Rabbit Grooming: Hare Salon (TM)

Whether you are new to rabbit care or simply don't have the time/energy/effort to do the more intensive health check and grooming, the Hare Salon (TM) service is here to help.

Schedule time with our  professional rabbit care specialists who can help teach you how to do each step. Ideally our staff will work themselves out of a job, because now you are comfortable doing it and your rabbit is less anxious.

* Each rabbit in our Foster Program come back to visit us at the half way point for a health check and grooming session. 
* Anyone who has purchased a rabbit from us
* Then as time allows, we help with several rabbit rescue sources or others who contact us

General Care Check including nail care/trim and teeth check
De-matting fur
Safe Removal of Undercoat
Angora (or other long hair breed) fiber trim -- and a pineapple beverage

It is generally recommended that you do NOT give a bath to a rabbit.
They can easily be chilled or experience shock.
Depending on fur condition, we might recommend/offer a variety of alternative cleaning techniques.

Fly strike care (or referral to vet)
Advanced de-matting for Angora and a special drink
Skunk Bath -- Sorry you are on your own!  :-)

We set prices after meeting the pet, determined by condition of the fur coat, size/breed of the animal, time needed and of course temperament. We also give multi-pet discounts and coupons for repeat visitors.

If you are over 16 years old, you may participate in an apprentice program.   Our Hare Salon TM employs professional rabbit care specialists PRCS) who are at least 18 years old.


Grooming Tips
Compiled with information from Dr. Carolynn Harvey, DVM
The following basics are necessary to know in order to groom rabbits safely and to help keep them healthy.


Rabbits shed every three months. Every alternate time they’ll have a light shedding that may not be very noticeable. Next they’ll have a heavy shedding that you will not be able to escape. Rabbits are fastidious groomers. They insist on being clean and tidy and will lick themselves like cats, and like cats, they can get hairballs if they ingest too much hair. Unlike cats however, rabbits cannot vomit. If hairballs are allowed to form they can become gigantic masses of tangled hair and food and will block the stomach exit, causing the rabbit to starve to death while his stomach appears to be very fat.
Rabbits need to be brushed at least weekly and Angora rabbits need it more frequently than that!  In addition to removing any loose hair, this weekly brushing session helps prepare them for the multiple daily brushings that they must undergo when their heavy shedding begins. Rabbits will shed in different ways. Some rabbits will take a couple of weeks or more to loose their old coat of fur. Other rabbits will be ready to get rid of their old coats all in one day and these rabbits are the ones that cannot be neglected once they start shedding. You can often remove a very large percentage of hair by just pulling it out with your hand. But, however you remove it, remove it as soon as possible or your rabbit will do it during grooming, so get brushing!

Bald spots on rabbits are quite common when they are shedding. If these bald spots occur from shedding, they will begin to grow back within a week or two.

Long-Haired Rabbits
These types of rabbits are truly wonderful to look at, but require a lot more attention than their short haired cousins. We recommend that you use your scissors and keep their hair trimmed to one inch or less, otherwise you may be fighting hairballs most of the time.

The vast majority of rabbits, like their ancestors, do not relish getting wet. Even an occasional bath is quite stressful to the average rabbit, and is not recommended.

NEVER–unless your veterinarian advises it to bring down a fever–should you give a sick rabbit a bath. Because seemingly healthy rabbits can have undiagnosed problems, it’s best not to subject them to the stress of a bath.  Also, a thoroughly wet rabbit takes a very long time to dry, so spot cleaning the dirty area with an application of baby cornstarch (available at any supermarket in the baby section) (do not use talcum, as it is carcinogenic) and then gently combing out the dirt with a fine flea comb is better than a wet bath.

A wet rabbit can quickly become hypothermic. If your rabbit is wet to the skin for any reason, be sure to thoroughly blow dry the bunny until even the undercoat is dry and fluffy. Normal rabbit body temperature ranges from 101oF – 103oF. Because rabbit skin is very delicate, and rabbits are sensitive to heat, never use a blow dryer on a setting higher than “warm,” and constantly monitor the temperature of the air on the bunny’s skin by placing your hand in its path.

Rabbit skin is delicate and highly susceptible to cuts, so mats should not be cut off with scissors. Instead, use a mat splitter or mat rake to take the mass apart. Bunny fur usually requires a finer blade than most cats and dogs.

Scratchy, flaky skin with bald patches is usually a symptom of mites or, more rarely, an allergic reaction to fleas. Products described under “Fleas” will usually clear up such problems. A veterinarian should be consulted for such conditions as open sores, or chronic skin inflammation.

Scent Glands
Rabbits have scent glands both under their chin (that’s what they use to mark items (and people!) when they chin things), and around their anus. When the anus scent glands build up, the rabbit often has an unpleasant odor. It’s simple to clean the glands, however. Simply dip a Q-tip into some warm water and hold your rabbit in a safe hold that gives you access to the genitals. Locate the two slits on either side of the rabbit’s genitals. Take the Q-tip and carefully swab away the brown buildup. It should just take you a second and you’re done!

A rabbit with a urinary infection or a disabled older rabbit may not be able to project urine away from the body. The result may be saturated fur around the hindquarters. For milder cases, a short term solution is to shave the areas that get wet so the skin can dry (remember, rabbit fur takes a long time to dry), rinse the affected areas daily, and follow up with a dusting of baby powder or corn starch. For more infirm cases, disposable baby diapers-turned backwards so the tabs are up-do wonders for keeping the moisture away from the skin. (Huggies Step 2 work well for an 8 pound rabbit.)

Ear wax can be lifted out with a cotton swab, being careful not to push on wax in the canal, or you can try a mild ear cleaner containing Chlorhexadine, such as Nolvasan Otic. For ear mite infestation, apply a topical medication such as Mitox. The veterinarian may also prescribe Ivermectin.

Rabbits teeth grow continuously and must be checked to ensure that they are wearing down properly.
While you’re brushing your rabbit or clipping his nails also look at his teeth to make sure there is not a problem.
Bunnies with straight teeth will keep them worn down with everyday gnawing and chewing. Buns with malocclusions, or crooked teeth, will need to have their teeth kept trimmed with guillotine-type clippers. If this occurs and is left untreated, the rabbit will not be able to eat and could starve to death. 

Rabbits who spend all of their time in homes with carpeting and linoleum periodically need to have their toenails trimmed, in the same way as dogs and cats. Because of risk of infection, de-clawing is definitely NOT recommended for rabbits. If excessive digging or scratching is a problem, then a large box of hay or straw, where bunny can pursue these activities, may help. If the padding (fur) on the feet is worn down, exposing inflamed or callused skin, then soft dry resting pads (rugs) should be provided. Exposed skin that becomes urine burned or broken is very likely to infect. Take extra care that rugs and litter boxes are kept clean and dry.

Nails (Every 6-8 weeks)
Rabbits nails can grow to be very long and sharp and will be uncomfortable for the rabbit. If the rabbit has light colored nails they are very easy to trim. You can see the blood inside the nail and you clip just before that point. The dark colored nails are harder to see where they should be clipped but it is still visible.

Watery eyes or and eye discharge needs to be diagnosed by a vet. In addition to any medications or eye drops, the cheek needs to be kept dry and clean so the area will not become chafed nor the fur peel off. Clean tissues will absorb mild wetness. Ophthalmic saline solution (what people use with their contacts) carefully poured onto the cheek will crystallize the tears so that they can be removed with a clean flea comb. A touch of prescription anesthetic powder on a finger can be applied to the area if there are painful lesions.