Ear care

Best Way to Clean a Rabbit's Ears

Matthew Nesbitt
By Matthew Nesbitt, Journalist specialized in animal research. March 4, 2018
Best Way to Clean a Rabbit's Ears

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Have you seen your rabbit with dirty ears, but wondered the best way to clean them? You want to make sure your bunnies are free from potential infection, but you don't want do these delicate appendages any damage. This is why we need to be careful when cleaning our rabbit's ears. It is also something we might forget to do, thinking too much about other aspects of their care.

As with other parts of the animal, paying attention to a rabbit's ears means we can detect signs and symptoms of certain health problems such as scabies. Some of these may require veterinary treatment which is why knowing the best way to clean a rabbit's ears isn't merely a cosmetic process. It is an important part of disease prevention in your rabbit and AnimalWised is here to show you how to keep your rabbit in good health, not just clean around the ears.

You may also be interested in: Step By Step to Cleaning A Dog’s Ears
  1. How to handle your rabbit to clean their ears
  2. Cleaning a rabbit's ears
  3. Signs to pay attention to

How to handle your rabbit to clean their ears

It is very important when we introduce a new rabbit into our home that they have an adaptation period. This is when they start to get used to their new environment and become settled. One important aspect of this is learning how to cope being handled by their new family. This isn't just so that you can cuddle them without getting scratched, but so that they can be treated for various medical or hygienic purposes without becoming stressed. Allowing to be touched around the ears is included in these basics as it is needed to be done periodically.

We should ask our veterinarian for some advice if we are unsure, especially one who is a specialist in these animals. They can help inform us about how often to clean a rabbit's ears as some breeds may require more maintenance than others. They can also recommend specialized products they recommend. We can't use any old cleaning product for our rabbit. Instead we need one which is suitable for rabbits and won't cause them skin problems or even create allergic reactions.

The first step in cleaning a rabbit's ears, as we said, is ensuring they are comfortable being handled. To do this, we need to start slow. Handle with extreme care and don't force contact nor take them by surprise. Little by little, we need to encourage them to become accustomed to us. We can do this through positive reinforcement such as offering small treats when they come near to associate us with good feelings.

We can then start to move the rabbit to our lap. Encouraging the rabbit with both hands, if they become skittish or start to shake, we can gently release them. Keep trying, but do so over a period of time so as not to pressure the rabbit and cause anxiety. Otherwise, they will associate you with stress.

When it comes time to clean our rabbit's ears, it's best to have another person's help. They can do this by holding them gently in place on a table. If the rabbit is normally jittery, you may want to wrap them in a towel to restrict movement while keeping them calm. It is important to keep out for obvious signs of stress and not to struggle with them as it can lead to injury.

Best Way to Clean a Rabbit's Ears - How to handle your rabbit to clean their ears

Cleaning a rabbit's ears

The best way to clean a rabbit's ears is to be gentle and start cautiously. We also need to choose the right product to carry it out, so ask your vet for their recommendation. This should be a product which is especially designed for this purpose and should come in a bottle with a nozzle for squirting directly into the air. Once obtained, we will also need some gauze and a small towel. Keep everything in reach so you don't have to leave your rabbit unattended or strain to get something. Again, this is helped by having someone else assist you in this ear cleaning process.

Do one ear at a time, starting by squirting a small amount of the rabbit ear cleaning product in the ear canal. Give a light massage at the base of the ear so that the solution works its way in. This massaging should have the added bonus of helping the rabbits to relax. You are likely to notice the rabbit shale their head as it can be an odd sensation for them, but it won't do them any harm. Try to keep their head still so the liquid can do its job. Using the small towel or piece of clean cloth, wipe away any excess. With the gauze, move into the rabbit's ear canal and very gently clean out their ears of any wax or build up of dirt. Finally, don't forget to reward our rabbit for their patience.

Cleaning our rabbit's ears in this way is important as keeping them clean can be tricky. While rabbits will clean themselves and each other, sometimes their condition is too dirty for self-cleaning. Problems with bathing a rabbit can mean it is tricky to keep them in best health.

Signs to pay attention to

Now that we know the best way to clean a rabbit's ears, we should know the signs we need to pay attention to in order to tell if they are in good health. These ears should be soft, fine, of a regular shape and of a pinkish tone in the skin area of the ear canal. Of course, they should also be without any wounds or secretions of any kind.

On the contrary, there are some signs you need to look out for if their ears are in poor condition:

  • Regularly tilting or shaking their head, potentially indicating a problem inside the ear. They may also rub their ears up against the cage or hutch to try to alleviate a problem.
  • Secretions from the inner ear, especially those accompanied by a bad smell. This is often a sign of infection.
  • Wounds, scabs, thickened skin or hair loss (alopecia) will all require veterinary consultation. This could be a sign of a dermatological problem such as mange.
  • Parasites in the ear such as mites or ticks will also be a problem which needs to be dealt with.

This above reasons are why taking care of our rabbit's ears is so important to the welfare of the animal. Following the vaccination and deworming schedules as well as regular visits to the vet, at least once or twice a year, is imperative for prompt detection of any problems.

Best Way to Clean a Rabbit's Ears - Signs to pay attention to

If you want to read similar articles to Best Way to Clean a Rabbit's Ears, we recommend you visit our Ear care category.

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Best Way to Clean a Rabbit's Ears