Trouble Grooming while He Moults

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Bunny Pumi

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Hello everyone,

My 5 month old rabbit is moulting a lot, especially on his sides! We adopted him in June so he is still very afraid of us. I see him grooming himself all the time and he has shed both sides of his body without my help. I am so afraid of him having stomach issues with all the hair he is losing and possibly consuming. Since he is very afraid of us, we do not pick him up at all. We tried grooming him with our hands when he was eating pellets but he would run when we slowly walk over.

The only time we are able to pet him (barely), is when we give him a small piece of fruit as a treat. That is the only 15 seconds I can use to gently pull some hair off of him. With that, I don't think its enough grooming on my end to help keep the fur away from him ingesting it. Any suggestions on how to groom a very scared rabbit without losing his trust? Any tip helps! Here is also a photo of him and his moulting progress. Thank you!
 

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Blue eyes

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You will know he's ingesting too much fur if you see his poos strung together like pearls. Be sure to encourage plenty of hay eating. Hay helps push the fur through his gut. You can encourage this by adding hay a few times per day.

As for trying to brush him (even with your hand) make use of that nice slick floor you have. He may not like it much, but sometimes it is necessary for his own health.

For lack of another video, I am going to attach one that is about syringe feeding meds. I'm not trying to show you the meds part, but the first minute of the video shows how you can use your legs and a slick floor to contain bunny long enough to get some good pets (fur brushing) in. At first the bunny in the video may seem compliant (because he wasn't feeling well) but you'll see just before and at the minute mark how he attempts to scurry away but can't get grip on the slick floor. Use this to your advantage as I did.
 
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Diane R

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I feel there is a short term and a long term issue here. For the immediate problem, to avoid fur getting stuck, you need to pick him up, put him on a towel on a table (make sure he can't jump off!) and get as much fur off as you can. For the long term, it makes life so much easier if you can get them to like being brushed. First step is getting bunny to like petting. Lie or sit on the floor near him as much as you can. You are doing great so far not grabbing him. He needs to learn you are not a threat. Eventually he will explore and come close to you and let you stroke his head. After a while you can stroke with one hand and gently brush with the other. Always let him run away whenever he wants. I brush every day but if bunny is not in the mood when I try, I try again later. She tooth purrs when I brush. Good luck!
 

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