Rabbits are naturally clean, so you don’t need to switch out their bedding daily. Instead, you should wash the bedding using a mild detergent at least once every week.
Make sure the bedding is completely dry before laying it in your bunny’s cage. This way, you prevent your pet from catching a cold.
Why does my rabbit keep sneezing?
While your rabbit might be consistently sneezing because it’s sick, it can also be mild allergies.
Bunnies’ sensitive respiratory systems can get easily irritated by dust, smoke, and even strong scents. If your rabbit is shedding excessively, the fur might irritate its tiny nostrils.
If the sneezing is accompanied by a nasal discharge, you should take your pet to the vet immediately. The reason is that your furry friend might have a serious respiratory illness, typically snuffles.
While bunny snuffles is contagious to other rabbits, you shouldn’t worry about catching it. If you have a cold, your rabbit is also perfectly safe.
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.