Owning a long-haired bunny comes with a whole new set of unique requirements. These buns must be groomed almost daily to prevent their soft fur from clumping together. Grooming a long-haired bun can be hard work.
Can you shave a rabbit?
Some rabbits have long fur that is easily matted (such as the Angora rabbit). Sometimes, the only way to remove matted hair is by shaving. This should be done by a professional as their thin and delicate skin can easily be injured. Rabbits are skittish, so extra care needs to be taken when shaving.
Are you tired of struggling with matted fur, and now you’re considering having your bun shaved? This guide will give you all the info you need on shaved rabbits and whether it’s safe.
Is It Okay to Shave a Rabbit?
If you have a long-haired rabbit, such as the Angora rabbit, you’ll know just how out of control their fluffy fur can become (and just how quickly).
It’s okay to shave a rabbit for the right reasons, as shaving should always be a last resort for rabbits.
Underneath all that hair (and fur), your bun has thin, delicate skin that can easily be cut or injured. If you accidentally nick your bun while shaving them, this can cause stress and possible skin infection (and death) for rabbits.
Let’s take a closer look at when it’s okay to shave a rabbit:
Most rabbit breeds have dense fur or long hair, making it difficult to deal with sweltering conditions.
A rabbit doesn’t sweat. They regulate their body temperature by panting and through blood vessels in their ears (thermoregulation).
Unfortunately, rabbits are susceptible to overheating. Sometimes, a vet will shave a rabbit to help them deal with the heat as the last resort.
If you decide to shave your bun, leave a bit of fur so that it’ll be warm during the colder evenings (especially if your bun lives outdoors).
Matted Fur or Hair
If your bun’s hair has become severely matted (the entanglement of fur), removing it can be nearly impossible. If the matted hair has clumped up severely, it forms a sheet.
Trying to groom your bun with a brush can aggravate the matted sheet and worsen it.
You can also try trimming the matted area and cutting the bunched hair out before you look at shaving your rabbit. A neglected rabbit may also need to be shaved if its fur or hair has been left to grow with no regular grooming.
When rabbits try to remove the matted hair themselves, they can ingest the fur, which can cause a blockage in their intestinal tract.
Top Tip: Wait until your rabbit is at least 3 months old before you have them shaved. They’ll be easier to handle, as shaving can be dangerous for you and your rabbit if they squirm around.
What Does a Shaved Rabbit Look Like?
Depending on how short you have shaved your rabbit’s hair, they look like a sheep that has been sheared.
If your bun is also shedding, you may see bald patches and pink skin showing through the shaved hair or fur (due to hair loss).
Your bun will look much smaller than the fluff ball you’re used to.
A sheared Angora rabbit looks very different when its thick hair has been shaved. You’ll also see their bone structure better, as their dense fur covers their bones and fat very well.
How to Shave Your Rabbit
If you choose to shave your bun at home, it’s best to do this with a partner. One of you can keep the rabbit calm while the other does the shaving.
You’ll need the following equipment to shave your rabbit:
- Animal clippers or scissors
- Soft brush or mitt
- Electric shaving tools
Follow these steps to shave your rabbit safely:
1. Groom your bun with a soft brush or mitt to remove loose hair. Try removing the matted fur with a comb.
Ensure your bun’s hair is completely dry if you plan to use an electric shaving tool.
2. Hold your bun gently and securely. Ensure their paws are on a flat surface. Don’t lay your bun on their back, as they may kick you, which is dangerous for both of you.
3. Ensure your hand is between the matted fur and your buns’ skin when you start cutting to prevent accidental cuts.
4. Gently and smoothly talk to your bun as you work and reassure them. This can be stressful for rabbits.
5. Run damp hands over your bun to remove any shaved pieces of fur.
4. Once you’ve successfully shaved your bun, pat them gently and reward them with a treat.
Top Tip: A grooming blower is an excellent tool for drying your bun out and straightening its fur for easy shearing or shaving. A towel will work fine if the blower makes your bun nervous.
How Long Does Shaved Rabbit Fur Take to Grow Back?
Once a rabbit has been shaved, it can take 3 to 4 weeks for its coat to grow back.
The Angora rabbit breed’s fur grows up to 3 to 4 inches within 3 months.
Here’s a look at some factors that affect the growth of your rabbit’s fur:
- Regular rabbit grooming keeps your buns’ fur clean and free from matted sheets. Grooming also stimulates hair growth.
- A healthy and balanced diet that consists of Timothy grass hay, fresh leafy greens, and high-fiber pellets will also promote good fur growth.
- Plenty of exercises and fresh water also helps with healthy fur growth.
My Last Bunny Thoughts
Even though the idea of shaving your floppy-eared companion might sound strange or cruel, it’s necessary if your bun’s hair is severely matted. Rabbits can pick up many issues from long, matted fur, such as disease.
Urine and food can get caught up in their fur and cause infection and skin rashes. Besides the cleanliness of your bun, matted hair can also prevent them from mating (if you’re breeding rabbits).
It’s always best to take your bun to the vet or a professional groomer to have your bunny shaved. Rabbits are skittish animals, and you can easily cut them accidentally if they try to wriggle away from you.