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Help! My Bunny Smells - What To Do With A Stinky Rabbit

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One Way Of Dealing With It..


Here at Bunniez, we're always on about how you should keep your rabbit indoors. "Oh, they're so smart and so friendly," you read in practically every article, including the ones detailing how not to get shredded by your angry bunny's teeth and claws. But there is a practical problem to keeping your rabbit indoors, and that is that rabbits, or more correctly their pee and soft fecal matter, well, it stinks.

The good news about the soft fecal matter is that the rabbit should take care of that particular problem by consuming it itself. This is a normal part of the rabbit's digestive process, and though it may be a little odd to observe, and perhaps a little off putting, it is essential to your rabbit's health that you allow him or her to consume it. This wet matter contains partially digested nutrients that the rabbit needs.

As to the rest of it, well you're on your own there, the bunny has helped as much as possible, and most people don't enjoy having their home smell like a poorly run pet store, so here are a few tips to keeping your bunny smelling nice.

The Obvious

Clean the cage. Clean it twice daily if need be. Cleaning the cage can be a meditative experience, and it will ensure that droppings and odor do not build up in your home.

Use a Deodorizing Litter

This is generally only recommended if you have a wire rack keeping your rabbit away from the litter. Most litters, and especially the deodorizing ones, are poisonous to Rabbits, so be careful. Find out all about litters HERE

Use A Litter Tray

If you train your rabbit to go in a litter tray, rather than its entire cage, you can change the tray several times daily. This can be an absolute godsend if you are in a hurry or like to keep things super clean, so it is highly recommended. Find out about litter training your bunny HERE

Sprays and Deodorizers

These can help, and there are a multitude on the market. These are especially recommended if your fuzzy little darling has had an accident on the carpet or upholstery. This shouldn't be too much of a problem if they have been litter trained, but sudden changes in bunny's routine or lifestyle can cause accidents, so be prepared.

Proper housing, litter, training, and cleaning habits should be all you need to keep your bunny in good stead with your olfactory organs. It can be hard work, but the rewards of having a happy house bunny are well worth it.

NOTE: You may also have odor problems if your bunny is not passing its 'night droppings', (the soft fecal matter), properly. If your bunny does not have enough fiber in its diet, these droppings can cake and matt onto the rabbit's fur, creating a stinky, disgusting mess. This is just one of the reasons that feeding your rabbit as much hay as it wants is of paramount importance. Learn the other reasons HERE


MissCapri on June 07, 2014:

@Me, the second comment just above mine, here, here!

A big problem with so many pet communities online is this sort of attitude from people, and it has put me off most pet communities. So it's refreshing to find a place where that attitude of judging others as somehow not good at owning pets, is soundly put in its place.

I found this page while trying to find something out, and there is a lot of good advice. If I ever get a rabbit again, I'll be more careful about the kind of feed it gets, and give wood chews, and no carrots.

I would definitely get a rabbit again, but the one thing preventing that besides not having the room currently, is the waste smell. My nose and stomach are very sensitive, but even back when I had my rabbit, I was just a kid and it was no question - my parents put their foot down - I couldn't have him in the house.

What I was curious about is that rabbits and chinchillas eat a very similar diet, hay and pellets, and the way their digestive system works is similar with the night feces thing going on. But while a rabbit's urine stinks up an area in a hurry, a chinchilla's doesn't. That might be partly because chinchillas are generally smaller and don't pee as much at one time. Except that Netherland dwarf rabbits are close to their size.

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The argument as to why the difference is obviously because they are two different animals.

But then, so are dogs and cats, and their waste is very similar to each other on the stink scale.

Very good advice on this hub, and it should be a must-read, including the comments from those describing their experiences with rabbit smell, for anyone who hasn't had any experience and is thinking of getting a rabbit, so they can have some idea what the smell can be like and how often they may need to clean the cage or litter boxes.

BTW, when my rabbit was let loose in the house, he had to be supervised at all times, because we didn't want him gnawing at furniture. They have continuously growing teeth, so they will chew table and chair legs and whatever they can get their teeth into. same goes for chinchillas.

rose on April 08, 2014:

Wow ,,,,,;

ME on January 04, 2014:

Sunny and Ettraaine, i think you both are being unkind. i don't think anyone here is and I quote "bitching or complaining". I think they are on her CONVERSING and EXCHANGING because they are trying to SOLVE the issue, not be LAZY about it. When you first own a bunny, you hear a lot of don't's. So going to sources to get the answers you need to fix the problem is very loving to the animal. For instance, we are new bunny owners. We have owned our bundle of bunny fun for around 6 months now. She was a gift to my youngest who is now 12. The purpose for such a gift was to not only give her something she could love, but also something she could learn to take care of and be responsible for. She cleans her cage continuously and SCRUBS her cage thoroughly every couple of days, not just a dump or a sift like cat litter. She plays with her and spends more time with her bunny then she does her friends. She does her very best to be the best pet owner. Thumper gets nothing but the most expensive blend of food that gives her a natural variety, tons of Timothy Hay, occasional treats of nothing but the freshest produce, her water bottle changed 3 x a day so its always fresh. She will sit and massage and comb Thumper's hair and Thumper will sit there with her eyes rolling back like she is loving it. My daughter puts a very comfortable leash on her and takes her for walks and carries her around in a cradling position. She puts her in her travel cage with with all her personal needs and her own personal travel blanket. You name it, this bunny is spoiled and LOVES her life. There is nothing LAZY about any treatment this bunny receives. However, the other day, a new wrinkle started. We started to notice an onion smell on her. At first we thought someone of lesser hygiene qualities must have handled her. But we noticed it getting stronger and at that point we were aware of the smell starting and was extra cautious of her bedding, diet, and who handled her. Then today her stools slightly changed. So that is what prompted us to go online and find out what could be going on because we didn't know if Thumper needed a vet or not. Come to find out, not all bunnies go thru this, but some have this issue when the anal glands needed to be cleaned (which we did not know) or when they start to go thru puberty, female rabbits especially can have this issue. Had it not been everyone sharing their concerns and experiences, we would have been terrified that she was horribly sick. But you know Sunny and Ettaariane, karma has a way of taking care of those who judge with cruelty. Just because yours haven't had this happen to yours, doesn't mean all other owners are lazy and dirty with their animals. Maybe there is something wrong with the hormone balance of your bunnies, ever think of that, especially since this is soooo common with bunnies, both male and female. There is enough cruelty in the world as it is, why purposely try and put someone down or make them feel like they are being hurtful to their animals since they are obviously trying to help them and do right by them. What is wrong with you????? I dare you to say that we are doing something wrong because I can guarantee you that my 12 year old take better care of her bunny than anyone who goes online just to insult with a keyboard. I say that because animals of any kind needs unconditional love and that behavior is NOT indicative of unconditional love my friend.

beeboo on April 16, 2013:

I am in the same boat! Owner my whole life, never had asmelly bunny, got a new friend and goodness she smells! I am 30 plus years and have had rabbits since I was a wee child. I have never had a smelly bunny before! So strange! I might have been a judgemental cow as well, though, had I not experienced it. So I will try not to think too badly of the nasty people on the board. I do feel better that this is not just me.

Nina on December 09, 2012:

Ettaariane - "None of my rabbits smell and the only ones that do belong to lazy dirty owners who don't clean up after the rabbits daily."

What a horrid judgemental thing to say!

My male houserabbit I've had over a year has never smelt. I'm looking at this page today because my new girl bunny really smells bad and I was hoping to find some friendly advice from lovely bunny owners posting comments from experience. I find your comment offensive, unhelpful and completely unnecessary.

sunnie733 on September 27, 2012:

I agree with ettaariane, I've had rabbits my whole life, and they never smelled. They were litter trained, and I cleaned their box of newspaper, some aspen shavings and Carefresh spread around w/hay 2x's a day. If they ever smelled a little, a STRESS-FREE butt bath is done. A lot of you guys are LAZY, because I know human nature. But you sure have the time to write on a site to complain, which takes the same amount of time to change the paper in their box! And to the above, one DOES NOT release domesticated rabbits in the wild, they will die. If you cannot take care of him/her, please take to a shelter, there they have a chance.

Peace to all.

casper42 from sault ste marie on June 10, 2012:

I have a dwarf and a lopped ear(both male, approx 1 year). They were humping each other as soon as we put them in the same cage; we did this because we were told that the dwarf was a female..not.. now we think they are gay cause they won't stop doing this, we had to put the cage and the rabbits outside cause they started spraying urine all over, At this point, they get along, so i don't want to get rid of them or just let them go to the wild,, what should I do?

ddon on May 07, 2012:

Hi, my bunny is almost 4 years old. up until recently she was never a smelly rabbit but im now cleaning her daily and she is still smelling. she has a very large cageand i use cage dissinfectant. she is allowed to run around the house as she has been litter trained and would always return to her cage for the toilet, but.iver the last few month she no longer does so. is this just a coincidence or are they connected? ive been worried something is wrong or maybe if its old age. thanks xxxx

Dee on March 03, 2012:

I have a rabbit and what I did was I got a large cardboard and covered it in plastic and used that as the bunny bottom of cage and I have Care Fresh in her litter box, which I line with those cat liner bags, so there is no clean up, just a drop in the trash, lasts 3 to 4 days NO SMELL!....then I put a fencing around her, very easy clean up...

rfcf2 on February 27, 2012:

Ettaariane - "Well, that is just riduculous. None of my rabbits smell and the only ones that do belong to lazy dirty owners who don't clean up after the rabbits daily."

Ettaariane - Don't blame the owners too quickly. One of my does is stinky compared to the other. I am hoping that it is because she has only been with us for a couple weeks and that she will adjust.

rfcf2 on February 27, 2012:

Krista - "Our male bunny does not smell but the female reeks!"

The same thing happened to me. I had a male bunny for many months. He is litter trained. He doesn't smell. The basement (where he lives) doesn't smell. I just got two does/girls. And now our basement smells. Yes, I clean their area daily. We never had a "bunny" smell until those girls got here.....

Nick more on February 21, 2012:

Bunnies are cute

H on February 09, 2012:

ettaariane -- thats an aweful comment, my rabbit is poorely just now so she is producing soft smelly poop, i scrub her hutch everyday but the smell is staying, its got NOTHING to do with laziness!

Carrie on February 08, 2012:

My rabbit is male intact, he does not smell. We clean cage often. and he is semi toilet trained. Being intact means he will never be really toilet trained but he much prefers going in his litter tray. He smells nice. Only time he smells is if he has a slight upset tummy or been eating too many greens. but its not repugnant its kind of sickly sweet. He did once when much much younger have a smell and caked poop problem that was back when we didn't know that hamster food crap was bad for them. so i bet most people who say they smell feed them hamster food so many people still think they can eat the same as hamsters it makes me angry. But what else makes me angry is people, vets, behaviourists saying hay is 99% of their diet. We have always given my rabbit who is now almost 8 hay. lots of different kinds and loads of it and always make sure its fresh. He has ZERO interest in swallowing hay. He does not see it as food. he likes to sort it and squish it and when he was younger in spring he used to carry it and move around a lot and make nests but never ever has he swallowed it. Yes he has teeth problems its awful drives me to tears but he never has and never will it. how do you force feed a rabbit. he also is not interested in chew toys, bark etc. he will eat grass but he only started doing that in his late age and now we have him on grass a lot to get him to eat. serious hay isn't lying about in the wild but grass does so how is that not as good but serious my rabbit does not believe hay to be food. yes we have tried blending veg and coating the hay in it. yes we have tried making toys out of it. do you know how many things i eat that i shouldn't to show him its food. jesus . rose, willow and apple trees and meant to be good wood for them to chew but hes not interested and I'm not sure humans are meant to ingest that but there i am eating it to convince him to and he just looks at me like I'm insane

ettaariane on January 28, 2012:

Well, that is just riduculous. None of my rabbits smell and the only ones that do belong to lazy dirty owners who don't clean up after the rabbits daily. I have two indoor rabbits who are house trained to do their biz on newspaper which I remove regularly. On a night they go into a cage with a sawdust floor covered with fresh meadow hay and cleaned daily. The cleaning is easy as the buns go to the same corner to poop etc. Not havin a bun in your home because you say they smell is like leaving a baby in dirty nappies and sayin IT smells. Daft.

Chloe on January 14, 2012:

Hey, I was thinking about getting a Bunny for my 11 year old mature daughter. She has some room in her room, but we think it will stink up her room. We found some rabbits she likes, but we have never had anything like that. How big should the cage be?? I don't want to have a stinky house ethier, do you think I should get one. Help me out!!

Missi on January 11, 2012:

OMG, My Lionhead SMELLS so bad! He isn't litter trained, but I have the pull out tray that I clean at least weekly of not more. But his poop gets stuck to the bottom of his cage (and on his little private parts, yuck) and it takes me forever to clean his cage out. Any suggestions???

Can bunnies just eat timothy hay?? I see that the stuff I give my little guy appears to be bad...... Boo.

Nixie-Bob on January 07, 2012:

Um, it's not the cage that smells like it's been in sitting in the trash can for three days, it's the rabbit itself.

Bibbobob on December 13, 2011:

My mom says she wants to get rid of my bunny because she smells bad. We thought about getting her an outdoor bunny hutch, but it gets really cold in the winter and hot in the summer here. Is there heating or AC for the hutches?

Lisa on December 11, 2011:

my bunny's not eating his poop as much as he used to, but he does eat it, is there something wrong with him?

K on November 10, 2011:

My Bunny is a very bad bad bunny, She smelly and naughty, I don't think she loves me. When i cry she doesn't huggle me and kiss me.

Bad Bad Bunny

Krista on November 08, 2011:

Our male bunny does not smell but the female reeks! It's just horrible. He is fixed and I am hoping that getting her done will help. The cage is cleaned, they run around the house, they play outside and are very lucky bunnies. Being happy and cared for however does not ensure they will be smell free! Plus, the female poops everywhere whereas the male goes in his litterbox. It costs a lot but I think we have to get her fixed too.

K on November 06, 2011:

I call my girlfriend bunny and she gets smelly too. What should i do? I don't want to upset her but shes a stinky bunny.

Natasha Miller on October 27, 2011:

My bunnies both smell like fresh laundry! Best smell ever!

Kyra on October 26, 2010:

Hi i just bought a rabbit 4 weeks ago and it keeps escaping from its cage, pooping everywhere 24/7 and stinking up my house. Also whenever i pick it up it will either stay still or scratch me to death. So i was thinking of putting the cage on the floor and surrounding it with a play pen so it has more room and can go in and out as he pleases. is that ok?

ash on August 25, 2010:

have you all got skunks? i have two abbits that live in the house and they don't smell at all. maybe its because they are both litter trained. the best cage to get for your rabbit is a play pen, which comes with a nylon bottom, its a lot bigger then a pokey cage- its not nice to have your rabbit locked up in a small cage all day! if you take the time to train your rabbits they can live in your house like a cat or dog would. maybe the key to having non-smelling rabbits is to give them more freedom!

leila on August 20, 2010:

my 2 month mini lop has some poop stuck to his feet.what should i do?should i wet some paper and try to clean it?

Abbie on July 28, 2010:

Hi I was just wondering well I'm getting a bunny tomorrow it's 3yrs. Old so what is the most important tip u can give me for bunnies?



Kayla on June 24, 2010:

A way to make the cage not smell is to sprinkle some baking soda on the litter in the litter tray.

Peggy on May 05, 2010:

Have your rabbit neutered. That few minutes of skunky smell is a certain kind of poop. The one they eat to eatract potassium and such. Fixing really helps with odor.

paula on March 29, 2010:

I have a now rabbir and i hope that she will not smel how do i do that I live in an apt and i do not need the nabber saying someing help me.

JLFK on March 28, 2010:

When we play with Goma - she sometimes smells like a skunk. It is only for a minute or so that the smell lingers - I understand that it is probably her anal gland - but why does she "do/spray/let-er-rip/stink" when we play? Is she in pain? Scared? Angry?

I have researched this - the answer is always - "clean the cage"...that would be the stupidest answer ever - as her cage is cleaned twice daily and when we play it is not in/near her cage...

alice on January 04, 2010:

just a reminder - usually bunny smell that isn't poop related means its time to clean their anal glands. both males and females, fixed or not need to be cleaned out.

grecher on December 13, 2009:

it does not smell bad soo no promblem ok

Amber on December 10, 2009:


The food you are feeding your rabbits is not good for them. Any kind of pellet mix with seeds and fruit is extremely bad. The fact that they're picking out the parts they like is even worse. It's the equivalent of rabbit fast food. It'd be like giving your kids a happy meal with a salad and letting them just eat the fries and the dessert. Seeds are very hard for a rabbit to digest, and the fruit pieces are loaded with sugar.

Rabbits should be fed mostly timothy hay, with a small amount of timothy hay-based pellets (oxbow brand is best). Cut down to just this, and see if your poopy bun improves.

Amber on December 10, 2009:


The food you are feeding your rabbits is not good for them. Any kind of pellet mix with seeds and fruit is extremely bad. The fact that they're picking out the parts they like is even worse. It's the equivalent of rabbit fast food. It'd be like giving your kids a happy meal with a salad and letting them just eat the fries and the dessert. Seeds are very hard for a rabbit to digest, and the fruit pieces are loaded with sugar.

Rabbits should be fed mostly timothy hay, with a small amount of timothy hay-based pellets (oxbow brand is best). Cut down to just this, and see if your poopy bun improves.

Carmen on March 09, 2009:

my bunnie is pooping over and over she likes to poop on people and never poops in her litter box HELP

yumilicious1 on November 09, 2008:


My 6month rex bunny has been experiencing soft poop!

it is really gross and she does not go in her litter box when she has it!

i don't want to give her away- but i cant stand cleaning it,

its mushy and smells like a skunk!- plus her cage smells, but i clean it everyday!

i need some advice!



p.s. are their heating pads for your bunnys cage?

Bunniez (author) on August 25, 2008:

Hi Irene, I would recommend just cutting back to hay. If it is a good quality hay it is all your rabbit really needs, and greens are infamous for causing runny droppings which stick to the fur.

Irene on August 03, 2008:

I'm a little worried about my 7m/o doe. Not spayed YET, but will be soon. Anyhoo, question is about the grand ol' cecal whoop-de-doo. If it's a little runny suddenly and stuck, EVEN though I feed my rabbits LOTS of Timothy Hay, a good mix food with pellets, dried fruit and other goodies (they pick out what they like and need and go to town on the hay) and I occasionally give them baby spinach or carrots for a treat. I got freaked out and cleaned it off for her twice... should I just let it be and let her take care of it on her own and take her off everything but the hay for a while? I've done that before when she was acting sluggish as a baby and it helped. I'm at a toss up between minimizing her diet and taking her to the vet in the morning...

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