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You haven’t heard about bunny diapers? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many bunny owners don’t know that rabbit diapers are an option and most certainly don’t know the correct way to use them.
Rabbits can wear bunny diapers but only for short durations because wearing a diaper too long can cause your rabbit serious health issues. Occasions where a bunny diaper might be helpful include: when traveling with your rabbit, when they are playing on your lap, or during a social gathering.
I want to be clear that I’ve never actually put a diaper on any of our rabbits. However, I have had rabbit friends who had to put diapers on their bunnies, and in this article, I’m going to share the pros and cons of making that choice.
Why Would a Rabbit Wear Diapers?
Diapers are not a replacement for a bunny litter box and should only be considered for use in special circumstances.
I do not believe that a rabbit should wear any kind of diaper 24 hours a day. Not only could wear a diaper for so long cause of your rabbit health issues, but it would also be a time-consuming task for you to keep changing diapers.
Remember, rabbits poop around 200-300 times a day!
The most common use for bunny diapers is with disabled or senior rabbits who can’t move well to reach their litterbox or that have very little bowel control. They are also used for cleanliness purposes in settings where bunny droppings would be a serious issue.
Reasons To Use Bunny Diapers
- When a disabled rabbit when they are out of their area or cage.
- When a senior rabbit with bowel control issues when they are out of their area or cage.
- When visiting a friend or relative’s home with a pet bunny.
- When traveling with a rabbit in a car when the bunny is out of its travel cage.
- When a bunny is serving as an emotional support animal to others.
Is It Dangerous For Rabbits To Wear Diapers?
Wearing diapers for rabbits continuously can be dangerous to the health of your pet rabbit. Diapers prevent rabbits from eating their own cecotropes which is an essential part of a rabbit’s diet. In addition to potential malnutrition, diapers prevent a rabbit from proper self-hygiene.
There are four dangers associated with bunny diapers.
1. Potential Malnutrition
Rabbits eat their cecotropes, also called ‘cecal pellets’ to get their essential nutrients. Basically, some of the high-fiber diet that rabbits eat requires it to be digested more than once to get all of the nutrition out of their food.
These droppings contain more vitamins and proteins than normal rabbit poop.
Rabbits consume cecotropes first thing in the morning and sometimes directly from their anus which may mean that you’ve never actually seen your rabbit doing this, but I assure you that your cute bunny does do it.
Wearing a diaper for an hour or two isn’t going to cause a problem for your rabbit, but if the bunny lived in the diaper it would eventually risk serious malnutrition.
P.S. In this article, I’m not going to go into the fascinating details about how cecotropes are formed inside a rabbit’s body. However, there are more details about it on the University of Miami’s website.
2. Potential Scalding
You should check your bunny’s diaper at least once an hour for droppings and leakages. If the diaper is soiled, change it or remove it. Letting your rabbit wear a soiled diaper for a long time can cause fecal or urine scald to the bunny.
Just like human babies, a rabbit’s diaper needs to be changed often. Bunnies are susceptible to urine or fecal scald which is a painful skin condition caused by being continually exposed to urine or feces.
Rabbit scalding usually occurs when a rabbit’s cage isn’t cleaned well and often. However, if a rabbit were to spend a days in soiled diapers they would 100% of the time develop scalding.
When your bunny is experiencing a fecal or urine scald, clean the affected area without causing further irritation, and avoid putting on the diaper until the scalding is healed.
If you see any signs of infection around the effected area, get your bunny to their veterinarian right away.
P.S. Even if your rabbit doesn’t develop scalding, you are going to see stained fur if the diaper isn’t changed often.
3. Eating The Diaper
Rabbits chew on things, and if they are wearing a diaper they are going to try to chew on it. This is one of the reasons why I think a rabbit in a diaper must be closely supervised.
Disposable diapers contain plastic and a superabsorbent chemical mix called sodium polyacrylate inside the diaper. Now, this chemical is supposed to be non-toxic, even safe for babies. But I didn’t let my kids chew on disposable diapers and I wouldn’t let my rabbit chew on them either.
4. Getting Caught On Something
Rabbits like to squeeze into tight places to play and hide. But with a diaper around their bum, there is a much greater chance that they could get stuck in these hidey-holes.
Worse yet, if your bunny were to hope over something a diaper adds the risk that they might get hung up on the way down.
Kinds Of Rabbit Diapers
There are generally two kinds of rabbit diapers; disposable and reusable. These are also generally the two kinds of diapers available for human babies. As a matter of fact, while there are reusable diapers made specifically for bunnies, disposable diapers used on rabbits are either human or small dog diapers.
1. Reusable Bunny Diapers
Reusable bunny diapers are cloth diapers that can be washed and used again and again. While these diapers will save you money in the long run (assuming that you are going to be regularly diapering your bunny), but the upfront cost is substantial.
Reusable bunny diapers cost between $25 and $70 dollars per diaper and you’re going to need a number of these diapers to ensure that you always have a clean dry diaper to change a soiled one when your bunny needs to wear a diaper.
You are going to need at least one diaper for each hour that your rabbit is going to be diapered and you’re going to need to have enough diapers to last until you next do laundry.
So if your rabbit is going to spend three hours in the evening in a part of your house that can not be soiled, that means that you are going to three diapers if you are going to do diaper laundry nightly. If you’re going to wash diapers every three days, you’re going to need nine diapers which could cost you between $300 and $650 bucks!
It’s worth noting that some rabbit owners use reusable diapers made for dogs on their bunnies.
Rabbits can wear reusable diapers made for female dogs though they do not fit as well as those made specifically for rabbits. These are cheaper than the handmade disposable bunny diapers. You can see these diapers on Amazon.
Disposable diapers can be washed in your washing machine after any solids have been disposed of in your compost pile, garden, or toilet.
2. Disposable Bunny Diapers
Disposable diapers for bunnies not actually made for rabbits. Instead, bunny owners use diapers made for human babies or dogs. In both cases, rabbit owners usually modify the diapers slightly to better fit a rabbit’s body. Most people chose human diapers as they are less expensive than dog diapers.
Rabbits can wear human baby diapers. With some modifications to the diapers, they can stay on securely and provide adequate protection from messes. However, rabbits should only wear human disposable baby diapers under close supervision and for short periods of time.
There is a video below that shows how to modify a baby diaper for a bunny.
How To Put A Diaper On A Rabbit
I want to be perfectly clear in restating that I’ve never actually put a diaper on a rabbit. However, I have handled a lot of rabbits and I did some research with people who have actually diapered a bunny.
To put a diaper on a bunny set your rabbit in your lap feet down. Once your bunny is calm, place one foot of the time into the diaper and slowly pull it up over the tail. Make sure that the diaper is secure around the waist, with room for one finger at the firm back of the bunny.
You must make sure the diaper is the right size for the bunny. If the diaper is too tight, make some cuts on the sides to give your bunny some room. Also, remember that your bunny’s tail is going to be inside the diaper; you don’t need to make a hole for it.
Once you are pretty comfortable that you have it on correctly, let the rabbit walk a few steps to see if they agree that it’s on correctly. If they being pinched, you’ll know in a few steps or hops. If it’s too loose, it’ll be off them in just a few moments.
Once the diaper is on, make sure that there are no gaps in between the bunny’s legs and the diaper.
Below is a video showing how to put a diaper on a bunny. This is not my video, because as I said above I’ve never diapered a rabbit.
I hope I was able to answer most of your questions related to bunny rabbit diapers.
Wish your bunny good health!