It can be an inconvenience to keep on cleaning your rabbit’s hairs off your floor or clothes. It is usual for your rabbit to shed hair. However, excessive shedding is caused by something else and not by the normal process of shedding fur by rabbits.
There are many reasons your rabbit is having alopecia (hair loss). The hair loss may be tiny or large bald spots on their body. There will be cases wherein your rabbit will feel a lot of itchiness and require a vet trip.
Alopecia can be caused by various problems your rabbit may have, including behavioral or physical health issues. It can be painful and uncomfortable. Fortunately, most of the reasons your rabbit is losing its fur can be treated with medication and your utmost care and attention.
Normal Hair Loss
It is usual for rabbits to shed hair twice a year- in the spring and fall. This happens because your rabbit is shedding its heavy winter coat in preparation for the warmer weather. It again sheds his thinner coat to prepare for the cold weather
The rabbits that live indoors shed and grow their coats to respond to the increasing and decreasing amount of daylight (not the actual temperature).
Under normal conditions, your rabbit will regrow its coat that sheds off.
Abnormal Hair Loss
The coat and skin of rabbits speak about their health. Abnormal fur loss can be irritating and even life-threatening. In some instances, it can even be contagious to other animals.
If you suspect your rabbit has abnormal hair loss, it may be due to an underlying health condition that may require proper treatment.
How Rabbits Shed Hair
Your rabbit will start shedding hair in its nose. The shedding will continue on their pine to the end of its tail. Grooming is essential when your rabbit is shedding fur, so it does not ingest any hair that may lead to a hairball (a collection of fur in your rabbit’s stomach can cause vomiting when it becomes too big).
Reasons your Rabbit is Losing Fur
It can be scary to witness your rabbit shedding its fur for the first time. As mentioned, it is common for your rabbit to lose hair. However, it would help if you did not discount the fact that your pet may be losing hair for other reasons other than normal. Here are the normal and abnormal reasons your rabbit may be losing fur:
- Molting or Shedding
The process wherein your rabbit loses hair is referred to by vets as molting. Many rabbit owners are not aware of this until they see them shed hair for the first time. Shedding hair in the beginning and toward the end of summer is expected, although it may vary depending on the rabbit’s breed. When they shed hair, you will need to groom them.
- Nest Building
When pregnant, female rabbits tend to pull their own hair. They will use their hair and other soft materials they can get hold of to build a nest for their babies. There is no cause for worry if this is the reason your rabbit is losing hair.
To be sure this is why your rabbit is losing hair, establish that it is indeed pregnant. The female rabbit will start pulling hair from her chest, belly, or sides. You must have your rabbit spayed to prevent any problems with her reproductive organ resulting in false pregnancy.
Barbering is what happens when your rabbit bullies another rabbit to show its dominance. The dominant rabbit will pull the hair of the other rabbit. When you see this happening, you should separate both rabbits to know if this is the reason for the hair loss.
Infections caused by a wound or due to parasites and mites can cause your rabbit to lose hair. Hair loss will come in the form of patches instead of all over the body. The exposed skin will be scaly, dry, or have reddish lesions.
The skin of the rabbit will be itchy, so your pet will be scratching it a lot. This can be extremely painful. If you see this type of hair loss in your rabbit, take him to the vet for some antifungal medication.
- Stress and Boredom
A bored rabbit will often resort to pulling out his hair in the guise of self-grooming. If you have a couple of bored rabbits in one cage, they can start to groom each other and pull each other’s hair.
Place some toys in their cage, so they have something to entertain themselves instead of pulling each other’s fur. Fighting rabbits and other stressors such as pain, fear, noise, and even inconsistent feeding can stress a rabbit and cause hair loss.
- Nutritional Deficiencies
Food is vital to the health of your rabbit. If your rabbit is losing hair, it can be due to nutritional deficiencies. In this case, you should check your rabbit’s diet. When your rabbit lacks in dietary fiber, your pet will usually pull out fur.
What to do when you find a Lump of Hair
It is natural for your rabbit to shed hair. Your pet will be shedding hair for around 21 days. During this time, you will be seeing hair on your couch, your clothes, and in every corner of your home. You will need to do a lot of cleaning to keep up with your rabbit’s hair shedding.
Here are some tips on how you can deal with your rabbit’s fur loss:
- Be gentle. Your rabbit will be sensitive to touch when they shed fur. If you decide to groom them during this period, use a soft brush. You can also use a baby brush to groom their hair because it is softer than a pet brush and will not hurt your bunny. Brush your rabbit’s fur once or twice a day.
- Rub a paper towel or damp cloth over your rabbit’s body to help remove other loose hair. This is sometimes better than using a brush, especially for rabbits who are sensitive to touch during this process.
- Your rabbit will tend to ingest loose hair. Wash all water bowls and food because loose hair will often settle in them.
- Loose hair will settle on your rabbit’s nest. Clean out the bedding once or twice a week.
- If there is a blanket in your rabbit’s beddings, hover it regularly during the shredding process.
It is natural for almost all animals to shed hair, but it is more noticeable with rabbits because they shed their fur in one go during the shedding period. Be patient. The shedding period will be over in no time. It is not so bad, after all, it happens only twice a year.
During the shedding period, you will notice a change in behavior in your rabbit. If they were friendly, they might start to behave like an angry creature during the shedding period. Your rabbit will never enjoy the shedding period, so it is best to ignore this behavior change because it will be over in no time.
How your pet feels or how he or she is dealing with the shedding process is why your rabbit will act differently or be cranky. Your rabbit is an adorable creature, and your rabbit deserves more of your attention during this period. While losing fur can be natural for your rabbit, watch out for the unnatural causes of fur loss. Watch out for some changes in behavior and physical appearance that happens during hair loss. Your pet may be exhibiting some symptoms that may require medical attention.