Rabbits can get fleas just as much as cats and dogs. So what can you do to get rid of the fleas on your rabbit?
Do not put a flea collar on your rabbit. The chemicals on the collar, although convenient, can burn your rabbit’s sensitive skin or, if ingested, make your rabbit sick. Contact your veterinarian to get the proper medications to cure your rabbit of fleas.
In this article we’ll talk about how to safely treat a rabbit with fleas.
Fleas on Rabbits
Fleas are tiny bugs that look like black specks to our eyes that feed off of the blood of other animals. They will latch on to an animal’s skin and drink their blood and can possibly spread diseases to the animal.
If the condition is not treated, your rabbit may become anemic and die. Please take the necessary action to clean and treat your rabbit for fleas.
Can Rabbits Get Fleas?
Although common in cats and dogs, rabbits can also easily get fleas. Unfortunately, fleas can be dangerous on rabbits because they have such sensitive skin. Because rabbits have thicker fur, fleas can be hard to detect Some rabbits will kill fleas in their daily grooming before you notice that they have fleas.
How Does a Rabbit Catch Fleas?
The most frequent ways that rabbits will get fleas is by spending time outside and getting them from other pets. To prevent either case from occurring, please consider spraying or cleaning specifically for bugs each year. This will help prevent fleas from attaching themselves to any of your pets.
What Are the Signs of Fleas?
Your rabbit may have fleas if they are biting, licking, or chewing their skin, scratching a lot, balding in patches, or red bite marks or sores. Another way you might be able to tell if your rabbit has fleas is if you find flea feces on their back or in their fur.
Flea feces look like little black specks. If you’re uncertain whether the black speck your find is flea feces, you can put a drop of water on the speck and if it is flea feces then a red ring (blood) will appear on the outside of the speck. If this isn’t the first time your rabbit has had fleas and your vet has had to get involved, you may want to look into purchasing insurance. Check out this helpful article Pet Rabbit Insurance: When Is It Worth It? to learn more.
How to Treat a Rabbit With Fleas
There are a couple of ways you can treat your rabbit with fleas, but the most important thing you can do is take your rabbit to a veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be able to determine if what your rabbit has is fleas instead of ear mites, ticks, lice, or other harmful parasites. Additionally, your veterinarian will know exactly what medication you should give your rabbit.
Many typical flea medications for pets are not safe for rabbits. Because rabbits are extremely sensitive, the suggested dosage of medication and even the strength of the medication may harmful to your rabbit. Some may work for your larger rabbit but will be disastrous for your smaller rabbit.
Some flea treatments have organophosphates and permethrin. These ingredients are not safe to use on rabbits and should be avoided. Be sure to check that these components are not in any product you use on your rabbit.
When you take your rabbit to the vet, they will tell you exactly what medication is right for your rabbit and their unique situation.
A flea comb is a fine-tooth comb with the tines close together made specifically for combing out fleas. This is the best option for cleaning your rabbit’s fur as it will catch most, if not all, of the fleas. But please be careful when using the comb. Again, rabbits’ skin is very sensitive. If you brush too roughly, you may scratch or tear their skin.
How to Clean Your Rabbit
Treating and cleaning your rabbit of fleas may be daunting and stressful. But it doesn’t have to be scary. Below is a video explaining how to rid your rabbit of those nasty fleas. If you want to skip all the information about fleas and go straight to how to clean them, go to minute 7:00.
What Not to Do
There are several things that you should not do to treat your rabbit with fleas. Some things will make them sick or send them into shock. Please look at what not to do to prevent hurting your rabbit.
NEVER use a flea collar on your rabbit. Rabbits can harm themselves by trying to take it off, get burned by the excessive chemicals, and can get sick from licking the chemicals. Flea collars can be a good option for other pets like cats or dogs, but you should not ever put a flea collar on your rabbit.
DO NOT give your rabbit a bath. Rabbits do not need baths and submerging your rabbit in water can send them into shock. If you need to clean the flea feces off of them after your comb out the fleas, you can use a lightly damp washcloth to gently massage their fur. Under no circumstance should you bathe your rabbit.
TIP: If you want to keep your rabbit outside because you are worried about your rabbit getting fleas again in the future, or if you have other animals that track them into the house often, you may want to read my article How to Keep a Rabit Outside: A Complete Guide.
Flea Dips and Powders
These products contain many chemicals that are harmful to your rabbit. If you put flea dips or powders on your rabbit’s fur, there is a good chance that they will ingest the chemicals when they groom themselves. Although these products make work for other pets, please do not use them on your rabbit.
What to Do After Treating Your Rabbit
Once you had rid your rabbit of those pesky parasites, there are a couple of things you will need to do to prevent the fleas from returning.
Sanitize the House
Clean all areas of the house where your rabbit or other pets may have been. Fleas will hop off and on animals to lay their eggs. You may not see them, but the fleas may have laid eggs elsewhere in the house. You can use diatomaceous earth (food-grade) to kill any remaining fleas outside or inside the house. Make sure to clean everywhere to avoid more issues with fleas.
Please be careful with what products you use to clean the house. Some cleaning chemicals will be harmful to your rabbit. Use products that are safe for your rabbit.
Clean Other Pets
If your rabbit has fleas, then undoubtedly your other pets have them as well. Treat your other pets for fleas so that they do not return to your rabbit. For cats and dogs, treating fleas will be different than rabbits. Please take the necessary actions to rid your pets of the parasites.