Let’s be honest; nobody wants to think about their little adorable rabbit leaving “presents” behind for you. We like to think of rabbits as cute cuddly creatures, but don’t let that fool you. Rabbits can urinate and defecate with the rapidity and proclivity you’d probably expect of a larger animal than this little ball of fluff.
Still, while rabbits can pop off peeing and pooping quite a bit, maybe yours is going so often as to start to make you worry. Maybe you think that this can’t be normal or healthy, and even if it is, that you can’t possibly handle all of this waste.
Proper pet waste management is nothing to wrinkle your nose at, so here’s the scoop on what to expect from your bunny’s bodily functions, how often rabbits pee and poop, why that is, if yours is “normal,” and what you can do about it.
How Often Rabbits Relieve Themselves
One of the most important things to remember is that different rabbits defecate at different rates, and the same goes for urination. We’ll get more into detail with each below, but for now, suffice it to say that most rabbits urinate somewhere between two and eight times per day.
Rabbits also spray their territory, which is typical for mammals. An unneutered rabbit can spray their territory as much as eight times per day and some may even exceed that. On the defecation side of things, rabbits tend to drop between 125 and 200 fecal pellets (a fancy name for poop) per day, with some rabbits pooping more than that. These pellets tend to be small, round, dry, and odor-free, but as we’ll see, there are variations to that and these are the areas where there might be cause for worry.
Finally, it’s worth noting that as much as you may not want to have to deal with picking up rabbit poop and cleaning up rabbit pee, your rabbit does indeed need to do these things regularly. If your rabbit goes more than 24 hours without doing one or the other, this should be treated as a major medical emergency and you should take them to the vet or animal hospital straight away.
Different Kinds of Rabbit Excrement
If you think that all rabbit poop is the same, have we got news for you! This probably isn’t something that you thought you’d need to think about when you adopted your furry long-eared friend, but the fact is that there are indeed drastic differences between different kinds of rabbit poop. What’s more, the kind that your rabbit is leaving behind can say a lot about their health.
As mentioned, rabbit droppings tend to be small, spherical, dry, brownish or greyish, and odorless. The more your rabbit deviates from this norm, the greater the chance that your rabbit may have a problem.
For example, according to Rabbit Welfare, overly dark pellets could be trouble. The one exception to that is if your rabbit eats an overabundance of grass.
Your rabbit’s fecal matter should not stick to its bottom, and it certainly shouldn’t have been red. There is also a special type of rabbit stool called “cecals,” which are wetter and smellier than those other rabbit stools, but for various reasons, you should not see these too often.
On the other hand, however, if you see your rabbit have loose stool or outright diarrhea, this is a major concern. Diarrhea especially can be life-threatening and should also be cause for going to the hospital.
Some factors that can cause loose rabbit stool or diarrhea include:
- Starchy food, such as bread, chips, and biscuits, all of which pass right through the rabbit’s gastrointestinal tract and potentially cause wetter poop.
- A lack of hay, which, as opposed to starchy foods, is necessary for the prolonged health of the rabbit’s gastrointestinal tract, impacting everything from their stomach muscles to the balance of bacteria and yeast in the rabbit’s digestive system, which in turn can produce wetter poops.
- Intestines slowing down or not functioning properly.
- Arthritis and obesity, which may cause them to not be able to sit down and eat normally so as to get the nutrition they need.
In relation to the starchy food and lack of hay points in particular, changes in your rabbit’s diet can obviously have a major impact on the quality and quantity of their stool. If your rabbit has started to poop more frequently or the consistency of their poop has changed, and this has followed a change in your rabbit’s diet, chances are this is the first thing you should look at when trying to pinpoint the cause and reverse the effects.
It is also worth noting that processed foods aren’t good for your rabbit’s digestive system (and they’re not good for ours, either). Fruit can work as an occasional treat, but there are better and healthier alternatives, such as brussels sprouts.
That being said, if you are going to change your rabbit’s diet to combat these stool problems, you should do so slowly to avoid even greater gastrointestinal distress. This is also another example of something that is better discussed with your vet first before you take any drastic action.
Finally, it is worth noting that rabbits, the same as humans, prefer to do their business in a private and sanitary area. If your rabbit isn’t defecating “enough” and their living area is filthy, that may be why and it should be a sign that the space needs to be cleaned.
Now let’s apply the same type and frequency analysis for defecation to urination. As stated, your rabbit should be urinating between two to eight times during the day, though this will vary depending on how much they drink.
That said, if they aren’t urinating at all, it’s a problem and it may be down to stress. While urinating out of fear is a common fight or flight response, rabbits actually do the opposite and sometimes stop urinating altogether if they are sufficiently stressed.
Some problem signs to watch out for include:
- Your rabbit urinating much more or less than normal while their water intake remains the same
- Your rabbit whimpering or otherwise appearing in distress or pain while peeing or afterwards
- Your rabbit’s urine appearing cloudy or being filled with sludgy material
- Your rabbit’s urine having blood in it
It’s important to note on that last point, however, that bloody urine is different from red urine, which is actually potentially fine. Beetroot can cause your rabbit’s urine to turn red and still be completely healthy. That goes for other urinary colors that we would typically consider strange. Rabbit urine can potentially be tinged with white, orange, yellow, brown, and even purple (yes, really!).
Some tips to improve your rabbit’s urinary health include:
- Making sure that they are properly hydrated
- Making sure that their water is clean
- Reducing their amount of stress
- Ensuring that they get enough hay to eat
- Giving them regular exercise
- Avoiding calcium, as this can cause sludgy urine
Rabbits Pooping Everywhere
Is your rabbit pooping where it sleeps? Is it spoiling your bed or carpet, or else is pooping in other inconvenient places? Does it seem to be pooping everywhere?
If so, fear not. Your rabbit isn’t alone there. While rabbits prefer to relieve themselves in areas that are clean, they don’t always think ahead properly and can indeed poop and pee where they sleep. The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to confront this issue.
For one thing, because rabbits prefer to poop in cleaner areas, the very fact that they’re doing so where they sleep may mean that they feel they don’t have anywhere else clean enough to poop. If that’s the case, it’s another sign you should really clean the area near your rabbit.
Another important step to take is getting a litter box. This will provide your rabbit with a clean place to poop while also making it easier for you to pick up and dump out their droppings, rather than them being scattered all over the home. Of course, if you don’t regularly clean out the litter box, it will simply start the same issue all over again, so be vigilant on that front.
Training your rabbit to use the litter box may take time. They may pee and poop next to the box, and they may not wish to share it with other rabbits. The latter point is due to odor. Your rabbit may consider another rabbit’s odor strange or simply reject it as not their own. Since rabbits experience the world in large part via their sense of smell, this is a big deal for them. As such, if you have more than one rabbit, you may need more than one litter box. Finally, you’ll want to instill good litter box habits in your rabbits by giving them small treats when first training them to use it.
Your rabbit’s bathroom habits may not be the most exciting part of your pet ownership experience, but making sure that they have regular and healthy bowel movements and urination is essential to their health and happiness.