Benefits of Grooming: Grooming provides an excellent opportunity to give your rabbit a quick overall check-up. This includes checking the teeth for misalignment (Malocclusion), the eyes and nose for any discharge, fur and skin for parasites and lumps/bumps, etc. Also check for mats and “poopy butt”. Rabbits have thin, sensitive skin, so use gentle strokes when brushing.
Bathing: Rabbits are naturally very clean and do not need baths unless they are incontinent (Urine soaked) or get “poopy butt”. Use plain water or gentle, kitten safe shampoo, such as D-Basic. Many rabbits will squirm violently during a bath, therefore only bathe the soiled area and have another person assist you. Towel dry the rabbit and use a hairdryer (warm, not hot) if necessary.
Shedding: Because of their constant shedding, rabbits need to be brushed at least weekly to remove loose hair. You may have to brush daily during heavy sheds. Rabbits will shed in different ways. Some rabbits will take a couple of weeks or more to lose their old coat, while other will lose theirs all in one day. Much of the hair can often be removed by gently plucking it out with your hands. Fine tooth “flea combs” made for cats work very well to comb out loose rabbit hair. I use the furminator on Cooper and it works perfectly!
Bald spots on rabbits are quite common when they are shedding, but could be an indication of mites if bunny picks at the bald spots or you see dandruff-like flakes when the hair is pulled out. Consult your veterinarian if you are unsure.
Angora & Other Longhair Rabbits: These types of rabbit are truly wonderful to look at but require MUCH MORE attention than short haired rabbits. They must be groomed daily to prevent matting of the fur and hairballs.
Nails: Rabbits nails can grow to be very long and sharp and can be uncomfortable for both you and they rabbit. If the rabbit has light colored nails, the quick ( the portion of the nail containing the blood) is highly visible making them very easy to trim- just clip the nail right before the quick. Dark colored nails make it much more difficult to see the quick, and therefore, harder to trim the nails, A scissor or guillotine-type nail clipper available from any pet or pet supply store is suitable.
People are often afraid to clip the nails for the fear that they will cut the quick and draw blood. If bleeding occurs, it can be stopped by on of the following methods: apply flour to the area by dabbing it on with your fingers and applying pressure (the flour will help clot the blood), apply pressure to the nail with a cotton ball or use a product called Qwik Stop which is available at most pet shops. Your veterinarian will also clip nails for you. They should be checked every 4 to 6 weeks. NEVER DECLAW A RABBIT – it is unsafe, inhumane and is not recommended for rabbits.
(At the vet’s office getting his nails clipped)