I keep hearing this question from friends and family when I tell them I’ve adopted a house rabbit: Don’t rabbits smell bad?!? Or they tell me stories about a friend of a friend who had a rabbit that reeked. The short answer to the question is: NO! Rabbits do not smell bad. Any animal (humans included) can smell bad if they aren’t properly cared for. Even my husband, who isn’t crazy about animals or pets, says that my rabbit does not smell bad. That’s a pretty huge endorsement.
Here’s why Gus, and other house rabbits, don’t smell. First, he’s neutered. He doesn’t feel the need to mark his territory. Second, he uses his litter box very well. It’s not hard to litter train a rabbit. If you put their hay into the litter box, they will naturally use it. Gus uses his litter box 95% of the time. The other 5% are accidents if he gets too far away from the box and can’t make it back in time. I clean these messes up immediately. I didn’t have to do any other work to make him litter trained other than put the hay into the box. Lastly, he eats a high quality diet. He has a bowl of fresh leafy green vegetables every night, Oxbow pellets in the morning, and unlimited access to timothy hay during the day. He only gets a couple bits of carrots, bananas, etc. as a treats once per day. It makes sense, what goes in, must come out – if you feed a rabbit junk, it will come out smelling bad.
So yes, if you do not take care of your bunny, he will smell bad, just as any pet. But with some proper care, good food, and an absorbent litter, there should be absolutely no smell.