Safer Moulting

I tried all sorts of brushes with my last rabbit — pin slicker, soft bristle, rubber glove, shedding blade, even sticky roller — and none of them worked. (Actually, the sticky roller was pretty good, but the bun wasn’t keen on it and only tolerated a few swipes at a time). S found some success with the shedding blade, but I could not get the technique down. My method of fur removal was plucking, which works great on moult patches, but not so great on more generalised shedding.

Chance has been moulting since he arrived last month. At first it was very light, but then it hit full fledge. Three weeks ago, we were sitting together on the floor when he scratched his head and cleanly dislodged a tuft of fur — a clear sign of a moult patch if I ever knew one. Indeed, over the next two days I got down and dirty and plucked the whole thing, revealing the short newborn fur below. (Don’t worry, it grew back within the week.)

picture includes three images: pet rabbit laying down, taken from above; detail of the rabbit's forehead, showing two patches where old fur has been plucked to reveal new, shorter fur; picture of the plucked fur tufts

So, that’s fur plucking; but what about the all-over moult? Well, I’ve been excited to try the Furminator ever since I heard of it. I was hoping to get the Small Animal model, but the Petsmart we visited didn’t stock it, so we picked up the Toy Dog Short Hair model instead. I was a little worried about it being too rough for rabbit skin (which is thin and sensitive), but later we found the Small Animal model at one of our local pet supply shops, and a close comparison between the two revealed them to be the same.

The first time I tried the Furminator on Chance was soon after he arrived. He twitched and didn’t seem to like it; also, it didn’t grab any fur: total failure!

That’s okay, he wasn’t really moulting then — but now he is, and luckily it only took a few strokes for him to get used to the sensation. Now he digs it, just like they say in the ads! So long as I keep a finger or two petting his nose and forehead, he sits there purring while I brush his back. And it really does remove tons of fur: more than the shedding loop did; and it’s easier to manipulate.

The only downfall is that Chance only accepts it on his back. When I try moving down along his shoulders or hips, he gets twitchy again; and he’s not too keen on it down low on his rump, either (above the tail area). So, for all those areas, it’s still down to finger plucking.

Whatever: the amount of fur I’m able to remove from his back makes it worth every penny!

Gloss Note: Short-haired rabbits don’t need weekly brushing, but it’s pretty important when they’re moulting. Since they can’t vomit their fur balls like cats, their fur has to work its way through the entire digestive system — no easy task, and one rife with risk of impaction and GI stasis!

Grooming News

Today we finished clipping Chancellor’s front nails. The first round took place a few days ago and went pretty well; the noise seemed to disturb him, but he didn’t mind me handling his paws or putting pressure on his nails (like my last rabbit did). This time we clipped the dew claws and I re-clipped a few of the front nails (they were really long originally, and I didn’t take enough off at first). Chance didn’t take it so well this time around. He really doesn’t like being handled. We had to hold him down as he struggled, and at one point he escaped and I had to bring him back over — it wasn’t pretty, poor guy. He got half a raspberry afterwards and doesn’t seem to hold any grudges against us, but still, it wasn’t fun.

Next stop: back paws. I’m not looking forward to it. I think we might have to bunny-roll him or something. The simple hand-over-the-eyes trick just didn’t cut it this time.

On related news, his moult is a light one. I plucked some fur from his jawline this morning, but there wasn’t much there to take. He’s shedding a little all over but not much, really. The Furminator didn’t do a thing when I tried it last week, and Chance didn’t appreciate it at all. I’ll try it again when he’s in a heavier moult but for now I think I’ll just stick to focused petting, plucking, and keeping his condo clean.