How to Clean Rabbit’s Scent Glands?

Every rabbit has a pair of scent glands under their chin and butt. These scent glands help rabbits signal to other rabbits and notify them of their power and status.

These glands allow them to claim territories and scare away predators. While there is no harm in leaving the scent glands unclean, the ones rabbits have under their butt require proper cleaning.

Of course, your rabbit will typically clean them itself. However, sometimes the glands under their butt are hard to reach. So, your furry little friend might require some help!

Why We Need to Clean Rabbit’s Scent Glands

Like a human ear, scent glands under your rabbit’s butt will typically get clogged by a waxy substance.

However, the difference between ear and scent gland wax is that the latter can produce an awful odor.

Furthermore, it might attract viruses, parasites, bacteria, and mites if left uncleaned. It can also lead to flystrike on your rabbit or other medical problems.

Therefore, checking and cleaning your rabbit’s scent gland from time to time is necessary to avoid such problems.

How to Clean Rabbit Scent’s Glands

You can utilize different techniques to clean your rabbit’s scent gland. But you must ensure that your rabbit is as comfortable as possible during cleaning. Otherwise, it might stress out your furry little friend.

So, before jumping into it, here are a few things you must have to ensure proper cleaning:

  • A pair of rubber gloves
  • A few cotton swabs
  • Some warm water
  • A couple of clean cloths

Once you have the items mentioned above, you can then dive deep into your rabbit’s scent glands and clean them out. Listed below is a step-by-step guide you can follow:

Ensure Your Rabbit Isn’t Stressed Out

Rabbits don’t like getting picked up. That’s something you have to deal with when owning one. But, one thing is certain: rabbits are not easy to capture.

They will probably scream out of shock or fear, especially when you try to grab them with your hands. Therefore, it’s crucial to spend time and play with your rabbit so it feels at ease around you.

When you do this, it will slowly but surely trust you enough to allow you to pick it up.

Carefully Pick Up Your Rabbit

Once your rabbit feels comfortable around you, please don’t waste any more time and gently grab and pick it up.

Now that your furry little friend trusts you, it will be more relaxed and won’t squeal or scream. But remember that rabbits are sensitive animals.

So, please pick it up slowly and carefully to avoid frightening or scaring it.

Identify the Scent Gland

The next step is to start looking for your rabbit’s scent glands. But, when you do, ensure you’re holding it properly and with a firm grip.

This step is necessary because your rabbit will move around when inspecting its scent gland. It will escape if you don’t hold it with a tight enough grip.

Next, hold your rabbit with its belly facing towards you. Then, gently lift its tail and part the fur around it with your fingers. It will give you access to their scent glands.

The scent glands have two little sacs on either side of the hole of the rabbit’s bottom. The sac you’re looking for should have a reddish-brown tint.

Another tip is to secure your rabbit properly as it might start moving during the inspection.

Of course, gripping it firmly can sometimes be enough. But your rabbit might get scared while you’re checking its scent gland.

So, take a cloth and wrap it around your rabbit to prevent it from moving or running away.

Clean the Scent Gland

After securing your rabbit properly, you can start cleaning the scent gland under its butt. However, we suggest that you put on a pair of gloves first.

Otherwise, you might accidentally touch the sticky, foul-smelling wax. Once you put your gloves on, gently squeeze the area surrounding the scent gland.

Next, dip a cotton swab in warm water and clean the secreted liquid. Repeat the process multiple times or until no more liquid comes out.  

Also, ensure that you remove dirt from the area surrounding the scent gland with the help of a clean cloth. Plus, always use fresh, clean cotton swabs for every pass.

Wipe the Scent Gland Dry

After cleaning the scent gland with a cotton swab, the next thing to do is dry it. Use multiple cotton swabs or a dry cloth to remove moisture or water from the rabbit’s scent gland.

This step is mandatory as dirt and debris might latch onto a wet scent gland. Such a thing can lead to infections.

Apply Cream on the Scent Gland

Although this step is unnecessary, we recommend applying some cream around the scent gland.

In fact, it’s best to use creams, ointments, and oils on your rabbit’s scent gland. It is especially the case if it has cuts or scratches.

These creams quickly recover wounds around the scent gland. If you decide to do this, only use creams recommended by your vet.

Give Your Rabbit a Reward

Give your rabbit a treat as a reward once you’ve properly cleaned their smell gland. The purpose of this step is to prevent your bunny from remembering the cleaning as a fearful instance.

You can also give it some outside playtime as a reward for being a good boy. Of course, we don’t recommend this as your rabbit’s scent gland might get dirty again.

Ultimately, it totally depends on what your rabbit enjoys.

How to Keep Your Rabbit’s Scent Glands Healthy

Now that your rabbit’s scent glands are clean, the next thing to do is to ensure they remain healthy for the foreseeable future. You can do this by following the advice mentioned below:

Clean Your Rabbit’s Cage Regularly

The first and most crucial advice you must adhere to is keeping your rabbit’s cage as clean as possible.

After all, we are all aware of a dirty environment’s negative consequences on your bunny. An unclean cage will result in dirty scent glands, leading to various infections and diseases.

Thus, cleaning their cage regularly is necessary to prevent your rabbit from falling sick.

Remove the Scent Glands

Bunnies need scent glands to communicate their position with their entire rabbit colony. Their behavior might naturally change if their scent glands are removed.

Nevertheless, if your furry little friend often smells bad, it would be wise to remove its scent glands to eliminate the bad odor.

So, take your bunny to your local vet and ask them to remove their scent glands for you. But, under no circumstances must your try this by yourself.

Follow the Right Grooming Schedule

The connection between this tip and your rabbit’s scent glands is quite clear. If you stick to the grooming regimen, your rabbit will never get dirty.

Its scent glands will remain clean, lowering the risk of infections, diseases, viruses, and parasites.

To properly groom your rabbit, brush it at least three times daily. Moreover, groom it during the shedding season. It will help you avoid fur matting.

Furthermore, use a soft-bristled hair brush specifically designed for rabbits. After all, rabbits have sensitive skin. So, using a stiff-bristled brush might lead to skin scraping and rashes.

Cut the matted fur completely if your rabbit has heavy matting around its lower body, especially near the scent glands.

Keep Your Rabbit Properly Hydrated

Although this might not directly relate to scent gland health, proper hydration is necessary for your rabbit. Doing so keeps its organs healthy, including its scent glands.

An easy way to ensure your rabbit remains hydrated is to place a water dispenser inside its cage. You can easily buy it from your local pet store.

Another tip is to keep an eye on their water dispenser itself. You must quickly replenish it if you think the water level has gone down.

Plus, this is also a good sign that your rabbit’s water consumption levels are what they need to be.

Feed Your Rabbit a Healthy Diet

A rabbit is an herbivorous animal and a grazer. This means it will continuously munch on grass and other plant-based foods. It can quickly process food thanks to its sophisticated digestive systems.

However, if you feed it the wrong diet, its gut flora and other digestive enzymes will be disrupted.

That said, you must feed your rabbit a diet of hay, small vegetables, leafy greens, and grass. So, if you incorporate these food items into their diet, their scent glands will remain as healthy as possible.

Wrapping Up

You can clean your rabbit’s scent glands using the steps mentioned in this article. Remember to take great care when handling your rabbit.

This is also the case when cleaning its scent glands, regardless of your technique. At the end of the day, cleaning these glands prevent your rabbit from falling sick.

Moreover, it allows it and your house to always smell pleasant. So, what are you waiting for?! Grab your gloves and furry little friend and clean its scent glands today!

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