How to Get Rid of Urine Stains on Your Rabbit’s Feet and Fur

Has Bugs Bunny lost his happy hop? Do your rabbit’s feet look more yellow than white? Rabbit urine can wreak havoc on your bunny’s feet and fur over time. The harsh ammonia causes ugly staining and irritation, even attracting flies that can seriously harm your pet. Don’t despair yet – those pee-soaked paws can be restored with some diligent grooming and hygiene habits. We’ll cover why rabbit feet turn yellow, how to safely clean stains, and most importantly, how to prevent this nasty nuisance in the future. With a few simple techniques, you can rein in urine stains and keep your rabbit’s coat looking healthy and hopping happily once again!

Has Urine Stained My Rabbit’s Feet?

If you notice that your rabbit's feet are discolored or stained yellow, the likely culprit is urine. Rabbit feet turn yellow when the rabbit repeatedly stands in its own urine. The ammonia in the urine causes a chemical reaction that turns the fur yellowish. This yellow discoloration is most noticeable on white-furred rabbits, but over time can affect any coat color.

The staining initially occurs on the feet, but over time the yellowing can spread up the rabbit's legs as the fur remains damp with urine. While unsightly, yellowish feet are not necessarily hazardous to your rabbit's health. The staining is primarily a cosmetic issue. With proper cage hygiene and grooming, you can restore your rabbit's feet to their original color.

Why Do Rabbits Have Discolored Feet?

There are a few reasons why a rabbit's feet may become stained yellow from urine exposure:

  • Living in a cage that is too small – Without adequate space, the rabbit has no choice but to sit and stand in its own urine and feces. Ammonia builds up on the floor trays.

  • Litter box habits – Some rabbits are meticulous about their litter box habits, while others tend to spill urine outside of the box. Rabbits also sometimes sit in the litter box while urine collects on their feet.

  • Urinary incontinence – Elderly, obese, or ill rabbits may dribble or spray urine, soaking their feet and belly fur. Medical issues like urinary tract infections or bladder stones can cause incontinence.

  • Arthritis or sore hocks – Rabbits with sore joints may avoid squatting normally in the litter box, causing urine scald on the feet. Check for blisters, redness or calluses.

  • Poor hygiene – If the cage and litter box are not cleaned frequently, the rabbit is exposed to higher levels of ammonia from urine.

  • Excess fur moisture – Long fur around the feet can retain urine dampness and odor longer. Summer humidity also increases dampness in the coat.

Are Yellow Rabbit Feet a Cause for Concern?

While urine-stained yellow or orange feet are unsightly, they are not necessarily hazardous to your rabbit's health. The discoloration itself is primarily a cosmetic problem. However, the underlying causes of chronic urine scalding should be addressed.

Prolonged contact with urine can lead to more extensive urine burning and scald injuries. The skin may become inflamed, raw or scabbed. Bacterial infections can develop in damaged skin. Fly strike is also a risk if the fur stays persistently damp.

You should schedule a vet exam for an elderly or obese rabbit with chronic urine staining. Your vet can check for underlying medical issues like arthritis, urinary tract infections, bladder stones, kidney disease or diabetes – which often contribute to poor litter habits.

As long as your rabbit is healthy, keeping the cage clean and gently grooming away stained fur should resolve minor yellow discoloration. But extensive burns, wounds or rapid deterioration of feet merit urgent veterinary care.

Urinary Problems

If your rabbit is urinating outside the litter box, resulting in frequent urine scalding of the feet and fur, there may be an underlying medical issue.

Common urinary problems in rabbits include:

  • Urinary tract infections – Bacteria in the urinary tract causes painful urination and difficulty holding urine. Antibiotics are needed.

  • Bladder stones – Mineral deposits in the bladder cause obstruction and straining. Stones often require surgical removal.

  • Kidney disease – Reduced kidney function leads to excess urine production and accidents. Supportive care and a rabbit-safe diet can help reduce risk.

  • Uterine cancer – Advanced uterine cancer can cause incontinence in unspayed older rabbits. Spaying helps prevent cancer.

  • Diabetes – Excess blood sugar leads to excess urination and accidents. Diet changes and medication can manage diabetes.

  • Arthritis – Joint pain and stiffness make it hard for rabbits to properly use the litter box. Daily exercise aids mobility.

  • Obesity – Excess weight presses on the bladder and makes urination control difficult. Weight loss helps.

If your rabbit is straining to urinate, crying out, or showing other signs of discomfort, schedule a vet exam. Treating the underlying condition will help resolve urine scalding.

Urine Scald

Urine scald or urine burn occurs when rabbit fur remains constantly damp with urine. The ammonia in urine causes irritation and burning when in prolonged contact with the skin. Uneven fur staining, reddened or scabbed skin are signs of urine scald.


  • Inadequate housing – Small, infrequently cleaned cages allow urine exposure.

  • Obesity – Overweight rabbits cannot properly use litter boxes.

  • Arthritis – Joint stiffness prevents proper litter box position.

  • Urinary incontinence – Illness and UTIs cause uncontrolled urination.

  • Fur matts – Urine is trapped against the skin by tangled fur.


  • Spacious housing – Allow room for multiple litter boxes.

  • Daily litter swaps – Remove wet litter promptly.

  • Grooming – Keep fur trim around feet and behind.

  • Bladder support – Diet and hydration aids urinary health.

  • Joint mobility – Ensure adequate exercise space.

  • Veterinary care – Treat underlying illness or arthritis.


  • Clip stained fur – Removing damaged fur promotes regrowth.

  • Dry feet – Gently pat dry fur after accidents.

  • Soak scabs – Loosen and remove scabs, apply antibiotic ointment.

  • Topical remedy – Apply petroleum jelly to soothe scalded areas.

  • Evaluate diet – Reduce calcium and add water content.

  • Manage weight – Take pressure off bladder and joints.

Aggressive House Guest

Sometimes yellow stains appear on a rabbit's feet after a stay in another home, like during a vacation. This can occur if the guest rabbit was bullied or asserted dominance over the resident rabbit.

The stress of being in an unfamiliar environment may cause territorial urine spraying. The guest rabbit essentially over-marks the resident rabbit's scent with its own urine. This can result in urine scald if the resident rabbit endures repeated sprayings while confined together.

To reduce chances of aggression and overspraying when housing rabbits together:

  • Introduce on neutral territory like a playpen, not the resident's cage.

  • Watch for signs of dominance or aggression like chin rubbing, circling, or fur pulling. Separate at first signs.

  • Provide hideaways and multiple food bowls so both can retreat if needed.

  • Use a dilute vinegar and water solution to clean cages and litter boxes before housing together. This neutralizes territorial scents.

  • Try short periods of cohabitation first, like an hour or two per day. Then gradually increase time together.

  • Keep the guest's stay short, under 2 weeks. This minimizes territorial stress and need to over-mark.

  • Schedule a practice visit at the guest home first. Do a short trial run before the actual vacation stay.

With proper introductions and monitoring, most altered rabbits can cohabitate peacefully for short periods. But be prepared to house separately if aggressive over-marking occurs.

Unsuitable Living Conditions

Inadequate housing and cage hygiene practices are common culprits for urine staining on rabbit feet. When confined to a small space, rabbits have no choice but to come into frequent contact with their own waste. Ammonia from urine accumulates, causing yellow staining and irritation.

To prevent urine scald, rabbits require:

  • Adequate room – At least 4×2 ft cages, or 8×4 ft for pairs. Larger is better.

  • Litter box space – Provide one box per rabbit, with extra boxes in large cages.

  • Litter swaps – Scoop urine and wet litter at least once daily. Full litter changes 1-2x weekly.

  • Wire flooring – Wire cage bottoms allow urine drainage. Cover with mats for comfort.

  • Absorbent litter – Use paper or grass based litters. Change clay litters frequently.

  • Clean fur – Gently trim fur around feet and belly as needed. Keep nails trimmed.

  • Exercise time – Allow free run of rabbit-proofed rooms for added activity.

Raising rabbits in cramped hutches or aquariums leads to inevitable contact with urine andfeces. Ensure your rabbit's home provides clean, spacious living conditions for healthy feet and fur.

Can I Remove Urine Stains on Rabbits with a Bath?

If your rabbit's feet have mild yellowish staining, you can often remove the discoloration with regular grooming and a bath. There are a couple options for clearing urine stains:

Dry bath – Use a damp washcloth to spot clean affected areas. Follow with a dry shampoo powder or cornstarch to absorb oils.

Wet bath – Shampoo stained areas in a basin or tub. Limit water contact to feet and belly. Dry thoroughly.

Baths help remove the staining, but won't address the underlying urinary issues leading to soiled fur. Avoid overbathing, which strips protective oils. Always dry thoroughly and provide a warming pad after baths.

Check feet and skin for wounds before bathing. Discontinue baths if irritation increases. Severe urine scald requires veterinary treatment with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory ointment for skin healing.

Improving litter habits, cage hygiene and regular grooming are the best ways to keep urine stains at bay. But occasional baths can refresh stained paws between deeper cleanings.

How to Clean a Rabbit's Feet and Fur with a Dry Bath

To spot clean urine stained fur with a dry bath:

Supplies Needed:

  • Soft washcloth or baby wipe
  • Unscented dry shampoo, cornstarch, or baking soda
  • Towel
  • Grooming brush


  1. Have your assistant gently hold the rabbit while you inspect and clean the feet.

  2. Use a warm, damp washcloth to wipe any dirt or matted fur from paws.

  3. Apply a small amount of dry shampoo directly onto stained areas of the fur.

  4. Massage shampoo into discolored areas using your fingertips or washcloth. Avoid contact with eyes.

  5. Let shampoo sit 1-2 minutes to absorb oils and urine residue.

  6. Use the damp washcloth to gently wipe away shampoo. For tough stains, repeat steps 2-5.

  7. Use a clean towel to pat feet completely dry. Brush out fur. Check for any remaining dampness close to the skin.

  8. Provide a heating pad set on low under a blanket for the rabbit to warm up. Monitor to prevent overheating.

Regular dry baths can help remove mild urine staining between full wet bath grooming sessions. Always ensure feet are completely dry after cleaning.

How to Clean Urine from Rabbit Fur with a Wet Bath

For heavy duty cleansing of urine soaked fur, a full wet bath is more effective. Take care not to overwash or chill your rabbit.

Supplies Needed:

  • Rabbit-safe shampoo
  • Towels
  • Cotton balls
  • Drying pad or fan
  • Comb
  • Treats


  1. Gather supplies and warm the room to at least 70 degrees F. Have an assistant on hand to help hold the rabbit.

  2. Fill a sink basin or tub with a few inches of lukewarm water. Dilute a small amount of rabbit shampoo in the water.

  3. Wet your rabbit's feet and belly fur with the shampoo mixture. Avoid getting water near the face.

  4. Lather the shampoo through stained areas. Let sit 1-2 minutes.

  5. Rinse away shampoo until water runs clear. Use cotton balls to gently wipe the face clean.

  6. Lift out your rabbit and wrap immediately in an absorbent towel, gently patting dry. Pay special attention to paws.

  7. Once towel dried, further dry your rabbit with a blow dryer on low setting or place on a heating pad. Monitor temperature carefully.

  8. Comb out the damp fur. Give treats and praise for being patient through the bath!

Regular wet baths can help revive urine stained fur. But take care not to overbathe, as this can cause dry skin issues. Limit full water baths to once every few months for most rabbits.

Should I Cut the Mats Out of My Rabbit's Fur?

As rabbit fur becomes stained and soaked with urine, tangling and matting can occur. Resist the temptation to simply cut or shave out the urine-soaked matted fur. This can cause injury to the sensitive skin underneath.

Instead, try the following tips for gently removing stubborn mats:

  • Soak the matted area in a shallow bath of lukewarm water mixed with a touch of conditioner. Let soak 5 minutes.

  • Carefully work the mat apart with your fingers or a seam ripper, starting at the edges and loosening toward the center.

  • Use scissors to trim only the dead hair trapped in the very center of the mat if needed. Avoid cutting healthy fur.

  • Rinse away conditioner and gently blot mats dry. Be careful not to rub or tug irritated skin.

  • Apply an anti-mat spray after bathing to help detangle the coat as it dries.

  • Check for any scratches or open sores hidden under matted fur. Clean with an antiseptic wash if needed.

  • Schedule regular brushing sessions to keep fur tangle-free and prevent future mats.

With patience and proper technique, even severely matted rabbit fur can be restored to its healthy appearance. Proper diet and grooming will then help keep the coat silky and urine-free.

What Is Flystrike?

Rabbits with chronically urine-soaked fur are at risk for developing flystrike. This occurs when blowflies are attracted to the ammonia odor of urine and lay eggs in the damp fur. The hatched maggots then feed on the rabbit's skin, causing severe injury. Flystrike is often fatal if not treated promptly.

Signs of flystrike:

  • Swarms of flies hovering near soiled fur

  • Small white eggs and maggots in coat

  • Foul odor coming from coat

  • Red, inflamed or oozing skin lesions

  • Rabbit cries or thumps in distress

  • Lethargy, loss of appetite, hiding


  • Keep fur dry – Groom and clean cages frequently

  • Treat urine scald – Remove urine burns that attract flies

  • Sanitize cage – Use white vinegar and water to reduce odors

  • Check fur daily – Part fur to inspect skin for fly eggs

  • Remove soiled litter – Promptly clean wet litter

  • Apply fly repellants – Use natural oils like citronella

If you suspect flystrike, get emergency veterinary care. Medication can kill fly eggs and maggots while wounds are treated. Prompt treatment is vital to recovery. Prevent future strikes through diligent fur and cage hygiene.

How to Prevent Urine Stains on Rabbit Fur

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to urine stains on rabbit fur. Stopping the issue before it starts is much easier than treating stained, matted fur after the fact. Follow these tips for clean, urine-free fur:

  • Provide adequate housing with enough room for multiple litter boxes.

  • Scoop litter boxes at least once daily and change out all litter frequently.

  • Use absorbent paper or grass litter. Change out clay litter more often.

  • Bathroom train your rabbit to return to the litter box as needed.

  • Check for medical issues like UTIs which may cause inappropriate urination.

  • Groom fur around the rear regularly to prevent urine wicking and matting.

  • Keep nails trimmed to avoid catching and tearing of the skin from urine-soaked floors.

  • Use a vinegar and water solution to wipe down floors and litter boxes periodically. This helps neutralize odors.

  • Install wire flooring or mesh mats to let urine pass through instead of pooling on solid floors.

  • Clean accidents promptly with an enzymatic cleaner formulated to destroy urine odors and residue.

With conscientious care of their home and fur coat, most rabbits can enjoy clean, healthy feet and skin their whole lives.

How to Neutralize the Smell of Rabbit Urine

Even with your best cleaning efforts, the pungent smell of rabbit urine can sometimes linger. Try these homemade solutions for neutralizing stubborn urine odors:

  • White vinegar – Mix one part vinegar with 3 parts water in a spray bottle. Spritz on floors and litter boxes. Let set 5 minutes before wiping. Vinegar kills odors naturally.

  • Baking soda – Sprinkle generous amounts of baking soda across urine soaked areas. Let sit overnight then vacuum. Baking soda absorbs ammonia smells.

  • Hydrogen peroxide – Lightly spritz 3% hydrogen peroxide onto urine stains. Allow to dry fully. Hydrogen peroxide bleaches and deodorizes.

  • Enzymatic spray – Look for a pet odor eliminator enzymatic cleaner. The enzymes break down the compounds that cause odors.

  • activated charcoal – Place charcoal briquettes or an open bag of activated charcoal in the room near urine smells. Charcoal absorbs offensive odors effectively.

  • Fresh air – Open windows and use fans to air out the room when safe. Let fresh breezes circulate away odors.

With persistence and the right cleaning solutions, even the most offensive urine smells can eventually be conquered. Just take care using any strong chemicals around rabbits, as harsh fumes can be irritating.

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