One look at a bunny’s sweet, gentle face is enough to melt your heart. And because they’re so cute and affectionate, a pet rabbit brings such great joy to their humans. But owning a pet entails some responsibilities to ensure that they remain healthy and happy. Aside from providing them with nutritious food, you’ll have to make sure they have a safe and well-kept living area. That involves cleaning your rabbit’s cage regularly.
We get it. It’s a dull, tedious chore, and no one can blame you if you hate doing it. But because keeping your rabbit’s cage clean is vital for their health, we’re giving you some tips to make it less of a burden.
How Often Do You Need to Clean Your Rabbit’s Cage?
There are no set rules on how often you need to clean your rabbit’s hutch or pen but regularly taking care of your pet’s mess is generally easier than tackling a load of accumulated dirt in one go.
It’s tempting to forego regular cleaning but consider this. If you don’t clean your rabbit’s cage, it will stink, and you’ll hate smelling the stench.
Leaving the chore for another day also allows your pet’s poop and pee to accumulate, and your bunny could get dirty in their own waste.
As such, it’s best to stick to a schedule and do the tasks on a daily or weekly basis.
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Keeping Your Rabbit’s Hutch Clean
Daily Rabbit Cage Cleaning
This involves tasks you should aim to complete every day.
Remove leftover food
Taking out the food your pet left behind prevents bacterial growth, which causes food to rot. Regularly clearing away left-over food prevents your rabbit from eating it along with the fresh food you provide.
After getting rid of the remains of your pet’s meal, use hot soapy water to clean the bowl. Dry the food dish thoroughly after washing to prevent harmful bacteria from developing on the bowl’s surface. We recommend either these plastic bowls or these stainless steel bowls. (If your bunny likes his food dish inside the litter box, as many do, a plastic dish fits nicely in one corner.)
Refill the water bottle or dish
Whether you use a bottle or a dish, your bun needs access to fresh water at all times, so don’t forget to clean the water area well. A bottle brush or sponge will make the task easier.
You can simply rinse the dish or bottle with water daily and wash it in soapy water once a week.
Clean the litter area
Rabbit litter boxes are so different from cat litter boxes. Where you might be able to ‘scoop’ out a cat box, a rabbit box doesn’t offer the same luxury. Depending on the litter you use, it might be a daily or every other day task of changing out litter. Toilet-trained rabbits will sometimes poop and pee in one corner of their litter box. If that’s the case for yours, simply scoop out the soiled litter in that area once a day to prevent foul odors from stinking up the whole house.
But if you aren’t so lucky, then you’ll need to dump the soiled litter and add fresh litter every day. The good news here is that changing the dirty litter minimizes the risk of infection caused by the bacteria in the soiled litter. See below for recommendations on litter varieties.
Spot-clean small messes
Wipe water and urine spills daily. Use disinfectant or a water and vinegar solution to clean the walls and floors of the hutch. Let the area dry thoroughly before putting back beddings, dishes, or toys.
Weekly Rabbit Cage Cleaning
These tasks require more effort, so pick a day where you can allot more time to cleaning your rabbit hutch.
Deep clean and disinfect your rabbit’s cage
You’ll need to take your pet out of the hutch and place him or her into a temporary pen before doing this task. When your rabbit is someplace safe and comfortable, take out the toys, accessories, and bedding from the cage. Wash them with soap and water.
Wipe down the cage with hot water. Vinegar works well in removing stubborn urine deposits and getting rid of the unpleasant smell.
Disinfect the cage with a mild disinfecting solution. This ensures that germs and bacteria don’t get a chance to multiply and cause harm to your pet. Let the pen soak in the solution for about 30 minutes, then rinse it well with plenty of water.
Wash the bowl and water bottle
Even if you clean your pet’s food bowl and water bottle daily, giving them a thorough washing once a week is still a must.
A quick run through a hot dishwasher should do it.
Thoroughly clean the litter box
You may already be replacing litter in the soiled area of your rabbit’s cage daily. But once a week you’ll need to do a deep clean. An outside hose is the quickest way I’ve found to do this – simply use a sponge to scrub it well. Then let it dry and refill it with the litter!
What Should You Put on the Bottom of Your Rabbit Cage?
No matter how toilet-trained your rabbit is, he or she will make a mess. That’s why you need to put something on the bottom of their cage to contain the mess. However, make sure that the material you use won’t harm your pet.
Here are some great options:
- Foam floor squares – if you like the idea of a bunny pen, then these squares will come in very handy. They interlock and they’re wipeable so they’re a great option for 1. protecting your flooring and 2. sweeping and cleaning them are a breeze.
- Old blankets or towels – this would be a distant second choice. Blankets and towels are great for being soft, but they can get saturated. And they don’t lay flat all the time. One bunny hopping around will easily wrinkle and pull it up.
Pro Tips to Make Cleaning Your Rabbit Cage Easier
- The hard material that clings to your pet’s cage or litter box is calcium salts that form from rabbit urine. Vinegar works wonders with these stubborn deposits. Spraying the litter pans and the soiled areas of the cage with vinegar will dissolve the calcium salts and makes cleaning more manageable.
- Absorbent bedding makes cleaning your rabbit cage easier because they contain more of the spills and mess your pet makes. Invest in two sets for your rabbit cage. See below for a recommendation.
- Having your rabbit spayed or neutered usually lessens their urge to mark their territory with urine sprays, which helps keep their cage cleaner.
Cleaning your rabbit’s cage may take some effort but making it your top priority shows how much your pet means to you.
Plastic dishes – something formed so it doesn’t tip easily
Stainless steel dishes – more expensive but great for keeping bacteria away
Bottle brush – for thoroughly cleaning the water bottle
Litter box – a small or medium plastic one is perfect
Pelleted litter / bedding – this type of litter works wonderfully for rabbits. The small pellets expand when they get wet and, best of all, they absorb odors AND it’s cheaper than othe bedding material.
Rabbit enclosure / pen – this type has a door also, which is great for easily letting your rabbit in and out
Foam floor squares – these durable, wipeable squares are perfect for creating a bunny pen
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