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How to Get Rid of Rabbit Smell (6 Ideas & Tips)

rabbit lying on the carpet

Rabbits are adorable and popular pets, often living indoors and enjoying time to roam around the house with their beloved humans. Unfortunately, these cuddly pets also have a reputation for odor that may turn off potential owners.

Rabbits are generally clean animals. While they have a natural scent, the reputed odor of rabbits has more to do with the way they’re kept than the rabbits themselves. In this way, they’re like housecats. If you’re struggling with rabbit odors, here are some possible reasons and tips to get your house odor free.

divider-rabbitpaw1How to Get Rid of Rabbit Smell (6 Ideas & Tips)

1. Rabbit Poop

Rabbit Poop and Pee
Image Credit: KanphotoSS, Shutterstock

Poop from a healthy rabbit will be hard, round pellets that are scentless to humans. If you’re thinking that the rabbit poop is the cause of the odor, it’s unlikely. That said, rabbits do have a type of poop known as cecotropes, which are small and mushy. When these are squished, they can have an unpleasant type of odor.

Fortunately, rabbits typically eat cecotropes to reabsorb nutrients, so there shouldn’t be a lot around. If you are finding a lot of cecotropes, it could indicate that your rabbit needs a more balanced diet.


2. Rabbit Pee

Brown Rabbit Pee and Poop
Image Credit: Arlee.P, Shutterstock

Rabbit pee is a different story. Because of the high concentration of ammonia in rabbit pee, it can have a strong and unpleasant odor, which can vary between individuals. Male rabbits tend to have smellier pee than females, but not always.

The best way to keep this odor at bay is by scooping out the litter box every day. This will keep the odor down and ensure your rabbit will still use the litter box, rather than choosing to go elsewhere because the litter box is dirty.

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3. Spaying and Neutering

Rabbit Pee
Image Credit: Pcnok, Shutterstock

Rabbits should be spayed or neutered for several reasons, odor among them. Unneutered male rabbits can emit a skunk-like smell that’s used to attract mates, which can stink up your house pretty quickly. The only solution to this is to get your rabbit neutered.

Both male and female rabbits can spray pee to claim territory as well, and this can be corrected by getting them spayed or neutered.


4. Cage Conditions

Rabbit Pee on the Litter Box
Image Credit: KanphotoSS, Shutterstock

Your rabbit’s cage can be a source of odor, but it’s easy to correct by cleaning the cage regularly. If your rabbit isn’t litter box trained, you’ll be dealing with more cleaning to keep the cage in good condition. With a litter box, the mess is more contained. You should also make sure the cage is large enough—your rabbit doesn’t have incentive to stay clean if it can’t separate the clean space from the dirty space.

The type of cage and cleaning solutions you use will also make a difference. Playpens are generally easier to clean since you only need to move the sides around and vacuum or mop the surface. A rabbit hutch is more challenging and requires you use the proper cleaning solution, since the cage won’t get as much ventilation. Be sure to use a non-toxic cleaner that’s safe for rabbits and designed to eliminate odors. Avoid using powdered cleaners, such as baking soda, which can get into your rabbit’s respiratory or digestive systems.


5. Health Problems

vet doctor's hand holding syringe for injection to rabbit on the table
Image Credit: Tyler Olson, Shutterstock

As mentioned, healthy rabbits don’t have strong odors. A rabbit with health problems can be smellier, however. Diarrhea or loose stool is a sign of a problem with your rabbit and can smell strong, so be sure to take your rabbit to the vet for a checkup.

Rabbits are like housecats and tend to groom themselves regularly, but this can be difficult for obese rabbits or elderly rabbits with arthritis or other mobility issues. If your rabbit can’t move the way it should to clean itself properly, it can develop an odor. In these cases, it’s best to help your rabbit clean itself, and if it’s obese, provide a healthy diet and encourage your rabbit to exercise more. Obesity creates more issues than just odor, so it’s best to get your rabbit to an ideal weight.


6. Scent Glands

blanc de hotot rabbit in vet clinic white rabbit
Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

Rabbits have scent glands near their anus that secrete a tarry substance with a skunk-like scent. If your rabbit isn’t cleaning itself properly, these glands can become clogged, leading to odors. When this happens, you may need to have the glands manually cleaned to reduce the smell.


How to Get Rid of a Rabbit Pee Smell

Barring health problems or unsanitary conditions, rabbit odor is usually associated with urine. If your rabbit is peeing outside of the litter box or isn’t litter box trained, it’s important to use a cleaning solution that fully removes the ammonia smell from the area. You can buy commercial cleaning solutions for small animals or make your own DIY solution with white vinegar. The acidic properties in the white vinegar will penetrate and break up rabbit urine, no matter the surface. Make sure you keep your rabbit’s enclosure and litter box clean to avoid odor issues in the future.

divider-rabbitpaw1Conclusion

Rabbits have a reputation for being smelly, but this is mostly unfounded. If a rabbit has a strong odor, it’s likely caused by a health problem or unsanitary conditions, rather than the rabbit itself. These tips should help you determine the cause of your rabbit odor and find solutions to keep your home smelling fresh and clean.


Featured Image Credit: ZouZou, Shutterstock

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