As for the odor, I would litterbox train your rabbit as soon as possible. You can buy a litterbox made just for rabbits with high sides - some even go in the corner of the cage. Put soiled bedding in the litterbox and keep the rest of the cage clean. Hopefully your bunny will get the idea. It is much easier to empty a small litterbox once or twice daily than the entire cage. Again, having rabbits spayed or neutered can cut down on urine odor and spraying behavior. Rabbits often spray on vertical surfaces to mark their territory. However, at a young age they are more likely to be simply "missing the box." That's why a litterbox with high sides is essential.
Make sure you are feeding the proper diet to your bunny. A diet consisting solely of rabbit pellets can lead to decreased water intake and more concentrated urine - thus a more concentrated smell. The best diet for rabbits is grass hay and greens with a small amount of fresh vegetables and fruit. Many people are surprised to learn that pellets aren't the best food for pet rabbits. They were developed for industry (i.e., meat and laboratory rabbits) to promote rapid growth and are extremely concentrated - not to mention boring to eat! If you haven't already, pick up a good book on keeping rabbits, preferably one that your daughter can read. With proper diet and care, your rabbit can be a part of your family for many years.
--Dr. Heidi Strand is a veterinarian for the East Bay SPCA in Dublin. She has lived in the Tri-Valley for 10 years with her family and an assortment of four-legged friends. Questions can be mailed to 315 Diablo Road, Suite 100, Danville 94526; or e-mailed to email@example.com. Her column runs every other week.
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