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January 14, 2020
Summer is often a heavy moult season for most rabbits. The natural cycle is for fur to thin out during the hot months to ensure the bun stays as cool as possible & then thicken up in the again cooler months. This means FUR FUR FUR! Some buns moult four or more times a year. Moult can also be brought on as a result of stress, illness or poor quality nutrients in the diet. Living with 5 rabbits there isn't many times that you won't find dust bunnies floating around our place haha (floating fur balls).
Not grooming regularly can create an extremely dangerous situation where fur can be ingested by your rabbit and impact in the gut. Buns do not have the ability to spit up up hairballs like cats, they have to push the fur through their whole system expelling it in their poop.
Here is an example of a chain of poop ''String of pearls'' that was created by one of our buns - even with daily brushing.
These strings of poop are inevitable especially when you have a few buns who share space as they groom each other. Sadly they can be life threatening if they become stuck, all it takes is little dehydration & or lack of fibre and your bun can get plugged up - this means gut stasis or even worse bloat (when the blockage has to be removed manually) and a trip to the vet for either of these scenarios can cost anywhere from $200 to $3000 which i think we can all agree is something all of us & your bun would like to avoid.
The best thing you can do for your rabbit apart from a well balanced diet & plenty of fresh drinking water is to have grooming sessions as often as you can, daily during heavy moults & every few days during low moult. Not only will this help you bond with your bun it may very well safe their life.
We understand not all buns like to be groomed, this can be a very hard task for some especially if the rabbit hates being touched at all. It's about experimenting & finding a way to groom that works best for you & your rabbit. You may have to try out a few different locations - sometimes an unfamiliar spot will help keep your bun sit still because they will be intent on keeping a low profile until they work out their surroundings. We take ours out onto a balcony, they sit and smell the breeze and listen to all the strange noises - they aren't scared just put out a little, you don't want the experience to be frightening. Sometimes a higher table works well also as your bun won't want to leap off but do be careful.
I wanted to create this blog because people often ask me what brush or comb do i use. The truth is your going to try a few before you find one you & your bun like. There are dozens of pet brushes out there but for them to effective it all depends on how comfortable you are using them & the type of fur your smooshie has.
Here is what we use at Smooshie HQ for all 5 of our buns who have similar fine soft medium length hair.
Slicker Brush - Brand You & Me from Pet Barn
This brush is great! The ends of the pins are covered with rubber nibs, cheaper versions and a lot of others don't bother with the nibs, but without them we find brushes like this too scratchy and our buns hate when they touch their skin. So with the soft nibs this brush glides through the fur catching all the strays comfortably - great during a heavy moult.
Regular Hoomin Comb
Any fine tooth hoomin grade comb is a wonderful tool to have on hand, we use it daily whilst patting our buns, every few pats i run the comb over them to gather up loose hair, the first few strokes will come up light but as the comb gathers the hair it becomes really effective. A nit comb is also worth a try.
These come in small medium or large, they are fairly pricey and not all buns enjoy the experience of being brush with these but they are super effective. They have tight teeth and they drag the loose fur out - we promise this process doesn't hurt them in anyway, it sort of teases it out. You'll be amazed how much comes out! It's very important not to go over the same spot more than a couple of strokes at one time or the furminator can pull out fresh hair. Go down one side, over the top, the otherside & repeat giving each area a break. We use the smallest size furminator for Rosie our nethie and a middle size for our mini lop Ollie.
Dampen your hands with a very light mist of water from a sprayer bottle, imagine it mimicking the dampness of a bunny tongue. Begin stroking your buns from head to tail pushing your fingers through the fur, the dampness collects the loose fur as you go. Use your fingers to tease out the fur gently with no pressure just motion. Keep stroking until you feel all the water evaporate on both your hands and the off the fur. Do this process over and over until you no longer create yourself furry mits haha. If your buns likes to be stroked they will find this process most relaxing and we are sure you'll enjoy the experience too. There is something oddly satisfying seeing how much fur you can get out. You can do this same technique with dry hands if you focus on using your fingers to coach the hair out.
When grooming give your bun a nice soft surface to sit on like a towel or blanket. Have some of their favourite treats on hand to offer them so they can munch if they feel like it making the process rewarding & positive.
- use grooming time to check in your buns ears, feel for cuts or scratches, check for mites, check nail length and have a peak at their teeth. Its best practice to stay on top of any potential issues.
- pineapple & papaya have been noted as beneficial for fur. Papaya helps with fur quality and pineapple is known for helping dissolve fur from the gut - please note fruit is only to be offered in small amounts to avoid upset tums because of its high sugar content. Pineapple is not to be used as a rescue remedy but as a preventative. If the gut is already blocked its best to see a vet asap.
- save your bunnies fur and place it in trees for birds to take for nests - imagine being a baby bird all warm in bunny fur '''''ohhh so sweet :)
- vacuum & wash living areas/blankets, clean out trays often, fur will build up quickly and can be ingested by accident when eating or drinking.
- if your not super uncomfortable grooming your buns there is always the option of getting some expert advice from your vet or local small animal groomers - have them do a grooming session with you. Our local boarding facility offers grooming sessions for $20 & there is also a lady who comes to homes for a small fee to help - if you ask around on social platforms we are sure you will find someone near you.
- and lastly - and this is very important - Don't wear lip gloss when grooming buns or you'll end up with fuzzy lip HAHA :)
Love Holly xx