Can I Bathe my Rabbit?
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Many people ask this question and there are many different hypotheses. Some people believe it is not good to bathe rabbits, because they are very clean animals and they are constantly preening themselves (much like cats). Rabbits have a protective layer on their skin that could be washed away and they are very sensitive, so being immersed in water could cause them stress and anxiety.
However, others believe that the opposite is true. They argue that it is very good to bathe rabbits, as it helps to remove old hair. It also removes urine and fecal material that can accumulate in the lower coat, as rabbits like to linger in one position for a while.
Here at AnimalWised, we believe that the two sides have good points; we recommend to balance the two options. Yes, you can bathe your rabbit, but you should take into consideration some issues and do it a only few times a year, or if you see that your pet has very dirty fur.
How to prepare a bath for a rabbit
A bath should be a relaxing time for your rabbit and not a source of stress. Opt for a time when you can have time and patience. Prepare the sink or a washbasin. Never force your rabbit into the bath; treat the animal with love and talk gently. The bath may not be the animal's favorite activity, so try not to traumatize it further. A rabbit bath is not fun. Be careful not to throw or spill water everywhere, and ease your pet into it. Do everything carefully.
The water temperature must not be too cold nor too hot, just balmy as if it were for a baby. It is better to give them a quick dip in the spring-summer. Avoid baths in winter, because your floppy friend could catch a cold. Forget about "relaxing" your rabbit with bath salts, bubbles or substances that may be toxic. Rabbits have extremely sensitive skin.
How to bathe a rabbit
You can use a special pH neutral soap for rabbits, or baby shampoo (this will help reduce the redness or irritation in the rabbits' eyes if any soap gets in. Follow the instructions on the label and always rinse carefully and thoroughly. Try not to soak their face directly, which will prevent soap from entering their nose and mouth.
Never use your own soap or shampoo; no matter how natural it is or how shiny it leaves your hair, it will not be at all good for your pet rabbit.
Do not take advantage of this time to clip the rabbit's claws, fur or to brush its hair. Leave all that for another time, since the bath is stressful enough.
How to dry a rabbit after a bath
Have a dry towel ready. Once the bath is done, get your rabbit, wrap it up and cuddle the little thing for a few minutes. You'll make it feel safe while ensuring it doesn't catch a cold. Then let the rabbit dry naturally; do not use a hair dryer. It can be invasive, scary and it could burn the animal. If you need to speed up the drying process, use the dryer only at its lowest level - in any case, it's best to avoid using it at all. Before you let your rabbit out of the room, the fur must be completely dry.
By making the bath a pleasant and relaxing experience, your rabbit will feel more comfortable. Rabbits can swim like dogs and cats. Who knows? Maybe one day you will find your rabbit swimming in the sink.
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