Why does my rabbit pee on my bed?
That was my question after I discovered a suspicious puddle in my bed and my bunny was the main suspect.
Fortunately, you don't have to get used to waking in a wet bed and can resolve this behavior when you know why.
So, keep reading to find out more about this and how reusable cage liners for rabbits can help.
- It's not normal for healthy pet rabbits to pee outside their litter box, but it's normal for domestic rabbits to mark their territory by spraying urine.
- A wide range of medical conditions can make your bunny pee on your bed, so you should seek veterinary advice.
- Provide enough clean litter boxes and restrict bed access to prevent your bunny from soiling your bed.
Is It Normal for Rabbits to Pee All Over the House?
Before explaining why your bunny has developed the bad habit of soiling your bed sheets, let's talk about how normal such behavior is.
Rabbits are prey animals with many natural enemies in the wild that can track them by scent. That's why bunnies avoid soiling their burrows for fear of attracting predators.
Moreover, rabbits prefer to urinate/defecate in the same spot, which makes it easy to train them to use a litter box and keep the cage clean.
So, it's not normal for litter-trained rabbits to start peeing on your bed or outside their litter tray. It's a sign that something is going on with your bunny.
Still, many house rabbits pee on beds, floors, carpets, etc. So, it's not an uncommon problem for rabbit owners. But let's unravel why rabbits avoid their litter tray.
11 Reasons Why Rabbits Pee on Beds
So, why does my rabbit pee on my bed? Rabbits pee on beds and other soft surfaces for many medical and physiological reasons, such as illnesses, stress, anxiety, or dominance.
It's vital to observe your bunny to notice any deviation from their usual behavior, which will help you narrow down the cause from these ten common ones.
#1 Normal Marking Behavior
First, some owners confuse urination with spraying. Spraying is the deliberate release of urine on vertical surfaces, while urination occurs on horizontal surfaces.
As an expert from Vet Help Direct explains, "Urine spraying is a perfectly normal and natural behaviour in rabbits." (1)
Both male and female rabbits spray to mark territory, attract sexual partners, show dominance, or communicate with one another.
So, it's normal for an unneutered rabbit to spray your bed to mark it as part of its territory. It stinks and can be a nightmare to get rid of the urine stains, but it's not a reason for worry.
However, large puddles of urine are probably inappropriate urination and require further investigation from your vet.
#2 Underlying Medical Conditions
I was stunned when my 2-year-old bunny started having accidents on my bedsheets. At first, I thought it was a call for attention, but I got pretty scared when I found blood in the urine.
So, peeing outside the litter tray can be a sign that something is wrong with your bunny's health. And you should contact your vet, especially if you notice other worrisome symptoms.
Here's what to consider:
- Is your bunny peeing more than usual? Frequent urination can be a sign of diabetes, urinary tract infection, bladder stones, etc.
- Does the urine smell worse than usual? Rabbit pee is quite stinky, but an extremely foul odor can indicate infection or kidney problems.
- Is the urine sludgy? A bladder sludge shows that your rabbit has too much calcium in its diet and requires a catheter to flush the blockage.
- Seasonal hormone changes can also cause urinary incontinence or increase marking behavior.
- Urine color can vary, but dark brown or red can indicate an underlying medical issue.
A bunny can urinate on the bed out of fear, especially if there are loud noises, other animals, or strangers in the house.
Think about urinating in these circumstances as your rabbit's last line of defense when all other options are exhausted.
Other signs of stress include tense muscles, flattened ears, rapid breathing, and dilated pupils.
It's vital to resolve the problem because even mild stress can lead to health problems and death, according to studies. (2)
#4 Dirty Litter Box
Have you cleaned your bunny's litter tray recently? Rabbits are clean animals and won't use a dirty box to do their business.
More importantly, adult rabbits can avoid urinating for long periods when their toilet box is dirty. And that puts your fur ball at risk of developing urinary incontinence.
A dirty litter box can also be a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and foul odors. So, it's vital to keep it as clean as possible to prevent bad behavior, such as peeing on the bed.
Baby bunnies have small bladder capacity and may not reach the litter box in time. On the other hand, senior rabbits may avoid the litter tray if it has high sides.
In either case, your bed seems like a suitable alternative to your rabbit because it's soft, clean, and easy to access.
#6 Wrong Litter Box Location
Speaking of easy access, think about your bunny's toilet box location. If it's in a loud place or a spot other pets use, your fluffy friend will be reluctant to use it and look for alternatives.
The best way to determine the right location is to see which parts of the room or hutch your rabbit likes to use as a bathroom. And then place the toilet box there.
#7 Not Enough Litter Boxes
According to PetMD, you should have at least two litter boxes - one in the enclosure and one in the free-roaming room. (3)
But from my experience with rabbits and cats, the more toilet boxes, the better.
Your bunny won't hold it and wait for the other rabbit to finish its business. Instead, your fluffy ball looks for an alternative spot to use, such as your bed.
I thought that only dogs pee when they're excited. However, some rabbits can also urinate when overly excited, especially if they're older and have weak bladder control.
Rabbits don't have many ways to attract your attention when they want something. After all, they can't bark or meow.
Peeing on the bed can be a way for your bunny to communicate that it's lonely, sick, bored, or hungry. An annoyed bunny can also pee on the bed to demand more attention.
#10 Your Bunny Is Mean
I don't think bunnies pee on the bed because they're mad at you. However, sudden changes in the house can stress your pet and make them feel more territorial than usual.
And while bunnies can be sweet and lovely, they can also be mean at times, especially if they come from abusive homes.
#11 Dominant Behavior
Rabbits are not only territorial animals. They can be pretty dominant and use urine to establish their domination over family members.
Since your bed is a place you use frequently, urine marking is how your bunny says he/she is the dominant one in the relationship.
Now, let's talk about how to stop your bunny from peeing on the bed and help it develop healthy toilet habits.
How to Stop Your Rabbits from Peeing
It's vital to stop your bunny from peeing on your bed before it turns into a habit. So, once you've ruled out a medical condition, here are several tips to help you:
- Fix your animal. Spaying/neutering your bunny can reduce territorial behavior and marking. According to experts from VCA, it also makes your pet's litter box habits more predictable. (4)
- Block the access to your bed. Don't allow your bunny to stay on your bed until it loses interest in peeing on it.
- Place a plastic cover on the bed. It will make cleaning easy if there's an accident. I also use Luftpets cage liners to protect my floors and carpets from rabbit urine.
- Reduce stress and anxiety. Keep the home environment calm, and avoid handling your bunny too much.
- Start litter training as soon as possible. Use only positive reinforcement and avoid physical punishments. Watch the video below for more information.
- Provide extra litter boxes around the house and in the cage. Make sure you have enough bunny toys to keep your rabbit happy.
- Make your bed an unattractive location. You can use scents that bunnies hate to keep your pet away.
- Clean the accident as soon as possible with enzyme cleaners to remove the unpleasant odors.
1. Do rabbits pee where they sleep?
Rabbits are clean animals and avoid peeing or defecating in the area they sleep and eat.
2. Why is my rabbit peeing while lying down?
Some rabbits may pee lying down if they have problems with bladder control due to an underlying medical condition.
3. Why is my bunny suddenly peeing everywhere?
Rabbits pee everywhere when they have urinary tract infections, bladder stones, kidney infections, and other underlying medical problems.
Why does my rabbit pee on my bed? It's normal for intact bunnies to spray around the house to make their territory. However, inappropriate urination on the bed can indicate boredom, stress, or disease.
You should consult a vet to determine whether the problem is medical or behavioral. In the meantime, you can put some plastic sheets to keep your bed pee-free.
What do you think about rabbits peeing on beds? Has your bunny ever peed on something of yours? Tell us your story in the comment section.
1. Why does my rabbit spray urine? [Internet]. Vet Help Direct. 2022 [cited 2023 Dec 7]. Available from: https://vethelpdirect.com/vetblog/2022/08/20/why-does-my-rabbit-spray-urine/
2. Feng Y, Fan H, Liang X, Wang X, Gao G, Gun S. Environmental enrichment changes rabbits’ behavior, serum hormone level and further affects cecal microbiota. PeerJ. 2022;10:e13068.
3. How to Litter Train Your Rabbit [Internet]. www.petmd.com. [cited 2023 Dec 7]. Available from: https://www.petmd.com/rabbit/how-litter-train-your-rabbit
4. Spaying in Rabbits [Internet]. vca_corporate. Available from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/spaying-in-rabbits