What to do with a rabbit whose fur is dirty?
The question that basically arises: Are rabbits allowed to get wet at all? If so, to what extent?
In this post, we’ll tell you why you should avoid getting your rabbits wet at all costs, and the 5 big dangers of water.
We also give you a great alternative for the classic water bath.
Are rabbits allowed to get wet?
No, rabbits are not allowed to get wet!
But what happens when the animals have contact with water? After all, they are also exposed to rain, dew and snow in the wild.
We’ll look at whether getting wet is really harmful in the next chapter.
Why shouldn’t rabbits get wet?
First of all, the difference between damp and wet must be known.
It is a critical whether the animal has merely walked through grass wet with dew, sat in the pouring rain, or been completely bathed.
Wet paws are not problematic. Anything beyond that, and especially if the soaking extends to the skin, can result in health problems. Among them, difficulties you certainly wouldn’t expect.
Potential problem 1: Injuries and shock.
While you may find a warm full bath relaxing, it’s pure stress for a rabbit.
Defensive animals will fidget, scratch and bite.
In the process, they can hurt not only you, but themselves. Due to the combination of a sensitive musculoskeletal system, flexibility and fear, it is possible for them to break bones or even their spine themselves.
It is also possible for the rabbit to go into shock. In this, bodily functions cease and the animal dies if medical care is not promptly available. A
iven the seriousness of the condition, however, it is extremely dangerous and rabbits can rarely be treated in time.
Potential Problem 2: Hypothermia
Rabbits have fur that beads off light moisture easily. If it gets really soaked, however, it dries sluggishly. If you don’t help with this, hypothermia is possible even in summer.
Blood circulation is reduced and the supply deteriorates. In addition, the immune system is affected.
If hypothermia is severe, it too can lead to death. The danger is particularly high when the animal is kept outdoors during the cold season.
However, even without sub-zero temperatures, the risk is present!
Potential problem 3: Ear infections
If water gets into the ears, it creates inflammations.
The infections of the ears must be treated by a veterinarian and are often long lasting. In addition, they are extremely painful. This can change the rabbit’s behavior. Perhaps it can no longer be touched, reacts aggressively, becomes jumpy or suffers from loss of appetite.
Frequent shaking and grooming are also possible signs. In addition, the following symptoms may occur:
Discharge, Redness, Swelling
It is ideal to visit the vet before these problems occur. This will allow early treatment to begin, reducing the duration of illness – as well as the associated discomfort.
Potential Problem 4: Increased Susceptibility to Disease
Due to the stress and cooling of the body, the immune system suffers, as mentioned.
So even if there is no shock, injury or inflammation, illnesses can set in after getting wet. Frequently, these are colds.
Typical signs are:
Cough, sneezing, sniffles,nasal dischargem fever
Fatigue and loss of appetite are also part of the symptoms.
In severe cases, even breathing is clearly audible.
An early visit to the veterinarian can prevent any damage from being left behind. In addition to antibiotics, inhalations may be advised. You will also need to keep your rabbits warm and provide clean air. Vitamin-rich food and physical rest are also advised.
Potential problem 5: Skin problems
Rabbits’ skin is very thin, delicate and sensitive. If the animal gets wet, the fur no longer acts as protection.
So the skin becomes more susceptible to injuries, such as scratches or cracks. It can also dry out, itch or become inflamed.
Treatment is correspondingly difficult and can also be protracted.
Since the injuries are often not recognized immediately, you should pay attention to the possible signs.
- frequent scratching
- sensitive to touch
- matted areas in the coat
- frequent licking of a spot
- discharge scabs in the fur redness swellings
Associated infections definitely require treatment. Ointments, powders or injections may be needed.
Now that you know the reasons why getting wet in rabbits is dangerous, be sure to read on. Because here you’ll learn not only how to avoid it.
Even if it can’t be avoided, you need to do the right thing!
Especially when keeping your pet outside in the summer or even all year round, the weather poses a risk. After all, thunderstorms and heavy rain can occur even in the warm season.
You can’t change the weather, but you can take appropriate preventive measures.
1: Secure the run
During very heavy rain, the floor of the run will flood and can be muddy for days. Therefore, design the area sloped and with drainage to provide faster water runoff and drying of the soil.
Pavers can also be installed to create mud-free areas.
2: Design the coop properly
The inside of the coop should be warm and dry at all times. Therefore, make sure there is a sealed roof, protection on the weather sides and good insulation.
In addition, there should be a ledge at the entrances to catch slanting rain.
3: Checks and cleaning
As temperatures drop, your rabbits will spend more time in the hutch. This means more feces and urine will need to be picked up from the litter as well. This means more frequent changes are necessary.
Also make sure that the hutch is well ventilated. This is because the air the animals breathe also contains moisture, which can condense on the interior walls and soften the litter.
The rabbits are usually not completely soaked, but their paws are constantly damp and can become inflamed. The purpose of the inspections is, of course, to check the condition of the animals. Maybe one of your rabbits got caught in the rain or urgently needs to be dried for some other reason.
Tip: Bathe rabbits – but correctly
In some cases, bathing a rabbit cannot be avoided. Diarrhea, rolling in mud or other substances can cause you to have to clean your pet thoroughly.
This is not always possible without water.
As a rule, rabbits keep themselves clean. They clean themselves on their own and each other.
However, with movement restrictions, illnesses, old age or due to injuries, it can be difficult for the animals to reach all areas.
Especially the genital and anal area is often affected. If large amounts of urine, diarrhea or very soft feces are added, the fur can stick together and make the disposal of feces and urine impossible.
A bath is therefore urgently recommended. However, you must pay attention to some points:
Get a helper: Bathing a rabbit alone is not only difficult, but also dangerous. Therefore, find a helper who can assist you in holding it. Create a non-slip surface: Place a non-slip mat in the tub or bowl. If you don’t have one in the house, you can also use an old towel.
Temper water properly: Lukewarm to warm but never hot water should be used. Check the temperature either with a thermometer or with the inside of your wrist.
Soak and loosen: For stubborn stains, the coat should be allowed to soak for a few minutes first so that the encrustations loosen and can be removed more easily. Proceed with caution so as not to pull on the fur and thus the skin. Use rabbit shampoo or baby shampoo: If clear water alone is not enough, a gentle shampoo can be used. Use it sparingly, though.
Rinse thoroughly: Rinse several times with the shower head to ensure that no dirt or shampoo residue remains in the fur or on the skin.
Dry properly: Afterwards, carefully squeeze out excess water with a towel, loosen up the coat with a soft brush and finally blow dry. It is best to turn on the hair dryer a while beforehand so that your rabbit gets used to the noise. Also, choose the lowest settings on the device.
Caution: When bathing, make sure that only the buttocks and hind legs get wet. The rabbit should be able to stand up on one edge with its front paws. Be sure to keep the animal warm afterwards and offer a blanket, for example, to prevent hypothermia.
When is a dry bath an alternative?
For very wet soiling, you can work cornstarch or baby powder into the fur.
These agents bind water and can be removed afterwards with a soft brush. The stress factor is usually lower.
However, the time required for you may be higher.
Tip: If there are frequent adhesions in the anus area of your rabbit, you can carefully shorten the fur. This provides a smaller surface to attack. Also pay attention to the diet and a frequent change of bedding.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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