If you’re new to keeping bunnies, you may wonder: Can rabbits take baths? The answer is yes they can, but bathing your bunny isn’t recommended, as this can cause health problems.
However, there are some exceptions in which you may need to bathe them. This is when they have accumulations of dirt around their butt or get a sticky substance on their fur.
Another reason is when the vet advises you to bathe them for health reasons. In any case, when you clean your bunny, you need to do it properly to avoid hurting them.
This post will guide you on when to bathe your bunny and how to do it safely.
Rabbits generally don’t need regular bathing as they’re meticulously clean pets. They can perfectly groom and clean themselves without human aid.
In fact, exposing rabbits to water can be harmful in many ways. Dampness strips the rabbits’ skin of natural oils, which makes it less healthy.
In addition, washing your bunny can cause incredibly high stress. This is because rabbits get shocked when exposed to sudden contact with water.
That said, in some cases, you’ll have to bathe your bunny if the vet recommends it. You may also do it when your rabbit can’t clean themselves due to a health issue.
Still, bathing your rabbit is significantly different from the traditional bathing of washing an animal with water.
You can clean your bunnies in one of four ways according to their condition or vet’s recommendations.
Each method has special instructions and tips to ensure the pet’s safety. Here are these methods:
Spot cleaning your bunny can be the best solution if they have a stain stuck to their fur and can’t clean it themselves.
This method involves cleaning the dirty spots using a damp piece of cloth. This will take as little as only 10 to 15 minutes.
- A washcloth
- A towel
- A little warm water
- Rabbit-friendly shampoo, if necessary
- Place the rabbit on your lap or in an opened box.
- Soak the washcloth in warm water and ring it out.
- Gently rub the dirty spot on your rabbit’s fur using the washcloth.
- If the stain is strongly stuck, add a rabbit-friendly shampoo to the washcloth to help you clean it better.
- Rub until you remove all the stains.
- Dry off your rabbit’s fur using a towel immediately after finishing.
Because rabbits’ fur isn’t water-friendly, a dry bath can also be an ideal cleaning approach for your bunny. This bathing method is especially effective with fresh stains.
- A comb with fine teeth
- A towel
- Sprinkle a bunch of cornstarch on the dirty spots of the rabbit’s fur.
- Gently rub the cornstarch on the dirty areas. Continue massaging the cornstarch until it mixes with the dirt forming clumps.
- Use the comb to get the formed clumps off the bunny’s fur.
- When removing all the dirt chucks, use a towel to wipe off the excessive cornstarch. Try to remove as much powder as possible.
3 – Butt Bath
One of the common hygienic issues rabbits face is having crumples of dried feces around their bottom. This typically happens to elderly rabbits or those with obesity.
In this case, the rabbit needs a butt bath. Here’s how to give your bunny a butt bath:
- Litter box or similar container
- 3–4 Towels
- Rubber gloves
- Cover the bottom of the litter box with a towel.
- Add 2 inches of warm water into the litter box. Ensure the water is neither hot nor cold.
- Place the rabbit’s lower body in the water. Try to keep the upper body dry.
- Swirl the water with your hand around the dirty spots to soak and loosen the dried poop.
- If the water gets hugely murky, you may need to replace it with a clean one.
- Keep soaking the dirty spots for a few minutes and gently pull on the dirt until you remove it completely.
- Once they’re clean, get the rabbits out of the litter box and place them on a towel.
- Pat the wet parts of your rabbits gently to dry them. Be careful, as rabbits’ skin is sensitive when wet.
- Use your hair dryer to dry off your bunny completely. Set the hairdryer to the lowest heat to avoid hurting the rabbit’s fur.
- Keep using the hair dryer until your bunny is 100% dry.
Although it isn’t common, your vet might recommend bathing the rabbit with water.
If this is the case, ask someone else to help in bathing the bunny as you’ll need to limit the rabbit movement while washing them. This is to avoid any possible injuries.
Follow these tips to bathe your bunny properly:
- A bathing place: A bath or a sink
- A rubber mat
- A jug of warm water; avoid using cold or hot water.
- A towel
- Shampoo, only if necessary
- Before you start, ensure to follow any special instructions the vet specified.
- Place a rubber mat on the bottom of the bath or sink and put the rabbit on it.
- Pour warm water on the bunny bit by bit. Start by washing the bottom of the bunny’s body and work your way up, yet, avoid washing the rabbit’s head.
- After washing the bunny, take your time drying them to ensure they’re fully dry. Use a towel first and then the hairdryer.
Like adult rabbits, it’s not recommended to bathe your baby rabbit. Washing bunnies can cause deterioration in their fur health or expose them to diseases, like repository infections.
The only case you may bathe a baby rabbit is when your vet advises you to do so.
As a rule of thumb, don’t use shampoo if you can bathe your rabbit without it. Nonetheless, if you have to use shampoo, only use a type of shampoo made especially for rabbits.
Avoid using human shampoos and even those made for dogs and cats.
Can rabbits take baths? It’s not a healthy practice to bathe your bunny regularly as its skin is sensitive to water.
In addition, there is no need for bathing them. They can self-bath themselves.
However, if you have to bathe your rabbit for any reason, follow the tips above to do it safely.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.