Your pet rabbit does a pretty good job of keeping itself clean. After all, it’s in their nature to groom themselves. So, does that mean you can skip brushing them? Nope.
As a pet owner it’s your responsibility to ensure that they have the proper rabbit care. Brushing is just one part of grooming them that helps them stay safe and healthy.
Safe and healthy? You may find yourself wondering why leaving your rabbit to groom themselves is unsafe or bad for their health, I mean dogs and cats do it all the time and they are just fine.
No need to wonder any further, keep reading and you'll find out why!
Importance of Brushing
Brushing your rabbit is something you do need to do fairly often to help them stay safe and healthy. Depending on the breed of rabbit, they can shed their hair fairly quickly and if you aren't going to brush it out then they will groom themselves.
While a little personal grooming is fine, leaving your rabbit to deal with all their shedding hair is not safe. When dogs and cats groom themselves they will get rid of the clumps of hair in their systems by vomiting it up. Rabbits on the other hand aren't capable of vomiting up the hair they ingest, leaving hairballs to sit in their digestive systems and cause a blockage.
What Type of Brush
When it comes to choosing your rabbit brush you'll want to consider a few things. Rabbits are gentle creatures and having the wrong brush can potentially hurt them or cause them to freak out and not allow you to brush them.
For longer haired rabbits: Use slicker brushes and wire brushes
For shorter haired rabbits: Use a bristle brush or comb
Lay your rabbit down on a safe, flat surface where you have the upper hand. You can also lay a bowl across your lap and place your rabbit on them (but do not place them on their back). Move the brush gently from the area under your rabbit’s ears toward its behind.
To get to the hair that is under the first layer use a:
Wire brush for rabbits with short hair and gently move it back.
Bristle brush for rabbits with long hair and gently move it back.
How Often to Brush
You should brush your rabbit at least once a week. Twice a week is the ideal amount, however depending on the length of the hair and the season it may vary. If your rabbit has super thick, long hair, you may need to do it more in the summer time so that they are comfortable and aren’t overheating, etc. You'll also help prevent rabbit hair from spreading all over your home and clothes.
Brushing your rabbit this frequently will also help to combat fleas. While you should have some sort of flea medication on your rabbit, they often still find a way onto your pet rabbit. Or, if the flea medication you are using isn’t working properly you’ll be able to tell while brushing the rabbit.
What Not to Do
If your rabbit is in a lot of distress, stop and try again later. This often means your rabbit isn’t used to a lot of holding or grooming. Don’t force your rabbit to do anything if you can tell they are in a panic.
Your rabbit can get so upset that they can cause harm to themselves. They will then associate brushing with something bad and you’ll have a hard time every time you try to groom them. Just keep practicing, eventually they'll get more comfortable with it. Treats help too! Just remember to be extra gentle and caring with your pet rabbit.
Did you know that feeding your rabbit the correct amount of hay can help to keep their fur nice and shinny? Purchase your rabbit's favorite hay at our store!
You can also download our Hay is for Rabbits eBook. Where you'll learn about all 7 different types of hay rabbits eat, their health benefits, allergies, and more!