Rabbits are Cleaner Pets Than You Think

Are rabbits dirty pets?

Even though they have a historical reputation as farm animals, rabbits are great as housepets and are quite good at keeping themselves clean. They spend several hours a day grooming themselves to keep their fur free of dirt and matting, and generally don’t smell. Not only can they be litter trained, like cats, but rabbits are also not known to spread diseases to humans, making them quite safe to have around the house.

That being said, your rabbit’s cleanliness heavily relies on the care and environment you provide. Regular cleaning of their living space is essential to prevent the buildup of hay and fur. Rabbits need their litter boxes cleaned daily and may require extra cleaning if they are not neutered since that can lead to territorial spraying of urine.

Are rabbits clean pets?

Rabbits have a reputation for being as meticulous about their grooming as cats are. You’ll often see your bunny engaging in a thorough self-grooming routine, which includes licking their fur and washing their face with their paws. It’s not just adorable to watch but also a testament to their natural cleanliness.

I have a white rabbit living at home with me, and she keeps her coat sparkling clean without any help from me. 

Moreover, rabbits can learn to use a litter box. It’s a bit more difficult to litter train a rabbit than a can, but with patience and consistent training, you can teach your rabbit to go to the same spot when they need to relieve themselves, keeping their living area—and your home—cleaner.

In cases where your rabbit is overweight, they may struggle with grooming, leading to an untidy and smelly coat. Regular exercise and an appropriate diet can help your rabbit maintain a healthy weight, making self-cleaning easier.

normal rabbit fecal pellets
Rabbit fecal pellets should be hard balls that are uniform in size and color.

Do rabbits smell?

Most of the time, your rabbit will smell quite neutral, as rabbit poop is generally odorless. It’s compact, dry, and doesn’t carry a strong odor, which helps maintain a fairly odor-free environment. They don’t squish in your hand, smell, or even spread disease. So if you’re looking for a pet with a little less ‘ick’ factor, rabbits might be the way to go. 

If you’re noticing a consistent, strong odor from your rabbit’s poop, it’s time to examine their diet. Lack of enough fiber can lead to smelly droppings. Ensuring your rabbit has a diet rich in hay can fix this issue.

I also have to point out that rabbit poop is the least-gross type of feces that I’ve ever had to deal with. I’ve worked with cats, dogs, birds, guinea pigs, rats, ferrets, and a multitude of other small furry animals, and I can say without a doubt that rabbit poop is not gross at all. 

However, it’s not all roses. Their urine can be slightly more pungent but typically isn’t overpowering. The smell can become stronger if your rabbit’s living area isn’t cleaned regularly, but otherwise it just stays in the litter box area and won’t make your rabbit smell at all. A key to controlling odor is consistent litter box maintenance.

Unneutered males can exude a musky scent. This is part of their natural biology and is more pronounced during mating seasons. Neutering will usually eliminate this smell completely, contributing to a cleaner scent environment around your bunny.

On occasion, a bad smell can signal an underlying illness. If you’ve ruled out diet and hygiene, it’s recommended you visit a vet to ensure your rabbit is healthy.

rabbit eating hay from the box
Ellie likes eating hay so much, she breaks through the side of the box.

Do rabbits make a mess?

When it comes to making a mess, rabbits certainly hold their own. Your pet rabbit has the potential to create quite a bit of chaos, especially with their hay. Since rabbits should always have plenty of it, they often indulge in digging through and scattering it about, which can lead to quite the disarray in their enclosure and the surrounding area.

Messiness varies with each rabbit’s personality. This behavior is natural, since rabbits naturally dig and chew on things, some might exhibit tidier habits, while others can be little whirlwinds of mess.

Some rabbits will also disperse their poop to mark their territory. Usually, this happens when a rabbit first enters a new space, so you’ll see if more when you first bring a rabbit home. But remember, rabbit poop is not all that gross and is easily cleaned up with a dust bin.

Rabbit fur is another factor. These pets go through shedding cycles and that fine fur can find its way onto your furniture and clothes. Regular grooming can help control this, but expect to find some fur around regardless.

Maintaining a clean rabbit habitat is crucial. You’ll need to clean a rabbit cage or habitat regularly. This not only keeps the mess at bay but also promotes a healthy environment for your furry friend.

Can pet rabbits spread diseases?

Generally speaking, rabbits are considered one of the cleanest pets to have around when it comes to the likelihood of transmitting diseases to humans. Domestic rabbits pose very little risk of spreading contagious diseases to their human caretakers.

For the most part, the only things you can catch from a rabbit might be fungal or parasitic diseases (like ringworm or fleas). But if your rabbit is an indoor rabbit, the chances of them ever getting these is quite low. You are much more likely to get these from a pet dog or outdoor cat.

Tips and Tricks Newsletter

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Recommended Products and Brands

Important: These are Affiliate links. As an associate to Amazon, Small Pet Select, and Chewy.com, I may receive a small commission from qualifying purchases.

The two brands that I use when buying food for my rabbit are Oxbow and Small Pet Select. These both have high quality rabbit products and are companies that care about the health of our small animals. If you are purchasing anything from Small Pet Select use the code BUNNYLADY at checkout to get 15% off your first order.

Amy Pratt

Amy Pratt is a lifelong rabbit owner who has been specializing with rabbits at the Humane Rescue Alliance. She helps to socialize the rabbits and educate volunteers on the care and behavior of these small mammals.

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