Rabbit Grooming & Exercise Guide
Let’s be honest. It’s difficult for pet owners to tell if they are meeting all of their rabbit’s needs or not. Should I be brushing my rabbit’s coat? How often? How much is too much exercise? How much is not enough?
Fear not! Here is our quick-tip guide to understanding your rabbit’s grooming and exercise needs, helping you keep the pets you love bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
What Kind & How Much Exercise Does My Rabbit Require?
Your rabbit, like you, will tire of the same activities day after day. To help keep your rabbit healthy and satisfy the need for diversity in play, provide the opportunity to perform varied activities involving chewing, playing, and burrowing. Here are some ways to best incorporate each:
- Chewing – Unpainted untreated woodchips, twigs, and hay will each make good chewing toys. Your rabbit’s teeth are constantly growing, so your pet will have a nearly endless desire to chew and keep his or her teeth trim and clean.
- Playing – Your rabbit will love some play time with you, but knowing the best way to approach is important. Rabbits are prey animals, and are therefore going to be timid in wide, open areas. Be sure to provide your rabbit with plenty of smaller, safer spaces to feel comfortable playing in, such as playpens, a network of cardboard tubes, a series of shoebox “rooms,” or even a combination of the three! Be sure to approach for play slowly, from an area where you are visible and may appear non-threatening. Due to your size relative to your pet, it might take some time for your rabbit to be completely comfortable with you. Regularly playing with your rabbit is a wonderful way to build your relationship while at the same time allowing your pet to get the proper amount of exercise.
- Burrowing – Rabbits are naturally burrowing creatures, so providing your pet with the means to claw and scratch his way into something is a wonderful way to help your rabbit feel safe in his new home. Grass mats, hay piles, and blankets each give your rabbit the opportunity to dig deep into something. Blankets are particularly good for a rabbit’s sleeping area, or when holding your rabbit in your lap, as it both gives your rabbit something to burrow into and also provides a comfortable bed for your pet to snuggle in and stay warm.
Does My Rabbit Require Grooming?
Proper grooming can go a long way toward improving the quality-of-life of you rabbit. Here are some general guidelines to follow:
- Brushing – Weekly brushings can lead to a healthier, cleaner coat, but depending on your pet’s breed, brushing might be needed as often as once per day. Observe your rabbit’s coat and shedding, consult with your local veterinarian, and brush accordingly.
- Nail Trimming – Your rabbit’s nails should be clipped once every three months or so, using properly sized trimmers to avoid injuring your pet.
- Bathing – Bathing can be very stressful for rabbits and is generally not needed. You should not bathe your rabbit unless directed to do so by your veterinarian.
- Coat Trims – Coat trims are not a good idea for your rabbit. Simple, regular brushings should be plenty of hair-care for your rabbit.
- Dental Care – Be sure never to cut down your rabbit’s teeth. If you are worried about the size of your rabbit’s denture, supply more gnawing toys to play with, such as unpainted woodchips, twigs, and hay, so your pet might naturally manage his or her own teeth.
Need More Information?
If you have any more questions about the care of your rabbit, consult your local veterinarian, search through our Preventive Care and Ask a Vet libraries, or click through some of the related links below: