How to Safely Get Rid of Fleas on Rabbits
Fleas are most often associated with dogs, but in truth, can also affect other household pets like rabbits. People who keep rabbits as pets should learn how to get rid of fleas safely as soon as they are identified. Flea infestations that aren’t treated in its early stages will lead to bigger problems down the road not just for your rabbits but for your whole house as well.
Common Signs of Fleas on Rabbits
Aside from just seeing the adult fleas jump off and around your rabbit’s fur, there are other signs and symptoms that will help you understand whether your rabbit is having issues. These signs include:
Rabbit Nibbling on Skin
Your rabbit might start to nibble more often than usual on certain parts of his body (wherever the itchiness from the flea bite is occurring). It’s important that you stop this self-injury behavior as soon as possible as the nibbling in more serious cases may lead to damage to the skin.
Flea Dirt and Eggs
You may also come across flea dirt (dark specks) and flea eggs (white specks) on your rabbit’s fur. Obviously, it will be much easier to identify the flea dirt for white rabbits and flea eggs for their darker counterparts.
For identifying flea dirt, one good way to differentiate it from normal dirt is to conduct a wet paper test. Just get a damp paper towel and gently wipe it over the dirt. If the area around the dirt turns reddish-brown then you are most likely dealing with flea dirt.
Rabbits with Anemia
In the worst-case scenarios where the rabbits are dealing with a large infestation, you may notice that your rabbits are suffering from dangerous health conditions like anemia. Heavy flea infestations will lead to heavy blood loss, especially for younger rabbits.
How to Treat Rabbits with Fleas
You need to take action as soon as you identify fleas on you rabbits (even if there is only one). The earlier you nip the infestation in the bud, the quicker the pest control result will be. Here are some tips we suggest for treating rabbits with flea problems.
Use a Flea Comb
Flea combs are an excellent tool for eliminating fleas from all household pets including rabbits, dogs, and cats. They have different designs to regular pet combs. Typically, flea combs have narrow metal teeth that are closely bunched together (in one or two rows). Gently run the flea comb through the rabbit’s fur until it catches an adult flea or flea egg. Catch the flea and immediately dump it into a bowl of soapy water to prevent it from escaping elsewhere.
We strongly advise you to not use chemical-based flea treatments like Frontline and Sentinel on your rabbits. They are way too strong for small pets like rabbits. In addition to these treatments, we also advise you to not use products like flea collars and flea powder. The health of your rabbits will be in danger if they accidentally consume even a small amount of flea treatment.
Flea Baths for Rabbits
As a rabbit owner, you probably already know that it isn’t ideal to give your rabbit a bath, which can be a stressful experience for them. Instead of giving them a bath, you may be better off applying a non-toxic flea spray that’s specifically designed for small animals like rabbits.
Preventing Future Flea Infestations on Rabbits
The rabbits shouldn’t be your only concern when you try to get rid of fleas. You also need to pay special attention to your home and get in the habit of cleaning it regularly to prevent future infestations. We suggest you regularly vacuum the areas of the house where fleas are likely to settle if they aren’t already on the rabbits. This may include the carpet and other fabric-based household materials.
You should also do a careful examination of your rabbit’s home, whether that’s a hutch or a cage. Clean out the area while you keep the rabbit isolated in an area of the house where the fleas are unable to easily escape and hide.
Also, if you like to take your rabbit outside, make sure you do a careful examination of the rabbit’s body before you let him back inside the house. You don’t want any uninvited guests hitching along your rabbit’s fur after you get back home.
Common Questions About Fleas on Rabbits
We hope the above information will point you in the right direction as far as treating fleas on rabbits. We strongly advise you to reach out to your vet if you are ever uncertain about treating your rabbits. Here are some common questions that rabbit owners have about flea control.
Can Rabbits Die from Fleas?
In most cases, probably not. However, serious infestations can lead to dangerous health consequences for your rabbits, such as the development of anemia, so rabbits should be treated as soon as a single flea is identified on the fur or other parts of the rabbit’s body.
Can Bunnies Get Fleas from Dogs?
Yes, for fleas, bunnies are just as attractive as dogs are. Fleas will go wherever they can feed so we would strongly suggest keeping your bunnies away from dogs during the peak flea season. Fleas will jump from one animal to another.
What Health Problems Can Fleas Cause in Rabbits?
Aside from anemia, rabbits that are affected by fleas may also develop other unwanted health problems such as lesions on their skin. This can happen if the rabbit starts to nibble excessively on their skin as a result of the itchiness from the flea bite.