Bathing My Bunny: Can a Rabbit Take a Bath?

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Can a Rabbit Take a Bath?

Taking care of a new pet may bring up a lot of questions. Maintaining hygiene is important and probably at the top of your list. 

Wondering what’s the protocol with your new pet rabbit? You’re not the only one. Many fellow bunny owners think the same thing: can a rabbit take a bath?

We all know that you must bathe your dog if you don’t want that trademark stinky dog smell in your house. Cats, on the other hand, will take care of their hygiene routine. You will just have to deal with the litter box. 

But what about rabbits? Should you bathe them or are they self-cleaning? Let’s check it out. 

Should I bathe my rabbit?

To bathe or not to bathe. 

What do you do with your new rabbit? Will your new furry friend be self-sufficient in this respect or need your assistance?

Not necessary 

Bathing your rabbit is not necessary. 

Placing your rabbit in water could put your furry friend in danger (which we’ll talk about more in-depth later). 

Rabbits are similar to cats in that they are self-cleaning. They will maintain their own hygiene. 

You should definitely not bathe your rabbit. Fully submerging your rabbit in water is harmful and can lead to some serious consequences. 

Wet rabbit
Wet rabbit

Can spot clean

OK, so you shouldn’t bathe your rabbit. However, there may be rare occasions where you think your rabbit needs a bath. What do you do?

For example, you notice that their bottom area is not as clean as it should be (you know what I’m referring to here) or that their fur is matted in certain areas. These things may mean you need to do some spot cleaning on your rabbit. 

I repeat, spot cleaning. Don’t give your rabbit a full-on bath. 

The most likely cause of the need to spot clean will probably be a dirty bottom. Make sure you are maintaining your rabbit’s litter box clean. If not, you’re bound to have a dirty rabbit. 

If you think your rabbit needs some spot cleaning, check in with your vet on how to properly help it stay clean. 

It’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to learning how to care for a new pet. A vet will provide you with the information and instruction needed so that you can properly tend to your rabbit’s hygienic needs. 

The dangers of bathing your rabbit

Rabbits aren’t naturally water animals. They’re land creatures. Giving them baths or trying to have them swim could have potentially life-threatening consequences for your rabbit. I’m sure that’s not what you want. 

So, what are the potential consequences of bathing your rabbit?

Rabbit scratching her back
Rabbit scratching her back

Traumatic experience

Remember when I said that bathing your rabbit could be a life-threatening experience? Well, rabbits are so unaccustomed to being in water that the shock of the experience can cause death. 

Rabbits may experience such stress by being placed in water that it can often lead to heart attacks. Unfortunately, there are many fatal bunny bath stories where rabbits die suddenly either during or after their bath. 


While baths may not always result in death for rabbits, the anxiety experienced by a rabbit from being in water could lead to injury. 

Rabbits may start to thrash or move violently out of fear when placed in water. These movements can cause them to injure themselves. In the worst cases, trying to jump out could cause them to break their spinal cords. 

Fur issues

Rabbits’ fur is not made to get wet. When a rabbit’s fur gets wet, it takes an extremely long time for it to dry. While it is drying, rabbits can experience hypothermia or pneumonia, no matter the climate. 

Their fur keeps them warm. However, if it gets wet, it can no longer fulfill this function, putting the rabbit in grave danger. 

If wet, rabbits may also experience a variety of skin issues. 

How to care for your new pet

Now you know that you should not bathe your rabbit. I repeat, don’t bathe your rabbit!

But how exactly should you care for your new pet? Having a “non-traditional” pet may be slightly more difficult in the beginning since you may not have friends with rabbits to ask about their experiences. While you probably know someone with a cat or dog, you may not know anyone with a pet bunny. 

That’s okay. It just means you’ll have to do some digging of your own so that your rabbit can thrive in its new environment. 

Rabbit beside the window
Rabbit staring out the window

Do your homework 

Yup, you heard me. I want you to write me a five-page essay on the dangers of bathing your rabbit. And I want it on my desk by the end of the week. 

Of course, I’m kidding. However, the idea is the same. 

You should do some research about your new pet before deciding if it’s the right pet for you. That’s right, you should do your homework on what it’s like to be a rabbit owner before you decide to get one. 

Knowing what it takes to care for a rabbit will help you to decide if it’s something that you can manage to take on in your life right now. 

Being a pet owner is a lot of responsibility. While there’s certainly a learning curve in taking care of your new pet, it shouldn’t threaten the life of your animal.

Research your questions 

It’s probably not realistic for you to run to the vet for every minor question that you may have about your rabbit. However, there’s no doubt that questions will come up while caring for your animal. 

As questions arise, do some research about how to best take care of your rabbit. Check out multiple sources if you aren’t convinced by what you find. 

If conflicting ideas or solutions arise, then it may be time to check in with a professional to see the best options. But a lot of your doubts will probably be answered with some quick Google searching. Gotta love the internet, right?

Ask a vet

Hopefully, this goes without saying, but you should have a veterinarian for your pet. Ideally, go to the same vet so that they get to know you and your rabbit. Just like you may prefer to always have the same doctors because they know you, the same works with pets. 

If it’s not possible to have the same vet all the time, no big deal. But you should have a go-to veterinarian’s office for anything that may come up, whether it’s an emergency or just a normal check-up. 

As I mentioned, if questions arise and you aren’t able to find adequate answers through some light research, then check in with the vet before making any moves. As we learned, something so seemingly harmless, like taking a bath, can be deadly to a rabbit. 

A veterinarian will be able to best advise you on how to take care of your rabbit. It may even be helpful to make a list of questions before your visits so that you don’t leave anything out or forget something important in the moment. 

Being a pet owner means being responsible. So take note of your animals, and figure out how to best care for them with the help of a professional. 

Do Rabbits Need to Be Bathed?

Biggest takeaway

Don’t bathe your rabbit! Louder for the people in the back now. Don’t bathe your rabbit!

Do your research when it comes to taking care of your rabbit. Remember that something so simple as hygiene will vary so much based on your pet.

Learn about your rabbit through your own investigation and with the help of an experienced veterinarian. When in doubt about how to best care for your rabbit, double-check!

Having a new pet is fun, but it is also a lot of work. You are essentially responsible for the life of another being. While it can be extremely rewarding, it’s certainly not something to take lightly. 

However, with the right preparation, you’ll soon learn all about what your rabbit needs and will form a lasting bond. 

Photo of author


Jennifer Bourassa is a passionate animal lover and the founder of The Rabbit Retreat, a website dedicated to educating rabbit owners and providing them with the necessary resources to care for their furry friends. With over a decade of experience in rabbit care, Jennifer is a knowledgeable and compassionate advocate for these beloved pets. Jennifer's love for rabbits started when she adopted her first bunny, Thumper, and quickly realized the joy and challenges that come with rabbit ownership. Since then, she has made it her mission to help other rabbit owners navigate the ins and outs of bunny care, from feeding and grooming to housing and more. With The Rabbit Retreat, Jennifer hopes to build a community of like-minded rabbit enthusiasts who can share their experiences and support one another in providing the best possible care for their furry companions.