Rabbits are delicate creatures that are more prone to certain health conditions than bigger pets. It can be alarming when they start sneezing out of nowhere, but there’s always a reason. To help you find out why your beloved bunny might be sneezing so much we’ve put together an informational list.
The 6 Reasons Your Rabbit is Sneezing
1. Respiratory Infection
Bunnies are vulnerable to a bacterial infection called Pasteurella, also known as “snuffles”, which presents as a ton of sneezing and noisy breathing. Many rabbits carry the bacteria that causes it, but some are more susceptible to it than others. There are several other common signs that accompany sneezing, though, so let’s take a brief look at those.
If you suspect your bunny has Pasteurella, you should immediately take them to the vet. They’ll be able to advise you on your best course of action, which is usually antibiotics. Depending on the disease’s progression, your bunny may need antibiotics for a long period of time.
2. Dust & Allergies
Bunny noses get irritated very easily, and regular old dust can cause sneezing fits. Cleaning your rabbit’s habitat can help, as well as investing in a high-quality vacuum with a HEPA-rated filter to suck up more dust. Allergies also cause a runny nose, itchy eyes, and eye redness. Some bunnies are more sensitive than others to dust, and in some cases, just a little can trigger sneezing. Choose your bedding material carefully; substrates like wood shavings and some straw will release more particles into the air and trigger sneezing. The best way to check if the bedding material is suitable is to stir it up with your hand and see how much dust is released; if it makes you sneeze, it will do the same to your rabbit!
3. Strong Scents
Do you wear perfume, burn incense, or use strong scents in your house? Using strongly scented air fresheners around your bunnies can make them sneeze. Rabbits aren’t used to such strong odors, and it can irritate their delicate little noses.
In fact, very strong odors can cause most of the same symptoms as dust allergies, like red eyes. You’ll notice a distinct lack of mucus, though, which sets this apart from a full-blown illness. You might want to go easy on the scents around the house if your bunny is going to be freely roaming around, or perhaps you could try to neutralize odors with more neutral cleaning agents like baking soda.
4. Smoke & Fumes
Smoking, vaping, and even just cooking in your home can generate unpleasant fumes that bunnies don’t care for. It should go without saying, but you shouldn’t smoke or vape around bunnies. However, even cooking in an unventilated area can make smoke that’s similarly irritating. Lastly, smoke from charcoal grills or the fireplace can be harmful to your rabbit and other pets too.
5. Soiled Bedding or Litter
Rabbits are fairly clean critters, and they require clean habitats to live. Over time, their waste can create unpleasant ammonia odors that build up and can make them sneeze. You should be removing uneaten food and any soiled bedding and litter every day, with a full changeover of bedding on at least a weekly basis, depending on the size of their habitat. Owning more than one rabbit will call for more frequent upkeep, so keep that in mind to prevent your pet from sneezing due to soiled living conditions.
6. Dental Problems
Surprisingly, problems with a rabbit’s teeth or gums can cause sneezing because the nasal passages are connected to a bunny’s mouth. Older rabbits are more at risk of developing painful and inflamed molar issues. Dental issues can be hard to check for, but a dwindling appetite or excessive salivation are obvious signs.
Rabbits sneeze for a lot of reasons, from simple dust allergies to severe respiratory illness. The best way to stop your bunny from sneezing and potentially getting ill is to stay on top of regular cleaning and avoid using anything with strong odors around your house.
Featured Image Credit: Thurid_with_th, Shutterstock