HOW TO GIVE YOUR RABBIT A ‘BUNNY MASSAGE’
All animals need physical and mental stimulation to thrive: your rabbit is no exception,
Especially if he is a lone bunny with no friends. On his own, he is physically deprived of attention and grooming from other rabbits. The following method will, hopefully ease any such stress or deprivation that he might be feeling.
- While on the ground, face your rabbit in an ‘east-west’ direction in front of you. (head facing to the right)
- Place your right hand under his front paws with your hand across his chest.
- Next, put your left hand on his rump crossing the top of both of his hind legs.
- Supporting his back, in an anti-clockwise direction, rotate bunny until he is lying at 45 degrees on your left arm, just like holding a baby.
- Sit down with your rabbit on a chair or bed, resting his hind legs on your knees and his entire back on your left arm.
- With your right hand, firmly start stroking him under the chin and top of the nose in both directions – up and down. If he enjoys this, he will start to relax and close his eyes.
(a) Stroke the full length of his front paws
(b) Then stroke him from the neck to the middle of his belly, also in a slightly grasping action work down to his middle section only.
(c) Next, work from the top of his hind legs down to his toes and massage his toe nails with your fingers. (This will be very positive experience, if or when you have to cut his nails – monthly, if in a hutch environment)
(d) The last part of the massage is from the middle of the stomach towards the genitals. This is a very sensitive area, so don’t attempt this stage until he completely comfortable with the previous massage steps. Use your full hand in a broad stroking action incorporating his hind legs at the same time.
When you are successful, your bunny will be so relaxed in your arms that he will virtually fall asleep. This will indicate that he has enjoyed the experience and will be looking forward to his next massage session.
- Occasionally, in our ‘bunny massage’ sessions, we like to incorporate a small amount of natural pyrethrum based cat flea powder (as they live outside). The powder is applied against the grain of his fur and is worked in with a massage action and any excess powder on the surface of his coat is removed with a damp micro-fibre cloth (as rabbits, like cats, lick their fur). Make sure that you wash your hands, afterwards. For your own rabbit, consult your local qualified veterinary care exper
PLEASE PRACTICE, PRACTICE this massage technique on a soft toy such as a teddy bear until you are confident. No rabbit likes to be a ‘guinea pig’ for a bad masseur as it will stress and agitate him and not relax him.
This gentle handling prepares your rabbit to be comfortable with you cleaning him with a damp micro-fibre cloth and soft towel when he gets himself in a dirty mess! (e.g. after a digging session or manure stuck to his fur)
A lone rabbit cannot clean himself as well as rabbits that live in a group as they all help each other with preening.