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Home > Rabbits > Why Does My Rabbit Pee on Me? 5 Possible Vet-Approved Reasons

Why Does My Rabbit Pee on Me? 5 Possible Vet-Approved Reasons

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Dr. Maja Platisa

Veterinarian, DVM MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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There’s nothing worse than picking up your pet rabbit for a cuddle and then feeling that tell-tale warmth spreading as they empty their bladder onto your lap. Like all pets, rabbits can occasionally have accidents, and those accidents will sometimes happen in the most inconvenient places.

However, if your rabbit is peeing on you often, you might wonder what’s causing it. Read on to find five potential reasons for this behavior and what you can do to stop it.


The 5 Possible Reasons Your Rabbit Pees on You

1. Fear or Trauma

Rabbits are prey animals, so they scare easily and they do not like being picked up. It makes them feel vulnerable. This is especially true if they’ve been poorly socialized with humans. It may be that your rabbit needs a bit more time to gradually warm up to the idea of you holding them.

Tied to fear is trauma. For example, your rabbit may have had a bad experience while being held in the past, which makes it terrified of being held and more likely to let their bladder empty.

baby mountain cottontail rabbit
Image Credit: Jesswork, Shutterstock

2. Bad Timing

Sometimes even the bravest and most socialized rabbits will have an accident while being held. This isn’t anything against you, but more so bad timing on your part.

3. Not Litter Trained

Did you know that rabbits can be litter trained? It’s true, and if yours hasn’t been properly trained to eliminate in a specific spot, they could be peeing on you because they don’t have a sense of a litter box habit. However, rabbits tend to urinate in a specific place or two (this is where you should place a litter box), while some may defecate in multiple places in their enclosure. Therefore, it’s important to litter train your pet as early as possible so they can learn where it is appropriate to eliminate.

cute gray rabbit peeking out from the cage
Image Credit: Alex Desanshe, Shutterstock

4. Medical Problems

A medical problem may be to blame for your rabbit’s inappropriate urination.

Rabbits can develop urinary incontinence just like humans. A loss of bladder tone or an obstruction can cause this. This is most common in rabbits between three and five years old, though it isn’t unheard of for it to occur in younger or older rabbits. If this is the case with your pet, you may also notice skin burns or irritation around the genital area because of urine leakage.

Some of the causes for urinary incontinence include back injuries, damage to the nervous system from a parasite (Encephalitozoon cuniculi), or an excess of calcium causing a sludgy bladder or urinary stones. 

Rabbits can also develop urinary tract infections. These are most common in rabbits with underlying factors that make them susceptible, such as a poor immune system. Obese rabbits and those that don’t get adequate nutrition are also at risk. Other signs of such infections include blood in the urine, frequent urination, skin scalding, and thick beige urine.

5. Spraying

Rabbits are social and territorial species that sometimes use urine spraying to mark their territory or as a form of scent communication. This behavior is most often seen in unneutered males. They sometimes spray onto their companion rabbits or even you as part of a courtship ritual. While this behavior is totally normal and natural, it can be eliminated or reduced by neutering your pet.

vet weighing the rabbit
Image Credit: santypan, Shutterstock


How Can I Stop My Rabbit From Peeing on Me?

Before you can work towards stopping your rabbit from peeing on you, you must determine why it’s happening in the first place.

If it’s because they’re afraid of you or instinctively strongly dislike being held, give them space. Sometimes rabbits just need extra time to warm up to you and the idea of being held. That doesn’t mean you’ll never get to bond closely with your pet; it just means you must take things a little slower and establish trust before you try to hold your rabbit.

If they’re peeing on you accidentally, it’s likely because they haven’t been litter trained. Luckily, this is a relatively easy fix. Rabbits prefer eliminating in one or a few places, so they often respond well to housetraining.

If other signs of illness accompany your pet’s inappropriate urination, a visit to the vet is in order. Your vet will need to determine the cause for something like urinary incontinence before providing treatment options. 

Neutering your rabbit can be beneficial if they’re spraying on you. In addition, this procedure will eliminate the risk of uterine cancers and potentially make your rabbit less aggressive and territorial.

rex rabbit held by owner
Image Credit: Kyttan, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Rabbits will pee on their owners for a multitude of reasons. So don’t spend too much time fretting about it if it’s a one-off behavior. If your rabbit pees on you every time you try to hold them, some investigation is required. Once you and your vet can determine why this is happening, you can start taking steps to prevent it from occurring in the future and start enjoying your bunny’s snuggles again.

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Featured Image Credit: saharat wannalad, Shutterstock

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