Grooming 101

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Grooming 101

With almost 100 rabbits in the wonderland, we have our fair share of experience keeping our bunnies neat and tidy! A well groomed rabbit does stay healthier and any sign of illness can be easier to observe. So regardless how busy we are, our volunteers will make sure all our bunnies are groomed at least once a month! Here's some tips we will like to share to help our rabbit owners keep their rabbit oh-so-gorgeous!

1) COMB AWAY!
Rabbits shed at least once every 3 months and should be regularly combed with a slicker brush (twice/week for short fur, daily for long fur). We like to use a flea comb to pick up loose fur between coats and untangle any knotted fur. Serious clumps can be carefully trimmed using grooming scissors. Any stained fur can be gently cleansed using baby wipes and some cornstarch (eg Pureen) can be used to absorb excess moisture. For our healthy rabbits, we NEVER bath them in water. But for those that are heavily stained due to illness or old age, we will give them a simple butt bath and you can find good guidance on this http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/buttbath.html

2. CLIP 'EM!
Nails should be clipped at least once a month to keep them trimmed. Long nails can hinder their movement and may even get caught easily and caused injuries. A good clipper should give good grip for you to trim off the clear portion of the nail away from the 'quick' (red blood vein). If the rabbit has dark nails, shine a torch light through in (towards your eye) to ensure you avoid the quick. If you accidentally clip on the quick and the nail bleeds, apply corn starch and pressure on the nail and monitor for the next 24 hours to ensure the wound dries well without infection.

3. LISTEN UP!
Our bunnies have sensitive ears that can get sick easily if neglected. We will gently lift out any clumpy ear wax using cotton swab and wipe the surface with a slightly damped cloth to keep them clean. We won't push too deep into the ear canals as that can end up hurting them instead. We will also take a quick sniff into their ears to detect any odd or sourish smell which can be signs of yeast/bacterial infection. This is especially important for lops who don't get to air out their ears so often.

4. THUMPY FEET
Our bunnies are always on their fours and it's important to ensure their paws still well padded and comfortable. Bunnies are housed on wired floorings can develop painful blisters known as sore hocks. We will recommend solid surface floors lined with soft rugs to keep them comfortable and using separation grids in their litterbox to keep their feet clean. Vasaline or medical ointment such as Centellase can be used to treat these persistent sore hocks. If the sore hocks are exposed or have pus, a vet visit is needed to ensure the infection is controlled.

5. THE STINKY BITS
Rabbits have scent glands both under their chin and around their anus. The anus scent glands can build up and can develop an unpleasant odor. You can find these scent glands on the two slits on either side of their genitals. We will dip a cotton swab in some water and carefully swipe away the buildup. This can be done on a monthly basis to keep them fresh and clean!

6. CHECK CHECK CHECK!
While you are grooming, there's a few quick checks you can do to inspect their health. Their teeth should be neat and straight to indicate good chewing habit. Any crooked or overlapping teeth are signs of malocclusion which requires a vet visit. Their eyes should be bright and clear. Any signs of redness, discharge or fur loss near the eyes can indicate tear duct issues or infection that has to be treated by a vet. We do not recommend using human-grade eye drops unless recommended by a vet. Their fur coat should be smooth and free of specks or flakes which can be indication of external parasites that should be properly treated.

7. PREVENTION IS KEY!
At the wonderland, we regularly treat our bunnies with Revolution (selamectin) for flea and mites control. A safe dose of 0.1cc per kg of body weight using the 60mg/ml solution (concentration for kitten) is recommended for indoor rabbits 1-2 times a year. We will syringe it up and apply the droplets to the back of their neck where the rabbit cannot reach. If this is your first time applying for your rabbit, it's best to consult a vet to ensure accurate dosage and application as Revolution is a toxic drug if ingested. We do not use flea powder, shampoo or sprays on our rabbits as they are usually not rabbit-safe (even if they said so). We also do not recommend bringing your rabbits outdoor as it can increase their chance to catch unknown parasites which can further compromise their health.

With the above tips, we hope you are now more aware of the grooming needs of your rabbit! If you are a new owner and will like to learn how to do them properly, we suggest you engage a rabbit-savvy groomer for a one on one training! They can come by your place for a reasonable fee ($30-50/rabbit) and guide you through all these important steps. We absolutely do NOT recommend going to your neighborhood groomers as the environment is often noisy and many groomers are not rabbit savvy which can end up hurting your rabbit instead. For our list of recommended rabbit groomers, please see our website at www.bunnywonderlandsg.com/tips

Let's help our bunnies stay healthy together! No bunny gets left behind!