Care

What to Do When Your Rabbit is Molting

brown bunny sitting on a womans lap

Rabbits spend a lot of time grooming themselves. It may even seem as if every time you see your bun, he is grooming himself. That’s because rabbits are clean animals. But although your pet does a great job of keeping himself neat and tidy, when molting season rolls around (which seems like all the time!), they’ll need some help keep all that fur under wraps.

Rabbit grooming should become a part of your routine as this not only makes your fur baby look cute and cuddly but it also helps keep him in good health.  

Why Rabbit’s Molt

Rabbits go through periods of shedding their winter and summer coats, just like any animal would. The difference with domesticated bunnies is they may seem to molt all the time. But typically they will go through one big molt when they lose their baby fur and their adult fur comes in.

Then again as seasons change.

black and white bunnies sitting in grass

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Grooming: the Solution to Molting   

There are excellent reasons why you should make it a habit to groom your rabbit.  

To keep your bunny healthy  

Sure, your bun can keep himself clean, but grooming makes him swallow some fur. If you don’t lend him a hand and get rid of all those loose hairs, he may end up ingesting a significant amount, which can lead to problems with hairballs.  

Regular brushing also prevents the formation of knots and tangles, which, in turn, can lead to skin irritations or infections, seeing as rabbits have sensitive skins. Dirty, matted fur makes your pet prone to flystrike, a horrible condition caused by fly larvae.  

On top of that, grooming gives you the chance to regularly check your bun for bumps and lumps, skin conditions, and signs of parasitic infestation.  

To make your pet look great  

Brushing removes shed hair, prevents tangles, and makes the fur look sleek and shiny as it distributes the natural oils through the strands.   

It’s a good bonding opportunity  

Grooming lets your pet get used to being held. Most rabbits enjoy the social interaction with their owners and look forward to the grooming process once they’ve learned that it’s a positive experience.  

How Often Should You Groom?   

This will depend on the type of rabbit you have. With short-haired buns, a once-a-week brushing should be enough, while for long-haired ones, daily brushing should be your goal. That’s when they’re not shedding. You will need to groom them more often when they shed or molt, which occurs about every three months or so.  

The Tools You Need   

The right tools will make the job easier, and getting good quality ones will be a great investment. Remember that rabbits have sensitive skin, so choose tools specifically made for their kind and make sure they’re comfortable for your pet.   

Although fur parents swear by different equipment, you’ll likely need the basic ones like the following:  

  • Rubber pimple brush or mitt: A rubber brush or mitt not only effectively removes a fair build-up of hair when your bun sheds, but it’s also gentle on the skin.  
  • Wide-toothed comb: This works best for long-haired rabbits, but you also need combs for short-haired buns during molting season. Use it carefully to avoid hurting your pet.  
  • Soft brush: Rubber brushes are used when your bun sheds, while regular brushes are for general grooming. There are various types available in the market, so choosing the one that will work best for your rabbit can be challenging. Use the words soft and gentle as your guide.  
  • Mat rake: You’ll need this tool to remove stubborn knots and severely matted hair.  
  • Nail clippers: Rabbit grooming is not just about brushing. You’ll need to trim the nails, too, so you’ll want to keep a nail clipper on hand. Ordinary scissors or clippers for humans can split your pet’s nails and cause pain, so pick clippers made for rabbits.  
  • Cotton balls and cotton-tipped swabs: You’ll need these to clean your bun’s eyes and ears.  
  • Styptic powder: This powder substance will stop the bleeding caused by minor cuts and nail clipping.  

Dealing with Matted Fur   

It’s tempting to simply cut through the tangles with a scissor. But with this method, it’s very easy to nick your pet’s skin accidentally. The best way to deal with tangles is to gently separate and comb out the knot a little bit at a time. Be extra careful not to tug on the hair, as this can hurt your bun.  

If you can’t take the tangles out, a visit to the groomer may be necessary.  

Clipping Your Bunny’s Nails   

Along with the once-a-week brushing, check your pet’s claws as well and trim them when needed using clippers meant for rabbits. Look closely at the nails and watch for a pinkish shadow inside. That’s the quick (a vein inside the nail).   

Be careful not to cut the quick when trimming your bun’s claws. Nicking it will hurt your bun and cause bleeding. But if you accidentally damage the quick, don’t panic. Styptic powder will stop the bleeding. Just make sure you have some on hand before trimming your rabbit’s nails.   

In the absence of styptic powder, you can use cornstarch or flour as emergency substitutes.

Or you can always opt for a quick trip to the vet for nail trimming!  

black and white rabbit sitting on a vets lap

Should Bathing Be Part of Your Rabbit’s Grooming?   

Not unless it’s absolutely necessary. Rabbits hate the water, and being wet stresses them out. Buns have been known to go into shock when they get wet. Moreover, it takes a while for their fur to dry, and having damp hair makes them susceptible to respiratory infections or even hypothermia.  

If your bun really needs washing, such as when they soil their bottoms or hindquarters, spot cleaning is a better alternative to bathing. You do this by sprinkling cornstarch (don’t use talcum powder) on the soiled area and combing out the dirt. If the filth doesn’t come out, you can moisten a washcloth with a bit of water and dab at the grime while doing your best not to let the water reach your bun’s skin. When the fur is clean, set the dryer on the coolest setting and use it to dry the coat.  

Should You Clean the Ears?    

Check the ears as part of the weekly grooming regimen. Watch out for ear wax or dirt build-up, which you gently remove with a cotton ball. Don’t try to clear out all the wax, as ear wax plays a role in protecting your rabbit’s ears.   

Also, don’t poke the ears with a cotton-tipped swab to avoid pushing the wax down and causing more problems.   

Being a responsible bun parent means lots of brushing when they start molting. The extra effort will be worth it when you see your pet looking neat, clean, and happy. 

We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, will you give it a share or two 🙂 Thank you! ~from Every Bunny Welcome

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