What If My Bunny Gets Wet?

You might be asking yourself if you can let your bunny play in the rain. What will happen if he gets wet? Some people say that rabbits can even die from water? Is it true or it is a bit dramatic statement?

Rabbits are not naturally designed to be in the water, nor they like water. Although they have very thick, waterproof fur that protects their sensitive skin, if they get too wet they can catch cold and experience hypothermia. So the main recommendation is not to soak your bunny into the water under any circumstance but if he gets wet anyway dry him thoroughly and instantly using a soft towel and even a hairdryer.

Do rabbits really like to play in the rain? Do they need a bath occasionally? How to clean your bunny with (out) water if needed? Can they die from being too wet? How to properly dry your bunny? If you would like to learn more about this topic and to improve your rabbit-care knowledgeable keep reading this article.

Do Rabbits Like Being Out in The Rain?

Some rabbits do. You cannot know if your bunny likes it unless you let him try.

First, make sure that you don’t let your bunny out if the rain is too heavy. Secondly – if your rabbit is still very young or you have a rather old rabbit, better keep them away from the rain. Third- if the rain is light and you have a healthy rabbit, do let him run around the garden but make sure he has easy access to safe, dry and draft-free shelter if he wants to retreat.

Always supervise your rabbit’s outdoor activities. He might need your help. If you detect any sign of discomfort, take your bunny inside. Observe his behavior, if he rushes to the shelter maybe he is not a big fan of the rain!

Remember that bunnies suffer much more from the higher temperatures than from cold. Heat is more dangerous to rabbits while lower temperatures are something that healthy bunnies usually can handle easily.

But if the temperature is too low ( 30-20 F or lower) then your bunny may get hypothermia, a life-threatening condition which makes the whole body works very slow. May end up fatal.

After your bunny finishes his play in the rain, dry him thoroughly with soft towel or you can use paper towel as it has more absorbent power.

Check his ears, as these are especially sensitive. Bunny will try to get rid of every droplet inside by shaking his head but just in case he doesn’t succeed dry ears area with special attention. If ears stay wet, your bunny is at risk to get otitis which is a condition that requires a vet’s attention.

Is It OK If My Rabbit Play In The Snow?

House bunnies don’t develop such thick winter coats as bunnies that live outdoors. That might mean that they would be freezing out there if they are not used to lower temperatures. Just be careful about this.

However, If your bunny enjoys being out in the snow, playing, digging around, managing well the temperature difference that’s just fine. Make sure that he has always access to a safe, warm and draft-free shelter. Don’t leave your rabbit unattended and after he finishes with the play dry him thoroughly and keep him warm.

Can I Bathe My Rabbit?

Rabbits don’t like water, they are not designed for water so wet baths are not their cup of tea!

Usually, you don’t have to bath your rabbit at all. These animals are very clean and they groom them very successfully. In some cases though, the rabbit might need your help as he won’t be able to clean himself as it should.

Obese, injured or disabled rabbits won’t be able to do the cleaning as they should and need your help. Also, older rabbits with some health conditions as well as sick rabbits with diarrhea require your assistance.

Wet baths are not so popular in rabbits, can cause major trauma and you have to be very careful. Dry baths are more convenient for rabbits and can do the work in some cases.

If you would like to know more about topics like :

  • when you should bathe your rabbit?
  • how you should do it?
  • what supplies do you need?
  • what are the dangers of rabbits having a bat?
  • how to get rid of the fleas ( flea bath) ?
  • how to remove urine stains in rabbit’s fur?

do read our article ” Does My Rabbit Need A Bath”.

Why Do Rabbits Stay Dry and Not Get Wet Easily?

As I mentioned before, rabbits are not designed for water. Their skin is very sensitive and mother nature made a special waterproof fur for them to protect this gentle skin and keep them warm. Otherwise, the rabbits in the wild wouldn’t survive.

Let’s see how it is possible that bunnies don’t get wet easily.

  1. Rabbit’s fur has a hydrophobic element. That means that the fur is not absorbing water to some extent. This helps bunny to stay dry and warm, as water never gets near his body.
  2. The second thing is the rabbit’s hair which is quite different from human hair. Every hair consists of 3 elements – cuticle ( outermost layer ), cortex (the main part that provides color, texture and strength of the hair ) and medulla ( innermost layer of the hair shaft). The trick is right there in the medulla – in humans, this layer is a bit shapeless but the rabbit’s medulla is thick, full of cells that are full of air. This air provides excellent insulation to a rabbit. That’s the main reason why rabbit’s fur keeps the rabbit warmer then our hair keeps our head!

How To Dry My Wet Bunny?

One thing is certain – if your bunny gets wet, you must dry him thoroughly. This is very important as wet skin in bunnies carries many complications and problems. Some of them are hypothermia, ear infections, respiratory infection, skin rashes and wounds.

If your bunny is wet because you are trying to bathe him and you submerge him into the water, this can cause the great shock of which bunny can die.

Even if doesn’t die he might end up injured trying to escape. Rabbits toes are not doing great on the slippery surfaces either so they can slip and hurt themself.

So as you can see if your bunny gets wet it is crucial to dry him instantly.

First, you should wrap a bunny is a soft towel. You can also use a microfiber cloth ( due to great absorbent power ) or paper towels.

Along with drying you should talk to your rabbit, comfort him. At that moment your bunny is most likely distressed and your soothing voice should calm him down.

You can place your bunny near some heat source or on a heating pad ( low setting ). If you don’t have a heating pad the bottle full of warm ( not too warm in order to avoid burns) water will do the work. Also, you can warm up your bunny with some nice, soft blanket.

Some people use the hairdryer, for both – to dry the bunny but also to keep him warm. You can try it but set the hairdryer on low speed and low heat. The sound of the hairdryer might be terrifying for your pet but try it pointing somewhere else and not in bunny just to get the rabbit used to the sound first.

Can Bunnies Die From Water?

Bunnies can die from water. Being submerged in water is a great shock for bunnies, they can literally die of that trauma.

Even if they don’t die of shock, they can try aggressively to escape which can cause them terrible injuries. There are some cases in which rabbits broke their own spine trying to run away from water.

Some signs of shock are a drop in body temperature, fast heartbeat, and breathing, cold ears, pale gums. Consider this state as an emergency.

Rabbits can die of some other health issue which was caused by the water. That may happen days after the bath for example and the sudden death of your pet doesn’t seem to be connected with water at all!

Hypothermia in rabbits is a life-threatening condition that is usually caused by water. Rabbit freezes as he gets so wet, that cold water reaches his skin. This condition may kill a rabbit in a very short time. If you notice any sign of it ( weak heartbeat, heavy breathing, cold and pale ears and feet, not responsive rabbit) rush to the vet as this is an emergency.

Final Thought

Rabbits are perfectly capable to cope with few drops of rain. Their fur is like a waterproof coat and they are also able to tolerate lower temperatures ( 40-30 F ).

But if they get wet by accident or you soak them in the water not knowing that they don’t enjoy baths, it is very important to dry them thoroughly and instantly to avoid any complications. Rabbit’s skin is very sensitive and if it gets wet, they cannot warm up which may lead to hypothermia and later to death.

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