Removing loose fur
It is important to keep your bunny's coat free of loose fur. As bunnies will ingest their fur while they groom themselves, this can cause problems and can clog up their insides causing a condition known as gastro intestinal stasis. This is a serious condition but can be greatly avoided by plucking out loose fur on a regular basis.
Brushing is one way to remove fur but can be a difficult process unless they are comfortable sitting still for a longish period. Some fur types make grooming more difficult than others but with perseverence you'll figure out the best way to
groom your bunny.
Smooth, short fur
Try wetting your hand and running it over your bunny's fur. Target the areas where you know your bunny's fur is loose and gently tug at the loose bits (they usually just fall out in your hand). Also useful are the rubber cat/dog groomers (usually blue or pink with cat or dog on top & large, long rubber points underneath) but watch they don't pull.
Purchase a good quality plastic bristled brush (even better with little round blobs on the end of the bristles as they catch the fur). Start brushing from the back end and segment the fur as you go so you'll have more chance removing the shorter, thicker fur that causes matts. An ordinary comb is also useful in removing long fur but be careful not to pull. Rabbits will not sit still for a long length of time, especially during a grooming session so take your time and try brushing every so often during the day.
Daily brushing & clipping is the only way to look after an angora rabbit. The fur can matt very quickly causing pulling on the skin. If the fur is left to matt, a rabbit can end up with a thick layer of felt building up on the skin. All sorts of problems can occur if a rabbit is coated in a thick felt - skin irritations, pulling, overheating, flea bites, flystrike. At BOING we ended up buying a set of electric pet clippers to look after our angora bunnies as it is quicker and less painful than brushes or combs. We would never let Missy & Charlie end up like they were when they were first surrendered to us (pics below).
For thick matting on a rabbit, a vet needs to be involved. To shear a rabbit's thick felt matt it requires a sedation, heavy duty clippers and an experienced rabbit handler. Rabbit skin is very thin and delicate and needs professional and experienced attention.
Never take a rabbit to a dog groomer!!!! The noise, smell and stress of a dog grooming environment could be detrimental to the health of a rabbit.
Trimming your bunny's nails
Keep an eye on your bunny's nails and trim the ends with a small pair of rabbit nail clippers (these are better than scissors as they don't squeeze the nail and hurt your bunny). You don't need to trim excessively, just the tips on a regular basis. If you need to trim a bit more than the tip of the nail, do not cut below the "quick" (this is the blood supply and can be
seen as a pink line on clear nails).
If you have a rabbit that does not like to be picked up or handled (& most hate having their feet held), you can try sneaky tricks to trim their nails (if you're quick!!). One such trick is to offer some of their favourite food and while they're on the ground eating & happy, have the nail clippers ready, zoom in & clip a nail or two while they eat. Of course, they'll cotton on fairly quickly & you may only get one or two done at a time but it's better than forcing them & frightening them.
You can also try wrapping your bunny in a bunny burrito (towel) but only if they are likely to respond with this technique.
If you're having real difficulty with nail trimming at home, please visit the vet. You'll find that most bunnies become quite sedate when sitting on a clinic's table. If it's still difficult, a mild sedative can be given by your vet to safely clip nails.
Eyes & Ears
Check your bunny's ears and eyes to make sure they are clean. Remove crusty bits from the eyes to avoid blockages in the tear ducts (this is obvious, but be very gentle and careful not to accidentally poke your bunny in the eye!). When checking the ears, smell the inside just to make sure there is no other underlying problem. If you can smell an unpleasant odour, there maybe an infection and you'll need veterinary advice.
Do I need to bath my bunny?
No. Rabbits are very clean animals and unless they have a particularly dirty area that you need to wash, a rabbit will clean itself. Washing a rabbit will cause more stress and upset. If you do need to wash your rabbit (for whatever reason) do not use human, dog or cat shampoos as they will burn the skin. Ask your vet what they would advise and always
make sure your bunny is thoroughly dry before letting it outside.