Why do you need to groom? Making sure that your rabbit is well groomed is an important aspect of rabbit care - it maintains their health and keeps them looking good. It is particularly essential when your rabbit it moulting. Rabbits like to keep clean and tidy so will groom themselves and each other by licking their fur, however if they ingest too much it can cause the guts to slow down which is extremely dangerous. Giving your rabbit a helping hand by removing any loose fur is very beneficial.
How often does it need to be done? Grooming should be done regularly, the amount of time spent and the frequency largely depends on the rabbit; its breed and fur type, if it is moulting, it's temperament and age. Long haired rabbits require a lot more attention and if grooming is not kept up matts will form. Matts usually form close to the skin which can be very uncomfortable, pulling on the skin and causing sores. Rabbits have sensitive skin so you should be careful when brushing/combing not to irritate or cause tears.
Tools for the job? Grooming equipment must be specific for rabbits/small animals, using dog or cat grooming tools are usually not suitable. Using a variety of grooming tools such as soft brushes, rubber brush, slicker brushes and metal combs will provide an all round groom, targeting every area of your rabbit. A soft brush helps loosen any knots at the top of the fur, a slicker brush helps remove moulting fur through the coat and a comb helps get right to the base of the coat and remove knots nearer to the skin. Ensuring the entire coat is groomed is very important, getting underneath the rabbit and around the bottom is often missed.
After fur, what else needs to be looked at? Grooming not only keeps your rabbit clean and tidy it also offers the chance to health check your rabbits, making it easier to pick up on any problems. The term grooming shouldn't just cover brushing your rabbits fur. Nails, scent glands, feet, ears, around the eyes and bottom are also important to check. Keeping your rabbits claws trimmed is vital. Long nails can change the angle a rabbit places their feet which put extra pressure on the joints, causes sores on the feet, increases the risk of nails getting torn and even toes breaking. Keeping a check on your rabbits bottom, making sure it is clean and free of matts is crucial. Matts around the bottom can lead to feaces building up and rabbits being unable to keep themselves clean. This can increase the risk of flystrike, which can be life threatening.
If you need help with rabbit grooming or advice, please don't hesitate to get into contact with us. We would be more than happy for you too book in for a groom with us, for a donation, if you need extra help. The longer you leave grooming the worse it gets and we understand that some rabbits can be difficult customers!