Wednesday, April 11, 2012

You know it's spring when...

... hair falls off your bunny in handfuls. Yep, its the bi-annual molt.

I wanted to get a video or at least pictures of Umbra molting, but she wasn't in a cooperative mood, even when I tried to bribe her with some carrot greens.

Anyway, it's really important to make time for some extra grooming when you're rabbit starts to molt. Like cats, rabbits a fastidious groomers, but unlike cats they can't regurgitate hair they swallow, and this hair can end up blocking the rabbit's intestines.

Unfortunately for me, Umbra resents being brushed and refuses to hold still. I recently tried placing her on a high surface where she can't get away. I've seen it work for others, but Umbra was still squirmy and attempted to jump off the table a few times. So this technique is not for us. I wouldn't recommend it if your bun has a habit of taking some dangerous leaps of faith; it's not worth the risk of injury (which is a very real possibility; as a child my brother's rabbit, Oreo, leaped out of his arms and broke his neck).

It does help to have treats around as a distraction. My roommate and I also take turns petting Umbra's forehead while the other brushes her body.

Of course a good brush is key too! You're local pet store will offer a variety of brushes. Below is a brush advertised for use on rabbits for sale at PetCo. I have a similar brush (for cats, but essentially the same) and I'm not a big fan. The bristles are two sharp for a rabbit's delicate skin, and I think they remind some rabbits of being attacked by a predator.

  The second brush is more like the one I currently use. It's actually a de-shedding brush for small dogs, but it really does the job. Some similar brushes can be really pricey, $40 and up, but I got mine at Meijer's for around $5.
For more info on grooming visit the HRS website, or check out these videos! The first I choose because it shows you just how much you're bun can shed.
The second is by the same person. The video is very thorough, but she gets distracted at times, so bare with me, it is still a helpful video.
And one final tip: the most fun way to groom your rabbit is petting them! Not as effective as a brush but more more enjoyable for your bun and a good bonding experience.

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