you need to find a spot where you have a bit of an advantage over
the rabbit, where it is easy for you to groom all the necessary
areas. You can choose the top of a dresser, the kitchen table, a
sink counter, or somewhere similar. Slippery surfaces should be
covered by a thick towel or rug and of course, never leave your
rabbits have a thick undercoat that you cannot get at by simply
combing the top of the rabbit. You need to lift up the top layers
of hair to be able to brush the thick undercoat. The best way to
go about this is to hold your hand against the rabbit's body so
that when you brush or comb that actual hair you are not pulling
his skin up too much. Rabbits have very delicate skin and mats or
the removal of mats can very easily tear it, so you have to be very
tender while brushing so that you do not injure your rabbits skin.
For this reason I recommend using a metal comb instead of a slicker
brush. Because the wire bristles can easily poke into the rabbits
Comb the rabbit's fur starting from where your hand is holding the
skin down and comb away from your hand. Work with thin layers of
hair instead of thick ones. If you are going to be working through
mats, the less hair you work with at a time the easier it is on
your rabbits skin. Always start from the deepest layer if possible
and work up or outwards.
get the hair under the rabbits neck/chest you can sweep the hair
to the side of their face and brush it on the side. Careful though,
most rabbits don't like to be touched under the chin.
rabbits with very long hair we advise you to keep the hair on their
belly and between their legs cut short or even shaved. This makes
the grooming task a lot easier on both bunny AND you. The long hair
can easily get tangled and matted and your rabbit could tear his
or her skin just by hopping around. Tangled hair in these areas
can also collect urine and feces and create an unsanitary condition.
Urine or fecal-messed fur is a breeding ground for maggots, which
can burrow into your rabbit, causing infection, pain and even death.
This condition is commonly referred to as 'fly strike' and is easily
avoided by proper grooming.
in these areas can be trimmed with scissors (carefully) or with
(electric) small animal clippers. You will generally need a second
person to help keep the rabbit still. One person can hold the rabbit
straight up and down against their chest - one hand under the front
legs, the other supporting the back legs and keeping the rabbit's
back nearly-flat against you - to prevent twisting and kicking out,
which could break the back. While I am in this position I usually
check his scent glands, two slit-like pockets on located on either
side of the genitals. If these are dirty (smelly), a Q-tip with
a bit of mineral oil or dampened with warm water usually does the
While mats can occur anyplace on the body, there are certain areas
where they tend to build up on long-haired rabbits:
and around the chin
the sides of the rabbit (along the bottom)
the rabbit's belly
the front and back legs
the rabbit's back end
the bottom of his feet
you can isolate a mat with your fingers and then comb it out it
will be easier on your rabbit. Place your hand in between the mat
and your rabbit's skin and hold onto the fur which has the mat.
Then proceed to comb out the mat, a little bit at a time, removing
any loose hair. You can also cut out the mat with scissors, but
again make sure to keep your hand in against the rabbit's body (between
the area you are going to cut and your rabbit's skin) so that you
do not cut the skin. Sometimes you can just use your fingers, instead
of scissors, to pull out the mat if it isn't too large. There is
an item called a "mat rake" that can be used to help cut
out mats, but I find it awkward to use and prefer scissors, a comb
or my fingers.
your rabbit is very matted, it may be necessary to have him or her
clipped by a professional. Often a rabbit vet can help you with
this, or at least refer you to a groomer with rabbit experience.
After he has been shaved you want to start brushing/combing him
regularly so that you do not have to have him shaved again.
dealing with mats on the rabbit's feet, you want to remember that
they need the hair on their feet to protect them. They do get mats
however, and those can usually be gently pulled out by comb or your
fingers. Make sure to leave at least ¼ inch of hair on their
feet and only cut off mats, don't give their feet regular haircuts.
If you've had to pull or clip of larger mats, always check the feet
to make sure the hair is growing back in and that there are no [hock]
sores. To get the mats and do normal brushing under the rabbits
neck/chest you can sweep the hair to the side of their face and
brush it on the side. Most rabbits don't like to be touched under
I am all done with the grooming session I pat the rabbit (patting
and encouraging words can be helpful throughout a grooming session)
and, if needed, reward him with a bit of malt flavored hairball
remedy such as Petromalt.
Petromalt (cat hairball remedy) and like products should be given
to rabbits once a week for maintenance; and when shedding occurs
or stringy fecal matter is seen in the litter box it can be given
daily. If feces do not improve within 3 days or if they get worse/smaller
or if there are no feces at all, contact your rabbit vet immediately,
this is a sign of GI Stasis and could
be fatal if not seen to immediately.
you get your rabbit's coat into good shape, maintain a regular brushing
schedule so that you do not let your rabbit accumulate a lot of
mats. And remember: The more you brush your rabbit the less hair
they will ingest.