Like cats, rabbits are self-cleaners and typically use their paws and tongue to keep their fur clean. However, if you have a long-haired rabbit breed, it will require your help with grooming.
While you might be tempted to give it a bath, doing so can be extremely stressful for the animal and harmful to its health.
Instead, you can keep your rabbit healthy and clean by spot-cleaning its hair and learning how to properly remove and prevent tangles and mats from its fur.
On that note, here’s how to remove matted rabbit fur.
Where Does Matted Fur Typically Occur
Matted fur can develop anywhere on your rabbit’s body. However, some areas of its body are more prone to becoming matted, especially in rabbits with longer fur. Some of these areas include
- At the back
- Underneath the feet
- Between the back and front legs
- On the belly
- Around or under the chin
- On and around the tail
Steps To Remove Matted Rabbit Fur
Regular brushing is essential for your rabbit’s wellbeing. Additionally, it avoids challenging grooming problems such as matted fur that typically require a professional grooming session.
Brushing your rabbit’s fur at least once every three days will help prevent matting.
Doing so can help you get rid of loose hair. Plus, it prepares your rabbit for daily brushings during periods of high shedding.
If your rabbit fur is severely matted, you might need to get it professionally cut. You can take it to a professional animal groomer or your local vet.
For a more at-home approach to removing matted fur, here’s what you can do:
Comb the Fur around the Body
Begin untangling your rabbit’s fur around its body with your finger. However, when doing so, avoid pulling on the fur.
The slightest tug on the fur can hurt or injure your rabbit’s skin as it’s an extremely sensitive animal.
Moreover, isolating the fur with your fingers can make combing the matted area much easier. Here’s how you can do this:
- Take your hand and place it between your rabbit’s matted fur and skin, keeping a hold of it.
- Then, start combing the affected area slowly to loosen the matt and remove loose fur.
- Continue this process for other parts of your rabbit’s body until all the mats are gone.
Comb the Chest and Neck Area
Rabbits don’t like their neck and chest area to be touched. However, you can remove mats from these areas by sweeping the fur to the side and brushing it slowly till the mats disappear.
Comb the Feet
While dealing with matted fur on your rabbit’s feet, remember that they need fur there for protection.
However, if your rabbit doesn’t have a regular grooming routine, its fur on the feet can get easily matted. These can be pulled out by hand or a comb or snipped using scissors.
Cut Away the Matted Hair
Cutting away matted fur is your next best option if they’re too tough to be untangled with a comb. You can do this by using an electric clipper or scissors.
If you’re using scissors, keep your hand between the skin and matted fur to avoid accidentally cutting away your rabbit’s skin.
After all, matted fur can be quite dense. It’s possible that what seems to be matted fur might actually be a combination of skin and fur.
So, to avoid injuring your rabbit, you can also try cutting the ends of the matted fur and carefully combing the remains. But, don’t forget that this method might not always work for heavily matted fur.
Furthermore, matted fur can also be securely cut with scissors after being separated using a tool known as a “mat rake.”
A mat rake can be challenging to use for some people. So, if you haven’t used it before, use the standard fingers and comb method instead. Still, it’s an option you can try.
Also read: Are Rabbits Hypoallergenic?
A Few Mat Removal Best Practices
Compared to scissors, electric clippers specifically designed for fine hair are safe to use on rabbit fur. You run the risk of cutting your rabbit’s skin while using scissors.
Professional animal groomers suggest using a 2-speed clipper. Any other clipper will not cut mats properly and can burn out after continuous use.
Single-speed clippers should only be used for light fur trimming and kept away from matted fur.
When using clipper blades, remember, the ideal ones for lightly matter fur are number 10 or 7 blades. Similarly, use a number 30 clipper blade if you’re dealing with severely matted fur.
But don’t forget that anything below a number 10 blade will give your rabbit a “naked shave.”
Regarding the number of clipping sessions, you’ll have to clip your rabbit’s fur a couple of times, especially if you’re dealing with severely matted fur.
Furthermore, you must move gently and cautiously while being mindful of where your rabbit’s skin is, whether you’re using clippers or scissors.
If your rabbit is cooperative and remains still, you might be able to remove matted fur in one of two sessions.
Matted fur on your rabbit’s feet should never be entirely trimmed off. They need fur on their feet to protect their paws.
So, when grooming your rabbit, make sure to leave at least one-fourth of the hair under its feet. If you regularly trim your rabbit’s fur, don’t clip the fur on its feet unless it’s really necessary.
However, if you had to remove the fur from your rabbit’s feet completely, regularly check the area to see if the fur is growing back. Also, check for signs of hock sores.
When you’re done removing the mats, make your rabbit feel comforted and safe. Give it a treat, if necessary.
Once your rabbit develops a healthy coat of fur, maintain a daily grooming routine to prevent matting in the future.
Ultimately, the more frequently you brush your rabbit’s fur, the lower its chances of developing heavy fur mats.
Reasons for Matted Fur in Rabbits
Understanding what leads to matted fur in the first place is the best way to stop them from occurring.
Besides neglecting to brush your rabbit routinely, the following are some typical reasons for matted rabbit fur:
- Lack of a fiber-rich diet
- A damp cage
- A drafty cage
- Dietary changes
- Arthritis and other joint problems
Visit a Professional Groomer
While grooming your rabbit at home might seem more convenient and cost-effective, going to the groomer has several advantages.
Going to a professional groomer is essential to your rabbit’s health and welfare and is a terrific method to care for their fur.
In fact, you can rely on a professional groomer to make your rabbit look beautiful and feel its best. This is due to their expertise in various rabbit breeds, coats, and styles.
While professional groomers aren’t veterinarians, they are in an excellent position to identify health concerns that may have gone overlooked.
A skilled groomer can spot suspicious lumps, dental issues, and skin problems when dealing with your rabbit. This will give you plenty of time to take your rabbit to a doctor for additional examination.
Furthermore, like other animals, rabbits are less likely to create a fuss around people they know than people they are unfamiliar with.
However, most rabbit groomers have experience working with challenging rabbit behavior because they have studied it as part of their training.
As a result, they frequently know how to deal and work with various rabbit breeds and behaviors. They can adjust the grooming accordingly for a positive experience for everyone.
Moreover, young rabbits benefit from professional grooming because it introduces them to unfamiliar sights, sounds, and scents.
Being handled by a stranger also teaches them how to act in these circumstances.
Lastly, professional rabbit groomers have the tools and equipment necessary to maintain your rabbit’s fur.
They know exactly the proper materials to use on your rabbit.
They have a vast selection of scissors and clippers for various coat kinds. Not to mention, they also have different shampoos and conditioners adapted to various coat types.
Ultimately, taking your rabbit to a professional means, you can rest assured you’ll be in good hands!
Regular brushing stops mats from forming and keeps your rabbit from ingesting loose hair. Too much fur in the stomach can slow a rabbit’s digestive process and lead to GI stasis.
So, to prevent disease, rabbits with long hair, which shed fast, must be groomed right away. However, unless you have a show rabbit, you don’t need to groom your rabbit every day.
Besides that, follow the tips mentioned in this article, and you will be well on your way to removing fur mats in no time!
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