My family and I recently adopted a Rex rabbit named Ponyo.
He free-roams in our house, which worked out wonderfully until we introduced him to our new Labrador, Wally. A week later, Ponyo started peeing on our bed, which is very out of character for him and frustrating for my husband and me.
So why was my bunny peeing on my bed, and what could I do about it? There are numerous reasons for rabbits peeing on your bed. Stress, heightened emotions, laziness, and being territorial or spiteful are a few of them. In some cases, it’s not a real cause for concern. Figuring out why your rabbit is suddenly peeing on your bed will help you determine the cause and how to stop it. You might need to re-litter train, take steps to calm your bun down, or it might be a medical situation that requires immediate veterinary attention.
I didn’t want to move Ponyo back outside, so I contacted a local breeder to find out what could cause this sudden change in his behavior and how to stop it.
5 Reasons Why Rabbits Pee on Your Bed
Rabbits are highly intelligent little animals. However, they also have strong personalities. There are many reasons why rabbits pee on your bed, and not all of them have to do with bad behavior.
1. Stress or Anxiety
Just like us, rabbits do get stressed and feel anxious at times. They’re sensitive towards their environment and surroundings since they’re prey animals. So, if your bunny feels anxious or stressed, you’ll notice them suddenly freeze (wherever they are) and start peeing.
Unfortunately, this is how a rabbit responds to fear, and it can be difficult for them to control the urge to “evacuate” in the moment. You’ll know if your bunny’s reaction is because they’re anxious if they show the following signs:
- Ears flattened against their head
- Rapid breathing
- Dilated pupils
- Tense muscles
2. Medical Issues and Disabilities
One of the first signs that your floppy-eared friend is sick is when they suddenly start urinating more than usual and in inappropriate places (like your freshly made bed). When a rabbit is sick, they generally have poor bladder control.
Here’s a look at a few common medical issues and disabilities that can cause your bun to pee on your bed:
- Urinary incontinence in unsterilized rabbits due to a hormone imbalance.
- Loss of bladder tone comes with age, and senior rabbits have difficulty controlling their bladders.
- Partial paralysis can make it difficult for your bun to get off the bed in time when they need to urinate.
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can result in frequent and painful urination.
- Diabetes causes your bun to drink more water, which results in more urinating.
- Development of bladder stones and sludge.
- Osteoarthritis can make it very painful for a rabbit to move around (never mind jump off a bed).
- Kidney disease can cause urine scald dermatitis, which results in frequent (and uncontrollable) urination.
3. They’re In a Bad Mood or Jealous
Bunnies like to express their feelings, whether they’re feeling happy or sad. You’ll know if your bun is in a bad mood by the way they act out. Yes, they have ways of acting out to show their frustration or irritation, and peeing in a place they know you don’t appreciate is their way of getting back at you.
Rabbits are capable of being spiteful, and they usually react this way if you ignore them or have the scent of another pet on you (which triggers jealousy). Along with the peeing on your bed, your bun might:
- Ignore you back, hide from you, and avoid you.
- Thump the ground and grunt or growl at you to show irritation.
4. Litter Box Is Far Away
Your bun might be peeing on your bed because they can’t get to the litter box in time. If the litter box is in another room, they may decide to use your bed instead. Instead, keep a litter box close by if you allow your bun into your bedroom.
Your bun might even think your bed makes a way more comfortable litter box, and they’ll start using it as a luxury potty.
5. Feeling Territorial
One of the main reasons that cause rabbits to pee on your bed is their territorial nature. To mark their territory, a rabbit will spray urine or leave poop balls to assert dominance and mark the area as their own.
If a bun feels territorial over you, then a bed is the perfect place to mark as you spend a lot of time in this area.
How to Stop Your Rabbit From Peeing on Your Bed
Figuring out what causes your rabbit to pee on your bed can help you decide what to do to stop them from peeing on your bed. Rabbits are animals of habit, and it’s always best to prevent a behavior from becoming an unbreakable habit.
1. Start Litter Training
One of the most effective ways to stop your bun from peeing on your bed is to potty-train them. Rabbits are pretty easy to train. However, it’ll take perseverance and patience on your part. Generally, it takes as little as 1 to 2 weeks to potty train a rabbit successfully.
You can even place the litter box close to your bed initially.
2. Put up a Barrier
Another way to stop your bun from peeing on your bed is to keep them off your bed. Put up a barrier, or close your bedroom door so they can’t get onto your bed. Do this for about two weeks to a month. The idea is they’ll forget about claiming your bed as their own.
3. Display Disappointment
Your bunny is sensitive to your emotions. They’ll realize their behavior isn’t okay by making it clear that you’re upset (raise your voice a little higher and use a firm tone). Your bun won’t like it if you turn your back on them and ignore them.
4. Use Strong Scented Perfume
A rabbit’s nose and sense of smell are very sensitive. A handy trick to keep your floppy-eared friend off your bed is by spraying a strong scented perfume on the area.
Your bun will want to avoid your bed as the pungent smell is too much for their sensitive noses.
5. Take Your Rabbit for a Check-up
If your bun is peeing more frequently and in inappropriate places, you should take them for a check-up at the local vet. Bunnies suffer from numerous illnesses that affect their bladders in particular.
6. Sterilize Your Rabbit
Sterilizing your rabbit will stop their need to mark their territory by spraying urine. It’ll also put an end to any dominant behavior. Having a rabbit fixed also helps prevent reproductive and bladder cancers.
7. Use a Mattress Protector
Using a mattress protector will prevent the mattress from soaking up urine. However, this won’t stop your bun from peeing on your bed. Using a plastic sheet to cover your bed will keep your bun off, as they won’t like the sound of the plastic under their paws.
Finally, we realized why Ponyo had decided our bed was his new pee place. The poor little guy was experiencing jealousy over our labrador. Wally is allowed to jump on our bed in the mornings, and Ponyo caught his scent on the bed and on us.
Unfortunately, this led him to pee all over our bed as often as he could to mark this place as his and show us that he wasn’t impressed. Rabbits are animals of habit, and if you allow your bun to get away with their behavior, your bed may become their new litter box.
Make sure to monitor your bun closely, as peeing in random places (and doing so frequently) indicates that there might be something seriously wrong with their health. Make sure to take your floppy-eared friend for regular check-ups at the vet.
Read more about bonding with your rabbit and form a great rabbit-relationship.
Recommended Rabbit Supplies
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Housing: If your rabbit is indoor, you’ll need a cage, a hideout (to keep your rabbit from death by heart attack), and a space for it to get exercise and spend time with you. If you don’t want to let it run free in your house, this animal playpen provides space and keeps your rabbit from hiding under your couch.
If you keep your rabbit outdoors, an outdoor hutch that provides space and protection from predators is needed. (I’d still keep mine in a barn for further protection from the elements.)
You’ll also need bedding, toys, a grooming brush, and treats for your little friend. A litter box is important because rabbits can be potty trained. Timothy hay is the best kind of hay for rabbits as alfalfa is too sweet. Don’t forget a water drinker. I like the half-gallon waterer because it can cover two rabbits for several days. Pair it with a food bowl or a food manger (a little cleaner) and you’ll be set up!
Finally, if you plan on taking your rabbit with you on trips, you’ll need a carrier. Here’s a small carrier or larger carrier that work great for occasional travel. If you travel a lot, you might want the carrier that’s rated #1 in safety for safe travels
Lastly, I use this odor eliminator for accidents and to wipe out the bottom of the cage and litter box when I clean it.