Proper hygiene is key to a pet rabbit's health. Spots of urine on rabbits' coats aren't uncommon, and they're not immediately dire. But it's important to clean your soiled rabbit as soon as possible. If you don't, it could lead to a condition called urine scalding, which involves noticeable clumps of your pet's coat coming out, along with soreness and reddening of the skin.
Bathing and Appropriate Bunny Shampoo
Get the urine out of your rabbit's fur by thoroughly washing his rear area, which is where the yucky remnants generally are. By giving his rear a bath, you can stop urine from making contact with his skin and the frustrating burning that goes along with it. Baths usually are beneficial for wet urine in a rabbit's fur, but not with a shampoo formulated for people. People shampoos are far too aggressive for rabbits' sensitive skin. Instead, use a small animal shampoo specifically intended for rabbit use. If you're unsure about using products available at your nearby pet supplies store, ask your veterinarian for a mild formula recommendation.
Bye Bye to Urine
Run lukewarm water in your sink to roughly 2.5 inches deep. Thoroughly blend in approximately 1 tablespoon of the shampoo. Then carefully place your cutie's derriere in the water. Softly massage the shampoo and water mix onto your pet's rear area until all of the urine is finally gone. Once you're done, exhaustively wash all of the shampoo out. Then diligently dry your patient bunny, because you don't want chilling -- and possible illness -- to occur. Use a soft towel for these purposes. A hair dryer on low heat and low fan settings can work well too, held a safe distance away from the rabbit's skin. Never use any settings other than low -- heat stress is a potential risk. While you're using the dryer, place your hand near his skin to ensure it's not making him feel hot.
Dry Bath Option
If you don't want to involve water in the whole process, try a dry bath -- it's less of an event for especially nervous bunnies. Pure baby cornstarch powder usually does the trick, as long as it's free of talc, which can sometimes bring upon breathing issues in rabbits. Put your bunny on your lap so his tummy is facing up. Make sure you can readily get to the urine mess on his fur. Rub the cornstarch powder over the dry urine. Once the powder starts covering the urine, it should quickly bond with and lift away the persistent stuff. Cornstarch works to soak up moisture and can zap up the moisture of the urine. Use your hands to pick up any random bigger bits of urine you see anywhere on your rabbit, too. When you're done, lightly dab at coated areas using a cloth to do away with any powder that's still left.
Fly Strike Potential
Urine scalding isn't the only possible hazard that can arise from the caustic bodily fluid in your rabbit's fur. "Fly strike" is another possible consequence. If a rabbit's fur is moist and smelly due to urine, it can draw in flies. These flies might just take it upon themselves to deposit their eggs in the pet's coat -- voila, maggots. The maggots not only feed on rabbits' flesh, they simultaneously give off toxins that can trigger shock. Fly strike can sometimes have life-threatening results, so take the risk seriously. Urine isn't the only factor that can lead to fly strike. The presence of fecal matter can, too. Infection is another possible concern.
Veterinary attention is a must for any rabbits with urine spots on their coats. Get your rabbit to the vet immediately to figure out whether his urine stains are indeed associated with any kind of ailment, perhaps urinary incontinence.
- University of Miami Department of Biology: Fur Loss and Skin Problems in Rabbits
- House Rabbit Network: Monthly Bunny Home Checkup
- Kids 4 Research: Caring for Rabbits
- The Rabbit Haven: Rabbit Home Health Checkups
- The Georgia House Rabbit Society: Examining Your Rabbit
- Andale Veterinary Centre: Rabbits and Small Pets
- University of Miami Department of Biology: Bathing a Rabbit's Messy Bottom
- House Rabbit Society: Fly Strike
- The Rabbit Handbook; Karen Parker
- Disabled Rabbits: Baths & Cleaning