Grooming Rabbits

Most of the time, normal- and Rex-coated rabbits take car of their own fur, but they will need assistance from you when they are molting. Molting rabbits shed vast amounts of fur, and grooming will speed up the removal of dead, loose hair. Heavily molting rabbits need grooming every day.

Brush your rabbit regularly, so that he becomes accustomed to it. For routine use, you can use a soft-bristled brush or one of the new rubber brushes marketed for dogs and horses. These work really well on rabbits, even those that normally hate being groomed.

For molting rabbits, try slicker brushes or cat molting combs, which have teeth of two lengths. These combs are very affective at removing the dead undercoat. Pay particular attention to the area around the tail where the fur is thickest and takes longest to molt out.

Long-haired rabbits are much harder work, and the best way to learn how to care for the coat is to get a demonstration from a rabbit rescue center or an experienced breeder.



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Adult, pedigreed Cashmere Lops should have plenty of the long guard hairs in their coats and these don't mat quite so easily. However, most long-haired rabbits kept as pets(and all young, long-haired breeds) have soft coats that mat easily and require frequent, thorough grooming.

To groom with a finer-toothed comb, start off with a wide-toothed comb and go over the whole animal. Then repeat with a finer-toothed comb. Finally, use a flea comb to groom the areas prone to matting (under the chin, inside the front legs, and around the vent area).

It can take up to 20 to 40 minutes a day to groom a long-haired rabbit, so, if you would have a problem setting this time aside, you might wish to clip the coat completely every 4 to 6 weeks.

Teeth

Check you rabbit's front teeth by gently drawing back his lips. The teeth should be even, with chisel-sharp edges, and any overgrowth will protrude over the other set of teeth. Overgrown upper incisors tend to grow back into the mouth, and you won't see them unless you look properly.

You will not be able to see the back teeth, but you can look for signs of problems, such as a constantly wet chin, lumps along the jaw, or the rabbit resenting your touching his head. Young rabbits, or those with a history of dental problems, should have their teeth checked more frequently.




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