“Do rabbits need baths?” It is one of the questions asked by some rabbit owners. Unlike dogs, giving baths to your rabbit is harmful to its health. However, there are instances wherein your vet will advise you to bathe it. This blog post will answer the question: Should I bathe my rabbit? You will also learn how to clean your pet without submerging it in the water.

rabbit inside the tub

Do Rabbits Need Baths?


Most rabbit breeds are playful and active. Thus, they quickly get untidy, especially when they are outdoors. But do rabbits need baths to stay clean? As much as possible, you should never bathe a bunny. Washing your pet can remove the natural oil that keeps its coat in good condition. Aside from that, rabbits don’t require bathing since they love grooming themselves. 

As prey animals, rabbits hate water. It does not make them feel relaxed or comfortable. On the contrary, they deem it as a threat. Bunnies may panic when plunged into the water, resulting in stress or shock. Soap and water can also harm your pet’s sensitive skin, upsetting its natural moisture. It can make your bunny’s skin dry or irritated.

In addition, a damp bunny is more susceptible to illnesses like hypothermia. It is also dangerous when water gets inside your bunny’s ears since it may result in ear infections. However, there are circumstances wherein you have to bathe your pet. It will be discussed in the following sections.



Dangers of Giving a Bunny a Bath


Bunnies quickly get stressed when in an unfamiliar situation, including bathing. They also dislike water since they have sensitive skin. Instead of enjoying themselves, these adorable pets become frustrated and frightened. A stressed rabbit is more prone to health issues due to appetite loss. Unfortunately, some bunnies also experience heart attacks while bathing. It can also make your pet aggressive, affecting its relationship with you.

Once you submerge your pet into the water, its natural tendency is to jump out. Your pet may kick suddenly and forcefully, damaging its brittle spine. A spinal injury can limit your pet’s movement. Thus, self-grooming and exercising will take a lot of work. 

Chemicals from soaps and shampoos can irritate the sensitive skin of bunnies. Products with iodine, benzoyl, and alcohol can cause itch and pain to the bunny’s skin. Rabbits exposed to strong chemicals may also suffer from bleeding and skin cracking. You may also observe eye reddening and ulceration.

When the water gets inside your bunny’s ears, it may suffer from ear infections. A rabbit with an ear infection loses its appetite and shows discomfort. Unfortunately, bunnies cannot do anything to remove the water from their ears. Hence, you must bring them to the vet, where they will be treated. 

Hypothermia is a severe condition your pet may suffer if you bathe it. Its ears help to regulate the temperature of its body. Damp furs dry slowly. Hence, it prevents your pet from regulating its body temperature, leading to hypothermia. Shivering, loss of coordination and low energy are signs of hypothermia.



When do rabbits need baths?


A common question for owners with a disabled bunny is: Should I bathe my rabbit? You can give baths to bunnies only when the vet tells you to do so. There are medical conditions that would require you to wash your pet. Disable, obese, and arthritic bunnies can be cleaned without bathing them. If your pet cannot groom itself due to its health or age, you can clean its poopy butt using pet wipes. You can also use a damp towel, but soak it in warm water.

If your bunny has parasites, never bathe it to get rid of them. The best thing to do is to ask a vet to prescribe your bunny topical, injectable, or oral treatment. A bunny with a skin infection should never be given a bath since it will only worsen its situation. It requires proper treatment and medication.

Although tempting, you should never bathe a bunny with a flystrike. It does not help to get rid of the maggots. Instead, it causes too much pain to your pet that may result in shock. A bunny with this condition must be brought to the vet right away. It is a severe condition that requires immediate medical attention.



Proper Way of Bathing Your Bunny


Since the vet may advise you to bathe your bunny, it is crucial to know how to wash it. You can quickly rinse your pet by yourself or with a partner. Having a partner could be a great help if it is your first time. To do this technique, you must have a sink with a moveable faucet head or spray nozzle. Prescribe shampoo, absorbent towel, and hair dryer are also required.

First, hold the bunny properly by supporting its chest and butt with your hands. Its butt must point toward the sink while its back is leaning against your chest. Wash and rinse the rabbit using the spray nozzle, cleaning the soiled spot.

If needed, your partner can apply shampoo to the soiled area and run it with water to rinse. To dry your pet, place a towel on it and pat dry it. You can also use a hairdryer, but ensure it is only in low heat. You must also use it gently on your bunny to prevent it from getting startled or frightened. 

Another way to bathe your bunny is through the soaking method. You will need a shallow tub, a non-slip mat, and prescribed shampoo. Remember to prepare the absorbent towel and hairdryer to dry your pet quickly.

The first thing to do is to put the non-slip mat on the shallow tub. Once you are done, put your pet gently in the tub by cradling him. Ensure that its butt and back feet are inside the tub. Pour at least two inches of water into the shallow tub. Gently swoosh the water on the soiled area, removing the dirt and droppings. Apply shampoo and dry your pet.

Bunny inside the pink tub

How to Give a Dry Bath to Your Pet?


For dirty yet healthy bunnies, you can help them clean themselves by giving them a dry bath. You can use a dry shampoo recommended by the vet. Baby cornstarch is also a good alternative if you don’t have dry shampoo. You must sprinkle the dry shampoo all over your bunny. But cover its head with your hands to prevent the powder from going in its eyes, nose, and mouth.

After you have sprinkled the power, start brushing your bunny’s coat. If there are any sticky substances, use a fine comb to get rid of them. As a reminder, never tug the fur forcibly since it may cause pain to your pet. Brush your bunny’s coat until you have removed the dirt and the dead hair. This activity is much more pleasurable than bathing your bunny with water.



How to Spot Clean a Rabbit?


Cleaning your pet doesn’t require you to submerge it in the water. Another method that you can use is spot cleaning. It is one of the fastest ways to clean your bunny’s soiled coat. You only need to have a rug and water. Dampen the rug with water, but ensure to wring it so it won’t leave your bunny’s coat totally wet. 

Rub the rug on the soiled area of your bunny’s coat. Don’t put too much pressure since it may annoy your bunny. If your bunny starts moving away, you can place it inside a box or on your lap. On the other hand, you may need to add soap to remove stubborn stains. Remember to dry your bunny’s coat with a towel. This procedure will only take a few minutes. 

Spot clean a rabbit

Do Rabbits Need Baths if they Have Matted Coats?


Rabbits with matted coats don’t need baths. Instead of bathing them, you must brush their coats to remove the mats. You can use a mat rake or a mat splitter to remove the mats and the tangles. If the mats are tough, cutting them is one of the options. However, you must be careful to prevent rabbit injuries. You can also let a groomer have the matter coat clipped.

Your bunny can prevent having mats on its coat by grooming it regularly. If it is a long-haired rabbit, you must brush its coat daily. But if its furs are short, groom your pet at least once or twice a week. However, shedding bunnies require more grooming to prevent them from ingesting their furs. 



Should I Bathe my Rabbit if it Has Fleas?


Unlike dogs, rabbits don’t need a flea bath or a dip. Aside from stressing your pet, the chemical from the shampoo or the dip may hurt your bunny’s skin. You can expel the bunny’s fleas through topical flea medication or a flea comb. It may take one to two days to eliminate the fleas. 

Flea powders, flea shampoo, and flea collars are unsafe for bunnies. You must consult the vet for the proper medication. Isolate your rabbit to prevent the fleas from infecting your other household pets. Cleaning your home and your bunny’s cage can help eliminate fleas.

bathing bunny

Frequently Asked Questions


Do rabbits need baths when they cannot groom themselves?


Bunnies that cannot groom themselves may need to be bathed. However, you must consult a vet before bathing your pet. There can be other options like spot cleaning and dry bathing. Putting your pet in water should be the last option to prevent it from getting stressed. 


Should I bathe my rabbit to remove the maggots in its bottom?


You should never bathe a rabbit suffering from flystrike. Water cannot get rid of the maggots on its flesh. It would only lead to intense pain that may cause your bunny to experience shock. Instead of submerging your pet in the water, you should bring it to the vet immediately for treatment.


Should I bathe my rabbit if it has a stain on its coat?


Spot cleaning is the best way to eliminate stains on your bunny’s coat. Get a damp towel and gently rub it on the soiled area. You must also dry your pet if its coat gets wet. You can also use soap for stubborn stains, but ensure that it is safe for your bunny. 

rabbit in the bathtub



Do rabbits need baths? There are situations wherein your bunny will need a bath. However, it should be advised by the vet. If your pet is healthy, you can clean its coat by dry bathing and spot cleaning. Bunnies that are sick don’t necessarily need a bath. Submerging them in water may only worsen their conditions.

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