In this article, I’ll show you step by step how to shave a rabbit.
I shave my bunny every few months. So I have firsthand experience to share with you.
Fact: It can be difficult to calm your rabbit in order to give a nice shave.
Sometimes, you might need to hold firmly or distract it. Better yet, use an electric shaver to get the job done quickly.
How much does a rabbit fur grow?
First, you need to know that a rabbit’s fur can grow as long as 4 – 6 inches in less than 5 months. Although this largely depends on the breed.
Rabbits insists on being clean, and tidy, and as a result, they constantly groom themselves.
It’s important to be part of your rabbit’s grooming process.
If you allow your rabbits to groom themselves, they will most likely ingest excessive fur, which will hinder the activities of their digestive tracts. You should prevent this at all costs!
In certain cases, shaving the rabbit will be necessary to keep them tidy, smart, and healthy.
How to Shave a Rabbit (Video Instructions)
Watch this video to quickly learn how to shave a rabbit using electric clippers.
Is it Okay to Shave a Rabbit? (Safety concerns)
Yes, you can shave a rabbit when it’s necessary. It’s safe but you must be careful.
Here’s why: Rabbits are made of very light skin. As a result, they can easily sustain injury due to shaving.
Essentially, shaving a rabbit is meant to be a last resort at all times.
There are two scenarios under which it’s okay to shave a rabbit. Both scenarios apply to only mature rabbits (3 months old rabbits).
Let’s consider the 2 scenarios:
1). Overgrown or Matted fur/coat:
When the rabbit’s coat has grown excessively and matted. Rabbits are often allowed to mature to at least 3 months before their fur is considered suitable for shaving.
2). Thermo-regulation purposes:
Shaving can be seen as a means of thermo-regulation. It’s okay to shave the rabbit if the afternoon heat subjects the rabbit to high levels of discomfort.
But you must take steps to ensure that you do not cut the fur off completely.
If the fur is cut off completely, in most cases, the rabbit will not be able to withstand cold nights.
Rabbits (also known as Bunnies), in general, are known to suffer from hypothermia.
As a safety factor, don’t shave completely, and don’t shave at all in the rainy season. Their fur absorbs water easily and takes a long amount of time to dry off.
Grooming Kits Needed to Shave a Rabbit?
The grooming kits required to shave a rabbit include:
i). Grooming blower
This is an electronic device, which is used to dry up the rabbits fur before shaving. Rabbits are naturally timid creatures.
You will find it difficult getting a running blower close to them. As a result, most people prefer using a towel to dry off damp fur.
Before shaving a rabbit, you have to loosen every form of tangled hair. This can be done using a brush (in the case of Matted fur, it’s best you use a grooming blower).
Brush types suitable for grooming include:
- The rubber pimple brush or mitt
- The soft brush
- The comb
Rubber pimple brush or mitt
Rubber brushes or pimple mitts are very useful during molting.
They are fairly gentle but will remove the build-up of loose fur quite effectively. The rubber is quite soft but it still needs to be used carefully.
Soft brushes are great for general grooming, and many rabbits will enjoy sessions where they are used.
However, during molting they need to be backed up with the use of something else.
Combs are especially useful for longer-haired rabbits or when short coated rabbits are moulting. They must be used carefully to avoid injury.
Clippers or Scissors
According to Liz, the actual shaving process can be carried out using either clippers or scissors. Scissors are slower, but the buzzing sound of running clippers tend to scare off the rabbits.
Getting Your Rabbit Ready for a Clean Shave
Before you begin shearing, there are two steps you have to do to ensure that the process is successful.
a). Groom your bunny: The first step to take is to groom your bunny. Before shearing, you have to ensure that the rabbits fur is completely dry.
You can achieve this by using a grooming blower. By blowing the rabbit out, you will dry out dampness, remove dander, and straighten the fur for easy removal.
b). Make a demarcation: Next, you will have to set a demarcating line across the fur. Once you have completed these two steps, you can begin shaving.
How Often to Shave a Rabbit?
Shaving a rabbit is an important part of the grooming process. If rabbits are not shaved, matting is bound to occur.
Matting is a term used to describe the entanglement of rabbit fur due to excessive fur growth.
Excessive fur also causes wool blocks and mites.
Hence, it’s important that you shave your rabbits every 4 – 6 months. This will help keep their wool in good condition.
What Rabbit Breeds can be Shaved?
According to Bangor Daily, The rabbit breeds most suited for shearing are the Angora rabbit breeds. They include:
1. German Angoras
This breed of rabbits is the most sought after, because of the amount of wool they produce. They are considered the most Fiber-producing rabbit breed.
A single German Angora is capable of producing 1.75 pounds of wool annually.
Shaving a German Angora isn’t a choice, because it’s incapable of shedding.
This is due to the fact that these rabbits are the only members of the Angola breed that do not possess shedding genes.
2. English Angoras
This breed of Angoras come with very long wool coats and facial furnishings, which makes it difficult to see their eyes.
They usually demand a lot of grooming because of their excess wool. Unlike the German breed, the English Angora sheds it’s hair.
For this singular reason, you will have to shave them occasionally to ensure that they don’t ingest hair while grooming.
3. French Angoras
French Angoras are docile but lovely rabbits that mostly love to hop around freely, whether indoors or out.
The French Angoras also require regular cleaning in order to achieve mat-free wool.
This means regular brushing on an “as-needed basis” (this may be as often as everyday to as little as once a week), as well as regular blow-drying to keep their fur/coat separate and clean.
Their coats can grow as much as 6 inches every season, although the ideal length is about 2 – 3 three inches.
This means rabbit owners need to take the time to shear or trim their French Angora’s wool 3 – 4 times a year.
4. Satin Angoras
Satin Angora’s fur is their pride and joy (the very reason why they are called “Satin” Angoras, after all).
Their wool is finer, softer, and silkier than other Angora rabbits.
The reason their fur looks like satin is due to a recessive gene that causes the casing around the pigment in each hair to be translucent rather than opaque, like most fur.
This gives their coat a distinctive sheen or luster. This gene also causes the diameter of each strand of hair to be smaller than normal wool.
This means that this rabbit also produces some of the finest wool of any other rabbit breed.
5. Giant Angoras
Giant Angoras have a commercial body type and a large oval head that is broad on the forehead and slightly narrower at the muzzle.
Despite being a descendant of the German Angoras, which do not molt, Giant Angoras go through a partial molt.
However, their wool needs to be harvested 3 – 4 times a year by owners using shears or scissors and can produce 1 – 2 lbs of wool per year.
Giant Angora wool is perfect to be dyed and made into clothes such as socks and mittens.
What Happens if You Shave a Rabbit?
Shaving isn’t the only means through which grooming can be done (German and Giant Angoras are exceptions because they do not shed their fur).
Rabbits that shed their fur can be groomed by plucking or combing.
Plucking involves the use of the hands to run through the rabbit’s fur, and sort out loose fur. Contrary to popular opinion, the process doesn’t involve dragging the fur off the rabbit’s skin, but a careful removal of loose fur.
Combing or brushing is similar to plucking. The only difference is a comb is used instead of the hands. This process is slow but it’s prefered to complete the shaving of rabbits.
If the fur is cut off completely, the rabbit will not be able to withstand cold nights.
Bunnies are known to suffer from hypothermia.
However, by shaving your rabbits, you will reduce the possibility of fur ingestion. Fur ingestion can block the dietary tracts of rabbits and slow the digestion process.
Matted Fur: What to Do When You Cannot Brush a Matted Fur
The natural wild rabbit coat consists of two types of hairs. A short and soft cover coat which is covered by longer guard hairs.
In general, the cover coat is more than the longer guard hairs.
In a situation where the soft cover coat is allowed to grow longer, fur matting may occur.
Fur matting refers to the entanglement of rabbit fur as a result of excess growth. Fur matting causes discomfort to rabbits in the following ways:
- Severe mats could lead to sore skin and infection.
- Large mats limit the rabbits motion. For instance, if a mat is formed underneath a rabbit’s chin, it will find it difficult to feed.
- Matting makes mating between rabbits difficult. Accumulation of tangled fur in the vent of the female, and the penis of the buck makes mating impossible.
- Matted fur makes feeding of kitties difficult.
Due to the extreme discomfort rabbits suffer as a result of matting, their furs must be shaved once mating occurs.
Does Rabbit Hair Grow Back After Shaving?
The answer is Yes. According to Stephanie, rabbit hair will grow back after shaving. The fur of an average Angora breed rabbit will grow to 3 – 4 inches within three months.
There you have it, the simple steps on how to shave a rabbit and groom it like a pro.
Shaving a rabbit is only recommended in extreme cases of Matted fur.
Rabbits can’t regulate their body temperature efficiently without their fur.
Hence, for the safety of the rabbit, shaving should be performed as a matter of absolute necessity.