Reasons for a Rabbit Pulling Hair

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Reasons for a Rabbit Pulling Hair
Pet rabbits are known to pull out their own hair on occasion. (hadns holding small rabbit image by Denis Tabler from Fotolia.com)

You may notice your rabbit has bald spots or is physically pulling out its own hair. This does not always mean there's a serious problem. Rabbits pull out their own hair for many reasons, such as to make a nest for expectant babies, because of stress, boredom or even nutritional issues. Rabbits need a well-balanced diet and stress-free environments to stay healthy.

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Pregnant and nesting

Pregnant rabbits can and will pull their fur out for nesting purposes. You may even have to purchase or make a nesting box. A small or child's shoebox will work. Layer it with old newspaper shreds for bedding and when placing the box in the rabbit cage, remember to add the pulled-out fur or hair. It is a good idea not to use cat litter, cornhusks, pine, or cedar chips for bedding; these are not good for the rabbit's digestion if eaten. These items could also cause breathing problems and skin irritations. Old newspaper is the best choice. Pregnant mothers will need to be moved to a quiet area to lower stress.

Bored or Stressed

If your rabbit is bored, stressed or neglected it may start self-mutilation such as hair pulling or biting at the skin causing bald spots. Toys are a good way to prevent this. The best choices for toys are things like empty toilet paper rolls filled with hay, and unstained wicker baskets. Baby toys like plastic keys and chain links make good toys for rabbits. A bored rabbit will also chew on furniture, wires, and cords. The best thing for a bored or lonely rabbit is you to play with. You are the rabbit's companion.

Skin Irritations

Several things can cause skin irritation and balding such as skin allergies, mites, and fleas. Ask your veterinarian about how to treat mites and fleas. Do not use front-line flea and tick treatment on your rabbit. It can be fatal. Mites tend to look like white flaky scabs or crust on the skin usually starting at the neck. Rabbits can get bald spots and hair loss if the mites are left untreated.

Over Grooming

Over grooming is a common cause of your rabbit pulling out its own hair or another rabbit's hair as well. If your rabbit is kept in a cage with another rabbit and you notice they both--or just one--have a few bald spots, over grooming could be the reason. One rabbit may pull out the other rabbits hair as it is grooming or vice versa.

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