Dwarf and average-sized rabbits are considered seniors when they’re around 7 to 8 years. Large bunnies on the other hand are regarded as elderly when they turn 4 or 5 years. Regardless of breed, one thing is certain, older rabbits are more attentive compared to younger rabbits thus making them easier to litter train. The main question however is; how do you house-train an older rabbit? Keep reading to find out!
What you need to know about senior rabbit house training
Litter training an older rabbit is quite easy considering that your pet typically does its business near the same spot it eats. In other words, senior rabbits typically use their sense of smell and their good memory to defecate in a specific area. However, it can be tricky if it’s somewhere you don’t favor them to pee or poop in. Below are some of the items you’ll need, factors to consider, and a step-by-step guide on the actual training.
Things you’ll need
- A large-sized litter tray with a low-edged entrance – The litter tray should measure at least 20’’L X 15’’W X 3’’H.
- Litter, preferably alfalfa hay and pellets
- Hay rack
Factors to consider prior to training
Finally, before the training session commences, it’s always advisable to ensure that your senior bunny is spayed or neutered. This will essentially tame your pet’s urge to mark territory by peeing on what they consider theirs.
Litter box location
The other factor you might want to consider is choosing your rabbit’s litter box area, preferably somewhere they like to do their business the most. This is mostly in a secluded corner of a room. Once you’ve spotted a couple of places they happen to use, limit your rabbit’s movement to that specific location. This will essentially help your senior rabbit to learn how to use the litter box in the intended spot much more quickly.
How do you house-train an older rabbit?
Place pellets and hay in the litter box
Fill the litter tray with a layer of pellets that’s about an inch, then add alfalfa hay on top. This essentially keeps your bunny comfortable and makes the litter box more appealing to your pet considering that most rabbits prefer to eat when defecating.
Litter box location
Once you’ve filled the litter tray up with pellets and hay, place it around where your older bunny always poops the most. This is preferable in an isolated corner in a quiet room. Cordon off this area using a barrier or playpen until your bunny is properly house-trained. On the other hand, if your bunny prefers to do its business in the cage, place the litter box there. However, considering that rabbits are territorial when it comes to their habitat, wait until it’s out of the cage before placing the litter box. On top of that, add an additional box to another section your pet often defecates in.
Lure your rabbit to use the litter box
During the initial house training stages, you’ll sometimes notice that your senior rabbit is away from its litter box, more so during or after feeding. If this is the case, it’s always advisable to lure your older bunny to use the litter box by offering it treats. This essentially speeds up the training by helping your pet associate the litter tray with positive reinforcement.
Place poop back into the litter box
In case of an excrement mishap, we recommend placing your pet’s poop back into the litter box and mopping up its urine. This essentially helps your senior bunny to learn that the litter box is where they need to defecate.
Regularly clean the litter box
Finally, the last thing you ought to do is ensure that your older rabbit’s litter box is cleaned on a daily basis. This is achievable by replacing your pet’s litter and also ensuring that the area where they defecate is dry. Remove all the litter from the pooping tray, then use water and vinegar to clean it up, before replacing the bedding. In other words, the cleaner your senior rabbit’s litter box is the more he’ll likely use it in the long run.
Can I use cat litter for my older rabbit?
No, cat litter isn’t recommended for rabbits in general. This is mainly because it tends to cause intestinal blockages for bunnies when ingested. Other than hay, we recommend using unscented paper-based litter, aspen shavings, or wood pellets.
Having a housed trained senior rabbit is advantageous since it exempts you from cleaning after their scatted excrement. In other words, your house remains clean even with your adorable bunny-free roaming. Hopefully, we’ve answered the question, how do you house-train an older rabbit?