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Cleaning, grooming and other rabbit care information
You should regularly check inside your rabbit's ears to make sure there isn't any build up of wax or other gunk. If there is, take your rabbit to the vet. Rabbits can get ear mites, which cause itching and a build up of yucky stuff. Never poke anything into your rabbit's ears as you can damage the inner ear.
Do I have to wash my rabbit?
NO!!! Never wash a rabbit unless it is very dirty or has soiled itself. Rabbits can go into shock when you immerse them in water. Rabbits do a very good job of keeping themselves clean and only need help when they are very sick. If you have to wash your rabbit, fill a bath/tub with about an inch of water. Put a towel in the bottom of the bath so the bunny has some grip. Use some gentle shampoo or soap in the water. Try and hold the front half of the bunny out of the water. This may stop her struggling. Gently massage the hind leg/tail area with your fingers and remove any poops. Tip the water out and then replace it with clean water to rinse the bunny. Use towels and paper towels to dry as best you can, then use a hairdryer to direct warm air in the general vicinity of the rabbit. Do not point the hairdryer at the rabbit as you may burn the skin. Generally rabbits will try and lick themselves dry. Don't be surprised if your rabbit sulks for a while afterwards !!!
Cleaning out scent glands
Rabbits have a scent gland either side of their anus. The scent gland needs cleaning out as the scent is a liquid that can clog up the gland. Its a yucky stinky job, but it needs to be done. To clean the scent glands out, get a cotton bud and wet it with warm water. You may need to get someone to help you hold the rabbit upside down securely. Gently swab at the scent glands until the discharge comes off. If you have any trouble doing this, ask your vet to do it for you.
Nail / Claw Trimming
Rabbits need their claws trimmed every 4-6 weeks. The claws are like fingernails, and never stop growing. Most indoor rabbits won't wear their claws down enough, so they will need to be clipped. You can do this yourself using nail clippers, or you can take your rabbit to a vet. If you are doing it yourself, it helps to shine a light from underneath the claw so you can ensure that you don't clip the blood vessel (the pink bit).
Rabbits moult several times a year, and having central heating on inside the house must confuse them. A soft brush can be used to brush out excess hair. Rabbits are good at keeping their fur clean and tidy, so you don't need to bother brushing them everyday.
Sometimes rabbits get sleep in their eyes. Just wipe this away for them. If there is excess gunk or a lot of tears, your bunny may have a problem. Take your rabbit to the vet. Interesting facts - rabbits have a third eyelid, and don't need to blink very often. This is how they can sleep with their eyes open.
If your rabbit is scratching itself a lot, he most likely has fleas. Fleas are small flying insects that are dark brown in color. They aren't easy to find in all that rabbit fur, but you can see small black specs of flea poop that has been left behind. Fleas need to be treated ASAP as the fleas will lay larvae on rabbits, rugs, carpet and anything hair like. The best flea treatment for rabbits is Revolution. The dosage needs to be worked out based on the rabbit's body weight, and is then applied to the back of the rabbit's neck. This is so it is not groomed or licked off. Rabbits should be seperated after treatment to ensure they do not lick the flea treatment from each other's fur. Any rugs or material items eg. towels, that have been around the rabbit should be washed in hot water to kill the larvae eggs. The revolution treatment lasts for a month, but rabbits may need further treatment if more fleas have hatched from the eggs.
Other rabbit care information:
What to feed rabbits
Looking after sick rabbits and info on common illnesses
Dislocated hips in rabbits