Can You Give a Rabbit a Bath?

JOLLYES TEAM

Rabbit Rabbit Grooming

Questions

  • Do rabbits like water?
  • Can you bathe a rabbit?
  • How to bathe a rabbit
  • Alternatives to giving your bunny a bath
A big part of being the best pet parent you can be is caring for your little friend’s needs. If you own a pup then part of this is brushing them and giving them regular baths to keep their coat healthy. You might even find yourself having to give your feline friend a bath from time to time but what about rabbits? You may be planning to bring a new fur baby home and thinking ahead of all the things you need to provide or you might have had a bunny buddy for a while now and just never considered bathing them until now.
We have done all of the research for you to demystify if you should be giving your pet rabbit regular baths or not.

Do rabbits like water?

Rabbits are prey animals which means they don’t like putting themselves in situations where they may be vulnerable. They rely on being lightweight and agile to outmanoeuvre their predators and just because you take care of them and make sure no danger will befall them, they still have those same wild instincts. This is why you’ll only ever see your bunny drinking water and never bathing themselves or splashing around. Getting their coat wet will make them heavier and slower so they will even try to avoid being out in the rain. On rainy days, if they have access to an outside run or the garden, you’ll probably notice that they find shelter or choose to stay in their hutch.
You generally won’t find your bunny making the active decision to get wet as a general rule of thumb, in fact, they’ll avoid it at all costs.

Can you bathe a rabbit?

Rabbits are very good at keeping themselves nice and clean and spend a large portion of their day grooming themselves and those they are bonded with. It’s a social activity as well as keeping on top of their own hygiene.

Rabbit holding string in its mouth.
Not only is giving your bunny a bath not necessary but it can be harmful. They avoid water and getting wet at all costs and if you wet them in a bath they are very likely to panic and struggle. Grooming is an important part of their care, brushing can help strengthen your bond but bathing them will put a strain on it while also potentially injuring them in the process.
The oils present in a rabbit’s fur can be stripped away even if you wash without shampoo so it’s best to leave washing them to themselves!

How to bathe a rabbit

There may be some situations where you need to bathe your bunny to keep them healthy be that a medicated bath or when they can’t groom themselves. You may find that you are advised to bathe them if:
●      They are overweight
●      Have arthritis
●      Bladder stones
●      Develop encephalitozoon cuniculi
In all of these situations, your bunny loses mobility to clean keep themselves nice and clean so you may have to step in. If you do have to bathe your bunny, you need a very gentle shampoo but something that will still work to get any muck and faeces out of their coat. If they can’t reach around to clean themselves, they can get dirty quite quickly. The Johnson's Manuka Honey Shampoo is a great option when you need to bathe your bunny. It’s gentle and conditions the skin and coat as it cleans it.
If you have to bath your bunny you should place a non-slip mat of soaked towel at the bottom of the tub or bath you’re using. Do not run the shower over them as it will make them panic but gently soak their coat using a jug. Take your time to avoid any panicking and never let the bath fill up with water as they won’t like sitting in rising water. You should work as quickly but as gently as you can and it can help to have a second person hold their front end up, especially if they only need their back end washing. Rather than washing their whole body, tackle just the problem areas.

Rabbit in the grass.
After their bath, they should be dried off and kept as warm and as calm as possible and don’t forget to give them plenty of treats.

Alternatives to giving your bunny a bath

Where possible and if there’s no medical reason to do so, you should not bath your bunny. That doesn’t mean you can’t help to keep them clean. It can start by simply giving them a place to go to the toilet which means they don’t have to walk through their waste. A litter tray like the Rosewood Corner Litter Tray Large is a great way to avoid them getting their coats dirty with several toileting locations throughout the hutch and it makes it super easy to clean out on the daily. A nice thick layer of bedding that you spot clean and change out regularly will also help your bunnies to keep themselves clean. The cleaner their environment, the easier it is on them.
If they do get a bit mucky, rather than instantly considering a bath, you can try some pet wipes like Johnsons Cleansing Wipes 30 Pack. They’re gentle and safe and are much less likely to make your little friend panic if you need to remove some muck or dirt.
A lot of dry dirt can be brushed out. The Rosewood Options Mini Grooming Set is great for helping your pet out and they can usually finish the job themselves. For everything you need to help keep your beloved bunnies nice and clean, visit us in store and online.