It is rarer for a rabbit to get fleas than it is for a cat or dog, but it does still happen. Finding fleas on your rabbit is concerning. Not only do the fleas pose a health risk to your rabbit, but they can also transfer to other soft surfaces in your home. There, they can survive for up to 100 days and could infect other rabbits or pets in your household. When choosing a flea treatment for your rabbit, be careful. Many treatments that are often recommended for dogs and cats are not safe for bunnies. Continue reading, and we’ll share some safe home remedies for fleas on rabbits as well as the treatment options you’ll want to avoid.
How Do Rabbits Get Fleas
If you discovered fleas on your rabbit, you may be wondering how they got the fleas in the first place. Can rabbits get fleas from hay? Can rabbits get fleas from grass?
Yes, rabbits can contract fleas by spending time outside in the grass or possibly even through the hay in their rabbit house. If you have an outdoor bunny, it is also possible that he or she picked up fleas from a wild rabbit in the area.
If you have dogs or cats in your home, fleas could have transferred from a cat or dog to your rabbit. One of the types of fleas rabbits can get is known as Ctenocephalides felis (C. felides). More commonly known as the cat flea, C. felides can live on dogs, cats, and rabbits. This makes it possible for these animals to pass fleas back and forth.
Safe Home Remedies for Fleas on Rabbits
When you want to know how to get rid of fleas on rabbits naturally, there are a few treatment options to consider.
- Flea comb: If you aren’t dealing with a huge flea infestation, using a flea comb on your rabbit can help remove fleas from their fur. While the comb may not remove all of the fleas, it can help by removing a good amount of them. Be sure to drown any of the fleas you remove to keep them from jumping back onto your bunny. Use alcohol or soapy water to down the fleas.
- Apple cider vinegar: Rabbit fleas vinegar treatments are another home remedy to try. Mix water and apple cider vinegar in a 1:1 ratio and spray it on your rabbit’s skin. Fleas do not like the way vinegar smells, and it can even impact their ability to breathe.
- Diatomaceous earth: What kills fleas instantly home remedy? Diatomaceous earth is a great option to try. While it won’t kill fleas right away, they may begin to die after as little as four hours. If you plan to use diatomaceous earth on your bunny, be sure you choose food-grade diatomaceous earth. It won’t cause any harm if it is ingested. You can rub a little diatomaceous earth on your bunny’s fur or scatter some inside of their rabbit pen.
Other Safe Treatments to Consider
How do I get rid of fleas on my rabbit using flea treatments from the vet? Many flea treatments for dogs and cats have also been shown to be a rabbit-safe flea treatment option. Here are a few you can try:
- Topical treatments: These include Revolution, Program, Stronghold, and Advantage flea treatments for rabbits. You should always check with your veterinarian before trying any of these treatments to ensure you choose the correct dose. Since rabbits are smaller than the cats and dogs these products are designed for, dosing will vary.
- Flea powders: You can also use some flea powders on rabbits. Look for powders formulated with 5% carbaryl insecticide. Avoid any powders with peppermint, pennyroyal, eucalyptus, or other herbs that are poisonous to rabbits.
Unsafe Treatments You Should Avoid
In some cases, the answer to, “can fleas kill rabbits,” is yes. Fleas can transmit the nearly always fatal virus myxomatosis to rabbits that have not been vaccinated against it.
However, while the fleas themselves could potentially threaten your rabbit’s life, so too could choosing the wrong treatment method. Many of the treatments that are recommended for cats and dogs are not safe for rabbits and should not be used.
When you are looking for how to get rid of fleas on bunnies, avoid the following treatment methods:
- Flea baths and dips: Never give a rabbit a flea bath or a flea dip. Rabbits do not like baths and can become overly stressed out during the bath. The extreme stress could cause them to go into shock and may even be fatal. The ingredients found in a flea bath are also not safe for rabbits and could lead to additional health concerns as well.
- Flea collars: Flea collars are also not safe to use on rabbits. Rabbits do not like the feeling of being restrained and will be very unhappy in a collar. Flea collars are also designed for use with larger animals. They contain higher dosages of medication that would be unsafe for a rabbit.
- Some topical flea medications: While there are some topical treatments that are safe for rabbits, you should never use Frontline or Sentinel for your bunny. The ingredients in these treatments are dangerous to rabbits and have led to negative reactions, including seizures or even death in some cases.
How to Prevent Fleas on Rabbits
Taking some measures to prevent your rabbit from getting fleas in the first place can help eliminate the stress of trying to treat them for fleas after the fact.
Make sure the floors in your home remain clean by vacuuming or steam cleaning them on a regular basis.
If one of the rabbits or other animals in your home contracts fleas, consider using a flea bomb or boric-acid carpet treatment. This can help ensure all the fleas are out of the house completely and won’t get passed from one pet to another. If you treat any of the carpets in your home, be sure to keep your rabbits and other pets away from the treated areas for 24 hours.
Final Thoughts: Home Remedies for Fleas on Rabbits
Finding out your rabbit has fleas is certainly not a positive discovery, but choosing a safe and effective treatment can help you get rid of the fleas and keep your rabbit healthy. If you ever have questions about fleas or choosing a safe treatment for your bunny, be sure to consult with your veterinarian.
Frequently Asked Questions
Finding fleas on a rabbit can be difficult due to their thicker fur. The fleas can hide pretty well burrowed deep down in the fur. If you notice tiny specks on your rabbits fur that look like dirt, they could be flea poop, also called flea dirt. To confirm whether the speck is actually flea dirt, put it on a napkin and add a tiny drop of water over it. Blood will appear in the form of a red ring around the spot if it is indeed flea dirt.
Itching is another sign of fleas in rabbits. If you notice your bunny scratching themselves more than usual or see sores or missing fur from excess itching, it may mean that they have fleas.
No, fleas do not live on humans. If your rabbit has fleas, it is possible for the flea to bite your skin, typically on your ankles or feet, but fleas cannot live or lay eggs on human skin.