black and white bunny taking a bath

Does My Pet Rabbit Need a Bath?

black and white bunny taking a bath

Very nervous bunny taking a bath. Photo by ConteauBoy

Should you bathe your pet rabbit? Would it be soothing or non-sensical? Here’s the breakdown on grooming your pal. Rabbits do not like to get wet, and in general your rabbit will be able to handle the bulk of his grooming on his own.

The only two scenarios that experts seem to agree requires you to step in and help is:

1. If the rabbit is unable physically to clean himself.

or

2. If he has been exposed to something that might be harmful for him to ingest.

If either of these situations is a problem for your bunny, then use the following list as a general guideline to make bathing a pleasant experience for both of you. Only if you find either of the above true should you bathe your pet rabbit.

How to bathe your rabbit:

1. Start with a dry approach to cleaning him.

Use cornstarch and a brush (can buy rabbit brushes at your local pet store), and gently work the matter out. If this isn’t effective, then move to water.

2. Use as little water as possible.

Think a damp washcloth versus immersion. Water can make your rabbit very nervous depending on his disposition, so less is more while bathing.

3. Make safety a top priority during the entire process.

Keep the bathing area free of sharp or hard objects that can cause harm as rabbits tend to kick or move about quickly while being bathed. Use lukewarm water, and make sure to use shampoo or soaps made especially for your bunny (try your pet store for this also).

4. Recognize your pet rabbit’s unique needs.

Make sure to support his back while bathing, and if you must immerse him the water should not be higher than his chest. A huge concern would be to also make sure that water does not get into his ears. It can cause issues with infections. Guard his eyes from dripping as well, including any product you might use. Rabbit’s skin is extremely sensitive, so again use only products that are made especially for them.

5. Make sure after bathing to let your pet rabbit dry completely.

Use a soft absorbent cloth to pat him with. Once completely dry, his fur can be fluffed out with his brush. He may or may not assist in the grooming process by licking repeatedly. Please make sure to not expose your rabbit to cold environments while he is wet. Rabbits have been known to die from this.

Throughout the entire process, whether dry or wet, comfort your rabbit by speaking gently to him and with soft, careful movements. It can be a very scary thing for him to have a bath, so treat him with care accordingly.

Do you bathe your bunnies? If so what kind of experience have you had?

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