As a responsible rabbit owner, it’s crucial to keep your pet clean to promote good health and prevent the infestation of bacteria and parasites. Regularly cleaning your rabbit’s ears is especially important, as neglecting them can result in ear infections, blockages, or damage to the inner ear. One common ear issue that rabbits face is ear mite infestation.
As you may have noticed, rabbits have very prominent ears, and it’s very easy for dust, dirt, and other debris to settle in. If you overlook ear care, then it won’t be long before your pet suffers from different health conditions related to the ear.
Cleaning Rabbit Ears
Rabbits are playful animals, which is why sometimes they are also prone to dirt that causes infections in their bodies. As an owner, your role is to ensure that your pet doesn’t get bacteria or other parasites, even after giving them time to play outside their cage. One way to do that is to clean their ears.
According to the Dermoscent Laboratoire, the ideal time to clean your pet’s ear is once or twice a week. Aside from cleaning, you can also check your pet’s ear health, such as if there is a buildup of yeast or swelling. In that way, you can treat it as early as possible.
But, some owners find it hard to clean their rabbit ears. Sometimes rabbits do not like it when something inside their ear is moving. It irritates them, and they get anxious. While your pet is young, you must build the habit of ear grooming. The sooner you train your pet to behave when cleaning its ear, the better. Early training also benefits your pet when it needs regular ear flushing to clear out debris and treat an infection or inflammation.
Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Taking Care of Rabbits
Things to Use in Cleaning Rabbit Ear
1. Long Stemmed Cotton Swabs
Like a human’s ear cleaning routine, one of the things that your rabbit needs is a cotton swab or buds. Rabbits also produce cerumen, known as earwax. To remove this, you need long-stemmed cotton buds, which you insert inside their ear. However, you should be careful in removing this. Sometimes, irritation causes an infection in your pet’s ear. Always insert the swab gently to avoid this risk in the rabbit.
2. LED Light
This is optional for you to use. An LED light will help you see the inside of your rabbit’s ear. That way, when cleaning their ear using the cotton swab, you will know where the earwax is. It is also advisable to use a headlamp so you can freely move your hand while holding your pet.
3. Saline Solution/ Ear Cleaning Solution
According to the Veterinary Center of America, it is recommended to use a saline solution when cleaning your pet’s ear. However, this is optional as well. A solution will help your pet’s ear remove excess dirt and kill bacteria building inside their ear. Remember, when choosing a product, ensure that it will not irritate your rabbit. There are pet-friendly products out there. You can ask your trusted veterinarian about the best brand you can use for your pet.
Tips for Cleaning Rabbit Ear
Cleaning the ears of your pet is a challenge for some pet owners. Sometimes rabbits do not like the cleaning because the feeling of cotton swabs inside their ears is uncomfortable. Here are some tips you should do to help you clean your rabbit’s ear.
1. Ensure that your Rabbit is in a Comfortable Position
Before cleaning your rabbit’s ear, you must position them where your pet is comfortable. Cleaning the ears of rabbits sometimes makes them anxious. So to avoid accidental poking of the swab, place your pet where you can restrain or calm them.
Place the rabbit in a higher position to make it easier for you to hold it. You can also put a clean cloth underneath your pet to make them comfortable. If they are in a calm state, hold them, but not tightly. Call their name or stroke their head or ear to let them feel the sensation of your hand holding their body. In that way, your rabbit can become familiar with the touch of your hand.
2. Offer Food/Treat After Cleaning your Rabbit’s Ear
One tip you can use to train your rabbit for good behavior while cleaning their ears is to offer them a treat. Rewarding is one positive response you can give your pet after they do well. According to the Humane Society of the United States, giving treats provides a positive sense of training in pets.
They will know that they did a great job when you offer them treats after a certain thing that they do. While your rabbit is young, training them to be calm while cleaning its ears is ideal. That way, over the years, it will be easier for you to regularly groom and clean them.
3. Grab the Ear Gently
Rabbits have different sizes and ear textures and it depends on your pet’s breed. Some rabbits have large and long ears, while others have short ears. When cleaning a rabbit’s ears, long-eared ones have the advantage because it’s easier to hold the ear back and clean it. But of course, smaller ears mean you don’t need to clean the outer fold too much.
Whether your pet has small or humungous ears, learn to hold them properly so they won’t feel hurt or uncomfortable. You may also hold your pet against you so you can better visualize the structures in the ear. It is important to hold them gently to avoid stress on the part of your pet. Poking their ear with cotton buds is already uncomfortable with your pet, so help the rabbit by gently patting or holding them down.
4. Use Paper Towel to Clean Up
Cleaning your rabbit’s ears can be a messy process, as ear wax buildup can get everywhere. It is important to use a paper towel to clean up rather than handling the ear wax, as it may contain parasites or bacteria.
Once you have finished cleaning your rabbit’s ear, wipe the ear wax onto a paper towel and crumple it up before disposing of it in the garbage. You can also use a towel to dry your rabbit’s ear after applying saline solution.
Ear Flushing for Emergencies
Sometimes there will be cases of ear-flushing emergencies for your pet. Since rabbits can be active and playful, there will be times when they can accidentally insert a foreign object inside their ears. Rabbits may unintentionally get things inside their ears, like mud, soil, pebbles, and even food.
It can be quite alarming for the health of your pet. That is why ear-flushing emergencies are done on rabbits. You should not self-medicate your rabbit if you don’t know what kind of object irritates the inside ear of your pet. Always ask for a veterinarian’s assistance because they are experts in the medical aspects of rabbits and animals.
Read More: Definitive Guide to Your Rabbit’s Health
- Ensuring your rabbit is clean and groomed is one of the pet owners’ responsibilities to maintain good health and wellness.
- Cleaning the ear of rabbits is important because it avoids infection and other risks concerning the ear.
- The ideal time to clean a rabbit ear is once or twice a week. This will also help you monitor the health status of the rabbit ear, such as if there is yeast build-up or swelling.
- Here are the things you need to use in cleaning your rabbit ear; long-stemmed cotton swabs or buds, LED Light, and Saline Solution.
- Tips for Cleaning the Rabbit Ear; Ensure your rabbit is comfortable, offer a treat after cleaning their ear, gently grab the rabbit’s ear, and use a paper towel to clean up.
- Ear Flushing Emergencies are done in rabbits if a foreign object accidentally goes inside your pet’s ear. Ask your trusted veterinarian for the right medication and treatment if this occurs.