Animals that have fur can easily get fleas. Is it the same for rabbits? Do rabbits get fleas? If so, how can you keep your beloved pet bunny safe from a flea infestation?
Rabbits can get fleas from an unclean home where fleas breed or from other animals in your home, yard, park, or the vet. The fleas easily jump from the host animal to your rabbit where they make a home until the flea infestation is treated.
Let’s learn more about rabbits and fleas, how you can check if your bunny has fleas, and how to get rid of the fleas.
How Do Rabbits Catch Fleas?
There are a few ways rabbits can catch fleas. But in essence, your rabbit catches fleas when they jump from other animals onto your rabbit.
Fleas can jump as high as 7 inches and as far as 13 inches. While this may not seem like quite a distance, getting from one animal to another is easy.
Your rabbit can get fleas from:
- Your other pets, like cats and dogs
- Animals at the vet’s office
- Spending time in your garden where other furry animals spend time too
- The park where there are other animals
- An unclean and messy home where fleas can easily breed
How Do I Know If My Rabbit Has Fleas?
There are 5 signs to look for to know if your rabbit has fleas. Your rabbit may have one or more of these:
Sign 1: Seeing Live Fleas on Your Rabbit
It isn’t easy to see if there are fleas on your rabbit. Gently push the fur back around your rabbit’s spine and neck and look for signs of fleas.
Fleas are small, but if you see something that jumps and disappears, it is most likely a flea.
Sign 2: Lots of Itching
If your bunny is nibbling on its skin to soothe itchiness, then it is likely that your rabbit has fleas.
Sign 3: Rabbit Suffering From Anemia
Another sign that your rabbit may have a flea infestation is if you see that your bunny is suffering from anemia.
Look at your rabbit’s gums. If they are pale, then your bunny can be anemic. Fleas might be the cause.
Sign 4: Seeing Reddish-Brown Flecks
If you wipe your rabbit’s fur with a damp paper towel and find reddish-brown specks on it, then you know it is flea dirt.
Flea dirt is a mix of dried blood from all the flea bites to your rabbit’s skin and flea poop.
Sign 5: Scaling and Hair Loss
The last sign to look for is hair loss that is caused by a severe flea infestation. Your rabbit may even have several bald spots all over its body.
You might even see scaling on the bald spots, which looks like dandruff.
How Do I Get Rid of Fleas on My Rabbit?
So you’ve seen signs that your rabbit has fleas. Now what?
What can you do to get rid of the flea infestation?
Step 1: Treat Your Rabbit AND All Other Pets
The first step after you realize that your bunny has fleas is to treat your rabbit with a flea treatment. You also need to treat all the other pets in your home, whether or not they have a flea infestation too.
Otherwise, fleas on another pet can easily reinfest your rabbit, and you’ll be back at square one.
Use a rabbit flea comb to help you get rid of the fleas faster. Comb through your rabbit’s fur and try to get as close to their skin as possible to remove the fleas.
Clean the comb after every stroke in warm soapy water to dislodge and kill any fleas the comb picked up.
So what are safe flea treatments for rabbits?
A rabbit-safe flea treatment is a topical treatment like Advantage, Revolution, or Program (but check with your vet to be sure if the dosage) can be applied on the back of your rabbit’s neck only.
However, check with your vet so you can get the right medication to treat rabbit fleas.
What aren’t rabbit-safe treatments for fleas?
Never give your rabbit fipronil, which is a common flea killer used on pets like cats and dogs. Fipronil can kill your rabbit, so it’s a big no-no.
And if you’ve treated your dogs and cats with fipronil, keep them away from your rabbit for a few days.
Other ingredients to watch out for and not use for your rabbit are pyrethrin, sentinel, and permethrin.
And don’t use shampoos or flea dips for your rabbit as your bunny can ingest harmful ingredients when they groom themselves.
Using a flea collar is also not recommended as your rabbit can choke or get trapped.
Step 2: Treat Your Home and the Rabbit Cage/Hutch
Anywhere your rabbit (or other animals) spend time needs to be cleaned:
- Spray your home with a flea-killing spray but check the safety label first.
- Deep clean your carpets.
- Clean all the hard-to-reach areas too.
- Hot wash any fabrics at a temperature higher than 60℉ to kill the fleas and their larvae.
- Thoroughly clean your rabbit’s cage or outdoor hutch and any beddings, etc. your other pets use
Step 3: Treat Dogs and Dogs Regularly
If you have other pets, then regularly treat them for fleas.
How to Prevent Rabbits From Getting Fleas and Parasites
To prevent your rabbits from getting fleas and other parasites:
- Keep your other pets clean and regularly use a flea treatment for them.
- Regularly vacuum and steam clean your home to prevent a few fleas from becoming an infestation.
- Check your rabbit for signs of fleas often. A flea problem is easier to treat if caught early.
- Apply boric acid to your carpet and keep your bunny away from the area for at least 24 hours.
Keeping your rabbit safe from fleas starts with a clean home. Next, regularly treat other pets like dogs and cats for fleas. And inspect your rabbit for fleas often so you can catch a flea infestation early rather than later.
If you do see fleas or signs of a flea infestation on your rabbit:
- Ask your vet about a flea treatment that is safe for your bunny’s hide and how to administer the treatment.
- Clean your home and rabbit cage.
- Comb your rabbit’s fur to get rid of fleas faster.