As the seasons change, so does the coat of your pet. Rabbit owners know all too well the phenomenon of moulting – that time when your pet starts shedding their coat, leaving tufts of fluff everywhere. Understanding your rabbit’s moulting cycle is crucial not only for their comfort but also for their health. Let’s delve into the essentials of rabbit moulting and how you can support your pet through this natural process.

What is Moulting?

Moulting, simply put, is the process by which rabbits shed their old fur to make way for new growth. This isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s a vital process for regulating their body temperature and overall well-being. Rabbits moult several times a year, with the most significant sheds typically occurring in spring and autumn as the weather changes.

Recognising the Signs

The first step to supporting your rabbit through moulting is recognizing when it’s happening. You’ll notice more fur than usual around their living area, and you may see them grooming themselves more often. During heavy moults, you might even find large clumps of fur coming loose. This is normal, but it does require some extra attention from you.

Rabbit Grooming

Health Concerns Associated with Moulting

While moulting is a natural process, it does carry some health considerations. Unlike cats, rabbits cannot vomit, so ingested fur, whilst completely normal to pass through the gut, can lead to a slowing of the digestive system if ingested in large quantities. This can lead to GI stasis, which is a very serious condition in rabbits. It is important to monitor your rabbit’s appetite, behaviour, and faecal output, particularly during this time. Any signs of lethargy, decreased appetite, or smaller-than-normal faecal pellets should prompt a visit to the vet.

How to Support Your Rabbit

  • Regular Grooming: Brush your rabbit gently but thoroughly every day during heavy moulting to remove loose fur and help prevent excessive ingestion. A soft bristle brush or a rubber grooming mitt designed for rabbits is ideal.
  • A Healthy Diet: High-fibre foods are crucial all year-round, but especially during moulting – they help to keep the digestive system moving. As well as high-fibre rabbit food, you should ensure your rabbit always has unlimited access to high-quality, fresh hay.
  • Hydration: Encourage your rabbit to drink plenty of water. This helps keep their digestive system flushed and functioning properly. You can offer your rabbits water in bowls and bottles or provide them with a water fountain to encourage them to drink more.
  • Observation: Keep a close eye on your rabbit’s behaviour and bodily functions. Early detection of any issues can be lifesaving. If you notice a change in their normal behaviour, seek veterinary advice.
  • Environmental Management: Keep your rabbit’s living area clean and free of excess fur. This not only helps with hygiene but also reduces the amount of fur they might ingest while grooming.

Creative Conclusion: Embracing the Fluff

Moulting is a natural part of your rabbit’s life, reflecting changes in the environment and their adaptation to it. While it can be a messy and sometimes worrisome time, with the right care and attention, your rabbit will come through each moulting season healthier and happier. Think of each moulting season as a time to renew and refresh – a fluffy reminder of the cycle of nature.

Watch our video on how to look after Rabbits in Moulting Season.