Rabbits, like other pets, smell, although their smell is not usually noticeable, especially not to humans. As their nature behooves them, they tend to groom themselves and stay clean.
However, there are situations where a rabbit’s attempt at staying clean may turn out ineffective, leaving the rabbit with a noticeable lousy smell.
One of these situations is keeping a rabbit in an unhygienic living area. The cleanliness of a rabbit’s cage determines your bunny’s cleanliness, so you have to ensure the cage is kept clean always.
What Makes Your Rabbit’s Cage Smell?
Usually, rabbits do not smell bad. If they do, it means the cage is smelling. Your bunnies’ excretion causes the cage’s smell. If your rabbit’s cage is not cleaned well or not cleaned at all, it will smell. The following are what makes your rabbit’s cage smell:
- Urine: The rabbit’s urine smells pretty bad due to ammonia, which rubs off the cage. The male rabbit’s urine smells worse than that of a female rabbit. Since rabbits urinate to mark their territory, they urinate more often, aggravating the smell.
- Unalteration: Unaltered bunnies let out scents during the mating period to attract rabbits of the opposite sex, which could also be why your rabbit’s cage smells.
- Feces: feces can cause the cage to smell bad. A rabbit’s feces should be odorless; if it smells, it means your rabbit might have health conditions. Rabbit feces, usually cecotropes, are round, hard balls clustered together, generally green in color. If your rabbit poop is watery and smelly, it might result from a bad diet, and you can either visit a veterinary doctor or change their diet.
- Infections: Rabbits are prone to having infections that can make them smell, such as ear mites, which cause the ears to stink up severely.
- The litter boxes: If you do not clean your litter box properly, it begins to smell. Your litter box should be cleaned thoroughly with vinegar and a water mixture. If the box still contains stains from urine that cannot be wiped off and still smells bad, it is better to replace your litter box with a new one.
Rabbits are naturally clean pets. Below are a few ways to keep their cage from smelling:
Use Absorbent Bedding
After getting a large cage, choosing the correct bedding for your rabbit is very important. Ensure the bedding is comfortable and absorbent.
Change it regularly to keep the pen clean. Some types of bedding only make your rabbit pee smell worse, while others, though comfortable, can cause health conditions for your rabbit.
The best beddings are; aspen shavings, paper(more absorbent and usually odorless), hay, or straw(rabbits are likely to eat hay more than straw). Your rabbit’s bedding should be changed at least twice a week.
Use Air Freshener
While air fresheners would only mask the smell for a while, they are still a quick fix to a smelly cage until you find a more suitable solution. Ensure there is proper ventilation in the cage to allow enough air in.
Wash Your Rabbit’s Cage
Wash your rabbit cage at least once or twice a week. To clean your rabbit cage,
- First, empty the cage by putting out the litter boxes, hay rack, and water dishes.
- Wipe the litter boxes thoroughly. No pee and poop stains should remain on them. Do this for all sides of the cage.
- Spray the surface with vinegar and water mixture. Then, arrange the cage as it should be.
- For easier cleaning, get a plastic pen instead of a wooden one. Don’t use toxic chemicals to clean your rabbit’s cage. Rabbits are curious and tend to lick and eat everything they encounter. If they lick poisonous chemicals, it can lead to their death. The safest option is to use vinegar mixed with water or other safe commercial cleaning agents.
Litter Train Your Rabbit
Rabbits are said to be cleaner than other pets, such as dogs and cats, but you have to litter train them to maintain their nature.
Therefore, you won’t have to go through the stress of cleaning a messy cage anymore. You’ll have to empty the litter boxes and wash them well. To litter box train your rabbit,
- Fill a litter box with hay.
- Place it in the right corner where your rabbit excretes.
- If your bunny excretes somewhere else, put the poop in the litter box.
- When your rabbit excretes in the litter box, leave it there for a while to ensure it’s doing the right thing.
- Note that it takes longer for some rabbits to be litter-box trained than others. Don’t shout at your rabbit; instead, train it with patience and love.
Neuter Your Rabbit
Rabbits use their smelly pee to mark territories and mating with the other gender. When you neuter your rabbit, it prevents them from spraying urine to scent-mark, keeping boundaries with their pee, or mating, which causes the production of certain hormones that smell.
It would also help reduce the smell of their urine drastically.
Disinfect Your Rabbit’s Cage
It’s not enough to establish cleaning routines to keep out the smell from your rabbit’s cage; you need to disinfect it regularly. Some bad scents won’t go away until the cage is thoroughly disinfected.
Besides, disinfecting your rabbit’s cage also protects your home from parasite infestation. However, ensure you use the right chemicals. Ask specifically at the store where you buy the disinfectant.
Clean The Cage’s Environment
Asides cleaning the cage, it’s also important to clean its environment. If the surrounding areas of your rabbit’s cage are dirty, your rabbit’s cage can’t stay clean for long.
This also behooves that you keep your house clean. Don’t be so focused on cleaning the hutch that you forget to clean the house that contains the hutch. It’s your responsibility to make your habitat and that of your rabbit squeaky clean.
Take Out The Uneaten Food And Toys
Don’t leave food remains in your rabbit’s cage for long, as the food starts to decay and smells bad. Besides, rabbits won’t eat rotten food. The rotten food in their hutch will only attract bacteria and parasites, which will likely cause health complications for your rabbit.
Also, don’t leave the chewed toys in your rabbit’s cage. Chewed toys usually have a lot of moisture, which doesn’t augur well for your rabbit’s health. Their cage should be kept as dry as possible.
To do this, ensure the cage is elevated. If not, when rain falls, water will enter the cage. Also, waterproof the cage. You don’t want your bunnies to get wet and start shivering during winter. Besides, a cage that isn’t waterproofed is at the risk of being damaged by the wind.
Check For Any Health Problem
Sometimes, your rabbit’s cage can smell as if your rabbit has a health issue like an ear infection that smells terribly. Also, old rabbits need extra care as they aren’t agile like young ones.
Rabbits with disabilities, too, need additional checks; they cannot do certain things a healthy rabbit will do, such as cleaning up themselves. As such, their poop is usually stuck in their fur or littered around, bringing about a horrible smell.
Bathe Your Rabbit
If you’ve tried everything and the cage still smells, the smell might be coming from your rabbit due to poor hygiene or specific health problems. Either way, you should bathe your rabbit with lukewarm water and shampoo.
Ensure the shampoo is specifically made for rabbits. Don’t bathe your bunnies with hot water or cold water as it can fracture them. Use small bowls too.
Change Your Rabbit’s Diet
Change its diet if the cage smells because of your rabbit’s feces. Smelly feces are usually a result of a poor diet. Feed your rabbit quality hay, veggies, and clean water.
4 Reasons Your Rabbit’s Cage Should Be Kept Clean
Apart from making your bunny very uncomfortable, dirty cages can lead to severe and life-threatening health conditions. Rabbits can get sick from filthy cells, just like humans in a polluted environment.
Keeping your rabbit in a dirty cage affects your bunny’s lifespan due to respiratory diseases. Below are more reasons you should keep your rabbit’s hutch clean.
- Prevents alopecia: If a rabbit’s skin is wet, it is prone to alopecia (loss of hair). Not cleaning out urine from your rabbit’s cage builds up, soaking your rabbit’s fur. If your rabbit does not get alopecia from urine scalding, it will be infected by bacteria, leading to extreme fur loss and discomfort.
- Prevents sadness: Rabbits are clean animals, and they try their best to keep themselves clean. A dirty cage serves as a hindrance to grooming themselves, thus, making them distressed and sad. [Sad Bunny: How to Tell if Your Rabbit is Sad or Depressed?]
- Prevents Urinary Tract Infections: Using dirty litter can cause UTIs in rabbits and other health issues. Rabbits are very fragile animals, and a little sickness could lead to death.
- Prevents respiratory problems: Rabbits are sensitive to smell. A smelly cage affects their respiratory system. Their urine contains a high concentration of ammonia. If they inhale this frequently from a stinking cell, it leads to difficulty breathing and burning their respiratory tract, which can otherwise lead to their death.
Rabbits are naturally fragile animals, and if they’re not well taken care of in a neat and healthy environment, it can lead to their death. If you keep them in a clean cage, you’ll be prolonging the quality of their life and avoiding stress for yourself.
Keeping your rabbit’s cage from smelling means keeping your rabbit in a healthy and comfortable environment. Ensure you choose a moveable and well-spaced cage for easier cleaning.
Get the right bedding, and don’t forget to litter train your rabbit. If your rabbit smells after cleaning its cage, you might need to take it to a doctor.