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Water Bath your Rabbit, NOT!

Rabbits are loved and hugged by many, and it's natural to want to keep them clean and fresh smelling. However, we do not reccomend water bathing rabbits. In fact, it can be more harmful to their health and wellbeing. Here, we'll explore the reasons why you should avoid bathing your rabbit and what you can do instead.

Rabbits do not require water baths like other animals

Unlike dogs and guinea pigs, rabbits do not produce oils that need to be washed away with water. They have a unique coat that is designed to self-maintain and regulate their body temperature, making water baths unnecessary.

Bathing can disrupt this natural process, leading to coat problems, such as matting, tangling, and even hair loss if not washed or dried properly.

Bathing can be stressful and traumatic / risk of shock and heart attack

Rabbits are prey animals and have a strong fear response to being restrained or submerged in water. Bathing can be incredibly stressful and even traumatic for them, leading to anxiety, fear and even heart attack. We have encountered and heard of rabbits dying from water baths. So we really don’t recommend a full body bath unless required due to health conditions. This stress can also lead to health problems, such as digestive issues and a weakened immune system.

Risk of hypothermia

Rabbits are prone to hypothermia, especially when wet. Bathing can cause their body temperature to drop dangerously low, leading to serious health complications and even death.

Rabbits are naturally clean animals

Rabbits are meticulous about their grooming and spend a significant amount of time cleaning themselves. They are generally particular about their surroundings and will avoid soiling their living space. This natural cleanliness means that they don't need to be bathed like dogs or humans do.

Rabbits have sensitive skin

Rabbits have very sensitive skin that can be easily irritated by soaps, shampoos, and other bathing products. These products can strip their skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness, itchiness, and even skin infections.

What to do instead

So, how can you keep your rabbit clean and fresh without bathing them?

Here are a few tips:

  • Provide plenty of fresh water and a balanced diet to support their natural grooming habits.

  • Clean their living space regularly to prevent the buildup of dirt and bacteria.

  • Pick up your rabbit daily to check their coat condition and also check on their overall.

  • If your rabbit is not toilet-trained, do aim to toilet train them first before allowing them to free roam and make a mess of themselves.

  • If your rabbit isnt trained or has issues with toileting habits, then care should be taken into arranging appropriate housing for the rabbit. Either providing loads of absorbent material for the rabbit to access to and step on (so that the bedding can naturally soak up any mess on your rabbit’s fur) or manual cleaning up your rabbit’s soiled coat a few times a day.

  • Use a soft-bristled brush to gently remove loose hair and dirt every week, or more often if your rabbit is shedding.

  • Trim their nails every 4-8 weeks to prevent overgrowth.

At the end of the day…

Bathing rabbits may seem like the go-to idea if your rabbit is stained or smelly, but it can be more harm to their health if not done properly or if your rabbit has a fear of being held and bathed. For health reasons, if required, we do provide water bath services. However we will not do a water bath on a rabbit unnecessarily.

Below are examples of situation where we will recommend to do washing, mainly spot washing on the affected areas only, rather than a full body wash.

Following the tips outlined above, you can keep your rabbit clean, fresh, and happy without putting them through the trauma of bathing.


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