How to Groom a Matted Rabbit

Similar to cats, rabbits naturally groom themselves by licking their coat. They can also get hairballs; however, unlike cats, they can't vomit to get rid of the hairball. Excess hair can obstruct the rabbit's stomach entrance and may eventually be fatal. Proper grooming is essential to remove excess hair, especially during times of heavy shedding. Unfortunately, mats in your rabbit's coat can interfere with your grooming process; they make it hard to brush the coat, and if not removed properly, skin-tearing can occur.

Things You'll Need

  • Towel
  • Metal-tooth comb
  • Scissors
  • Slicker brush

Instructions

    • 1

      Position your rabbit on a solid, slip-proof surface, such as the floor, or on a towel in the middle of a table. Groom your rabbit in a small room with the door closed. In case your rabbit escapes, you can easily find it and put it back in place.

    • 2

      Pet your rabbit to look for mats. Use the tips of your fingers to find the bunched up pieces of tangled hair. Pet your rabbit in areas prone to mats, such as around and under the chin, on its belly, around the tail and between the back and front legs. If you have a long-haired rabbit, lift the fur, and gently dig your finger tips into the rabbit's coat; it may be harder to detect mats from petting the top of the coat.

    • 3

      Use your fingers to take apart the matted fur as far as you can. Separate the hairs little by little until you end up with a solid matted ball that doesn't allow you to split it up any further.

    • 4

      Lightly pull on the hair to see you can remove the mat manually.

    • 5

      Comb out the matted fur with a metal comb that has fine teeth. Hold the fur underneath the mat so that you can't tear your rabbit's skin by pulling too hard. Loosen up the hairs little by little from the top to the bottom until you can easily run your comb through the untangled fur. Remove all mats in this fashion. As an alternative, use a commercial mat splitter or a flea comb.

    • 6

      Cut out mats with sharp, short-bladed scissors if they are impossible to remove with the comb. Hold the tangled hair below the matted and cut off the clumped hair. Always hold onto the hair to avoid accidentally cutting into your rabbit's skin.

    • 7

      Brush your rabbit with a slicker brush at least once a week and daily during heavy shedding periods. Brush long-haired rabbits at least every other day to keep them from swallowing too much hair when grooming themselves. As an alternative, have their hair trimmed to no more than one inch in length. This will help prevent mats and makes for easier grooming.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some people don't recommend using scissors to remove mats, because of the injury risk to your rabbit. As an alternative, let a professional groom your rabbit.
  • If your rabbit has mats on its feet, avoid removing the hair completely; your bunny needs them for protection. Pull out the mat by hand, or cut it off with scissors. Leave no less than a quarter-inch of hair on you rabbit's feet.
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References

  • Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

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