A rabbit’s ears are just as sensitive as yours. Rabbits clean their ears, but it’s not enough to get rid of all the gunk and wax buildup, and that’s where you come in.
You should clean your rabbit’s ears once monthly (or more if needed) to prevent excessive wax buildup, which puts pressure on the ear canal and can cause an infection. The wax also creates the perfect environment for parasites if you don’t clean a rabbit’s ears when necessary.
Don’t worry, though. Cleaning your rabbit’s ears is not complicated. Here is a detailed guide on how to go about it.
How to Give Your Rabbit’s Ears a Proper Cleaning
Cleaning a rabbit’s ears is essential. However, doing so safely should be more of a priority. If you make cleaning your rabbit’s ears a regular part of the grooming schedule, you’ll get used to it and get better at it.
What You Need
Cleaning a rabbit’s ears does not need expensive products or tools. You can find everything you need around the house.
Here’s all you need to clean your pet’s ears:
- A soft cloth
- Warm water
- Cotton swab
- Headlamp or penlight
- Cleaning solution (if there’s excessive wax)
The Cleaning Process
Firstly, be gentle. Cleaning is important, but be careful not to push the wax or dirt deeper into the ear canal.
Secondly, make your rabbit calm and comfortable. As expected, a stressed rabbit makes it difficult to see inside the ear. Your rabbit will also bite and scratch you, hurting you and itself in the process.
If your rabbit likes grooming, start with that to relax the animal. Then, you can go ahead to clean the ears in this order:
Step 1: Inspect the Rabbit’s Ears
Once your rabbit is calm, gently check the rabbit’s ears for any debris or excess wax. Take your time before going from one ear to the next.
If you’re doing it alone, find a headlamp. However, if you don’t have one around the house, find someone to hold a penlight. It works fine since it helps to see the inside of the ear, deep into the ear canal.
Step 2: Check and Remove the Debris
Look deep inside the ear for wax buildup and debris. If you see blockages or layers of wax in the ear, grab cleaning solutions.
Although these are not necessary when cleaning your pet’s ears normally, they remove stubborn wax and debris. Your rabbit’s ears might look clean on the outside, but the inside of the ear says it all.
Any large objects blocking the ear must be removed using a pair of tweezers. Rabbits love to throw objects around, including toys and their litter box. So, there’s bound to be something stuck in the rabbit’s ears.
Remember that the rabbit’s ear is delicate. Therefore, you must be careful not to damage the ear canal or push the object further into the rabbit’s ear. Gently remove any objects and ensure the ear is debris free.
Step 3: Wipe the Outside of the Rabbit’s Ears
By now, your pet is relaxed enough for you to start wiping dirt off its ears. Begin by making the soft cloth damp using warm water (don’t make it dripping wet).
Then, wipe the outside of the rabbit’s ears, ensuring water does not drip into the ear, making its way into the canal.
Once you’re done wiping the ear, use a dry rag to pat it dry. Then get another clean cloth to gently wipe the other ear to avoid spreading infections (if any). Repeat the same process you did for the first ear.
If you have a rabbit with lop ears, pay special attention to the long ears since they may trap mites or dust since they droop.
Step 4: Concentrate on the Wax Build Up
It’s now time to grab your cotton swab. Since you’re sure the outside of the rabbit’s ears is clean, you can concentrate on the ear wax inside the ear.
Insert the cotton swab into the ear, under the ear wax. You can wet the tip of the cotton swab to avoid fuzz.
Then, press the swab gently against the inside of the ear and scoop the wax in a rolling motion. Finally, drag the ear wax carefully away from the rabbit’s ear. Repeat the process until the ear is ear wax free, then move to the next ear.
Step 5: Re-Inspect the Rabbit’s Ears
Since the rabbit’s ears are now clean, you can see unusual discharge in the ears. Discharge is one of the major signs of ear infection. Therefore, if anything looks out of place, call the veterinarian.
It’s important to get an expert opinion from a vet since prolonged infections cause deafness. So, get your rabbit’s ears checked before the infection gets out of hand.
Once the veterinarian views the ears, they can choose the best treatment to keep your rabbit from going deaf.
Step 6: Massage the Rabbit’s ears
Ear cleaning is one thing. If you do it regularly, your rabbit will get used to it and like it.
To improve the experience, finish the ear cleaning with light massaging. Cleaning is important since you get rid of the ear wax, but a massage is a brilliant way to bond with your pet. It’s also a good way to appreciate your pet for being patient as you do the wax removal.
If you are clueless about how to do it, consult your vet. However, most experts advise pet owners to use light circular motions with the thumb on the outside of the rabbit’s ears. Also, place your index finger on the ear’s inside.
Stay at the tip of the ear without going deep since it can cause injury.
Cleaning a Rabbit’s Ears: Safety Tips and Precautions
Some rabbits have half-lop or full-lop ears, while others have erect ears. Despite the ear type, cleaning is important. Still, there are tips to follow to eliminate buildup, ear wax, and debris. They include:
- Make ear cleaning gentle and non-forceful.
- Check for symptoms like unusual redness, ear mites, discharge, or unusual buildup.
- Avoid pushing the wax deeper into the rabbit’s ear, as it can damage the sensitive inner ear.
- Avoid sensitive ear canal and areas that are hard to see.
- Be careful not to pinch, injure or scratch fragile veins in the ear.
- Use a light touch when massaging your pet’s ears.
- Keep the rabbit’s ears dry using solutions instead of pouring liquids into the ears. (Talk with your veterinarian about the best solutions).
Signs of Rabbit Ear Infections
A rabbit can show a sign of an ear infection without you having to check inside. Rabbits may show these symptoms, so check if your rabbit is:
- Scratching at the ear
- Holding the infected ear down
- Head tilting
- Losing balance
- Rolling to one side
Fortunately, you may have your pet’s ear treated by a vet if simple cleaning and care are not sufficient. However, ensure you always include all the necessary things and clean properly as a precaution.
Besides, most infections are related to poor ear cleaning. So, don’t let the infection develop by preventing mites, cleaning ear wax, and visiting the vet when necessary.
Cleaning Your Rabbit’s Ear: The Last Wipe
Rabbit care is straightforward. Include all the necessary tools, like cotton swabs, and an appropriate solution while removing ear wax. Doing so keeps infections and mites away, prevents constant visits to the vet, and makes your animal happy.
Although extra care is needed when cleaning a rabbit ear, it is worth it. Since you now know how to do it, grab the supplies and get your pet ready and comfy. After all, it’s an excellent way to bond with your rabbit!