Moulting and Fur Matting | How To Groom A Long Haired Rabbit
If you own a pretty long haired rabbit, you'll have learned by now that the long fur that makes the rabbit look so gorgeous requires daily care.
This is especially true in the case of Cashmere and Angora type rabbits, but it applies to all long haired rabbits, and indeed, most long haired domestic pets. When moulting time comes around (if you are fortunate, once or twice a year, but some animals seem to be in an almost constant moult,) mats can form in a rabbit's fur within a day or two. If left for a week or weeks at a time, rabbits will quickly develop large clumps of fur that can stop them from being able to move properly and can also result in torn skin and infections.
From personal experience, if you don't already own a long haired rabbit, I would encourage you to buy a short haired animal instead. If you do not have half an hour, every day, to spend on grooming, then rabbit fur problems can mount up quickly, ending up in a trip to the vet for the rabbit to be sedated and groomed, which is not good for the rabbit and is not cheap for the owner.
If you already have a long haired rabbit, it is a wise idea to invest in clippers. They are the safest means of clipping clumps out of a rabbit's fur. Scissors will work, but can easily cause cuts and tears that are painful and which will make you feel entirely evil. Most rabbits don't like to be groomed, especially on their backs, so if you have to clip sensitive areas, a pair of electric clippers is a sound investment.
Other than that you will need a wire comb. This may look fairly mean, and if used too roughly can cause pain, but it is very effective at combing out small mats in the fur that have not developed too far. A human small toothed comb is also quite useful for running through long fur. If it catches anywhere, you know you have a matt to deal with.
The problem with long haired rabbits is that you won't often be able to see mats, it is a matter of finding them out, which is why daily grooming is so vitally important.
To groom your long haired rabbit, run the comb through all the fur on the
rabbit's body. On a well groomed rabbit, you should be able to blow
on the fur and see it part all the way down to the skin. If this
doesn't happen, then you need to spend more time grooming. Use the wire comb to gently comb out any small mats (making sure to support the rabbit's skin so it is not pulled and torn,) and use the clippers on any areas that need them.
If your rabbit has gotten past the point of basic grooming and is covered in a mass of fluff (as I mentioned earlier, this can happen easily in a week or two during a moult,) then a professional is the person to call. Either a grooming clinic that can work with rabbits, or a vet.
There are some regions on a rabbit that will always be difficult and dangerous to groom, (under the neck, around the tail area,) and if you are unable to handle your rabbit to be able to groom these areas, then a 6 monthly to one yearly appointment with a professional may be what you need to do to keep your rabbit healthy.
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