Rabbits spend much of the day grooming themselves, but as they get older or rounder or sick, they may have trouble keeping their bottoms clean. When Tofu’s bum gets messy, he gets a bath.
We usually bathe Tofu in the bathroom sink and it’s a two person job. But recently I bathed Tofu in the bath and found that it can easily be a one person job.
Important: Get everything ready before you start. Never leave a rabbit unattended in water.
Here are detailed instructions on how I bathe Tofu. Every bunny is different. Tofu doesn’t panic around water, he panics if he feels unsecure. Your rabbit might be different. The different smells, sights and water might be too much for him or her. Use this as a guide and use your best judgement.
We have tried blowdrying Tofu, but he is very fluffy for a rabbit. It takes a really, really long time. If your rabbit is less fluffy, you could try blowdrying, but I find that the bunny burrito method works quite well and is more enjoyable for all involved.
How to give bunny a bath (and a recipe for a bunny burrito)
You will need:
1 dirty rabbit
1 folded bath mat
2 or 3 towels for drying
- Before you fetch the bunny, fill the bathtub with 2 inches lukewarm water. Not too hot! Nice and warm like a baby’s bath. Lay a handtowel in the bottom of the tub to give something for bunny to stand on (makes the bathtub less slippery).
- Lay down a folded bathmat in a corner of the bathroom. This will be the “holding cell”. Have everything you need on hand before you begin. When you get bunny, close the bathroom door just in case he or she wants to make an escape later. Gently lower bunny onto the towel in the bath. If bunny panics, talk to him or her and soothingly pat them and make sure they feel secure.
- Work water into the dirty areas with your hands, pulling away any poop. Avoid wetting the bunny’s head or getting water in the ears, eyes and nose. Always keep bunny’s head above water. Bunny may try to lick their bottom or legs. Try and stop them from doing this as much as possible. Once you have removed most of the dirt, lift bunny out of the water and onto the bathmat/holding cell.
- Drain the dirty water and refill bathtub with 2 inches of fresh warm water. Gently lower bunny back onto the handtowel in the bath.
- While gently holding the bunny in place with one hand, lather a small amount of pet shampoo (around 1 inch in diameter) into the fur around his or her bottom using your other hand. You can buy pet shampoo from your local pet store or get your vet to prescribe anti-bacterial medicated shampoo. Do NOT use human soap or shampoo. If you don’t have pet shampoo, use warm water only.
- After shampooing, rinse off all the shampoo by massaging the fur gently in the water and swirling the water around to get all the shampoo out. When all the shampoo is rinsed out, flip over the previously used bathmat and carefully lift bunny back onto the bathmat/holding cell.
- Sit with bunny and gently dry his or her bottom with a fresh towel for about 5 minutes or until the water stops dripping from their fur. You may turn the towel over or use a fresh towel during this time. Never rub a wet bunny vigorously with a towel. Their skin is super delicate and may already be inflamed and sensitive due to their dirty bottom.
- Using a new towel, fold once, and carefully wrap the bunny up like a burrito, by laying the folded towel across the bunny’s back with lots of overhang over their bottom. Pick up bunny with towel and then quickly fold the bottom of the towel up towards their belly. Just like a burrito. If the towel is too loose or bunny fees unsecured, he will try and escape so make sure the burrito is firm. Hold bunny in burrito for 30 minutes to an hour until he is just damp (not wet). You will need to change the towel once for a new one when this one gets wet through. During this time, I usually work on the computer with one hand, or watch TV. Bunny enjoys feeling secure and bundled up and will usually doze off. If the towel feels damp on the outside, it’s time to change the towel for a fresh one.
- Give bunny a delicious treat to award his or her bravery.
Note: I always keep bunny inside the house until fur is fully dry (usually overnight is fine). Windchill on damp fur can be very uncomfortable. Bunnies will spend lots of time grooming themselves after their bath. This is completely normal.
Check out previous Tofu Tuesday posts here.