You want to be welcomed by a homely and fresh smell when walking into your home. The last thing you want is to be greeted with a terrible smell wafting through the air, never mind that it can be pretty embarrassing if you have guests.
If you have rabbits or are thinking of getting some fluffy pets, you may wonder: do rabbits have a smell, and how bad is it?
Rabbits don’t smell bad. Rabbits are clean animals that groom themselves regularly. A male rabbit can give off a musty smell when a female is nearby. If you do notice a terrible odor coming from your bun, this could result from improper care or it could be a health condition, so take your bun to the vet.
In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about why your rabbit might have a bad smell and what you can do about it.
Why Do Rabbits Smell Bad?
Your bun has virtually odorless fur, and they don’t have much of a body odor at all. There are, however, a few factors that can contribute to your bun giving off a bad smell.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these factors:
Unlike rats or dogs, rabbits don’t have a body odor, but there are a few things that can cause them to have a bad smell, such as:
- If your bun is sick
- If your bun has an ear infection
- If a male rabbit is in heat, he will release a musky scent to attract the female
Your rabbit has scent glands located near the anus, and if your bun isn’t cleaning itself correctly, you may notice a bad smell as these glands can get clogged. If this is the case, you may have to unclog the glands manually.
If your rabbit is healthy, their poop will be in the form of hard, little pellets that are entirely odorless to humans. Cecotropes are droppings that your bun produces and eats.
These droppings are essential for your rabbit’s health and are rich in nutrients. They resemble grapes and are greenish-brown in color.
If these droppings are stepped on or squished, they can give off a slightly unpleasant odor.
If your bun’s normal droppings are watery or have a scent, they might have an intestinal parasite, arthritis, or suffer from obesity and will need treatment from a vet.
The most potent smell you will pick up from your floppy-eared friend comes from their urine. Rabbit pee has a powerful ammonia-tinged smell, meaning their urine can smell pretty bad.
Urine from a buck has a much more pungent smell than a doe, as they mark their territory by urinating on things (especially if they aren’t neutered).
If you don’t clean your rabbit’s litter box or living space regularly, the urine will soak into your bunny’s bedding, which causes a very strong and foul odor that can spread through your house or outside area.
How Bad Can Rabbit Smell Get?
If you notice that your furry friend has a bad smell, leaving it untreated or not making sure the cage or living space is clean can create a horrible, fishy smell. This odor is unpleasant for you, as well as your bunny.
A rabbit urine smell is, once again, the most significant cause of a stinky rabbit cage or living space, but sometimes your rabbit may smell because of various health conditions, such as:
- Mushy, watery poops, or diarrhea.
- Elderly rabbits may struggle to clean themselves properly.
- Obese rabbits battle to reach all the areas that need to be groomed.
- A disabled rabbit might not be able to balance and clean itself properly.
- Your rabbit might have a ‘poopy butt’ – when a ball of poop is stuck to your bun’s butt and starts to rot (this will cause discomfort for your bun as well), which causes a bad smell.
- Clogged scent glands found near your rabbit’s anus secrete a tar-like substance that smells similar to a skunk.
How to Keep Your Rabbit From Smelling
Let’s take a closer look at how to keep your rabbit from smelling bad:
Clean Your Bunny
If your bunny has developed a bad smell, you can clean them with cornstarch. sprinkle the cornstarch over the areas where you have noticed a smell, and this will draw out all the moisture. You can then comb through your rabbit’s fur to remove the dirt.
You should never bathe a rabbit, as this can be harmful. Stay away from talc powders, which can be carcinogenic and harmful to your bunny.
Give Your Bunny a Trim
To prevent urine and bits of poop or food from getting stuck in your rabbit’s fur, give your rabbit a trim using a comb and small pair of scissors.
Trimming your bun will also prevent clumping of their fur.
Clean the Scent Glands
Every now and then, clean your rabbit’s scent glands by dipping a Q-tip in warm water and swabbing away at any excretions.
Get Your Rabbit Sterilized
Sterilizing your rabbit will reduce the strong, musky smell of their urine.
Having your male house rabbits neutered will stop them from spraying urine to mark their territory, lowering the rabbit smell of urine significantly.
How to Keep a Rabbit’s Cage From Smelling
Although your floppy-eared friend may not stink, their cage or living area is generally the reason why there is a bad smell of urine in your living space.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can prevent your rabbit’s cage from smelling:
- Litter trains your rabbit.
- Invest in a rabbit playpen as it is much easier to clean.
- Use a bunny-safe cleaning solution to wipe up rabbit urine stains. You can make your own spray by using equal amounts of water and vinegar.
- Use an air purifier in your home to help minimize any odors (make sure that it is not an ionizer as the byproduct causes harmful ozone for your rabbit).
- Place hay or shredded newspaper in the cage to help absorb the smell of the urine.
My Last Bunny Thoughts
Even though your bun is a clean animal, the cleanliness and hygiene of their living space will have a massive effect on your home and the bunny remaining odor-free.
Make sure to keep your floppy-eared friend’s living space clean.
Consider sterilizing your rabbit to avoid territorial spraying, improve hygiene, and reduce the risk of your bunny developing severe diseases. Always remember a happy bunny isn’t a smelly bunny.