Why Does My Rabbit Keep Sneezing? 10 Common Reasons!

When rabbits sneeze, we tend to notice right away because they are generally very quiet pets.

They will usually crinkle up their little noses and sneeze at the same time as they do a tiny hop.

Then rabbits will usually wash their faces with their paws after they sneeze.

Your bunny can sneeze for a lot of different reasons, some of which are no need for alarm, but it can also be an indication that your pet is sick if he’s sneezing frequently.

Read on to find out more about rabbits and sneezing.

Why Does My Rabbit Keep Sneezing?

Rabbits sneeze for many of the same reasons as humans do. It’s a way to clear some form of an irritant out of their nose.

Dust particles can be breathed in and irritate your pet, so he will sneeze to remove them from his nose.

Many other things cause sneezing in rabbits as well.

Rabbits Sneezing From Dust or Smoke

Rabbits tend to smell everything and all the time with their little wriggling noses.

Just one dust particle in a corner of his playroom can cause him to sneeze with their sensitive little noses.

If you purchase your pet’s favorite hay in a bag, it’s possible that the bottom of the bag may have some dust in it that causes sneezing.

Depending on what type of substrate you put in the cage or environment for bedding and for food, it can be a bit dusty.

Even if you have an outdoor rabbit in a hutch or pen, it’s best to store the hay for bedding and or food inside a garage, barn, or another area that is waterproof with a roof.

This will prevent mold from growing in the hay from moisture, which can also cause severe allergies in rabbits.

Rabbits can also sneeze when they smell smoke, such as someone smoking a cigarette near them or if they are playing outdoors and someone has a fire nearby.

To avoid these types of sneezing it helps to use a straw for your pretty pet’s bedding and don’t let them get around any type of smoke.

If smoking is bad for people’s larger lungs, the rabbit’s small little lungs can also be affected by breathing smoke.

If you suspect your rabbit is allergic to dust from his bedding or a product in pelleted bedding, you can try other substrates to alleviate his allergies.

Some great alternative bedding materials include paper pellets, hemp, aspen, fleece, pelleted straw, crumbled or shredded paper.

These items will be the safest bedding products for your furry friend.

Strong Smells Can Cause Sneezing in Rabbits

Any type of strong smell or scent can also tickle your rabbit’s nose and make him sneeze.

It can be that someone is wearing quite a bit of perfume or cologne and is near your furry friend.

Other strong smells that irritate the nasal passages include many different scented cleaning agents that you use in your home, as well as air fresheners.

Other items that can irritate your rabbit by being strong smells include scented candles and lotions.

Also, the scent of a predator or another pet in the household who has just had a bath or a treatment of some sort that is scented, such as some topical flea medications for dogs and cats can also make your rabbit sneeze.

Spicy smells can also cause sneezing, such as black pepper, chili pepper, or chili powder, as well as powdered foods and caffeine.

You may need your morning cup of coffee to wake up, but some bunnies are allergic to the smell of caffeine.

If you suspect any of these items are causing the sneezing, then either move your rabbit to a different area without these strong smells or don’t have these items near your bunny.

Rabbits Allergies

Your rabbit may actually have allergies that cause him to sneeze.

Many different items can cause this allergic reaction, including an allergic reaction to an insect bite and any contact with wasps, bees, or flies even if they don’t bite your bunny.

Dust, smoke, and cleaning products can all be allergens to a rabbit as well.

If there are some unhealthy ingredients such as mold spores in your rabbit food pellets, it can cause him to sneeze and other items like chemical fumes or carbon dioxide too.

If you suspect the sneezing attacks are caused by an allergic reaction, try to figure out what your pet is allergic to and remove it from the environment near your furry friend.

Other signs in your bunny that point to allergies as being the culprit in sneezing include skin problems, eye discharge, excessive scratching of the skin due to itchiness, losing fur, and skin issues that can be seen as well as red and itchy eyes that water.

Air Pollution Can Cause Sneezing in Rabbits

If your rabbit’s home is an outdoor hutch, he may suffer from allergies due to air pollution.

This can be from the smoke from a nearby fire or a wildfire from many miles away that has a wind blowing carbon dioxide in your direction.

It can also be from any type of exhaust from vehicles or a plant if you live in the city.

These items will cause breathing concerns which in turn can lead to sneezing constantly.

Dirt While Digging Can be a Reason

Rabbits do love to dig in the ground or leaves as well as shredded paper.

When the soil is very dry, it can cause dust from digging that will get into his eyes and nose and cause sneezing. This can also occur from dust in your home.

This type of sneezing should subside quickly when you move your bunny to an area outside to play that isn’t so dusty, but instead has grass over the dirt area.

Rabbit Sinusitis

When there is too much moisture in the air in the form of humidity, it can weaken a rabbit’s immune system and cause mucus buildup.

This can then lead to lung issues and breathing problems just as humans get.

This can be fatal if it’s ignored. Signs of sinusitis in rabbits include nose bleeds, lack of appetite, eye discharge, salivating, a runny nose, and excessive sneezing.

If you notice these signs and your rabbit spends a lot of time outdoors, you should consult your vet for a diagnosis.

Pet Fur and Sneezing in Rabbits

Rabbits can also sneeze because a stray hair is inhaled while they are shedding or when another pet in the household is shedding.

Brushing your bunny on a daily basis can help them to breathe better without sneezing if the culprit is in fur.

Fleas and Mites Can Also be a Reason

If your bunny has fleas or mites, they can cause an allergic reaction to the skin from the bites and may cause sneezing as well.

It can spread the infection to the eyes and cause a lot of sneezing if it’s left untreated.

Your vet can help you to obtain medication to get rid of these nasty little buggers and make your bunny feel much better.

Overgrown Teeth

If your rabbit doesn’t have a balanced diet with lots of hay or chew toys, it can lead to overgrown teeth which in turn leads to dental issues.

Bacteria can build up in the teeth and then become a nasal infection that can cause lung problems and lead to sneezing.

High fiber hay is best for all rabbits and their daily food intake should be about 85% of it.

Also read: How to Keep Rabbits Teeth Short?

Temperature Fluctuations

Low temperatures can affect a rabbit’s blood pressure and cause respiratory issues.

High temperatures can also cause hyperactivity in the bronchial cells in the lungs and lead to the snuffles.

Don’t allow your rabbit to be outside in very high or low temperatures and when he is inside, make certain that the air conditioning or heating vents do not blow directly on his enclosure or near him.

Snuffles and Rabbits Sneezing

Snuffles is a lung infection and can be caused by several things including temperatures that are high or low, humidity, eye infections, dental problems, dust, air pollution and allergic reactions, and poor ventilation.

Rabbits are small and have very delicate systems.

The signs of snuffles are appetite loss and lethargy, biting out their fur when not shedding, a runny nose, rapid weight loss, and mucus buildup with crust formations.

Other signs of respiratory infections include red and itchy eyes that water, stained fur on the front paws from cleaning eye discharge, difficulty in breathing, loud or wheezing breathing, rapid breathing, and constant sneezing.

If you notice any of these signs, take your bunny pal to the vet immediately as the snuffles can be deadly to rabbits.

Also read: Are Rabbits Hypoallergenic?

Tips to Prevent Rabbit Sneezing

There are several things that your rabbit may be having issues with that you can easily correct to rectify his sneezing attacks.

These things should be tried one at a time until you find the culprit or you can enforce all of them for an immediate remedy.

Food allergies for pets and humans are often identified through an elimination process where the most probable culprit is removed and then other foods are removed until the allergy is identified.

This is the same basis for eliminating rabbit allergies to external items.

  • Treats to chew on
  • Change in rabbit pellets for food
  • Change the bedding
  • Proper ventilation
  • Dust-free environment
  • Don’t use chemicals or smoke near him
  • Check the teeth
  • The proper temperature in their room
  • Don’t use strongly scented items near him
  • Check for mites and fleas
  • Ask your vet for help in determining the causes of sneezing

Final Thoughts

If you suspect your rabbit has an allergy, try to figure out what he is allergic to and remove the item from his enclosure and play areas to give him relief.

If your bunny seems to feel ill or appears ill in any way, take him to the vet immediately.

Rabbits are small pets with delicate systems and they can progressively become sicker very quickly.

Other articles you may also like: