How to Groom Your Rabbit

RABBIT GROOMING TOOLS

Grooming your pet rabbit is a great way to bond with him or her. Before you begin grooming, it is a good idea to have all of your grooming tools ready to go. Since rabbits are clean animals and do not get very dirty, you will spend most of your grooming time brushing his or her fur. You may want to keep your rabbit occupied during the grooming session with a little hay or alfalfa or have another person assist you.

Brush your rabbit�s fur on a regular basis to help with shedding and choose a soft brush for grooming fur. If your rabbit spends more time outdoors than in the house, you will probably need to brush your rabbit once a day. If your rabbit is not shedding much, once a week will be ok. Always be sure to use a brush designed for small animals with sensitive skin. A good brush to use is a soft slicker brush. The Tender Touch Slicker Wire Rabbit Brush is designed especially for use on rabbits and is ideal for removing loose fur and getting out any tangles.

Baths are not recommended for rabbits because it frightens them very easily. If you have to wash your rabbit because he or she is dirty, spot cleaning works best. Use a shampoo that is sensitive on the skin and designed for use on rabbits. The Squeaky Clean Critter Shampoo is very gentle on rabbit skin. Use a little shampoo on the dirty spot and gently rinse the shampoo out. To rinse out the shampoo, use a little cup of warm water. Never place your rabbit in a tub of water or pour a lot of water on your rabbit!

Next, use an ear cleaner on your rabbits ear if they appear to be dirty on the external part of the ear. The Clean Ear Cleanser is great for small animals and easy to use. Squirt the ear cleaner on a soft cotton ball and rub the cleaner on the external part of the ear. Do not put the ear cleaner inside the ear with the cotton ball or squirt it directly in the ear.

Lastly, trim your rabbit�s nails as needed. It is a good idea to check the nail length regularly and trim your rabbits nails when necessary. Use a trimmer designed especially for clipping rabbit nails to avoid injury. The Clip & Trim Bunny Nail Trimmers are great for clipping your rabbits nails and attach to your rabbits cage with a magnet for convenience.

Cleaning your Rabbit’s Ears

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RABBIT EAR CLEANER

Cleaning your rabbit’s ears is an especially delicate operation because you need to earn the rabbit’s trust first.
This is no small task for rabbits that frighten easy. Before tackling the ear cleaning job, spend a few weeks cuddling and stroking your rabbit, so that he or she trusts you and doesn’t mind being handled.
You will need to regularly check inside your rabbit’s ears to make sure there isn’t any build up of ear wax.
The golden rule is: don’t stick anything in your rabbit’s ear that could hurt them, poke or go into the ear canal. It may have taken along time to earn your rabbit’s trust, so be gentle in the actual cleaning of the ear! Try using a gentle ear-wash like Four Paws Anti-itch ear cleaner. Four Paws Ear Wash Anti-Itch Cleaner is used by veterinarians and groomers to remove odor causing ear wax. Formulated with only the highest quality ingredients for maximum effectiveness. Soothes and cools will not sting.
Rabbit ears should be cleaned every two weeks, but you should run an ear check daily for wax build up. Any black discharge or soreness in the ear could indicate mites of other infections that require the attention of a veterinarian or rabbit ear mite medication.
Use a soft cotton ball or cotton-tipped swab and clean areas that are visible. You don’t need to go into the ear canal or anywhere that you cannot clearly see. Leave the ear canal to the veterinarian if a condition develops.
Gently rub the cotton ball or swab, remove any wax or grime that has collected in the ear and you are finished. Tell your rabbit what a good boy or girl they are and gently release them.
Cleaning your rabbit’s ears should be a welcome process and not cause them any anxiety or stress. Gentle, Consistent and trust development are the keys.

Caring for your Rabbit’s Teeth

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RABBIT DENTAL CARE

Taking care of your rabbits teeth is easy, but vital to the health of your rabbit. It is best to prevent dental problems before they occur because there are few treatments to help correct teeth. Your rabbit�s diet should contain food or treats that require a lot of hard chewing to help prevent a variety of dental problems. If your rabbit does not have a hard surface to chew on, he or she may develop a dental problem that cannot be fixed.

To prevent dental problems, provide your rabbit with hard, crunchy surfaces to chew on, such as the Chew-A-Lot Crunch Bar. The best treats to give your rabbit on mineral or wood chews. By chewing on a hard surface, your rabbits teeth will stay trim and will not become overgrown. Also, it is a good idea to periodically check the cheek teeth for uneven wear. If spikes form on the cheek teeth, it will become painful for your rabbit to chew, which could cause your rabbit not to eat and lead to malnutrition.

If your rabbit appears to be having problems chewing, lose of appetite, the tooth growth appears to be abnormal, drooling, or pain when the mouth area is touched, these are signs of dental problems and you should take your rabbit to the veterinarian as soon as possible. The sooner the problem can be diagnosed, the more likely it can be treated. Your veterinarian may be able to easily correct the dental problem if caught early. However, if the problem is severe, then there may be no possible treatment.

For more great rabbit products and supplies, check out RabbitMart for all your rabbit needs.

A Rabbit is a big Responsibility!

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Its important to understand the nature of rabbits so that their wants and habits are known and attended to.

Often, rabbits are purchased for children and are considered to be a lessor responsibility than a cat or dog. This can be similar to an impulse purchase to in response to a child’s request. Baby rabbits can be irresistible and are easy to handle for the child. Then quickly the rabbit grows up and takes on the personality of an adult animal. Information on rabbit behavior can be found in on websites such as House Rabbit Society and Rabbit Advocates . There are many positives for kids in owning a rabbit. It is an educational experience in animal care and behavior. Gentleness and love required when interacting with a pet bunny can give your child lifelong lessons on kindness and responsibility. After educating yourself, it will be clear to you that adopting a rabbit is a family decision and not based on an impulse. 

Things to consider before adopting

  • Rabbits live about 8 to 12 years. Are you willing to take care of the rabbit after your child grows older? Children develop different interests as they grow and may show less interested in the pet.
  • Mature rabbits prefer to be on the ground and are not typically content being carried around or being held for long periods of time. A child, trying to hold his pet, may get nipped or scratched in the rabbit’s efforts to get away. The child may become frightened and not want to interact with it any further or the pet could be injured if dropped. You can watch your child interact and hold a rabbit before bringing home a rabbit to see how they respond to the pet. You can make a judgement at that point whether a rabbit appears to be an appropriate pet for your child.
  • Rabbits are very sensitive to sound. Children and their friends can be quite noisy and active. This can place the rabbit bunny in a continuously stressful situation that leads to health and temperament issues.
  • Rabbits are not low maintenance pets. Attention to their needs on a daily basis required. Cage or pen cleaning, feeding, and daily interaction are required. It is unlikely a child will be able to take on all these responsibilities themselves. Therefore, consider the rabbit as the adults responsibility which can be integrated with the child.

Supplies needed to care for a rabbit?

Below are rabbit supplies you should consider before purchasing your pet. 

  • Housing: Cages and pens are the primary choices for rabbit’s living quarters. The enclosure needs to be large enough for the rabbit to move around freely. Consider the adult size requirement if your rabbit is not fully grown. You will need space for the litter box and bowls. It may be worthwhile considering a movable pen/cage in the case that your location needs may change. 
  • Litter Box: Rabbits need to be trained to use a litter box to keep the pen clean. If you are having difficulty you can start with a flat pan to make use easy for the rabbit. Upon success you can switch to a larger litter box. 
  • Litter: The litter should be dust free and safe for the rabbit if ingested. Consider litters that are organic such as plant fiber, recycled paper and wood. 
  • Bowls: Use bowls; one each for pellets, fresh vegetables and water. Heavy, flat-bottomed bowls work best so the rabbit cannot tip them. 
  • Water: It is a good idea to use a water bottle in conjunction with a bowl. This provides a supply of fresh water if one is out of water (or knocked over).
    Cage bottom board: If the rabbits pen has a wire bottom it is necessary to have an area with a flat bottom (such as a board) for the rabbit to rest on off of the wire mesh. This should be large enough for the pet to rest, stretched out, in all directions.
  • Toys: Toys are important not only for stimulation but also to keep the rabbit out of trouble.  Toys for small pets are sold at retailers. You can also use, hard plastic baby toys (rattles, key rings), a towel to push and bunch, cardboard boxes made into forts and tunnels… Use your imagination. 
  • Feed: Pellets should be high quality and contain at least 13% fiber. Store food in an airtight container and the pellets will last approximately six months.

Hippity Hop Grooming Guide for Rabbits

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Rabbits need grooming just as much as pets like dogs or cats. Because of their constant shedding, rabbits need to be brushed at least weekly to remove hair. Fine-toothed flea combs made for cats work very well to comb out loose rabbit hair. Super Pet makes a grooming brush specifically for Rabbits called the Pro Slicker Rabbit Brush.

Rabbits have sensitive skin, so use gentle strokes when grooming your pet rabbit. Angora and other long-haired rabbits require much more attention than short-haired rabbits. They must be groomed daily to prevent matting of the fur and hairballs. Some rabbits love to be brushed and others despise grooming.

While you are grooming your rabbit, you will want to use the opportunity to quickly ensure everything is okay. Check her teeth for misalignment, eyes and nose for any discharge, and the condition of his fur and skin. Check also for mats and fecal matter stuck to his bottom.

Nails. A rabbit’s nails can grow to be very long and sharp, and can be uncomfortable for both you and the rabbit. You can clip the nails with a guillotine-type nail clipper, the type made for cats and birds, available from any pet supply store. Wrapping the bunny in a towel may help to calm her and prevent injury from kicking.

People are often afraid to clip the nails for fear that they will cut the quick and draw blood. If bleeding occurs, it can be stopped by Gimborn Kwik Stop Gel Formula or Excel Pet Styptic Pads. Never declaw a rabbit – it is not recommended for rabbits and is also unsafe and inhumane.

Bald spots on rabbits can occur when they are shedding, but they could also be an indication of mites. Try to take note if your pet rabbit picks at the bald spots or you see dandruff-like flakes when the hair is pulled out. If you are unsure of whether your rabbit has mites – please check with your veterinarian.

Bathing. Rabbits are naturally very clean and do not need baths unless they are incontinent or prone to fecal matter stuck on their bottom. If you do need to bathe your bunny, use water only or a gentle rabbit or kitten shampoo like Bunny Bath Shampoo 6oz. Don’t immerse your rabbit completely in water – bathe only the soiled area. Towel-dry your rabbit.

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The Rarity of an Orphaned Bunny and How to Help

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Many well-meaning people have seen a nest of bunnies without their mom and assumed that it was abandoned. But mother rabbits do not stay by the nest all day like other species and it is best if you do not disturb the nest!  Another mistake that is often made by us humans, is that the mother isn’t feeding her babies enough.
Rabbits are not like human babies and the milk is not like human milk.  It is much richer and baby rabbits are usually fed once per day (usually during the hours of midnight and 5 am).  Making the assumption that the mother isn’t feeding her youngsters is usually incorrect.
In the rare situation that you truly have an orphaned bunny you may try feeding with Kitten Milk Replacer (KMR) pictured to the right. Remember to feed ONLY TWICE A DAY at the most. Overfeeding is a leading cause of death in these baby rabbits.  Overfeeding causes  fatal intestinal disease.
Avoid using Esbilac or any puppy formulas or cow’s milk. Do not add Karo syrup.
FEED TWICE A DAY ONLY – the guidelines below are maxiums.
Newborn to One Week: 2 – 2+1/2 cc/ml each feeding (two feedings).
1-2 weeks: 5-7 cc/ml each feeding (two feedings).
2-3 weeks: 7-13 cc/ml each feeding (two feedings).

Keep your pet rabbit healthy, happy and hopping!

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Got Rabbit?  Get a Vet!

Regular vet visits are an extremely important part of keeping your bunny healthy. When you take your rabbit to the vet – be ready to answer questions about your rabbit’s daily habits, sleep habits, diet and overall living arrangements.
A rabbit pet is a herbivore.
A herbivore’s teeth are constantly growing and chewing Timothy hay helps to naturally wear down teeth. If your rabbit won’t eat – it’s time to let your vet know.  If he or she is lethargic .. same same.
Make sure that your rabbit doesn’t get fat – this can be detrimental to his or her health, just like yours.  Feed your rabbit healthy foods in the right proportions.  A rabbit’s diet should be about 80% hay.   Make sure your rabbit has enough water and give your rabbit pellets.  Keep the treats to once-in-a-while and make sure that they are low in sugar and simple carbs.
Remember to always consult your veterinarian with questions about your rabbit’s health.

Thinking About Giving Your Bunny Supplements?

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Rabbit supplements can provide your bunny with a proper balance of healthy vitamin and minerals.  However, you may be wondering whether or not you actually need to provide your rabbit with supplements.  If you have a healthy bunny who is eating a balanced diet, he probably does not need supplements.  However, providing your rabbit with  balanced diet is harder than it sounds.  If your rabbit is eating grass hay and fresh foods, he is probably getting a good proportion of vitamins and minerals.  If your bunny is a finicky eater, or if you have any doubts that your bunny is not getting all of the essential vitamins and minerals, it is a good idea to provide him with supplements.

If your rabbit is ill, under severe stress, pregnant, or nursing, it is incredibly important to provide him with vitamin and mineral supplements.  Consult a veterinarian to find out the exact dosage your rabbit will require in each of these situations.  Especially in pregnant rabbits, it is very important to see your veterinarian so he or she can suggest the proper diet and supplements your rabbit will require to have healthy babies.

Giving your rabbit the vitamins and minerals he needs through supplements is much easier than you may think.  Most vitamin and mineral supplements come in liquid form or chewable form.  With the liquid form you can easily add the proper dosage to your rabbit’s water.  The chewable form usually comes in yummy flavors that your rabbit will love.  A great brand of liquid rabbit supplements are the Sundrops Rabbit and Guinea Pig 4 oz., pictured above.  It gives your rabbit a balanced amount of vitamins and minerals, and contains plenty of healthy vitamin D!  You can also purchase rabbit supplements in powder form.  The Vionate Pet Mineral Power 8 oz. is specially formulated for young rabbits as it promotes healthy body growth.

Besides supplements that provide your rabbit with vitamins and minerals, there are also supplements with essential fatty acids that promote healthy skin and coat in rabbits!  The Skin and Coat Supplement – Rabbits and Guinea Pigs 4 oz., is a popular brand of supplements that contain these healthy fatty acids!

Keep Your Rabbit Smelling Fresh and Clean!

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Rabbits actually do not need baths!  Baths can be extremely stressful for your rabbit.  If you have ever bathed a dog or cat, you know how much these animals do not enjoy baths.  If you can imagine it, rabbits hate baths even more!  Rabbits are extremely susceptible to injuries during bath time because they struggle so much.  Because of this, I would recommend not putting your rabbit into a bath!

There are ways to keep your rabbit clean without giving him a bath.  If your indoor rabbit gets dirty,  you will usually be able to just do spot cleaning.  Using a waterless shampoo, you can spray directly onto the area that is dirty.  This is much less traumatizing for rabbits than putting them into a bath full of water!  A great waterless shampoo is the Peters Waterless Shampoo Spray for Rabbits and Small Animals.  You do not need to wet the area before spraying, nor do you need to rinse it off afterward!  All you need to do is rub the spray into your rabbit’s coat, towel it off, and then brush their fur out.

Use a brush like the Pro Slicker Brush for Small Animals to de-tangle your rabbit’s fur after using the waterless shampoo.  You can use this brush often because it is useful for keeping your rabbit’s fur in good condition and to prevent tangles.  The teeth of the brush is plastic, and there are round plastic tips so it is gentle on your rabbit’s skin.  This is the best brush you can buy for your rabbit because unlike other brushes, it will not irritate his skin.

Because of how difficult it is to bathe your rabbit, I would recommend buying a cologne spray to keep your rabbit smelling nice and fresh!  TropiClean Pet Cologne, shown above, is perfect to use on any any small animals, and even dogs and cats!  It keeps their coat conditioned while giving them a long lasting fresh smell.  It comes in 4 different scents – Baby Powder, Berry Fresh, Papaya Mist, and Peach Kava.  Try them all and see which one you and your rabbit like the best!

Cleaning Your Rabbit’s Ears

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Rabbit’s ears are particularly susceptible to problems like ear mites or infection.  You need to check your rabbit’s ears at least once a week.  If you are bathing your rabbit once a week, this would be a perfect time to check his ears!  The more you check your rabbit’s ears, the more likely you will be able to see abnormalities.  When checking your rabbit’s ears, pay special attention to problems such as sores, crusty areas, bumps, excessive amounts of wax, or odd smells.

If you notice a foul odor, you can use a treatment like Dr. Golds Ear Therapy for Pets.  It disinfects any fungal or yeast infections that could be producing an odd smell.  The medication is given through a dropper, and it contains no alcohol so it will not irritate your rabbit’s ears.  Be sure to massage product into ears for at least one minute, and then wipe off the remaining formula.

If you find general debris in your rabbit’s ears, you can wipe it out with a cotton ball.  Never ever put a cotton swab in your bunny’s ear canal as it can do major damage.  Wax in a rabbit’s ear is normal, and it is actually beneficial because it serves as a protective layer.  However, if you notice excess wax, you may use a treatment like the Ear Wash Anti Itch Cleaner for Pets.  This is a non-irritating formula, and will easily wash away excess ear wax.  You should only use this product once a month, as using it too often can remove too much wax.

While it is easy to clean up debris and wax, much worse problems can occur in your bunny’s ears.  For example, one common problem is that ear mites may infest your rabbit’s inner ear canals.  If your rabbit is suffering from ear mites you will notice ear scratching and head shaking.  It is very important that you take your rabbit to the vet if you suspect they have ear mites, because untreated ear mites can lead to hearing loss. Your vet will look at discharge from the ear under a microscope to diagnose whether or not your bunny has ear mites.

You can help treat the symptoms of ear mites Adams Pene-Mite Ear Mite Treatment, shown above.  You will use the treatment for 12 days, with the adverse symptoms lessening within 4-6 days.  Using an eye dropper, you will drip the solution into the ear canal, and massage the ear to distribute the medication.