How To Safely Clean Your Rabbit’s Feet

  • Author: Karen
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Rabbits are incredibly clean animals and you will find that they maintain themselves most of the time. However, for whatever reason, you may find that your rabbits feet sometimes become stained and dirty and your pet can’t manage the clean themselves.

It is essential to keep in mind that rabbits are very delicate animals and any type of care should be gentle yet detailed.

It is possible to remove minor dirt like soil and mud using a damp cloth. However, if your rabbit has stains from urine on their feet, you will need to remove this using corn starch flour and some dedicated combing.

Taking good care of your rabbit’s hygiene is an imperative part of his care but understanding how to do this without hurting or scaring your rabbit is just as important.

What Causes Dirty Feet In Rabbits?

There are many reasons that a rabbit might end up with dirty feet. If you have an outdoor pet, hopping around the grass is certain to leave some soil or debris on your rabbit’s feet. However, this is very easy to remove with a quick wipe.

Many rabbit owners will notice that their pet develops a yellow staining on the feet and fur around this area and this is typically cause by urine.

Generally speaking, rabbits are very clean animals and while it isn’t possible to keep them perfectly clean at all times, they will usually take care of themselves and are meticulous about grooming.

But when rabbits get older and start to develop health problems, it isn’t uncommon for them to struggle to clean themselves the way that they used to.

This is typical of rabbits who are overweight or suffering from conditions that limit their movement such as arthritis.

But even younger rabbits can experience yellowing of the feet due to urine especially if their living conditions are not maintained. If the cage is not kept clean, it can be tricky for the rabbit to remain clean.

two children playing with pet rabbits

As a rabbit owner, one of your biggest responsibilities is to ensure that the cage is always 100% clean and hygienic. It should be spot cleaned daily with a full clean-out at least once a week; twice if you are able.

Male rabbits that are not neutered have a tendency to spray. This can be frustrating for owners, especially if you have house rabbits. But since most owners keep rabbits in pairs, this presents a problem where yellow fur is concerned.

The reason for this is that unneutered males will spray their cage mate to show dominance and if this continues, the fur of the submissive rabbit will quickly become stained, and not just on the feet.

Getting Rid Of Urine Stains From Your Rabbit’s Feet

As a rabbit owner, you will have noticed your pet exhibits some strange behaviors at times. One of the most commonly reported is that the rabbit will remain in the litter box, seemingly just chilling out, even after he has finished doing his business.

He isn’t hurting anyone doing this and a lot of rabbits find this a comfortable place to relax.

The problem comes when your rabbit’s feet and fur begin soaking up urine which will stain. Not only this but since urine is so highly concentrated, it does have an unpleasant odor that you won’t want lingering around your pet.

Giving your rabbit a dry bath is the best way to get rid of yellow stains caused by urine but you must keep in mind that this may be distressing to your rabbit.

However, tackling it with patience and care will make the experience easier for both of you.

You will need to place your rabbit in a belly-up position to gain easy access to the feet and surrounding fur. This may not be something your rabbit wants to comply with right away so try to work with her.

Furthermore, placing pillows and soft padding underneath her will make her more comfortable.

How To Safely Clean Your Rabbit's Feet
Dirty feet and poor conditions can lead to sore Hock

Now take some corn starch powder; the kind that is designed for use with babies, and work this into any stained areas of the feet and fur.

The very nature of this powder will soak up the urine taking away the staining and any odors with it. However, if the stains are particularly bad, you may need to comb the fur to give it a helping hand.

When combing your rabbit, it is vital to keep in mind that their skin is very delicate and almost paper-thin.

For this reason, we would urge you to be as gentle as possible and only ever use a comb designed for rabbits not a sharp one that could tear the skin.

Once you are happy with the results, you can begin to gently pat the powder away either with your hand or a dry cloth.

Try to get as much as possible off your rabbit and remove it from the surrounding area as quickly as you can so that it doesn’t cause irritation to your pet.

Can You Bath A Rabbit?

Rabbits have incredibly thick fur that takes a very long time to dry if it gets wet. For this reason alone, we would never recommend submerging your rabbit in a water bath.

Even if rabbits didn’t struggle to get dry, resulting in becoming very cold, the experience of being put into water would likely cause them a significant degree of stress.

In some cases, rabbits can go into shock when put into water, causing conditions like a heart attack which can be fatal.

rabbit in a bath

That said, there may be times that your vet suggests giving your rabbit a bath when there is no other way to get him clean. However, this should only ever be done on their advice.

If you feel at all uncomfortable doing this, it is possible to have your vet perform the task for you.

How To Prevent Yellow Stains On Your Rabbit’s Feet

If the rabbit is allowed to remain with urine-stained feet, there is a risk of it developing flystrike which can quickly turn fatal. While a lot of rabbits are neutered against this, many aren’t so it is important to stay on top of the rabbit’s hygiene.

Flystrike is where flies lay eggs in the rabbits fur and they are much more easily attracted when the fur is damp and smelly. Once the eggs hatch, which doesn’t take long, the maggots will begin eating at the rabbit’s flesh.

While this does sound horrific, and it is, there are things you can do to limit your rabbit’s exposure to urine and therefore soaked, stained feet.

  • Have your rabbit neutered as this will prevent spraying and will make him easier to litter train.
  • Try to encourage your rabbit to sit outside of the litter box but keep in mind that this training will require some patience and rewards go a long way!
  • Ensure that your rabbit has a spacious enclosure with plenty of room to move around and so that your pet doesn’t need to sit in the toileting area.
  • Offer your rabbit a constant supply of freshwater as this will help with their overall urinary health.

Conclusion

Generally speaking, rabbits are very clean animals that will take care of their grooming with very little help from their owners.

However, it is not uncommon for bunnies to sit in their litter trays or get urine staining in some other way and when this happens, they will need you to take care of the problem for them.