Rabbits take care of their grooming and stay clean most of the time. However, if their feet look dirty for some reason, you might want to do the cleaning yourself.
If you think you can bathe your rabbit like you would bathe your pet dog or cat, you’re highly mistaken.
Rabbits are very sensitive, and bathing can stress them out, which isn’t in their best interest. Cleaning rabbits’ feet isn’t as easy as it sounds.
The Secret to Cleaning Your Rabbit’s Feet
Like we said, cleaning your rabbit’s feet isn’t as easy as it sounds. Rabbits get scared very easily. If you ask us the secret to making this ordeal as less stressful for the rabbits as possible, we would say:
Be as gentle as you can.
The gentler you are, the less scared and stressed out they’ll be, and the easier it’ll be to clean their feet.
What Makes Rabbit’s Feet So Dirty?
Rabbits are very active creatures that run and hop around all the time. They get into the mud, step into their food in the cage, and even on their waste.
Most of the time, rabbits clean themselves. You’ll rarely find a dirty rabbit. These creatures are extremely conscious about their grooming and cleanliness.
But sometimes, waste and dirt can get stuck into their feet that they can’t get out themselves.
Also, as the rabbit ages, their strength and vitality decrease, and they may not be able to clean themselves well as they once did.
If you’re new to keeping rabbits as pets and want to know everything there is, you might be interested to know what makes rabbits’ feet dirty so that you know what to expect.
Here are some of the things that can necessitate the cleaning of rabbits’ feet.
- Wet mud and stains from grass
- Wet food in the cage
- Yellowing due to urine
- Poorly maintained cage conditions
- Spraying in unneutered males
- Illness like arthritis that affects their mobility
Whatever the reason may be, if the feet of your rabbits aren’t clean, you’ve to take charge.
You certainly wouldn’t want your rabbit to hop onto your fine white couches with dirty feet, would you?
Bathing a Rabbit
If you’ve never had a rabbit as a pet, you may assume (like most people out there) that you can bathe your rabbit as you would do with your pet dog or cat.
But unfortunately, you can’t. Bathing a rabbit isn’t recommended until or unless suggested by a vet.
You may wonder why you can’t bathe your rabbit. Well, there are some good reasons for it.
Rabbits have a very thick fur coat on their bodies that can take a long while to dry. And that could leave your rabbit feeling cold.
Submerging rabbits in water produces a high degree of stress. Rabbits are extremely sensitive.
If you put your rabbit in water, it may go into a state of shock or, worse, get a heart attack.
All of these reasons are why you can’t and shouldn’t give a bath to your rabbit. However, there can be instances where giving a bath is the only way to clean them.
But that should only be done if the vet suggests it.
How to Clean a Rabbit’s Feet
If your rabbit is unable to clean its feet itself for whatever reason, you’ll have to take charge.
Since you can’t give your rabbit a bath, how can you clean its feet?
Cleaning Less Tough Stains
If your rabbit’s feet have accumulated dirt and grass from playing outdoors, you can simply wipe their feet clean with a soft wipe.
A baby wipe is the best for this. You can also use any soft, damp cloth.
Cleaning Tougher Stains
If your rabbit’s feet are stained with urine or with anything that can’t be cleaned with a simple wipe, you’ll have to follow some steps.
You can’t simply hold the rabbit and wash its feet under running water. It can cause the rabbit serious stress that can be fatal for it.
Staining from urine is tougher to get rid of. When a rabbit sits in their urine in the cage, not only do their feet get stained yellow, but their fur also gets a yellowish tint to it.
By following the steps below, you can ensure that the foot cleaning process is as comfortable and stress-free for both you and your rabbit.
Position the Rabbit Right
Place a pillow on your lap and position the rabbit belly up on the pillow to make it feel comfortable.
In this position, you can access the fur on the bottom and the legs very easily.
Make sure you do the cleaning of your rabbit’s feet only if the rabbit is familiar with you. If someone who the rabbit isn’t familiar with tries to clean its feet, the rabbit won’t like it.
Rabbits feel threatened by unfamiliar faces. When in a belly-up position, they’re nearly defenseless, and they just won’t let you hold them like this.
So make sure the cleaning of feet is only done by someone the rabbit is familiar with.
Sprinkle Cornstarch on Rabbit’s Feet
Sprinkle cornstarch powder on the part of the feet that you wish to clean. You can use the same cornstarch powder that is made for baby rashes.
Simply sprinkle the powder on the feet and fur that is stained yellow. Rub the powder gently. Cornstarch is absorbent in nature and will absorb the urine and soak in the ammonia smell.
However, if the urine stains are really bad, baby cornstarch might not do the job well. You’ll need rabbit-friendly cornstarch to clean urine stains off rabbit’s feet and fur.
The best way to work cornstarch into the rabbit’s fur is to use a soft comb. A rabbit’s skin is very delicate. Comb gently – very gently.
Pat Excess Cornstarch Off
Once the feet and fur look clean, dry wipe or pat off the excess cornstarch.
Note that the entire cleaning process doesn’t involve the use of water.
The reason for this is to prevent causing the rabbit any sort of stress because rabbits don’t take stress well. Stress is fatal for them.
What If Cornstarch Doesn’t Clean the Rabbit’s Feet Well?
If the urine stains are old and have gotten dark, cornstarch might not be your best option. You should try to clean your rabbit’s feet regularly.
If it’s been a while since you cleaned your rabbit’s feet and the stains are old, you’ll have to try other options.
White Vinegar and Cornstarch
When cornstarch alone isn’t doing the cleaning right, you can make a paste using cornstarch and white vinegar.
Rub this paste onto the urine stains on the fur and feet and leave it to dry. Once dry, brush the paste off. The stains will be gone in no time!
Vinegar and Baking Soda
Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with a quarter cup of white vinegar. Add some drops of orange essential oil.
Vinegar and baking soda will help clean the urine stain, and orange essential oil will help omit the smell.
Spray this mixture on the feet and fur of your rabbit, gently work the mixture onto the rabbit’s fur and feet, and let it dry.
Once it’s dry, wipe off the area you cleaned using a soft cloth.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Witch Hazel
Another effective DIY cleaning agent that you can use to clean rabbits’ feet is a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and witch hazel.
Mix equal quantities of hydrogen peroxide and witch hazel. Rub a soft cloth dipped into this cleaning mixture onto the rabbit’s feet and fur. This should clean the tough urine stains.
The problem with this option is that it can result in hair breakage. Make sure you aren’t overusing this mixture.
This is one of the simplest ways to clean urine stains off your rabbit’s feet and fur.
Just spray lemon juice onto the stains and let the rabbit groom itself.
Another way to clean urine stains from your rabbit’s feet and fur is with blue Listerine.
Dampen a soft cloth with water and rub it gently onto the rabbit’s body enough to dampen it.
Then dampen a kitchen towel with blue Listerine and wipe the rabbit’s fur and feet with it. Allow the fur to dry. The stains will be gone when the fur and feet dry.
Cleaning the rabbit’s feet is not difficult because the stains are tough and hard to get rid of but because handling the rabbit is tricky.
Once you know how to handle your rabbit, cleaning its feet might not feel as difficult as it appears right now.
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