Brushing and Grooming

Discussion in 'Rabbit Knowledge Library' started by HoneyPot, Sep 19, 2007.

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  1. Sep 19, 2007 #1

    HoneyPot

    HoneyPot

    HoneyPot

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    Grooming your rabbit involves many steps, one of which is brushing and/or dealing with loose fur on your bunnies. This thread is meant to give you a good overview of how to deal with shedding (moulting), what techniques you can use to manage it, the tools involved and any special advice for different rabbit breeds.



    Should I bathe my bunny?

    No. Rabbits are very clean animals and spend a lot of their day cleaning themselves. Rabbits do not typically enjoy getting wet and being bathedcan be stressful for them.

    An alternative to cleaning a dirty rabbit is to spot clean (clean the dirty spot only) with a dry bath. Apply cornstarch (DO NOT use baby powder or talc) to the dirty area and comb the cornstarch out with a fine toothed comb. This will clean off any dirty areas and the rabbit will take care of the rest.

    See this link for dry butt bath instructions:

    http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/buttbath.html



    Why Deal With Loose Hair?

    A rabbit will typically shed once every three months with certain molts being particularly bad. It is important to remove as much loose hair from your bunny by brushing (or plucking as described below) for several reasons.
    • Rabbits are very clean animals and will constantly groom themselves. As they do so, they will ingest much of the loose hair on their body. Because rabbits cannot throw up, any hair they ingest needs to be passed through their digestive system before exiting their body.
    • Ingesting too much hair may lead to hairball blockages and GI Stasis which can eventually lead to death.
    • Regular brushing will keep your rabbits coat shiny and healthier looking
    • Make brushing a part of regular scheduled grooming times. This will allow you to keep a check of ears, eyes, nails, teeth, scent glands and do a once over for any other medical issues.
    • Brushing is a good time to bond with your bunnies as many will love it as part of their social interaction with you.
    [align=left] [​IMG][/align]


    How Often Should I Brush my Bunny?

    A rabbit should be brushed once a week when they are not shedding and every day during a moult.

    A once a week brushing will get off any loose stray hairs that the rabbit may ingest. It is also a good way to get your bunny used to being groomed so when you have to do more extensive grooming, they are familiar with the process.

    During shedding you should brush your rabbit daily to get as much hair as you can off the bunny before they ingest it while grooming themselves or their mate.

    Long Haired Rabbits (such as Angoras, Fuzzy Lops etc.) should be brushed on a daily basis even when not shedding. Their long coats are prone to mats and tangles, so it is recommended to brush them daily. They may also require clipping and shaving. See this link for some good info on grooming long haired breeds:

    http://www.mybunny.org/info/groom_long_haired.htm



    Hair Removal Techniques

    Many members of the forum use different techniques for removing the loose hair on their bunnies during shedding. You should try out the various techniques and brushes to see what works best for you and your bunny.
    • Brushing Tools - using a brush or other grooming tool to remove the loose hair on your bunny. See the sections below on suggested brushes and groomers.
    • Plucking - Gently plucking the loose hairs from your bunny. Move your hands all over the bunny lightly pulling on the fur as you go. You will get handfuls of loose hairs when your bunny is in full molt. The key is to do this gently so you are removing hairs that are falling off by themselves and not yanking on hairs still attached to your bunny.
    • Wet Hands - wet your hands, shake them off so they are just damp and run your hands along your bunny. You will see lots of the loose hairs stick to your hands. Rinse and repeat.


    Types of Brushes and Groomers

    There are many many kinds of brushes and grooming tools you can try with your bunny. Here are a couple recommended ones that work well.
    • The Zoom Groom. This is the miracle groomer for many people. It may not look like much, but it works miracles for picking up loose hairs. Brush your bunny without putting too much pressure.

      The rubber nubs will catch and hold the loose hairs in your bunny's coat. A word of warning - keep out of the reach of bunnies - it's made of rubber and I have lost 3 to bunny teeth in the last year.

      [​IMG]
    • Wire Slicker Brush. This brush should be used with caution. Rabbit skin is very delicate and a wire slicker brush can poke and hurt them. They should be used very gently and never directly against their skin.

      This brush is good for getting the hairs from the undercoat of the rabbit as it will grab on to those tiny fuzzy hairs.

      [​IMG]


    • Lint Roller. Yes, you heard me right. The lint roller you use to get fur off your clothing also works remarkably well to get fur off your rabbit. I've found that they are gentle enough that it will not pull out hairs that were not ready to come out on their own.

      I tend to use this on a daily basis to keep the loose fur under control.

      [​IMG]
    • The Shed Ender or Furminator. Professional grooming tools such as the shed ender or the furminator (pictured below) work to remove loose hairs form the undercoat of the rabbit.

      To use this groomer, you run your hand in the opposite direction of hair growth (to expose the undercoat), then comb gently in the direction of hair growth. You should use this tool with caution as the tines of the comb can poke your rabbit's delicate skin.

      [​IMG]


    There are many other types - experimentation is best to find what will work with your bunnies fur type. Not all rabbits have the same type of fur, therefore the same type of brush or comb will not work on every bunny. Keep trying different kinds until you have success.



    Tips

    Try taking your bunny to a place where they are not familiar - on top a table, in a bathroom, on the counter top, on a bed etc. Place them to sit and using whichever technique you choose, groom and brush your bunny in the direction of hair growth.

    Have a couple treats on hand to reward your bunny for sitting still or just to keep them occupied while you brush.




    Reference Pages

    http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/buttbath.html


    Angora Grooming:

    http://www.rabbit.org/care/angora.html

    http://www.ontariorabbits.org/diet/careinfo3.html

    Grooming Long Haired Rabbits

    http://www.mybunny.org/info/groom_long_haired.htm

    http://www.rabbitrehome.org.uk/care/longhair.asp

    Emergency Coat Removal (for rescued angoras)
    http://countrywool.tripod.com/BareHare/index.blog?entry_id=1431576

    Shearing Angoras
    http://countrywool.tripod.com/BareHare/index.blog?topic_id=1062112

    Tips for Grooming Angoras (show coats)
    http://www.showbunny.com/wool-coated.html#TipsAngGlenn

    Reference Threads from the Forum

    http://rabbitsonline.net/view_topic.php?id=21120&forum_id=1&highlight=brush

    http://rabbitsonline.net/view_topic.php?id=20054&forum_id=1&highlight=brush


    Grooming an AFL

    http://rabbitsonline.net/view_topic.php?id=19999&forum_id=1&highlight=brush

     
  2. Aug 1, 2009 #2

    NorthernAutumn

    NorthernAutumn

    NorthernAutumn

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