Grooming Your Rabbit: Have you ever noticed the furry protrusions from your rabbit’s butt? Or did you know that certain rabbits require routine ear cleaning? It’s possible that when their nails grow longer, they will cut you whenever you pick up your rabbit. You are not by yourself. Many people discover that their rabbits shed much more than they anticipated and are unsure of how to properly trim their bunnies’ nails.

During periods of high shedding, rabbits require daily brushing. This will lessen the chance of the rabbit’s stomach becoming blocked by hairballs. Monthly nail trimming, at-home health checks, and ear cleanings for rabbits that are prone to inner ear infections are all part of proper rabbit grooming.

Of course, just asking you to brush and clip your rabbit’s nails won’t do much good. It can take a lot of time and patience to groom your rabbit because they can be quite picky creatures and often dislike being handled. I’ve created this article to help you understand the fundamental methods required to correctly brush your rabbit, trim their nails, and maintain their cleanliness and well-being.

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Part 1: Brushing your rabbit

Of course, I won’t get very far if I only ask you to trim and brush your rabbit’s nails. Your rabbit may require a lot of time and patience to groom because they can be quite particular animals and frequently don’t like to be handled. This essay was written to assist you in comprehending the basic procedures needed to properly brush your rabbit, cut their nails, and preserve their cleanliness and wellbeing.

linked rabbit poop

How often should you brush your rabbit? 

In light-shedding seasons, brushing your rabbit once a week is usually advised; in heavy-shedding seasons, once a day is advised. Even so, this estimate is not exact. Depending on how much fur they are losing, how long their fur is, and how much fur you can see in their feces, you may need to brush your rabbit more or less frequently.

In light-shedding seasons, brushing your rabbit once a week is usually advised; in heavy-shedding seasons, once a day is advised. Even so, this estimate is not exact. Depending on how much fur they are losing, how long their fur is, and how much fur you can see in their feces, you may need to brush your rabbit more or less frequently.


You’ve probably noticed that rabbits shed a lot. Your home will surely be covered in clouds of fur during their protracted shedding seasons. If you’re thinking, “Should my rabbit be shedding this much?” Yes, it is the solution. Excessive shedding in rabbits is very natural.

In a given year, rabbits have two to four shedding seasons. In the spring and fall, when they are losing their winter and summer coats, they often have two quite intense shedding seasons. They will thereafter have a reduced shedding period in the summer and winter.

Each rabbit will shed on their own pace. Depending on the breed of rabbit and the region you reside in, it will change. Your house’s temperature inside will also have an impact on when your rabbit will molt. Thus, it is impossible to predict with certainty when your rabbit will begin to shed.

While some rabbits’ yearly molts take only a few fur-covered days, others might take weeks or even months. Don’t be alarmed if you can’t identify any specific shedding seasons; some may seem to shed constantly.

rabbit shed line
You’ll probably see a line dividing the fresh coat from the old coat as your rabbit sheds. Usually, they start shedding their coat from their head and work their way down to their bottom.You will see a line between the thicker and thinner coats on your rabbit’s back as it sheds.

You’ll be able to see the line in rabbits with one color as well as those with an undercoat of a different hue. The hair of a rabbit’s face, cheeks, and eventually its back, all the way down to its butt, will normally start to shed.

During a shedding season, you could even discover a single bald patch. There is no need to be concerned about these transient bald patches as long as the skin doesn’t appear raw and irritated and the fur comes back rapidly.

The majority of rabbits dislike being brushed. Because rabbit skin is so fragile and sensitive, the prickles of a brush may be painful. For this reason, when grooming your rabbit, you should take particular care and be gentle.

You’ll need to try out several methods if your rabbit is particularly uneasy about being groomed in order to make them feel secure and at ease. The majority of rabbits enjoy being petted, so if you’ve tried everything and they still refuse to be brushed, you may always use your hands to brush and pluck out extra fur while massaging them.

rabbit grooming tools

What tools to use

The only actual tool required to brush a rabbit is a brush. The issue is that not every rabbit will hold still for every brush. A rabbit can be brushed more thoroughly using the finer-toothed combs, although they can find such items uncomfortable. As a result, you might need to experiment with several brush kinds before settling on one that your rabbit will accept.

Here are a few concepts:

  • Flea combThis is a very fine toothed option that will help get the loose fur from the the undercoat. It’s a great option if your rabbit will sit still, but it will often tug a little more on your rabbits fur and cause them to squirm or run away.
  • Pet Fur-busterThis is bigger than a typical flea comb, so it can cover a wider area. It’s fine toothed, but not quite as fine as a flea comb, so there is a little less tug from fur pulling.
  • Fine-toothed combA fine toothed human comb can also work well. These are usually plastic and won’t tug on your rabbit’s fur quite as much, but the bristles are still thin enough that they can get the job done.
  • Glove brushIf you rabbit can’t handle a comb, you could try using a glove groomer. While these won’t do a great job of pulling up loose fur from the undercoat, they will still get at the loose fur on the surface. The short rubber bristles aren’t as abrasive, so you might be able to convince your rabbit that you’re just giving them a massage.
  • Rubber brushYou can try your hand at using a rubber brush. Usually these have very wide bristles that won’t pull on the rabbit’s fur so much. This type of brush is more for surface brushing, and won’t help much at getting at the loose fur from the undercoat.

How to brush your rabbit:

Use a technique that is gentle and will keep your rabbit quiet in order to brush it with the most effectiveness. Typically, this entails brushing your rabbit with one hand while patting it with the other.

Start again if your rabbit becomes frightened or nervous at any point in the procedure after gently calming them down.

  1. Calm your rabbit.Getting your rabbit into a relaxed stance before you begin brushing them can reduce the likelihood that they may abruptly bolt or get anxious while being brushed. You can take up your rabbit and groom it on your lap if it is comfortable with being handled. I like to give my bunnies a soothing massage while they remain on the floor to maintain their composure.
  2. Gently brush in the direction of the fur. You may begin gently grooming your rabbit after they are quiet. If you are using a comb, you should place it virtually flat against your rabbit to prevent the bristles from piercing their sensitive skin. Avoid pushing too firmly on your rabbit’s coat when using a brush or glove so that you are brushing their fur rather than their skin. Start by combing in the fur’s direction. You can try combing against the fur if your rabbit will accept it, but the majority won’t. To keep your rabbit happy, constantly petting them with your free hand.
  3. Pluck out some of the loose fur as it gets uncovered.Some tufts will rise to the surface as the fur begins to become more loose. As you touch your rabbit, gently pull them off (I like to call this butt-plucking).
  4. Brush off excess fur with your hands.Pet your rabbit with a couple long strokes down their back after thoroughly combing them. This will assist in getting rid of any loose fur that is visible on your rabbit’s coat’s surface.

How to groom your rabbit1. Calm your rabbit; 2. Brush in the direction of the fur; 3. Pluck out some of the loose fur; 4. Brush off excess fur

You could observe that your rabbit’s coat becomes ragged again within only a few hours if it is during a heavy shedding season. Do not be concerned; you did not do poorly.

It’s just the way that the rabbit shedding season is. Once their fur begins to return to being under control, you should brush them again the next day and every day after that. If you can fit it into your schedule, brushing your rabbit many times a day during the shedding season is also not a terrible idea.

Matted fur

The fur on a rabbit can occasionally become matted. Rabbits with longer hair are more likely to have this, but rabbits with shorter coats may also experience it. It can be brought on by damp fur or by urinating on their fur. Rabbits with long hair are prone to mating their fur just from moving about or lying on it.

There are two options if you have matted fur:

Straighten the fur.
Trim or shave the fur.

You can choose to untangle the portion of matted fur if it is not too severe. To gently pick out the tangles in your rabbit’s coat, use a fur splitter or mat rake. It is ideal to have two individuals present so that one person may maintain the rabbit’s composure while the other person detangles the fur.

You will need to use scissors to clip away the matted fur or get the area shaved if the matted region has clumped up so much that the fur has essentially taken the shape of a sheet. You may either opt to use an animal trimmer at home to shave your rabbit’s fur or take it to a professional groomer or rabbit veterinarian. If you decide to shave your rabbit by yourself, always work with a buddy and take extra precautions.

Long haired rabbits

Long-haired rabbits, including lionhead and angora rabbits, require a lot more labor to groom. Due to the difficulty of brushing the fur under a long-haired rabbit’s belly, many owners decide to keep it clipped to a more manageable length.

Keep a daily grooming schedule if you allow your rabbit’s fur grow out. Your rabbit has to be brushed in layers. Starting at the rear, raise the top layer of long fur and brush it in the fur’s direction. Brush one layer after allowing another to settle. Continue until you have thoroughly brushed the entire rabbit. This method will help you get at the undercoat so you can prevent the build-up of matted fur.

Part 2: Clipping a rabbit’s nails

If you don’t trim a rabbit’s claws, they can grow to be exceedingly long and pointy. It depends on how quickly your rabbit’s nails grow, but for the majority of rabbits, trimming their nails every one to two months is ideal. Nails are likely to develop quickly in indoor rabbits who spend the most of their time on carpet. Additionally, rabbits with a lot of material to dig will have nails that develop a little more slowly.

The anatomy of a rabbit nail

Four on each of the back foot and five on each of the front feet make up a rabbit’s total of 18 toenails. Each of the bases of a rabbit’s nails is penetrated by a vein known as the quick. Avoid clipping into this vein while trimming your rabbit’s nails. Your rabbit may feel some little discomfort after being clipped into the quick, and there will be an unexpectedly large quantity of blood.

rabbit nail quick

If the nails are a lighter shade, you can see this vein in them, but deeper shades might make it hard to notice. Many rabbit lovers advise inserting a flashlight in the rear of the nail on these darker-nailed rabbits to help you find the quick, but I’ve discovered that it’s almost tough to keep the rabbit’s nails in front of a flashlight as you clip them.

I applied pressure to the clippers before I fully cut through in order to identify the quick in a toenail with a darker color. If the rabbit flinches somewhat, I need to cut a little further away from the vein since I’m too close to it.

You can occasionally snip yourself into the quick. It’s alright if it occurs to you. Your rabbit will quickly feel better and question why you are making a fuss. To assist stop the bleeding, dab a cotton ball with a little cornstarch or styptic powder.

How to clip your rabbit’s nails

Although it is much simpler to do it with a companion, you may also do it by yourself. All your rabbit needs is for you to be very patient with it. You simply need a pair of rabbit nail clippers as a tool. To keep your rabbit motionless, you might also try wrapping it in a towel.

With a buddy, trim the nails on your rabbit:

  1. One person should hold the rabbit. Either hold the rabbit with their paws facing outward, or put them in a half cradle in your arms. Your job is to keep the rabbit calm and as still as possible.
  2. The second person clips the nails. With all the rabbit’s nails facing outward, you can clip them one by one until you’ve clipped them all.

Clipping your rabbit’s nails by yourself (this is not easy so be patient with yourself and your rabbit):

  1. Place your rabbit on a table. Make sure they have a towel for traction so your rabbit will be more comfortable. Pet your rabbit and give them a massage so they will relax and calm down.
  2. Wrap your arm around your rabbit and gently pull one of their forepaws out. You want to hold your rabbit on the edge of the table against your body so they will feel secure. Putting your hand on top of your rabbit’s head can also help them stay calm during the next steps.
  3. Clip the nails on that foot. Try to get all five nails. The ‘thumbnail’ on the inside of the foot is always the hardest to find. This step will probably take a long time because your rabbit will keep pulling their leg back. If your rabbit will not cooperate at all, you can try putting them in a half burrito in a towel, with their front-legs sticking out in front of them. Repeat on the other front paw.
  4. Hold your rabbit up on their hind legs and clip their back feet. Hold your rabbit underneath their chest. Keep them pressed up against your body so they will feel secure. Slowly clip the nails on your rabbit’s hind legs. I find the hind legs are easier to clip than the front legs, but if your rabbit keeps getting out of your grip, rearrange how you’re holding the rabbit and try again.
rabbit nail trimmin


1. Place your rabbit on a table; 2. gently pull one of their forepaws out; 3. Clip the nails on that foot; 4. Hold your rabbit up on their hind legs and clip their back feet.

If you ever feel that you can’t get your rabbits nails clipped on your own, or you’re afraid you’ll clip the quick, there is also the option to bring your rabbit to the vet to clip your rabbit’s nails for you.

Part 3: Cleaning rabbit ears

The likelihood of ear infections is higher in lop-eared rabbits. You might have to clean your ears once a week or once a month.Consult your rabbit-savvy veterinarian to learn what they advise before ever cleaning your rabbit’s ears.

My veterinarian advised me to clean my mini-lop Tenshi’s ears once every two weeks. She was prone to having wax buildup in her left ear. My veterinarian provided me an ear cleaning solution and instructions on how to clean Tenshi’s ears at home since if this condition went untreated, it may lead to a major ear infection.

Whether or whether you need to clean your rabbit’s ears, you should check to make sure there isn’t an accumulation of ear wax every week. Observe your bunnies’ behavior as well. It may indicate that something is aggravating their ears if they are vigorously shaking their heads or persistently clawing at their ears.

What tools to use

To clean your rabbit’s ears all you need is:

  • A vet-recommended cleaning solution (it will have a squirt nozzle at the top)
  • A couple of towels with one large enough to make a bunny-burrito
  • A few cotton balls

Make sure the cleaning solution and cotton balls are within arms length as you’re cleaning your rabbit’s ears out. It will make the whole process a lot easier.

How to clean your rabbit’s ears

Because the ear-cleaning solution will get all over the place, you should perform this in a restroom or a spot that is simple to clean. Having two individuals makes this operation simpler since one person can hold the rabbit while the other cleans out the ears, but it can be done by one person as well.

  1. Wrap your rabbit in the towel and hold your rabbit in your lap. Try to get your rabbit into a secure burrito so that they won’t be able to hurt themself or jump out of your arms while your cleaning their ears. If you are cleaning their ears by yourself, use your legs and one arm to hold your rabbit securely in your lap.
  2. Hold your rabbit’s ear upright and pour in the solution. Pour the solution into the ear until you can see the liquid pooling. You may want to place a cotton ball on the entrance to the ear canal so your rabbit will not be able to shake the liquid out of their ear.
  3. Massage the base of your rabbit’s ear. For 20-30 seconds massage the base of the rabbit’s ear. It will feel weird for your rabbit and they will most likely try to shake their ears. Do your best to keep their ear upright so the solution won’t splash everywhere.
  4. Use a cotton ball to gently clean out the ear. Use as many cotton balls as you need to gently wipe the inside of your rabbits ear and clean out any loosened earwax. Now you can allow your rabbit to shake their head (and expect any leftover solution to spray everywhere).
  5. Gently dry the area around your rabbit’s ear. Use a towel to dry off your rabbit and fluff up their fur a little bit.

  6. Repeat on the other side. Some rabbits will only need one ear cleaned, but if necessary you should repeat the process on the other side.
rabbit ear cleaning
1. Wrap your rabbit in the towel and hold them in your lap; 2. Pour the solution into your rabbit’s ear; 3. Massage the base of your rabbit’s ear; 4. Clean out the ear with a cotton ball; 5. Dry the area around your rabbit’s ear; 6. Repeat on the other side.

Part 4: Bathing a rabbit

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t be giving your rabbit a bath. Given that they do an excellent job of keeping themselves clean, rabbits, there are several unintended risks associated with giving them a bath. There are alternative methods of cleaning your filthy bunny that don’t require a thorough bath.

Option 1: Spot cleaning

You should spot clean your rabbit if they are only messy in a specific spot, maybe they managed to get a spot of sticky syrup on their fur. To do this:

  • Try to spot clean your rabbit with a dry towel first.
  • If that doesn’t do the trick, use a damp towel (NOT dripping wet), and gently rub the area to wash off the mess.
  • Make sure to dry them thoroughly afterward.

Option 2: Dry bath

If your rabbit has managed to get quite filthy, dry baths might be helpful. A fine-toothed comb and cornstarch are all you need for this.

How to give your rabbit a dry bath:

  1. Sprinkle some cornstarch on the soiled areas of your rabbit. Be careful, and try to keep your rabbit from inhaling the cornstarch.
  2. Gently massage your rabbit, working the cornstarch through their fur. This will be a little tedious, but after a while the cornstarch will help the dirt and debris in the messy spots clump up.
  3. Use the comb to remove the clumps of debris as they start to form in the rabbit’s fur. You may need to add more cornstarch if the dirt on your rabbit’s fur is being particularly stubborn.
  4. Use the cloth to pat down and wipe off any excess cornstarch. Using the comb can also help remove the cornstarch from the rabbit’s fur.
  5. And you’re done. Now you just have to wipe down and clean up all the cornstarch from the bathroom floor.

Option 3: Butt bath

Some aged, handicapped, or fat rabbits can’t adequately groom themselves and end up with poopy butt. This is a condition when stinky balls of mushy excrement start to accumulate on the bottom of your rabbit. You’ll probably need to give your rabbit a butt wash because this is really tough to remove without soaking it in water. For a more thorough how-to, check my post on how to bathe rabbits.

rabbit butt bath


You might need to give your rabbit a butt wash if they have poopy butt. To ensure that just their rear legs and butt get wet, grasp your rabbit firmly.To assist you with this, you should look for a companion. As a result, one of you can maintain the rabbit’s composure while the other concentrates on wiping their butt:
  1. Get a small bin and put a folded towel along the bottom.
  2. Fill the bin with a couple inches with warm water.
  3. Gently pick your rabbit up and place their butt in the water.
  4. Swirl the water around and soak the soiled area around your rabbit’s butt.
  5. Use your fingers to gently pull the poop off of your rabbit’s butt.

After you clean the poop off of your rabbit’s butt, you need to dry them thoroughly. As I mentioned earlier, wet fur and wet skin can be dangerous for rabbits, so this is a really important step.

rabbit bottom check
Check your rabbit’s bottom on a daily basis to be sure it’s not dirty, so that it won’t attract any flies.

Health check

Look out for any symptoms of disease, harm, or parasites when you are brushing your rabbit. As a prey animal, rabbits are. They have a propensity to conceal their frailties in order to avoid being targeted by predators. So that we may identify any signs early, we must be careful in our health checkups.

What you should look for in your health check:

  • Anything that looks like dandruff could be a symptom of mites or fleas.
  • Check for crusting or excessive ear wax in the ears, this could be a sign of ear mites.
  • Check your rabbits feet for sores.
  • Make sure your rabbit’s bottom is dry and clean of poop.
  • Check to be sure your rabbit is not dribbling urine or suffering from urine scald.
  • Check the inside of your rabbit’s front paws. Matted fur here could be the result of snuffles.
matted fur on a rabbits paw
Check the inner side of your rabbits paw for matted or dirty fur.

Teeth check

A weekly oral examination should be a part of your grooming regimen. Due of their constant tooth growth, rabbits frequently experience dental issues. It’s simplest to carry out this inspection while giving your rabbit a gentle massage and caressing them. Check here for more detailed information on rabbit tooth health.

overgrown rabbit teeth
Overgrown rabbit incisors can appear uneven, spread outward, or curl into the mouth.

The rabbit teeth check:

  1. Check around the rabbit’s cheeks. When you pet your rabbit put a little gentle pressure on their cheeks. Feel for abnormal bumps or abscesses along the jawline. Also pay attention to your rabbit’s behavior. If they keep flinching away when you reach a certain spot, it could be a sign that the spot is painful and should be checked out further.
  2. Check the front teeth. As you are petting your rabbit, position yourself in front of them. Gently pull their lips back and check their front teeth for any signs of overgrown or chipped teeth. You should also check at this point to make sure the gums are pink and not red or purple, since those are signs of inflamed or unhealthy gums.
  3. Check for signs of trouble with the back teeth. The cheek teeth are too far back to see without using specialized equipment. So the best that we can do is look for external signs that something might be a problem. Signs your

rabbit may be having trouble with their back teeth:

  • Drooling
  • Swelling jawline
  • Change in eating habits (eg. stops eating hay and will only eat pellets)
  • Trying to eat a piece of food but continuously dropping it out of their mouth
  • Looking interested in food, but not eating it
  • Weight loss
  • Loud teeth grinding, a loud grating sound instead of the normal soft purring
  • Bad mouth odor
  • Grumpy behavior

Check rabbit eyes

As you groom your rabbit, check around their eyes for any sign of illness. While most eye conditions are not serious by themselves, they could be signs of illnesses that need to be addressed. Some conditions to look out for:

  • Watery eyes
  • Red-eye (the whites of a rabbit’s eyes, not rabbits who naturally have red eyes)
  • Bumps or abscesses around the eyes
  • Crusted eye-gunks
  • White cloudy eyes (cataracts)
  • Irritation or swelling around the eyes

Related Questions

Do rabbits like to be cuddled?

The majority of rabbits dislike being taken up or caressed. Being ability to flee and hide from predators is essential to the survival of rabbits because they are prey animals. Rabbits can’t get away while they are being held or cuddled, therefore they become fearful.

How do rabbits clean themselves?

Like cats, rabbits groom themselves by licking every inch of their bodies. Rabbits will lick their front paws and scour them in order to clean difficult-to-reach areas, such as their face and ears (it’s the cutest!). If you have many rabbits, they will groom one another as well.

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