To Bathe or Not to Bathe Your Rabbit – That Is the Question

Did you know that if you bathe your rabbit, she could catch cold, become chilled and die in a matter of hours? Most people will tell you rabbits do not need to be bathed as they often groom themselves; however, there are those who bathe their rabbits regularly and have not had a problem yet. But from personal experience, I bathed my rabbit who suddenly started shivering uncontrollably, and two hours later, sadly I found her dead in her cage. To decide whether baths should be given to rabbits, the goal would be to make sure the rabbit stays as clean as possible so that numerous baths are not necessary, thus preventing the death of your rabbit.

A healthy diet that includes roughage is just one important way to prevent the need to give your rabbit numerous baths. Giving your bunny Timothy hay is good because it brings roughage to the body and prevents “messy bottom.” Also, fruits and selected veggies are good for your rabbit. Some of these include clover, dandelion stems, collard greens, celery, basil, dill, mint, strawberries, raspberries, and bananas to name a few. If you want to give your rabbit a treat, just make sure it is either high fiber pellets with low protein or treats with low carbohydrates that limit sugar.

Prevention of dirt and waste buildup in the rabbit’s environment will help keep the rabbit clean and bath free. The size of your home that you provide has a lot to do with keeping your bunny clean. To keep your bunny’s paws clean while she’s in the litter box, install a plastic grid. This will separate her from her waste and keep her clean. To make the litter box training easier, have your rabbit spayed or neutered so they will be able to focus on training. In case of an accident, when urine can soak into the sides of the cage, caulk around the edges and clean up urine quickly.

If it is absolutely necessary to bathe your rabbit, there are safe ways to do this without harming her. You can spot clean with animal wipes. Also, you can use a special dry powder cleaner to clean and deodorize your bunny. If your rabbit has “messy bottom,” a partial bath can be done by placing just the rabbit’s bottom in the bottom of the sink or tub with just enough water to cover her rump. That way, the rest of the body is not submerged in the water which could possibly create stress and speed up illness and death. Last but not least, bathe only with permission from your veterinarian who will recommend a special shampoo just for pets.

Even the most careful caretakers and pet owners can make a fatal mistake and cause the death of their pet rabbit. Where rabbits are concerned, it is best to play it safe and use non or partial bathing techniques to care for the rabbit. If absolutely necessary to give a full bath to your bunny, get permission from your vet first as they will be able to instruct you on the proper technique. Don’t make the mistake I made. It can cost you your rabbit’s life.

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