Rabbits are clean animals, but there may be a few times when you need to help your rabbit and clean them. These prey animals shouldn’t be bathed or submerged in water – they can have a heart attack and die! So how can you safely clean your bun?
There are three ways in which you can clean your rabbit. Spot clean then with a moist washcloth or baby wipe when you need to clean small messes from their fur. Dry bathe your bun with cornstarch powder to clean poop, urine, and recent messes. Or only wash your rabbit’s poopy butt in 1-2 inches of water.
Here’s your complete guide to how to clean a rabbit – gently and safely so your bun won’t get a fright.
Do Rabbits Need Cleaning?
Rabbits are quite like cats in that they are clean and fastidiously groom themselves. You’ll see that your bunny grooms themselves quite a number of times during the day. Or, if you have a bonded pair of rabbits, they’ll groom each other.
However, there are instances when you need to lend a helping hand and clean your pet rabbit.
Here’s when you need to clean your pet bunny:
- When your rabbit is sick
- When your rabbit is elderly and can’t groom themselves everywhere
- When your rabbit is obese and can’t reach
- When your rabbit is disabled
Different Ways to Clean Your Rabbit
There are various ways you can clean your bunny, and which method is right for your bun depends on how much cleaning up you need to do.
Method 1: Spot Clean
When to use: Stained fur and small messes
Spot cleaning your rabbit is ideal if your bun has some food or sauce stuck to its fur.
Tools needed for spot-cleaning your rabbit:
- Washcloth or baby wipes (with no alcohol)
- Bunny-friendly soap
- Towel (optional)
Steps to spot-clean your bun:
- Wet a soft washcloth. Wring out any excess moisture.
- Use a little bit of all-natural, rabbit-friendly soap if necessary.
- Take hold of your bunny – gently. Place them in a box or on your lap if they don’t sit still for you.
- Work out the stains in their fur by gently rubbing the washcloth or baby wet wipes on the dirty hair.
Top Tip: Try to avoid soaking the fur with water so your bun can “dry” easily. If necessary, use a dry towel to help dry the fur out so your bun doesn’t catch a cold.
Method 2: Dry Bath
When to use: Clean mud, poop, and urine stains
Dry bathing is ideal if your rabbit’s fur is in a bigger mess and full of newer dirt stains.
You may also want to combine dry bathing with spot cleaning for more thorough cleaning if necessary.
Tools needed for dry bathing your rabbit:
- Cornstarch or baby powder that’s cornstarch-based (avoid products that contain talc)
- A washcloth or towel
- A fine-toothed comb or a rabbit-friendly comb
Steps to giving your bun a dry bath:
- Sprinkle cornstarch on the areas of fur that are dirty. You want to be generous with the sprinkling but careful too as your bun shouldn’t inhale large volumes of cornstarch since they have sensitive respiratory systems.
- Gently massage the cornstarch powder into the dirty fur. You need to keep rubbing until the cornstarch forms clumps, and this may take quite a while.
- Now it’s time to carefully remove the clumps with the comb.
- Dust off any excess cornstarch with a washcloth or towel. Simply wipe the powder off your bun so they only ingest a very small amount when they groom themselves.
Method 3: Wet Bath
When to use: For poopy butt
When your rabbit has a lot of poop (from diarrhea) or cecotropes or even urine stuck to their bottom and fur, you need to resort to a more thorough “wash.”
A poopy butt is typical if your rabbit has mobility issues – if they are elderly, obese, or disabled. This condition occurs because your bun can’t reach its butt to groom and clean itself.
Tools needed for wet bathing your rabbit:
- A small plastic box or litter box
- Rubber gloves
Steps to giving your bun a wet bath:
- Place a towel or two at the bottom of the box to provide traction so your rabbit doesn’t slip and slide in the plastic box.
- Fill the box with lukewarm water (not hot or cold). Ensure the water is only 1-2 inches deep. You want enough water to submerge your rabbit’s hindlegs and bottom only.
- Put on your rubber gloves if you are squeamish about cleaning poop off your bun.
- Gently place your rabbit in the water-filled bin. Do this slowly so your bun doesn’t get scared and stressed and panicked. Hold your rabbit’s upper half with your one hand.
- Let your bun’s bottom soak for a bit in the water so any poop can soften. This will make it easier to clean.
- Gently rub and pull the poop from your rabbit’s fur.
- When your rabbit has a clean butt, remove the bun from the water.
- Use towels and a hairdryer (set on low) to help your rabbit dry off.
Pro Tip: Thoroughly wash your hands before and after you clean your bun.
How Often Should You Clean Your Rabbit?
It’s not often that you need to clean your rabbit. You only need to worry about cleaning your rabbit by spot cleaning, dry bathing, or wet bathing when your rabbit is dirty and not grooming itself. You also need to clean your bun when it’s sick.
If your bun is old, overweight, or disabled, you’ll need to help your bunny clean itself regularly.
Not cleaning your bun means that flystrike can set it, and this condition is often fatal.
My Last Bunny Thoughts
As a person, you like to be clean, and your rabbit likes to be clean too. The good news is that rabbits love to be clean, so they frequently groom themselves and their partner (when they are bonded to another rabbit).
There are only a few instances when you need to step in and clean your rabbit: sickness, old age, obesity, and disability.
It is, nevertheless, a good idea to check your rabbit’s fur and see if it’s dirty or soiled and help your rabbit get clean when they aren’t able to help themselves.
A clean rabbit is a healthy and happy rabbit!