There’s nothing worse than picking up your pet rabbit for a cuddle and then feeling that tell-tale warmth spreading as it empties its bladder onto your lap. Like all pets, rabbits can occasionally have accidents, and those accidents will sometimes happen in the most inconvenient places.
However, if your rabbit is peeing on you often, you might wonder what’s causing it. Read on to find five potential reasons for this behavior and what you can do to stop it.
The 5 Possible Reasons Why Rabbit is Peeing on You
1. Fear or Trauma
Rabbits are prey animals, so they scare easily. This is especially true if they’ve been poorly socialized with humans or other animals. It may be that your rabbit needs a bit more time to warm up to the idea of you holding it.
Tied to fear is trauma. For example, your rabbit may have had a bad experience while being held in the past, which makes it terrified of being held and more likely to let its bladder empty.
2. Bad Timing
Sometimes even the bravest and most socialized rabbits will have an accident while being held. This isn’t anything against you, but more so bad timing on your part.
3. Not Litter Trained
Did you know that rabbits can be litter trained? It’s true, and if yours hasn’t been properly trained to eliminate in a specific spot, it could be peeing on you because it thinks it can go wherever and whenever it wants. Therefore, it’s important to litter train your pet as early as possible so it can learn where it is and isn’t appropriate to eliminate.
4. Medical Problems
A medical problem may be to blame for your rabbit’s inappropriate urination.
Rabbits can develop urinary incontinence just like humans. A loss of bladder tone or an obstruction can cause this. This is most common in rabbits between three and five years old, though it isn’t unheard of for it to occur in younger or older rabbits. If this is the case with your pet, you may also notice skin burns or irritation around its genital area because of urine leakage.
Rabbits can also develop urinary tract infections. These are most common in rabbits with underlying factors that make them susceptible, such as a poor immune system. Obese rabbits and those that don’t get adequate nutrition are also at risk. Other signs of such infections include blood in the urine, frequent urination, skin scalding, and thick beige urine.
Rabbits are social and territorial species that sometimes use urine spraying to mark their territory or as a form of scent communication. This behavior is most often seen in unneutered males. They sometimes spray onto their companion rabbits or even you as part of a courtship ritual. While this behavior is totally normal and natural, it can be eliminated or reduced by neutering your pet.
How Can I Stop My Rabbit From Peeing on Me?
Before you can work towards stopping your rabbit from peeing on you, you must determine why it’s happening in the first place.
If it’s because it’s afraid of you or has past trauma of being held, give it space. Sometimes rabbits just need extra time to warm up to you and the idea of being held. That doesn’t mean you’ll never get to bond closely with your pet; it just means you must take things a little slower and establish trust before you try to hold your rabbit.
If it’s peeing on you accidentally, it’s likely because it hasn’t been litter trained. Luckily, this is a relatively easy fix. Rabbits prefer eliminating in one or a few places, so they often respond well to housetraining.
If other signs of illness accompany your pet’s inappropriate urination, a visit to the vet is in order. For urinary tract infections, vets often recommend antibiotics, increased water consumption, and dietary modifications. Your vet will need to determine the cause for something like urinary incontinence before providing treatment options. Fluid therapy is often recommended if the problem is due to high calcium levels. If there is a neurological condition to blame, your vet can try to treat it to see if it helps with the incontinence.
Neutering your rabbit can be beneficial if it’s spraying on you. In addition, this procedure will eliminate the risk of testicular cancers and potentially make your rabbit less aggressive.
Rabbits will pee on their owners for a multitude of reasons. So don’t spend too much time fretting about it if it’s a one-off behavior. If your rabbit pees on you every time you try to hold it, some investigation is required. Once you can determine why this is happening, you can start taking steps to prevent it from occurring in the future and start enjoying your bunny’s snuggles again.
Featured Image Credit: saharat wannalad, Shutterstock