Do Pet Rabbits Need to Be Bathed?

Find out if pet rabbits need to be bathed in this Howcast video featuring bunny lover Amy Sedaris and rabbit expert Mary E. Cotter.

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Rabbits make wonderful pets. If you're thinking of getting one, check out these videos: Actress Amy Sedaris, who is a loving mom to her own pet bunny, helps rabbit expert Mary E. Cotter, Ed.D., LVT answer all your questions about how to take care of a pet rabbit. It's not always easy, but it's worth the work.

 
 

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Speaker 1: Do pet rabbits need to be bathed? Speaker 2: Well, this is a confusing question because so many pet stores sell shampoo for animals. People will buy the shampoo because it looks so cute or if there's a picture of a rabbit on the front of the bottle so that must mean that rabbits need to be bathed. In fact, rabbits don't need to be bathed they are prodigious self groomers and they keep themselves immaculately clean. But every once in a while for a variety of a reasons a rabbit will get a really poopy butt and maybe because he's sick because he's having a digestive problem. It maybe because he's arthritic and he can't lean over to clean himself very well. Speaker 1: Overweight? Speaker 2: He's overweight. Yea, that's another reason why they can't lean over as well as before. And they'll get an accumulation on their butt and it's kind of a poopy butt that dries on it's butt and then you have give him what's called a butt bath. And what I use for a butt bath. Speaker 1: Because you don't want to pick it off with your fingers because you can pull the skin away Speaker 2: Skin off with him. Exactly. It's very painful for the rabbit. So what you want to do is get a small litter box like this, put a towel in the bottom of it, put a couple of inches of water in it, tepid water, warm water, not hot just warm, and then you're going to put your bunny in the water and we're going to do this as a dry bath, He doesn't need a butt bath so we're just going to do this as if he did. He knows he doesn't need a bath so he's stepping out so he's going to stay in this and when he's in you can pick him up like this. Just hold is front quarters out to keep him dry and you can use your hand to swish water all around his butt. Most rabbits are very comfortable doing this. You can keep swishing water around his butt and you'll be loosening up the dry poop. Speaker 1: So they're not sitting in water? Speaker 2: Just the butt. That's right. Just enough to cover the butt. Towel is to give him traction and enough water to cover the butt and the bottom feet. And that's it. Speaker 1: No soap? Speaker 2: You don't need soap. Some people use shampoo or pet shampoo. You don't need that. Just warm water is fine. And you use your finger nails and pick the stuff off, once its moist you'll be able to get it off easily. And then you take the bunny out onto a towel which we'll do here and most people like to use a hair dryer. It's a tedious process. Speaker 1: We did that one time. Speaker 2: With Dusty? Speaker 1: No, with the crazy lady. Speaker 2: Oh that's right I remember that house call that we did. We did a house call. Speaker 1: That's another video. Speaker 2:Yea. That's a whole other video. Speaker 1: Annette. Annette. Speaker 2: You're going to put the rabbit with his butt on the towel like this and you dry him as best you can. I like to also have a paper towel here because it's even more absorbent. And you just keep pressing the paper towel against its butt. And that will get him very very dry as dry as you can get without a hair dryer and then use a hair dryer set on low the lowest heat not on cold but the lowest heat and blow dry him until his butt is dry. You don't want any skin chaffing because it's moist. So that's how you give your bunny a butt bath. It's pretty easy and the bunny really appreciates it. You can tell that they like being clean. Usually as soon as their out of the bath they'll do their face and their ears and everything. Speaker 1: Oh. Okay. Speaker 2: So yea, it's not a hard thing to do. It's getting them dry is the trick. So get them as dry as you can and you'll protect their skin that way. Butt baths are fun!

Expert

  • Mary E. Cotter

    Mary E. Cotter, M.A., Ed.D., LVT is the founder of the NY-based Rabbit Rescue & Rehab. She serves as chapter manager of the NYC House Rabbit Society and is vice president of the International House Rabbit Society. Involved with rabbit rescue since 1982, she speaks and writes frequently on rabbit-related topics, addressing owners, veterinary professionals and shelter workers. Mary is an adjunct assistant professor in the veterinary technology department of LaGuardia Community College (City University of New York) and co-manages a 7,000-member Internet mailing list focused on rabbit health, care and behavior.