Can rabbits get fleas?
Yes, rabbits can get fleas. Typically they get fleas from other animals; fleas are great jumpers and are not picky about whose fur they jump into. This can be quite bothersome for your furry friend but we will guide you on how to properly care for your furry friend during this itchy time.
How do they get fleas?
As mentioned before bunnies usually get fleas from other animals but this is definitely not the only way it can happen. Rabbits can get fleas from playing outside or visiting another location like their vets office or someone else’s house. Your rabbit can also get fleas from new bedding or possibly new hay. Fleas can live without food or a host for up to a week so they can be in the grass, a vets office, hay or their bedding waiting for their next meal to jump onto.
How to tell if your rabbit has fleas?
You can usually tell based on your rabbit’s behavior. If your rabbit has started biting, licking, chewing or scratching itself then it is probably suffering from fleas. Sometimes you can also see the fleas on your rabbit, they do have thick fur and based on their fur color they may be harder to see but if you spend ample time petting your rabbit (which we highly recommend) then you may be able to see the fleas. Fleas are about 3 mm long or 1/10th of an inch so you can see them if you look.
Flea treatment options for your rabbit
You can meticulously comb your rabbit’s fur with a fine tooth flea comb, something similar to what you would see in a human lice kit. Just be sure to clean the comb after each stroke, you can clean it in a bowl of warm water that has been mixed with one or two drops of soap. You can wipe off the comb with a towel to ensure you’ve removed all potential fleas that may be stuck in the comb. The fleas that are in the bowl of warm soap and water will be pulled to the bottom of the bowl by the soap and drown.
You will want to ensure that if any fleas came off of the comb and onto the towel that they are dead, if they are not dead you can pinch your fingernails together to kill them but be careful! They are excellent jumpers! If you see that your rabbit is still suffering from fleas after attempting to manually remove them then there are other options. There are some rabbit friendly flea killers on the market but we suggest you contact your vet for the best recommendation to treat your bunny before purchasing any over the counter flea killers.
WARNING: Never use Tea Tree Oil on your rabbit to kill fleas or you will kill your rabbit.
Unsafe flea treatments for your rabbit
We suggest you never use any over the counter flea treatments for your bunny without consulting your vet first. Some of them can be quite harmful to your rabbit, they can become very ill, injured, and can potentially die from exposure to these products. This includes but is not limited to flea drops, dips, collars and powders.
Most of the over the counter drop options are much too strong for your rabbit. Using a collar is likely too strong as well and your rabbit will not like wearing it and will likely attempt to chew it off which could be fatal to your rabbit. Dips require a bath and rabbits should never be bathed, this alone could send them into shock not to mention the harm the flea treatment product can cause.
Using a flea treatment product that has not been advised or approved by your vet is never a good idea. Please take this seriously and consult your vet prior to treating your rabbit. There are flea treatments on the market that are “rabbit approved” but all rabbits are different based on size, breed, age and skin tolerance so even these products should not be used without vet approval.
Prevention of fleas in rabbits
There are some precautions you can take to lessen your bunny’s chance of getting fleas. It is always best to keep your bunny in a familiar area, if you let your bunny outside don’t venture out from where you typically go, this will decrease their chance from getting fleas from an outside source. Also, be sure to check any new products you get for your bun before giving it to your bun. This includes their bedding, hay, pellets and toys. It won’t hurt to do a once over of these products prior to giving them to your bunny.
Lastly, check your bun often! If you catch fleas early on it is so much easier to stop the spread. Remember that you can use a flea comb.
About the Author
My name is Vanessa and I love my buns. My current house rabbit is Mr. Bunny, he is a black and white Dutch that just turned 9 years old.
I believe that rabbits are a magnificent animal that make great pets for SOME people. My mission is to share what I have learned about rabbits over the past 20 years to improve the relationship between our pets and us. Please contact me or comment if you have any questions or comments.