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Home > Rabbits > Can You Use Dog Shampoo On Rabbits? Recommendations & FAQ

Can You Use Dog Shampoo On Rabbits? Recommendations & FAQ

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While you really shouldn’t be bathing your rabbit as it can be both bad for their coats and skin as well as traumatic1, there are rare occasions where you’ll need to clean them up. Usually, this will be more of a spot cleaning (mostly on their feet and butts). If you’re spot cleaning your rabbit, you might be wondering about what kind of shampoo is safe to use.

Many first-time rabbit owners wonder if you can use dog shampoo on rabbits and whether it will be effective at cleaning them. The short answer is that while dog shampoo would be able to clean your rabbit, in most cases, it shouldn’t be used. Read on to discover why that is and what shampoo you should be using!


Why Dog Shampoo Shouldn’t Be Used On Rabbits

Our rabbit friends have extremely delicate, sensitive skin, and many dog shampoos contain chemicals that are too harsh and irritating for them. These chemicals can also strip your rabbit’s coat of its natural oils. That said, if you find a dog shampoo that is hypo-allergenic, for sensitive skin, or made with natural ingredients, it should be fine to use on your pet. Overall, though, it’s recommended that you always go with a shampoo that is made particularly for rabbits as it will be the safest choice.

rabbit bath
Image Credit: Roselynne, Shutterstock


What To Look for In a Rabbit Shampoo

Because it’s not that safe to use a dog shampoo to clean your rabbit, you should look for a shampoo specifically for them. To aid you in finding the perfect shampoo for your pet, here are a few things you should look at when deciding on one.

1. Ingredients

Ingredients are the most important thing to look at when you’re getting rabbit shampoo. Because rabbits have delicate skin, you’ll need a shampoo with gentle ingredients. That means looking for products that use all-natural or organic ingredients, plus ones that don’t have chemicals or additives. Shampoos that are hypo-allergenic or made for sensitive skin are usually a good bet. Shampoos that also offer skin and coat conditioning are excellent choices as well.

2. Made for Rabbits

It’s not just dog shampoos you want to avoid; it’s shampoos for cats and humans as well. You should try to stick with shampoos that have been specially formulated for rabbits (or small animals) as these products will be made with gentler ingredients and are often pH balanced to meet your rabbit’s needs.

rabbit lying on the carpet
Image Credit By: ZouZou, Shutterstock

3. Shampoo Type

Your choice of shampoo isn’t limited to simply a regular shampoo. There are also several dry shampoos out there for rabbits and small animals. Since you don’t want to stick your rabbit in water if you don’t absolutely have to, dry shampoo may be the better choice. The downside of dry shampoos is that they sometimes don’t clean as well as the regular ones. You’ll need to decide whether getting a shampoo that requires rinsing or a dry shampoo that may leave them a little dirtier is better for your pet.


Final Thoughts

While a dog shampoo could clean up your rabbit’s poopy butt or dirty feet, it’s really best not to use these products. At least, not unless they are hypo-allergenic, made for sensitive skin, or all-natural (or a combination of these). The best option will always be to go with a shampoo made particularly for rabbits or small animals, though, as these products will contain the safest ingredients and be pH balanced for their skin. Also, remember that water and your rabbit aren’t a great mix, so you might want to go with a dry shampoo over a regular one to avoid any potential trauma to your pet. Rabbits are sensitive animals that do not tolerate temperature changes or stress well which is why they should only be bathed if absolutely necessary.

Featured Image Credit: Ana Nikolayeva, Pexels

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