Do rabbits need baths? This is one of the most frequently asked questions when having a pet rabbit. Rabbits do not need baths. In fact, it is highly suggested that you rarely, if ever, give a rabbit a bath. This is because it can cause them an undue amount of stress.
Let’s look, shall we?
How Do You Bath A Rabbit
You shouldn’t. It is as simple as that.
Bathing a rabbit is not recommended, do that unless absolutely necessary! Rabbits spend most of the time in cleaning their fur, so bathing your rabbit can be very stressful to him, to the point of a heart attack.
Rabbits are very clean pets, even cleaner than cats. Rabbits do not have any smell. If your bunny is dirty, take a damp cloth and ‘spot clean‘ him.
But, can rabbits be bathed? Yes, there are situations when you do need to bath your rabbit.
Can You Bathe a Rabbit?
Rabbits are incredibly clean animals. So clean that you could own a rabbit for years and it would never need to have a bath at all. There are only a few situations where you should even think of cleaning your rabbit, and we will detail them in the next section.
Firstly, the main reason why you shouldn’t be bathing a rabbit is that it causes them a huge amount of stress and anxiety. Even if the rabbit is familiar with you, it is going to end up getting a little bit scared if you start washing it.
This can lead to it having a heart attack, or at least getting several sick.
While you are bathing the rabbit, the stress is also going to be causing them to bounce upon in the water. Again, not something that you really want to be dealing with. If they are bouncing about in that water, then they run the risk of breaking their back or their other limbs. If this happens, then there is going to be virtually no chance of recovery for your pet.
Rabbits won’t even dry off that quickly. It is not uncommon for rabbits that have been bathed to end up suffering from conditions such as pneumonia. If this happens, then your rabbit will likely die.
If that wasn’t enough to put you off of the idea of giving a rabbit a bath, you should also note that giving a rabbit a bath can cause irritation to the skin. You could use the softest of pet soaps for them. However, it will still cause the irritation.
Chances are, your rabbit is going to survive the bath without breaking a limb or having a heart attack. However, they will almost certainly end up with skin irritation, and that is going to cause them a lot of pain and discomfort.
When Do Rabbits Need Baths?
Rabbits can have baths. The only time rabbits can have baths is when they get a build up of urine around their genitals. Also, bathing a rabbit is allowed only when the rabbit is very dirty or has soiled himself.
If you find yourself in this type of emergency, be sure to make the bath as brief as possible, and keep the bunny warm until she/he is dry. However do not forget to use safe bunny shampoo.
They generally don’t like getting submerged, and remember that bunny fur takes a longtime to dry. Bunnies usually hate sinks, and will kick out and twist when you try to put them in water.
TIP: After bathing a rabbit, put a hot water bottle to cuddle next to if they feel chilled. A rabbit can catch hypothermia or go into shock very easily if they get cold when they’re wet.
There will be times where your rabbit gets a bit filthy. This may happen specifically around the anus where stools can get stuck into their fur. They may also have something spill on them. In these situations, it is important that you do bathe your rabbit. However, you will need to take great care when you are doing so.
For starters, you should not be making your entire rabbit wet when you clean them like this. Instead, you should be spot cleaning them i.e. you will only be targeting the parts of their body where they have filth on them.
You should ensure that the water is warmish when you do this. Alternately, you may not want to use any water at all. Some people will use cornstarch and gently rub it into the area.
This will help to lift off the mess without making the rabbit wet or causing them any sort of skin irritation. It is important that, under absolutely no circumstances, should you be using soap to clean the area. If you do, then you will be causing issues for your rabbit.
At all times, you should be holding your rabbit securely. You should not be holding your rabbit on their back. Some people do this because the rabbit looks a lot more relaxed but, trust us, your rabbit is not actually going to be relaxed when you are doing this.
Throughout, you should be talking to your rabbit to let them know that everything is OK. This should help to calm them down.
If you do decide to use water to clean your rabbit, then make sure that they are completely dry before you release them. This will reduce the risk of them getting conditions such as pneumonia.
If you find that you are cleaning around your rabbit’s anus quite a bit, then you will probably want to talk to the vet. This could indicate an issue with the rabbit’s diet which will likely need to be remedied. In many cases, it is because they have too much sugar in their diet, but it is up to the vet to make the final decision here.
How to Clean Rabbit’s Feet
One good way how to clean rabbits feet is using a vinegar solution. Best way to get it off is to place the rabbit in a new, clean wire cage, and let it come of on its own. Vinegar works wonders. 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water is a pretty solid mix.
Soak a cotton ball in it for a few seconds, and then really, really run it into his feet. Leave it on for a bit, and then wash it off. Just make sure it stays on their feet. Not only is it nasty for them to lick off, it might make the fur a little icky.
And remember, there is no reason for rabbits to receive regular baths – even if they are shallow baths. Rabbits clean themselves unless too old or obese (or injured somehow). But a normal healthy rabbit on a good diet should be able to clean himself.
Even a plain water bath, if given regularly, can dry out bunny’s delicate skin.