All rabbits benefit from handling, and grooming is the ideal way to get to know your rabbit, and for your rabbit to become accustomed to you. Obviously, the breed of rabbit can determine the length of time spent grooming; for example grooming a cashmere bunny can be more time consuming than grooming a Netherland Dwarf. The most important aspect to remember is to make your bunny feel safe during the process by talking to him or her; this way your bunny will become familiar with you by getting to know the sound of your voice and also your natural scent, which in the long term helps reduce any anxiety that the bunny may feel when being handled by you in future.
Poppy our 7 year old British Giant
Daily handling also ensures that quality time spent together doesn’t end in bunny getting stressed out from all the attention. Always choose somewhere quiet, free from distraction and devoid of loud noise where you can devote ten or fifteen minutes solely to pampering your bunny. Its always a good idea to gradually build up the length of time you groom your rabbit in order to assure and accustom him or her to the new regime. It may be that on the first few occasions you simply resign yourself to getting bunny used to being picked up out of the hutch, placed on the grooming mat and being stroked for a couple of minutes and returned to the hutch. Grooming is also a good way of checking for any fur or skin abnormalities, which may occur for example, bald patches and fur mites, in which case always seek veterinary advice.
When grooming our own bunnies, we always use a non-slip mat to ensure safety, which is ideal for standing your bunny on. Dirt trapper mats are an excellent product for this purpose and more efficient than a scrap of carpet because they can be thrown in the washing machine without any trouble afterward. As for grooming tools, it’s all a matter of personal preference and a case of which tool is more suitable for the job at hand.
There are a myriad of bunny grooming tools available on the market and in some cases it can be a case of trial and error, which can prove costly. I always recommend asking your pet shop for advice while ensuring you inform them of the breed of bunny you are buying for. Always remember to disinfect grooming tools after use especially if you have more than one pet. Above all grooming should be a pleasant and calming experience for bunny. It’s all a matter of confidence building in you and your pet and more than anything oodles of patience. I know I thoroughly enjoy grooming my own rabbits especially Poppy my seven year old British Giant; Poppy is used to me handling her and I often lay her on my knees, feet up in the air while I gently brush out her furry underbelly and long fluffy tail, which she loves me to do especially when she’s going through the moult. More often than not she becomes so relaxed she falls asleep during the process, and I end up nursing her like a baby while she has a crafty couple of minutes cat nap and I get cramp in my legs! I always end up feeling guilty when I have to wake her up.