If you have recently adopted a rabbit, then one of your initial concerns and realizations is that they need to be regularly cleaned. But how often do you need to clean the cage and what is recommended for both hygiene and sanitary purposes? I spent some time researching to find out the optimal schedule that any rabbit owner should know and be looking to follow.
So, how often should you clean a rabbit cage? A rabbit cage should be spot cleaned daily; this involves removing uneaten foods, washing out food bowls, water bottles, and spot cleaning messes. Once a week, it’s essential that you do a thorough deep-clean of the cage – which involved removing your rabbit disinfecting the cage, and fully replacing bedding.
Thankfully, the small and regular daily cleanings will make the whole process easier.
Cleaning your rabbit’s cage might be one of the downsides of pet ownership, but it’s unavoidable nonetheless.
Any responsible rabbit owner understands that cleaning their cage goes a long way to ensuring their health and vitality. Besides it is where they live and spend most of their time after all.
If you stick to a regular schedule, it makes it less of a chore when the time does come around. Plus, you’ll get into a routine that makes it easier for everyone!
Daily spot cleaning also comes with the added benefit that you can monitor your rabbit’s feces and urine output. Any changes may indicate a potential health issue with your rabbit; meaning you can detect them faster and get them the treatment they need sooner.
If you were to see any changes, you can quickly take the necessary steps in getting any veterinary care that may be required.
Let us now take a closer look at the cleaning requirements of rabbits; including the specifics of cage cleaning and how often to clean the litter box.
We will also be looking at what could happen if you chose to neglect this aspect of their care and some practical approaches to keeping the cage clean. These will help save you time and make the process all that much easier.
So, be sure to keep on reading to the end to get all the information on cleaning that you need!
How Often Should Rabbits Cages Be Cleaned Out?
A rabbit’s cage should be spot cleaned cleaned daily; although these a small tasks. A more thorough clean should be conducted once per week.
You should find that the small jobs that you carry out every day will make it easier for when it is time to deep clean the cage; not to mention it keeps it looking and smelling fresh.
These small daily jobs include:
- Removing leftover fresh foods from the cage. You must do this once in the morning and once at night. You should also wash out the food bowls.
- Wash the water bottle; a bottle brush will help to make this task effortless. This is a great and cheap one to buy on Amazon. You should be sure to refill the water bottle when you’re done. Rabbits need access to water at all times.
- Spot-clean messes like urine clumps and water spills that always fall outside of the litter box. Replenish these areas with fresh bedding or hay as necessary.
- Remove wet or soiled litter with a scoop and add more litter as needed.
It helps to pick a day during the week to perform a more thorough clean of the cage, such as a Sunday.
These weekly jobs include:
- Removing all toys and accessories from the cage and washing them using soap and warm water.
- Removing and washing all fabric bedding and replacing it with clean bedding.
- Wiping down the cage with a hot water and vinegar solution as this removes stubborn urine residue.
- Disinfect the habitat, but make sure to rinse it thoroughly. A bleach solution of 10 parts water to one part bleach can clean the cage and other necessities.
- Let the cage and the essentials soak in the solution for about half an hour, and rinse everything well. On a side note, if your rabbit’s cage is wooden, make sure it’s well sealed, as disinfectant cleaners are unsuitable for unsealed wood.
How Often Must You Clean Your Rabbit Litter Box?
It comes strongly advised to check and spot clean your rabbits litter box everyday. This keeps the litter box clean and fresh, but it’s also an excellent way of monitoring your pet’s feces and urine output. Any changes could indicate a health issue with your bunny.
For a thorough litter box cleaning and replenishing, a lot depends on the amount and type of litter you use.
You might need to clean out the litter box daily if you only use a shallow layer of litter.
If you use more litter, you should need to completely change the litter less often.
One of the best approaches is to simply scoop out mess as you see it during a spot clean.
Let’s look at different types of litter and factors to consider when cleaning out the litter box:
- Newspaper: must be changed more frequently than commercial litters. Shredded newspaper isn’t very absorbent, so it will stink much sooner than other choices. Whether you use lots of shredded newspaper or not in the litter box is irrelevant, you must change the box every two days.
- Paper pulp pellets: need to be changed less frequently than newspaper. Many vets recommend paper pulp pellets, particularly when learning how to litter train a rabbit. You can change this type of litter every three to four days.
- Wood Fiber Pellets are the densest litter choice. It’s the safest option, but you may also need to change it every three to four days.
- Food Grade Paper Bedding is the best litter option available. It’s super odor-fighting, which means less frequent changes, once a week at most. It’s also soft and virtually dust-free.
Other factors to consider:
- Larger rabbits eat more, so their litter boxes will need more frequent cleaning than smaller rabbits.
- Sick rabbits may have diarrhea (which will need veterinary attention) which also means the litter must be changed out at least once a day. Frequent cleaning will help your rabbit to feel more comfortable until he is feeling better.
What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Rabbit’s Cage?
The answer to this question doesn’t bear thinking about, considering the foul smell alone should make you want to clean their enclosure this minute.
If you don’t clean your rabbit’s cage, it will stink, first and foremost.
Food scraps will rot, and your rabbit might end up eating the rotten food along with fresh food and get very sick.
If you don’t spot clean the urine and water spills, those messes will make conditions very smelly, damp, and uncomfortable for your pet.
The cage floor will be covered in feces; your pet may confuse it with food and eat it.
The result won’t be good for your bunny.
Responsible rabbit ownership involves daily spot-cleaning, with weekly deep-cleaning.
If you neglect either, you will end up with a very sick, malnourished rabbit; they might even suffer with impaction. Your neglect can be fatal for your pet.
How Do I Keep My Rabbit’s Cage Clean?
Keeping your rabbit’s cage clean is not the most enjoyable aspect of ownership, and it’s highly involved.
Let’s discuss in better detail how to keep a rabbit cage clean:
These are the tasks you should look to complete, daily:
Remove Leftover Food Scraps
This prevents bacterial growth that could harm your rabbit’s health.
Also, remove feces, fur, or urine from your pet’s dish. Wash the food dish in soapy, hot water or your dishwasher.
Dry the dish thoroughly before using it again, as this prevents the development of harmful bacteria. Refill your rabbit’s food as required, providing just enough to prevent hunger.
Refresh The Water Bottle
As rabbit’s need access to fresh water each day for optimum health.
You can refill it every day and wash it at least once a week in soapy hot water.
Scoop The Litter Area
As rabbits tend to do their business in one corner of their habitats.
Remove any soiled hay or litter daily and replace all of the litter at least once a week.
This stops bad odors from permeating throughout your home, and it reduces the risk of infection from the bacterial pileup.
Wipe any soiled walls or floors with disinfectant or a water and vinegar solution. Let the enclosure dry completely before replacing any bedding, toys, or dishes.
Place Your Rabbit In A Separate, Safe Space
If you must remove and replace the entire bedding.
Look to place your rabbit in a quiet, comfortable, open yet contained area. Getting a playpen like this Amazon bestseller comes strongly advised. It makes cleaning effortless and gives your rabbit a chance to stretch their legs safely while you clean.
Use The Right Materials
Ensure you only use pelleted litter, hay, or old newspaper as litter, as they are the safest options.
Never use cedar shavings or pine as they can cause illnesses.
Do not remove moist and large droppings behind as these could be cecotropes. These are pellets that your rabbit must eat to maintain bowel health.
Discard old, moldy, and chewed-up toys and replace them with new ones.
Sweep And Clean The Enclosure Area
As rabbits can be very messy. Bunnies tend to kick food, bedding, and litter out of their habitat.
Weekly cleaning requires more time and effort, but it makes an enormous difference in the well-being of your pet, and the environment of your home:
Gather All Your Cleaning Supplies
When deep-cleaning the cage. Having the right essentials on hand can only help the cleaning process. You will need:
- Cleaner or a solution of four parts water one part vinegar
- Trash bag
- Paper towels
- Broom and dustpan
- New toys
Place Your Rabbit In A Separate, Safe Space
This will allow you to deep clean the enclosure without upsetting your pet and exposing them to harmful chemicals.
You can offer your rabbit a lettuce leaf or food pellet to keep them occupied as you clean.
Empty Out The Cage Of Every Item
Before you start cleaning.
Throw away unwanted and dirty items into a trash bag.
Empty the water bottle into the sink. Anything you plan to keep, set aside until you are ready to clean these items.
Wash Down The Habitat’s Walls With A Mixture Of Vinegar And Water
You can also use disinfectant, although some brands and products can be toxic to pets so you need to be careful.
Be sure to wash the floor and ceiling in addition to the walls.
Be sure to scrub all stains until they are gone completely and allow the cage to dry before replacing any items.
Wash The Food Dish
At least once per week to prevent your rabbit from getting sick.
Check if there are any chips or other defects that may potentially harm your bunny. Wash the dish in soapy hot water or put it in the dishwasher.
Make sure the bowl is dry before refilling it.
Sterilize The Water Bottle
Wash it in soapy, hot water, or your dishwasher. When you’re done, boil it in a separate pot and allow the bottle to dry completely.
Refill the bottle and check to see if there are any defects.
Soak The Litter Tray
In a vinegar and water solution and disinfect it to remove stains.
Start by wiping the litter tray before soaking it. Let the tray dry thoroughly to prevent bacterial growth.
Refill the tray with fresh litter.
Wash Any Blankets, Sheets, Or Other Bedding Material
In your washer; make sure it’s on the hot cycle.
Use a sensitive detergent for your rabbit’s sensitive skin.
Make sure the bedding is dry before returning it to your rabbit.
Disinfect and replace your pet’s toys also.
Clean Around The Outside Of The Cage
As bunnies can be messy in areas outside of their cage.
Wipe down soiled spots on walls and floors and vacuum the general area to remove lingering bacteria.
Return Your Rabbit
To the cage when you have completed your cage cleaning duties. Be sure to offer them a nice welcome home by offering them a treat.
So, daily spot cleaning and weekly deep-cleaning are best practices when owning a rabbit. While this may seem like a lot of effort, it’s essential for their health and wellbeing.
A clean living space matters enormously. Besides, it will benefit your home too.
Just don’t get confused with cleaning the cage with cleaning your rabbit. Rabbits don’t typically need bathing.
But they do need sufficiently large living spaces. Even if this does cost a little more and require increased cleaning.
At the same time, access to a playpen is going to help enormously when cleaning time does come around.
Beyond this, you should also ensure that any habitat floor is comfortable; meshed wire will hurt your rabbit’s hocks.
At the same time, outdoor hutches can be dangerous and expose your bunny to predators and temperatures that are unhealthy for them. Unless you take the appropriate precautions.
Ultimately, caring for your rabbit does require some upfront thought and consideration.
It all starts with regular cleaning, but it should, in reality, be much more than that.
Besides, we want our rabbits to live long, happy, and healthy lives.
How Often Should You Change Rabbits Hay?
A rabbit’s hay should be refreshed twice per day, and completely changed once per week if you are keeping one rabbit, or twice if you are keeping two rabbits. Ultimately, it is important that your rabbits are eating their body size in hay each day. Some hay will naturally be wasted as rabbits can be picky on the type and freshness of the hay they choose to eat.
Do Rabbits Need A Bed In Their Cage?
Rabbits do not need a bed in their cage, although they do need a separate and private sleeping area. This should be made comfortable with the use of appropriate bedding. It is advised that such bedding be changed routinely to keep the cage smelling fresh and to remain hygienic. Weekly (or more regularly if the rabbit urinates outside of its litter box) is advised.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.