Bunnies need an above-average amount of grooming. Bunny grooming can be a fun activity for both bunny owners and bunnies. We need to tend to their:
- Furr. This includes brushing, especially is the shedding season.
- Check their teeth.
Let’s start with the most important part of bunny grooming – taking care of their furr.
1. Fur: Shedding Seasons And How To Brush Bunny Fur
If you observe the bunny’s fur throughout the year, you will notice periods of time when the fur will just be all over the place.
Rabbits have regular shedding season. Every 3 months or so, the bunny’s body will shed a part of the existing fur to be replaced by a new fur. A general rule of bunny shedding seasons is that after a heavy shedding season you will see a light shedding season and visa versa.
Why does shedding even matter, you may ask. You can help brush the fur away with a comb and collect the fur that started to accumulate in your apartment, right?
Well, knowing how often and how much bunnies shed is important to know because it falls on us to take care of the brushing part. We need to brush a bunny every day in the evening during shedding season in order to avoid hairballs.
Avoiding Development Of Hairballs
The development of hairballs in bunny’s stomach is one of the most common side effects of bad bunny grooming.
Bunnies will readily lick their fur during the shedding season. If we don’t remove the excess fur routinely, hairballs can develop in bunny’s stomach. Unlike cats, who can cough the hairball back up, bunnies essentially have no way to get a hair ball out of their stomach.
That’s why we have to groom bunnies with a comb so regularly. The only good way to prevent gastrointestinal stasis resulting from a hairball development is to do everything we can to prevent the hairball to develop in the first place.
Routinely combing a bunny during the shedding season (especially the heavy season) is of paramount importance.
The shedding season can take anywhere from a day to up to two weeks. We should brush the old fur away at least two times per day – in the morning and in the evening. For additional safety, brushing several times a day does help but we often don’t have that much time during the day to do it frequently enough.
How To Brush A Bunny?
First-time bunny owners may be alarmed when a bunny might be shedding their fur by the handful. That’s not all that unusual during heavy shedding. English Angora, for example, the world’s fluffiest bunny breed is infamous for its heavy shedding.
Brushing a bunny serves two purposes:
- Removing excess fur (especially important during shedding).
- Preventing the formation of fur mats.
In any case, mats of fur might occur even if you brush your bunny several times a day. These mats are usually soft and can be pulled apart using just your fingers.
Do not use scissors to cut a mat away. Putting scissors near a bunny is something only experience bunny handlers should do. The chances of bunny making a sudden movement and piercing its skin on the scissors is just not worth it; especially, if you can use your finger to clear the fur mat.
Some bunny owners may be concerned when they find a bald spot on their bunny’s fur. The bald spot is nothing to get worried about. Bunnies can shed their fur quicker in some places than others. The fur will grow back again quickly enough.
When picking a brush, you should choose the soft-tipped one. Pretty much every small pet brush should do; the only thing you should care about is not to hurt the bunny’s skin. In this regard, brushes with soft tips are the safest to use.
Do You Have To Bath A Bunny?
No. Bunnies are similar to cats; they tend to clean themselves by licking their fur. However, there are times that a bunny can be very dirty. In such cases, it can make sense to bath a bunny.
Cases when a bunny should be bathed include:
- When they have a ‘poopy butt’. Bunnies are not as agile as cats and they can’t clean their behinds.
- When they make a mess with their stool. Especially when bunnies have a runny stool, they can lie in it and are very dirty.
- If they spill milk, coffee or some other things on themselves.
Bunnies don’t really like bathing and we need to be careful about the water temperature. We need to gently hold them and wash them with mildly warm water.
They don’t react well to extreme temperatures. That’s why using mildly warm water makes sense. After the bath, don’t use a blower fan to dry them. Blow drying a bunny might cause the body temperature of a bunny to fall too quickly and bunny might go into a shock.
Mild water and using a towel to dry it off two general rules when bathing a bunny.
2. Ears: How To Clean Bunny Ears
Bunnies have an extraordinarily large ears. If we don’t clean them often and properly, they can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.
The primary concern when cleaning bunny ears is a rabbit ear butter. Excess fur, hay, and even poop can be found in unclean ears.
When cleaning those big ears we have to be careful about two things:
- Not damaging a bunny’s eardrum. Bunnies can move swiftly, especially if we mess around their ears. We need to be careful not to puncture their eardrums.
- Not using harmful chemicals to clean the ear butter.
The best way to clean a bunny’s ears is with a cotton swab. The trick is to dip a swab in warm water. Usually, you have to use 10 or more swabs for one ear in order to clean it properly.
Just be careful to keep a rabbit calm. With their sudden movements, they can pierce themselves on the cotton swab we’re using.
Bunny’s ears should be cleaned two times per month, depending on the filth that gathers there.
3. Teeth: Check Them Regularly, And Cut Them If Overgrown
In nature, rabbit teeth never stop growing. Because the lifespan of wild rabbits is about one or two years, that’s not a problem.
An average lifespan of a household bunny can be up to 12 years. In this time, bunny teeth can grow to big for their mouths. That’s why we need to monitor the length of bunny’s teeth. If they are too long, we have to clip them.
Many first-time pet owners shudder at a though of clipping bunny teeth. That’s completely understandable. Contrary to common belief, it’s not all that hard to clip away bunny teeth.
If you don’t feel confident doing it, you can take a bunny to a vet. Shortening bunny teeth is a routine task for them and they can give you pointers on how to do it.
The best trick of how to clip away overgrown bunny teeth is to use pet nail clippers. Any nail clippers should do but the small pet ones, meant primary for cats and small dogs, will be best. Never clip more than 1/4 of the length of a bunny tooth and be gentle with the bunny when you do it.
If, however, bunnies have a serious problem with overgrown teeth, you can use a rotary tool. This is a tool that veterinarians usually use. The whole procedure can involve sedating a rabbit. If you haven’t used a rotary tool before, it’s best to leave it to a veterinarian to shorten the bunny’s teeth.
The best things you can do to avoid teeth to overgrow are:
- Supply a bunny with chewing toys. Chewing blocks of wood, for example, can limit the growth of bunny teeth.
- Feed them fiber-rich food. Fiber-rich food like fresh hay has to be chewed. This, in turn, will have the same effect as chewing toys.
- Oral exams. Try to check the length of bunny teeth every two weeks or so. Shortening shorter teeth is easier than shortening longer teeth. Clip them away when they aren’t terribly overgrown.
4. Nails: Bunny Pedicure Is A Necessity
In nature, rabbits scratch hard surfaces like rocks and wood. This wears down their toenails on front and hind legs.
House bunnies, on the other hand, have the luxury of soft surfaces we provide them. Due to lack of that natural scratching, if falls on us as bunny owners to shorten bunny’s fails.
You don’t have to do it too often. Once or two every 2 months is recommended.
We have to be careful about how to trim bunny’s nails. If you look at a nail on the bunny’s front legs, you can see that part closer to the body is red, and the part that is facing outwards is white.
It is imperative that we only cut the white part of the nail. There are numerous veins under the red part of the nail; that’s why it’s colored red. Even a slight cut in that area will lead to both bleeding and significant discomfort for your bunny.
We can use any kind of clippers that are appropriate for small pets like cats or dogs.
Here is a quick summary about cutting bunny’s nails:
- Cut only the white part of the nail. Never the red vascular part.
- Use sharp clippers appropriate for small pets.
- Cut nails once or twice per 2 months.
Always Make A Bunny Comfortable
The general rule when grooming a bunny is to create a safe and comfortable environment. We have to take care of the bunny’s needs as far as fur, ears, teeth, and nail trimming is concerned.
In many cases, bunnies like fur combings but will bulge at nail trimming or bathing. No matter the situation, however, it is always advisable to groom them as calmly as possible.
Properly performing all grooming activities will not only make our bunny beautiful; it can also positively affect their health and well-being.