Do Bunnies Need To Take A Bath?
Do bunnies and rabbits need baths? The short answer is no. Unless a rabbit is in very, very bad condition it should never be bathed.
This is because rabbits are terrified of water, mostly due to the fact that in the wild water in a burrow can mean that a bunny is about to drown, so most rabbits have an instinctual fear response to water that makes them panic if you try to bath them. They can be so scared that they die, so really baths should only be reserved for extreme situations and should probably be conducted by someone experienced if they are done at all.
Most short haired rabbits should never need bathing at any stage in their lives. Regular light grooming should be more than enough for them However long hair rabbits can sometimes get into sticky messes, which are complicated by their long hair.
If you MUST bathe your rabbit, try a dry bath first. A dry bath is given by taking baby cornstarch and gently massaging it into the dirty areas. The cornstarch should dry out any messiness and help dirt slide off the fur. This should always be the first line of defense for a dirty bunny.
If the mess is so bad that cornstarch just won't work, then you may have to use water. A shallow bath of no more than a couple of inches can be used, along with a gentle pet shampoo. Lower the rabbit's rear end into the water (it will usually be the rear end that gets filthy if a rabbit has an upset tummy and runny poo) wash the bunny gently, wetting only the areas that absolutely need to be wet and rinse very thoroughly before drying the rabbit well. Expect your rabbit to hate this more than he or she has hated anything in his or her life. I've had to do a wet bath once or twice in the life of a long haired bunny and I can tell you it is a situation very much best avoided.
Though rabbits are household pets much like dogs, they have very different needs to other household pets and they shouldn't be treated as if they are the same. Though your dog will get smelly and awful after a few weeks without a bath, your rabbit is a very fastidious animal that loves to keep itself clean. All you need to do is gently groom it on a regular basis and your rabbit should stay healthy and clean its whole life.
For expert, step by step advice on how to bathe bunnies in extreme circumstances, go here.
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