Last Updated on January 11, 2023 by keno
Your rabbit has had a little too much fun in its enclosure and is now filthy. If your bunny’s fur has dirt or feces, the first thing that comes to most owners’ minds is to clean a rabbit in the sink, tub, or shower.
Although your intent might be good, the overall ideal is usually bad. Bathing a rabbit is normally not recommended. Bunnies are naturally self-grooming animals who instinctively clean themselves. Although wiping stains off your bunny’s fur is standard practice, submerging them in water isn’t. On the contrary, a rabbit that’s dipped in water can suffer from shock, which can be fatal at times.
Are you taken aback by this? What’s the best way to keep your rabbit clean? Continue reading because we’ll go through every aspect of rabbit hygiene in this post.
Why it isn’t advisable to bathe your rabbit
Even though there is a low percent chance of your bunnies drowning when placed on a tab full of water, you shouldn’t bathe them. The main reason is the shock they’re most likely to experience when they’re immensely submerged. The shock, as a result, can contribute to your bunny experiencing various symptoms such as Glazed-over eyes, cold ears, physical stillness, white gums, a slowing pulse, a rapid heart rate, or very heavy, frantic breathing.
In other words, the shock-related symptoms are typically life-threatening, and it’s usually advisable to seek veterinary services to save your pets life. The first action you should take when your bunny shows any of the symptoms mentioned above is to get a warm blanket and wrap it around its body while heading to the vet. Alternatively, you can gently rub your bunny’s ears to help it snap out of shock, although why take the risk?
The other reason why it isn’t advisable to wash your pet is that they can do so to some extent. Rabbits will groom themselves and, to some degree, clean their faces too. On the other hand, what if your pet has dirt caked on their body or feces on their fur, and the mess is large enough that they’re unable to clean? If that’s the case, then it’s always advisable using small amounts of water and a wet cloth you pat on the dirty fur; however, no more than an inch deep.
Rather than making your whole rabbit wet, it’s better to spot-clean a particular area. Again, ensure that you take great care when cleaning your bunny to avoid the possibility of shock.
When you’ve finished cleaning the dirty area, dry your rabbit using a pet hair dryer at a low or medium temperature while taking care not to burn the skin. It’s worth mentioning that, even after using the blow dryer, your pet will instinctively attempt to lick the area in an attempt to make it dry.
How do you keep your Pet Rabbit Clean?
Although rabbits are generally clean, you can help them stay even cleaner by stepping in and cleaning the places they’re unable to reach occasionally. Here’s how to do it.
Your rabbit has a thick, luxurious coat. It’s vital to keep it looking its best, just as you would with a cat or a dog. Brushing the rabbit regularly, around once per week, is important. Ensure that you use soft brushes to avoid stressing your pets.
After brushing them, collect all the extra hair that falls out and dispose of it. It’s also worth considering that rabbits naturally shed, which typically leads to more fur loss. This occasionally occurs during the year; hence you might want to keep your brush closer during molting days. Brushing your pet rabbit should be done at least once per day when they’re shedding and as often as possible when they’re not.
Fleas are also another factor worth considering when it comes to the proper maintenance of your rabbit’s coat. There’s usually a high probability of Fleas infesting your bunny’s fur when exposed outdoors. Other pets, such as a flea-infested dog or cat, can also transfer fleas to your rabbit’s coat; therefore, carefully monitor all pets in your household.
So how do you identify whether your pet bunny has fleas? Well, for starters, closely observe their behavior. Constantly scratching on a certain region is a great indicator and a common symptom of flea infestation. Unfortunately, unless your rabbit has a lighter coat, spotting fleas visually is always next to impossible because these brownish insects blend well with most rabbit coats.
If your rabbit has fleas, we suggest seeing a veterinarian rather than attempting to handle the problem by yourself. Although you could potentially comb out all the fleas, you never know if they’ve laid eggs on the surface of your rabbit’s coat, which can restart the entire flea infestation altogether.
A vet-prescribed medicine is a perfect way to get rid of fleas for good hence improving your rabbit’s health. Ideally, you may also avoid exposing your bunny to other pets in the house and restricting it from going outside.
Rabbits are generally incapable of cleaning their eyes; hence it will be your sole responsibility to ensure that this sensitive part is clean. Sleep crust, close to what we get when we wake up from deep slumber, might form on your pet’s eye corners. It’s therefore advisable to wipe it off using a clean, soft cloth.
On the subject of sleep, you might wonder whether bunnies go to sleep, considering that their eyes are always open most of the time. Yes, Rabbits usually sleep without shutting their eyes thanks to their third eyelid, which generally reduces their need to blink. If your rabbit has constant wet eyes or a lot of pus and other discharge coming from their eyes, visit a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Ear mites are the most common source of cankers and wax in rabbits. The ear, specifically the external ear canal, is a hotbed for these tiny creatures. At the early stage of infestation, rabbits are typically asymptomatic. The ear mites gradually breed and migrate from the ear canal to the pinna hence developing a bacterial skin infection.
Other signs and symptoms include ear inflammation, ear flap hair thinning, ear drooping, obsessive scratching, and ear crusting. Your bunny will try chewing its ears or shaking its head to get some form of relief.
Whenever your bunny develops an ear infection or ear mite infestation and appears to be in distress, don’t hesitate to take them to the vet. Getting medication as soon as possible helps prevent the termites from penetrating further into your pet’s ear. Also, always check both ears’ insides once per week and be on the lookout for wax clumps. A small amount of wax is natural, but not a lot. There should be no discharge, pus, or anything similar coming from your rabbit’s ears.
Never place a cotton swab or your fingers inside a rabbit’s ears as this can cause damage to their inner ear; instead, only do visual checks and take them to the vet whenever there’s an abnormality.
Rabbit’s nails should be trimmed after every four to six weeks, either professionally or you can alternatively do that. Their claws usually never stop growing hence the need for a trim. On the other hand, overgrown nails often lead to discomfort, and sharp claws can also cause injuries, particularly when handling rabbits.
Clipping your rabbit’s nails isn’t that difficult and can be done with regular nail clippers. When trimming, always avoid cutting near the blood vessel as a cut too close usually causes bleeding.
The anus is where the rabbit’s scent glands are situated. Often when the scent gland gets dirty, it’s most definitely going to get clogged. You’ll have to wipe your rabbit’s scent glands because they can’t clean that region on their own. Yeah, it’s a little gross, but eventually, someone has to do it.
Grab a clean cotton swab for cleaning the scent glands. Set the temperature of the water in your bathroom sink to warm. Wet the cotton swab and rub it against the scent glands to clear any clogs. It’s advisable cleaning the scent gland with the rabbit upside down, so it’s probably a two-person job. In case you feel overwhelmed, don’t worry; on the bright side, you can always take your pets to the veterinarian for scent gland cleaning.
Last but not least, you should also look after your rabbit’s paws. Yeah, your rabbit will try to clean their paws, but they won’t be able to get it right. Use a piece of cloth and wet it in warm water, then place the rabbit still on your lap. In case you don’t want to soak yourself, place a piece of cloth on your lap and proceed by gently wiping off its paws clean. Finally, dry off your pet’s paws by patting them using a clean, dry towel.
Except for large messes caked onto their fur, rabbits clean themselves very well; instead of dunking your rabbit in the shower, spot-clean the area with water if it’s a huge mess. Proper care of your rabbit’s coat, skin, nails, and ears is essential if you want them to be generally healthy. Lastly, always book a veterinarian appointment whenever your rabbit behaves abnormally during cleaning or generally shows signs of discomfort.
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