My buns are shedding again. In my experience, it comes around three or four times a year. Not for everybun. Some only shed twice. Just like humans, they are all different. One thing is the same and that is that they become cranky, uncomfortable, tired and often get tummy upset.
Most rabbits lick their loose fur and ingest it, causing a risk for blockage in their gastrointestinal tract. Some rabbits pull or scratch it away with their paws. In either case, their human should help them with the process. As normal as it may seem, it is a dangerous time for our extra-super furry friends.
How to Help
There are so many things to consider when your bun is shedding. Aiding the process to protect buildup of fur in their intestines is the paramount goal. So what can you do?
Once again, observe your rabbit to be aware of the onset of a shedding period. Look for different color patches on their bodies as well as “poofed” out sections.
Grooming them with the right brush or comb is probably the most effective way to help them through this difficult time. As long as you see fur flying when you pet them, unusual fur balls on the floor and their constant licking, you should be grooming them daily if not twice a day.
Vacuum the house often, especially the carpet areas. Their fur will travel like the wind across hard surfaces and gather on carpets. If they pick up the fur on their paws, they will lick it up again.
Make sure they are drinking and eating. Some rabbits go off their food when they are shedding. Call the vet right away if they stop eating, especially their hay. This could be a sign of blockage or stasis.
Keep their area extra clean so they are not lying in fur and change their water more often because fur clings to the surface and sides of the bowl. We don’t want them drinking their fur either.
Although it is always good to keep your rabbit active, during a shed they may be tired or uncomfortable. Don’t expect or demand the same behavior or playtime.
Some sheds seem to last a month and some seem like they last forever. Stick with your grooming program. Even if they don’t like being brushed. It will allow the new fur to grow in faster and push/pull the old fur out more completely.
If your bunny really seems down and out, check with the vet about medications that may help move the intestinal tract along and relieve some of the discomfort they feel.
No Two Buns or Sheds Are the Same
As stated earlier, most buns are different. My Jersey Woolly Lena is so thick with an Angora-like fur that huge tufts expose themselves and are often a different color. Those are easy to comb out. Fortunately she is very cooperative.
My Netherland Dwarf Ginger has a dense, thick coat that hairs that waft through the air and stick to you more than her. She needs multiple grooming sessions a day. She doesn’t like it, but she tolerates it because I know she feels better afterward.
Breezy, who recently passed over the Rainbow Bridge, was a mini Rex who fought me and nipped every time I brushed or combed her. She hated her back being touched and her fur was thin and fine so there wasn’t nearly as much to remove as some other breeds. I had to be careful of her sensitive skin.
The Best Part
Sometimes a small treat after a grooming can relieve their annoyance with your handling and get them interested in food again. For you, a happier rabbit, a cleaner house and one day closer to the end of the shed!