Benefits of Grooming – Grooming provides an excellent opportunity to give your rabbit a quick overall check-up. This includes checking their teeth for misalignment (Malocclusion), their eyes and nose for any discharge, fur and skin for parasites, lumps, and bumps, etc. Also, check for matted fur and poopy butt. But be careful, rabbits have thin, sensitive skin, so use gentle strokes when brushing them.
Bathing – Rabbits are naturally very clean and do not require baths unless they are incontinent (Urine soaked) or get “poopy butt”. Use plain water or gentle, kitten safe shampoo, such as John Paul’s Oatmeal Shampoo. 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 – Rabbits constantly shed, so it is highly recommended to brush them once per week, at the least. During shedding season, which may seem it’s neverending, you may need to brush them daily. Rabbits shed their entire coat at least three times per year. Some may take a couple of weeks or more to change coats completely. I found that the FURminator works the best for me, I’l also incorporated lint rollers into our brushing sessions. Much of their fur can often be removed by gently plucking with your hands, you’ll see fluffs of fur sticking out, gently pluck away!
Bald spots on rabbits are quite common when they are shedding, but could be an indication of mites. If you notice your rabbit picking at the bald spots or you see dandruff-like flakes when the fur is pulled out. Consult your veterinarian.
Angora & Other Longhair Rabbits – These types of rabbits 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 prevent them from ingesting fur and causing hairballs. Remember, rabbits cannot vomit, ingested fur will block their digestive system and will cause them to go into GI stasis, so make sure to brush daily!
Nails – Rabbits’ nails can grow to be very long and sharp and can be uncomfortable for the rabbit. If the rabbit has light-colored nails, the quick (the portion of the nail containing 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 their nails, A scissor or guillotine-type nail clippers available from any pet supply store is suitable. But if you don’t feel comfortable clipping their nails, take them to the vet. I took Cooper monthly to get a mani/pedi, and I do the same with MINI.
People are often afraid of clipping their rabbit’s nails, they’re afraid of cutting the quick and drawing blood. If this happens to you, it’s okay, you can stop the bleeding. You can apply flour to the area by dabbing it with your fingers and applying pressure at the same time. You can also use a product called Kwik Stop, apply with a cotton ball and apply pressure. Or do like I did with Cooper and now MINI. Take them monthly to vet to get the nails clipped. They should be checked every 4 to 6 weeks. Oh, and never declaw a rabbit, it’s inhumane, unsafe and not recommended for any animal!