Rabbits Hold This Groomer Hopping


Pictures by Anjie Coates

“It began years in the past with a Guinea Pig named Rumble,” Anjie Coates informed me. “He belonged to a yoga teacher and would comply with her actions in her courses. She needed me to groom him. I checked the library, looking for info on grooming small mammals, and there was nothing. I searched the web, too. This was again within the dial-up days.” 

Although info was scarce, Coates gleaned tidbits the place she may. “The extra I discovered, the extra prospects with small mammals magically discovered me,” she shared.

Quick ahead to at present, and Coates has a thriving enterprise, together with many small mammals, at Furry Tails Grooming Salon & Spa in Holden, MA. She even has a particular room devoted to grooming rabbits and different small mammals. 

“I groom seven to eight rabbits sooner or later every week on this house. I’ve a whole set of instruments there; the whole lot I may probably want,” Coates continues. “Rabbits are prey animals with 360-degree imaginative and prescient. I would like all of the animals that come right here to have a spa day, and a prey animal can’t loosen up in the event that they see different pets them as in the event that they wish to eat them.” 

Coates has been grooming for 34 years, and has groomed rabbits all all through her profession, however her rabbit clientele has significantly elevated prior to now 4 years. “They arrive to me from everywhere in the state, and a few are referred to me by their veterinarians from as distant as Maine,” she says. 

Coates is at present finishing a e-book about rabbit grooming, which would be the first of its form. “I like speaking rabbits, and I educate others find out how to groom them,” she continues. “As well as, I’ve a rabbit certification program for groomers that want to be taught rabbit grooming.”

I requested her why a groomer may wish to be taught this specialised ability, to which she replied, “There are six to 9 million pet rabbits in the US and solely round 100 rabbit groomers. If groomers wish to have a distinct segment market and be the one recreation on the town—probably the one recreation in the complete state—rabbit grooming is that area of interest. As a result of it’s a specialty market, groomers can cost way more for rabbit grooming than they’ll for canine and even cat grooming. 

“Moreover, for essentially the most half, I’ve by no means been bitten by a rabbit. They’re very easy to carry again to stability in the event that they change into careworn. There’s a technique of soothing them the place you pet them from the highest of the nostril up the pinnacle and up the ears.” (The feeling mimics the act of 1 rabbit grooming one other.) “I typically groom rabbits in tandem. My assistant’s job is to appease the rabbit utilizing this technique. That’s the space of acquiescence; it says you’re the boss bunny,” she shares.

Listed here are some rabbit grooming suggestions from Coates:

  • Don’t bathe the bunnies. Rabbit fur is much denser than canine or cat fur. For instance, canine could have 7-14 hairs per follicle, however some rabbits have as many as 50. Because of this getting them dry takes a really very long time. As well as, since most pet rabbits haven’t been educated to be groomed and will not be socialized to the method, they’ll’t tolerate being dried by a high-velocity dryer. It could take so lengthy to dry one with a daily dryer that the rabbit stands an opportunity of turning into hypothermic earlier than the method will be accomplished. 
  • Don’t trim the fur on their toes. Whereas rabbits have toes, they don’t have the big digital pad that canine and cats have on their toes. The hair on their toes and legs cushions them as they transfer. Reducing the fur can result in a situation referred to as pododermatitis, or “sore hock.” 
  • Don’t maintain rabbits vertically. If a rabbit jumps from this place, it might hyperextend its legs behind its physique, breaking its personal again. 
  • Don’t “trance” rabbits. This follow, the place somebody holds the rabbit horizontally on their again, induces the rabbit to enter a state of tonic immobility. As prey animals, it’s believed that this habits was developed as a final resort to flee being attacked by a predator. Nonetheless, a rabbit in tonic immobility has a dramatically elevated coronary heart price, which may result in a deadly coronary heart assault. Veterinarians could use this for a quick remedy, nevertheless it ought to by no means be used for extended grooming. 
  • Don’t put ear cleaner in a rabbit’s ears.If obligatory, the pores and skin within the ear will be gently cleaned with a moist material, however no fluid ought to be launched into the canal. Doing so may trigger extreme issues with stability (i.e., vestibular illness). 
  • Don’t use any blade shorter than a #10, and by no means use a skip-toothed blade. Coates says, “Rabbits are mainly fuzzy raisins. Their pores and skin can simply feed into the house between the tooth of a clipper blade. Quantity 4 and 5 blades or guard combs can be utilized if the rabbit just isn’t matted.”
  • Don’t use cologne, waterless shampoos or leave-in merchandise on their fur. As a result of they’re self-groomers, rabbits will ingest something left on their fur. As well as, they’ve delicately balanced digestive methods and upsetting that may trigger deadly gastrointestinal stasis. 
  • Don’t trim vibrissae (whiskers) on rabbits. Coates says, “Whereas rabbits have wonderful distance imaginative and prescient, they don’t see nicely straight in entrance of their faces and have restricted depth notion. Due to this fact, their whiskers are essential sensory instruments for them. It’s doable to pluck lengthy hairs between the whiskers gently, however you could go away them intact.” 
  • Do use small, very sharp trimmers for claw care. Bigger clippers made for canine make it onerous to see the claw when clipping and will enhance the chance of by chance reducing the short.
  • Do examine the genital scent glands. They produce a waxy substance that typically (particularly in chubby bunnies) turns into impacted. It may be gently cleaned with a heat, moist cotton swab. However, Coates says, “They’re malodorous sufficient to make you gag, vomit and cry.” 
  • Do present rabbits with a tender, textured floor whereas engaged on them.A grippy floor they’ll dig their toes into helps them really feel safe, whereas a slippery floor induces panic.
  • Do preserve a quiet setting whereas grooming rabbits. Select the quietest clipper and keep away from loud motorized instruments like Dremels. “An old-style nail file is greatest,” says Coates. 

If rabbit grooming appears like one thing you want to be taught extra about, hop on over and take a look at Anjie Coates’ Fb web page for rabbit groomers. One can find it by typing “Skilled Rabbit Groomers” into the search bar. Hoppy grooming! ✂️


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