How to Clean Rabbits' feet

How to Clean Rabbits’ Feet

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Having always believed a rabbit to be a fastidiously clean animal, I was surprised to learn that I would have to clean my rabbit’s feet. That’s right. Any responsible rabbit or bunny owner will have to learn how to clean rabbits feet.

Cleaning your rabbit or bunny’s feet is also somewhat more involved than simply wiping and letting them dash off again.

For cleaning your rabbit’s feet, you will need baby wipes, corn starch, a rabbit comb, and a lot of gentle patience. If your rabbit has never allowed you to clean their underside or turn them upside down, then you will follow the burrito-roll approach as explained a little later. You will also need an assistant.

Fortunately, this is your ultimate resource on cleaning your pet rabbit’s feet. Learn all about what to use, when to clean, and why you should clean your rabbit’s feet.

Why Do You Need to Clean Your Rabbit’s Feet?

While it’s true that rabbits are quite fussy creatures, and they groom and lick their fur to clean it, your rabbit may have soiled their feet badly. When your rabbit’s little mittens are soiled, it is time for some human intervention.

Rabbits are susceptible to diseases, and if their paws are soaked in urine or feces, they can easily contract a disease, not to mention they can spread a disease to your other rabbits.

Cleaning their paws is quite tricky, since they have delicate skin and may not like having their feet cleaned. Additionally, your rabbit may also decide not to cooperate, and a powerful kick from your rabbit’s hind feet can seriously injure you.

Rabbits don’t normally smell, but if you start detecting a funky odor happening, then chances are pretty good that it might be their paws. This is reason enough to clean your rabbit’s paws.

How to Clean Bunny Feet

If you have a really tame rabbit, you can clean their feet by gently flipping them over, laying them in your lap, and cleaning off their mittens. However, if your rabbit is somewhat on the wild side, you may need a different approach—the burrito-bun approach.

Cleaning a Semi-Tame Rabbit’s Feet

When it’s time to clean your rabbit’s feet, you will realize the value of taming your rabbit and getting them used to being picked up and gently flipped over. Be sure you always work in a supportive way when holding your rabbit, and they will soon know and accept your treatment.

For this procedure, you will require:

  • A towel
  • An assistant
  • Baby wipes (the non-alcohol type)
  • Cornstarch
  • A rabbit brush
  • Small scissors

Approach your semi-tame rabbit as gently as you can without scaring it. Remember that you eventually do want your rabbit to accept you handling them, and the towel method is a temporary solution.

Quickly fold the towel over your rabbit, tucking it under their body and wrapping the ends in like a burrito roll. Have your assistant help you, being careful to work gently and kindly, assuring your rabbit with your voice and a firm but kind grip.

Bunny being supported to clean. How to clean bunny feet?
Dirty rabbit feet

Once you have your bunny burrito, it’s time for your assistant to gently support the rabbit’s back and flip them over onto their lap. It’s a good idea, for safety’s sake, to have the hind legs face away from the assistant. Hold a restraining hand on the rabbit’s stomach, gently ensuring they don’t wriggle free and jump away.

Carefully take one paw, usually starting with the front paws, and free that paw from the towel. Using the baby wipes, gently wipe the paw, being sure to get into the crevices around the toes and the soft pads under the rabbit’s feet. Use several wipes if necessary, but remain gentle in how you wipe.

If you notice a little built-up dirt that isn’t coming off with the baby wipe, you can take some cornstarch, rub it into the rabbit’s foot, and then brush the long fur with a rabbit brush. The brushing should dislodge any packed dirt.

In extreme cases, you may need to cut some packed fur away to clean your bunny’s feet. Be sure to work with short bladed but sharp scissors. Never pull at your bunny’s fur. Carefully avoid their toes and the delicate foot pads. Bunnies such as the Lionhead rabbit can grow long tufts that soil easily and may need trimming.

Now move on to the other feet, cleaning each in turn. Be extra careful when you clean the back feet.

Cleaning a semi-tame bunny’s feet is probably not that intimidating to you, unless that bunny is a Flemish Giant Rabbit. These rabbits can easily break your bones with their powerful back legs and one ill-timed kick.

Cleaning a Tame Bunny’s Feet

If your bunny is tame and used to handling, you can pick them up gently, hold them like a sandwich between one hand on their back and the other on their tummy, then flip them over. Lay your bunny on your lap, cradling them between your thighs. Hold one hand gently on their belly and chest, using the other to clean your bun’s mittens.

Use the same cleaning methods as described above, trying the wet wipes, followed by the cornstarch and brush, and finally nipping off stubborn snarls and smelly tangles with scissors.

Cleaning a Really Tame Bunny’s Feet

Should your bunny be really tame and allow you to pick them up at will, you can try another cleaning method—a toe bath. This method works well for cleaning bunny butts too.

You will need:

  • Cold to lukewarm water
  • A shallow plastic basin that you use only for your bunnies
  • A small amount of baby soap or mild dishwashing detergent
  • A towel
  • A bunny brush

For the toe bath, add enough water and a drop of baby soap to the basin to cover your bunny’s toes if they stand in the basin. Be sure not to overfill the basin as bunnies don’t do well when they are wet through. Their fur takes a long time to dry, which means your bunny will run the risk of pneumonia and hypothermia if they are wet all over.

With your bunny cradled on your lap, wet your hand, wiping their paws until they are damp. When your bunny is happy with this process, you can gently lower them into the basin, being sure to hold them so they don’t jump out.

Using one hand as a precaution to stop them jumping out, the other hand can be used to gently wash each paw. When you are done, raise your bunny from the basin by supporting their whole body.

Place them on the towel, drying each paw by gently patting and dabbing at it with the towel. Keep your bunny on the towel until all four their feet are dry before allowing them to jump onto sand or dirt that could stain their feet. If necessary, you can use the bunny brush to comb through any tangles of fur around their feet.

Rabbit about to take a dust bath. How to clean rabbits feet?
Bunny on sandy soil.

How to Clean Bunny Feet FAQs

How do you get poop off of a rabbit’s foot?

Cleaning off wet poop would be a simple matter of wiping with a wet wipe, but if the poop is dry, you need to be a bit more hands on. Using a good handful of cornstarch, rub this into the soiled foot. Once the foot is well coated, gently brush the foot with a rabbit brush. Any loose particles should become dislodged and can be brushed out.

Do rabbits need dust baths?

Yes, rabbits need dust baths to clean and maintain their coat. A rabbit that scrapes and rolls in their dust bath will self-clean their feet from most sticky spots caused by litter and urine. Make sure your rabbit has a deep dust bath or an area with cornstarch they can roll in and burrow in to clean their feet.

Why does rabbit pee stain?

Since rabbit pee is rich in ammonia, it is pungent and will stain any surface it comes into contact with, including your rabbit’s feet. Yellow patches on your rabbit’s feet are a clear indication of urine stains, and you will have to clean your rabbit’s feet with wet wipes, cornstarch, or a shallow bath.

The Final Take

Rabbits are clean animals that self-groom regularly. However, their feet can become stained when their litter box isn’t cleaned regularly or if they’ve been sick.

As a rabbit owner, you need to take care of your pet by cleaning their feet regularly as needed. Take the time to tame your rabbit, and you will be able to easily clean their feet without the need to burrito roll them.

Happy wiping!

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