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Home > Rabbits > Is Dawn Dish Soap Safe for Rabbits? Is It Effective for Cleaning?

Is Dawn Dish Soap Safe for Rabbits? Is It Effective for Cleaning?

Rabbits make wonderful pets but they can be messy sometimes. Even if your rabbit is litter box trained, they can still have occasional accidents or get themselves dirty. The good news is that rabbits like to be clean and will groom themselves regularly1.

But if you find that your rabbit needs help keeping themselves clean or you’re wondering how to clean their enclosures, the first thing to consider is what product to use for these tasks. Is Dawn dish soap a safe option? Will it clean effectively?

The short answer is that Dawn dish soap can be used occasionally if needed, but it shouldn’t be a regular product used for bathing your rabbit. However, when you’re cleaning your rabbit’s cage, Dawn dish soap is perfectly safe and effective. Let’s learn more about the soap and how to use it with rabbits.Divider-rabbit2

Bathing a Rabbit

Rabbits don’t usually need help keeping clean. They groom themselves almost constantly, so you won’t have to give them baths that often.

Dawn dish soap is not designed to be used as a pet shampoo. Pet shampoo is pH balanced for animals and usually contains ingredients to soften and soothe skin. It’s gentle enough for pets because it’s made with their needs in mind.

Dawn dish soap contains harsher ingredients than pet shampoos, but it’s still gentle enough to be used on wildlife that has been affected by oil spills. Since Dawn is effective at cutting through grease on dishes, it can also work to remove grease and oil from wildlife. The soap forms a chemical reaction when it combines with grease or oil and effectively traps it, removing it easily from whatever it’s covering.

If your rabbit somehow winds up covered in greasy grime, Dawn dish soap can be used to remove it from their fur. If your rabbit just needs a bath because they’re dirty, you’d be better off using something made for rabbits. Shampoos for small animals work best because they are formulated for a rabbit’s skin. While Dawn is safe to use on rabbits, you shouldn’t do so regularly.

rabbit bath
Image By: Roselynne, Shutterstock

If a Rabbit Has Fleas

Rabbits can get the same fleas that dogs and cats get. If your rabbit spends a great deal of time outdoors or is around other animals that have fleas, they can easily acquire them.

To prevent this, rabbits can be treated with topical flea treatments once a month, but only if these are approved by a veterinarian first. In some cases, it could be the same topical flea treatment that can be used on dogs and cats, but you must make sure it’s safe before you use it on your rabbit. These medications are made for certain animals of certain ages and weights, so it’s important to check with a vet before using any flea prevention on a rabbit.

If your rabbit isn’t treated for fleas and winds up with an infestation, you’ll need treatment to effectively kill the fleas. In the meantime, you can give your rabbit a bath with Dawn dish soap.

Dawn Dish Soap & Fleas

Dawn Shampoo

If you need to kill fleas in a hurry to give your rabbit relief and buy a bit of time before you get flea medication from the vet, Dawn dish soap will work. Only use the original blue Dawn dish soap for this. Dawn will remove fleas immediately, but it’s not an effective regular flea treatment.

Using warm water and avoiding the eyes and face as much as possible, gently bathe your rabbit using a few drops of Dawn. Fleas usually float in water due to their exoskeletons. Dawn dissolves these exoskeletons, causing fleas to sink and drown. While Dawn shouldn’t be regarded as an effective flea treatment, it will kill fleas if you need to do so in a hurry.

While your rabbit is in the bath, use a flea comb to remove as many fleas as you can, and then dip the comb in the soapy water to remove them and let them sink.

Dawn isn’t considered a flea treatment because it won’t prevent fleas from returning. If your rabbit has a bath with Dawn and has most of their fleas removed, any fleas left in the environment can wind up right back on your rabbit afterward. That’s why effective flea treatment from the vet is important in addition to a bath with Dawn.


Cleaning a Rabbit’s Cage

Dawn dish soap can be used to clean a rabbit’s cage, but everything must be rinsed thoroughly. Rabbits shouldn’t consume the soap, so it’s best to make sure there is no soapy residue left on anything when you’re done.

The soap will get things clean but it is not a disinfectant. It doesn’t kill bacteria or viruses unless you’re using antibacterial Dawn. This Dawn is fine to use for your rabbit’s things, but it should not be used to bathe your rabbit for any reason. Blue Dawn is best for that.

You can wash your rabbit’s food bowls, toys, cage tray bottom, and litter box with Dawn or antibacterial Dawn dish soap. Be sure to rinse everything well and dry it before placing it back in the cage.

For more germ-killing power, you can wash the cage with a solution of vinegar and water. For things that need to be washed daily, like food bowls and toys that get soiled, Dawn is easy to keep on hand and will keep things clean and disinfected (if you’re using antibacterial Dawn).

rabbit cage II_photosforyou_Pixabay
Image By: photosforyou, Pixabay

How Often Should a Rabbit Be Bathed?

Rabbits don’t like water. Giving them a bath can stress them because they are prey animals that don’t like to feel vulnerable. You should only bathe your rabbit when it’s absolutely necessary. When they’re covered in a substance that they can’t clean themselves, like oil or grease, or when they have fleas, baths will help them stay clean and parasite-free. But they shouldn’t be bathed regularly.

Rabbits do a good job at keeping themselves clean through self-grooming. When rabbits are wet, they are more likely to get sick. They can catch a cold or become hypothermic. If your rabbit has urine or feces stuck in their fur, you can give them half a bath and just clean the affected area without completely soaking them.


Final Thoughts

Original blue Dawn dish soap is effective at cleaning your rabbit’s food dishes and cage. It can be used in a bath for rabbits with flea infestations because it compromises the fleas’ exoskeletons, causing them to sink and drown. It can also be used to get grease or oil off your rabbit’s fur, but it shouldn’t replace a shampoo that is specifically designed for small animals.

Rabbits don’t need regular baths because they keep themselves clean through grooming. Dawn dish soap should not be used to regularly bathe your rabbit. It should also be thoroughly rinsed from your rabbit’s things before they are placed back in the cage. Rabbits should not eat the soap.

If you want to disinfect your rabbit’s things and cage, you can use antibacterial Dawn dish soap. This soap should not be used to bathe your rabbit, even for fleas. Remember to use only the blue Dawn for bathing your rabbit when necessary.

Featured Image Credit: Ligfo, Shutterstock

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