Rabbits are some of the best pets that a family can have! With proper care and love, your rabbit can be very docile and a major part of the family. Many rabbit owners have begun dressing their pets in clothing for various holidays or other events.
Putting clothing on a rabbit is possible with patience and quality care. Rabbit clothing and accessories can be found at many pet stores. The most important thing to remember is that rabbits should never be forced into clothing, but clothing should be used at their pace.
If you have a rabbit and would like to put them into clothing, we have created the perfect guide from you. From how to train your rabbit for this process to which clothing to buy, you will learn everything needed to dress your pet.
Is It Okay to Dress a Bunny in Clothes?
Before we jump into the ins and outs of putting your rabbit in clothes, let’s talk about if it is ok. Clearly, you can put almost any animal in clothes if you find the right clothing for the pet. However, it is not always morally correct to put your rabbit in clothing.
You will want to always keep some commonsense precautions in mind and never force your rabbit to wear clothing. While you can encourage your rabbit to wear clothing, never hurt your bunny or be overly pushy. Here’s some basics to keep in mind.
How Tame is Your Bunny?
If you have a rabbit that is new to your home or you have not put much love and care into, you may find that putting clothes on the rabbit is impossible. Some rabbits are naturally less likely to allow you to hold or pet them. If your rabbit is standoffish, it should be clear that clothing is not an option.
A rabbit that is not as calm or has not been held as much as others will automatically turn to aggression or fear.
If you begin to put clothing on a rabbit that is not comfortable, here’s what could happen:
- The bunny will become overly stressed and can be easily hurt. They will naturally try to get away and can be easily harmed.
- If you do get the clothing on the rabbit, they will become even more fearful. This can cause them to try to bite or scratch off the clothing.
- If the rabbit does not calm down, they can cause pain to themselves by attacking the clothing.
- It will be almost impossible to catch the rabbit and remove the clothing once they area already scared.
- Some rabbits will begin biting and kicking, which can quickly harm you while you put the clothing on the bunny.
We will later discuss how to better prepare your rabbit for clothing. However, if your rabbit is not comfortable with being held, you will want to avoid trying to put on clothing until you have worked on this.
Does Your Bunny See Happy in Clothing?
If you have a calmer bunny that is willing to allow you to put on clothing, you still do not want to force them into this. Rabbits that are held often are more likely to feel comfortable in clothing, but not all animals like clothing. If you find that your rabbit looks annoyed, upset, or simply irritated in clothing, this may not be the choice for your pet.
If your rabbit is calm but becomes aggravated when you put the clothing on them or once they have the clothing on, you should take the clothes off. If your rabbit does not seem annoyed by an outfit, then you should be good to move forward. It is also important to keep in mind that not all clothing will affect your rabbit the same, they may be fine with some things over others.
Always Choose the Right Clothing
We will jump into the ins and outs of choosing your rabbit’s clothing, but this is something you must put much thought into. You should highly consider the type of clothing you are putting on your rabbit and do research on the brand you are purchasing from. You cannot simply throw doll clothes onto your bunny.
You will want to make sure that you consider the sizes available and the types of clothing that you are considering. A larger rabbit will clearly need larger clothing, or they will be highly uncomfortable. Just as a smaller rabbit will need smaller clothing or they will be tripping over the outfit or it will fall off of them.
Assess Your Rabbits Comfortability
Some rabbits will wear clothing no problem and enjoy it. However, other rabbits may start off not minding the clothing but will become uncomfortable over time. It is important that you continually monitor your rabbit while in the clothing and look for signs of distress.
If your rabbit begins to agitate the clothing or try to bite or scratch it off, it is time to remove the clothing. You should never leave the bunny in an outfit for long periods of time. Simply putting on an outfit for a few pictures or for small periods of time is fine, but never leave the clothing on for an entire day.
A final thing to keep in mind is that your rabbit may not want to move as much with the clothing on, especially if the outfit restricts leg movement. If you see that your rabbit is moving less, holding a leg in a way that is not normal, or just laying down in the clothing, you may want to remove it. You do not want an outfit to cause soreness or harm your rabbit in any way.
How to Prepare Your Rabbit for Clothing
Even the tamest bunny will still resist clothing at first. There are very few rabbits that will completely accept clothing without some agitation, but this does not mean clothing is impossible. If you have a pretty tame rabbit already that you have petted often, clothing should be a possibility.
The first step is to assess where your rabbit is at now and where you think they will need to be before clothing is a possibility. If you have just purchased your bunny and they are still getting used to you, do not put them in clothing. If you have owned your rabbit for some time and pet them regularly, you should be able to begin putting clothing on them quickly.
The key to getting your rabbit in clothing is to ensure you have a good bond and always be patient.
Always Respect Your Pet
Some may view rabbits as a lesser pet, but these are very intelligent animals that are full of love and can make great companions. If you want your pet to bond with you, it is important that you are always paying attention to their needs. In this case, if they are not happy in the clothing, have anxiety, or in any way fearful, remove the clothing immediately.
When it comes to putting clothing on your rabbit, always pay attention to the signals they are giving you.
If you notice any of the following, take a break and try again:
- Making Grunts or Other Sounds
- Excessive Heartrate
Putting clothing on your rabbit should never become a battle of strength, as you will most likely win. Instead, it should be a relatively enjoyable experience for you both. While most rabbits will not be highly excited to wear clothing, they should not actively resist or harm themselves trying to avoid the clothing.
Steps to Dressing Your Rabbit
Before you begin dressing your rabbit in clothing, you will want to create a good relationship with your pet. If you are already holding your pet daily and it feels safe with you, they should be ready for attempting clothing. However, if you are not petting your rabbit regularly and the rabbit is not easily held, you want to work on this relationship first.
Once you have a good, trusting relationship with your rabbit, you can begin introducing them to clothing. The steps to follow for dressing your rabbit are:
- Begin by getting your pet accustomed to the clothing. By allowing them to smell the clothing first can help them feel more comfortable. Unfamiliar smells can make a rabbit more fearful from the start.
- Before putting the outfit fully on, just lay the clothing on top of the rabbit. This will get them used to feeling the material on their fur. They will be less likely to protest if they have already felt the material.
- Once your rabbit is a bit more used to the clothing, you can try to put the outfit on your pet. The best time to do this is when your rabbit seems content and happy. It is best to do at a time when they are less active but not sleeping.
- Start by petting your rabbit and giving them some extra love. Never simply scoop your rabbit up and begin dressing it, but rather give it some petting and snuggles first.
- Put the outfit on slowly and monitor rabbit behavior during the process. If they resist at first, give them a break and try again.
- If your rabbit is highly resistant to the clothing, stop the process and postpone until another day. A few minutes of looking cute is not worth scaring your pet.
- If your rabbit is willing to allow you to put on the clothing, simply put it on quickly but safely. Always keep a good grip on your rabbit or place them on a flat, safe surface for this process.
- Once your rabbit is dressed, look over your pet and make sure the outfit fits properly. If you see any restrictions or your rabbit cannot move freely, take the outfit off and get a different size.
Monitor your rabbit’s behavior throughout the entire process. Never leave your rabbit unattended with clothing on and always remove clothing before the pet goes to sleep.
Choosing Your Rabbit’s Clothing
While finding clothing for rabbits is not impossible, it is not always the easiest task. You may have to search online or visit local pet stores for rabbit specific clothing. There will be less rabbit specific clothing than is offered for other animals, such as dogs.
However, it is important that you put a lot of thought and care into choosing the clothing for your rabbit. If you cannot find rabbit specific clothing, you must consider how the clothing you are choosing will fit your pet. You do not want the clothing to restrict their movements, be too snug or loose, or get in the way if your bunny uses the restroom.
Some key things to keep in mind when choosing the clothing for your rabbit are:
- Do not get clothing that has a strong smell or is made from scratchy materials. These can be harmful to your rabbit’s skin and fur. Also, if you can wash the outfit before putting it on your bunny with a safe detergent.
- Try to avoid purchasing clothing that has extra pieces that your rabbit can easily get to. Having buttons, ties, or excess fabric around the mouth will entice the bunny to chew these pieces. This can lead to choking or digestion problems for your pet.
- Always ensure that the clothing does not cover any parts of the rabbit’s face. Rabbits will be very anxious if the clothing covers their mouth, nose, ears, and especially eyes.
- Start with the “less is more” approach when choosing your rabbit’s first outfit. They will be more likely to allow a few smaller pieces compared to an entire outfit.
Make sure to look over the sizing charts for the clothing you are considering before purchasing. You will want to choose clothing that fits your rabbit and is not too tight or loose. It may be best to start with purchasing two sizes until you figure out which size is ideal for your pet.
Can Your Rabbit Wear Dog Clothing?
While you may want to search online for rabbit specific clothing, it may be very hard to find rabbit clothing local to you. This can make it hard to see what you are buying and see if it is the correct size for your rabbit. However, one thing that many have realized is that dog clothing can fit most rabbits perfectly and is a great alternative.
Clearly when choosing dog clothing for your rabbit, you will want to follow the same mindset that you would with rabbit clothing. Always keep in mind that your rabbit is a living, caring animal and that you should never force them into wearing clothing.
With that being said, you can find a wide array of dog clothing at local supermarkets and pet stores that will fit rabbits.
Of course, when choosing dog clothing for most rabbits you will need to choose small sized clothing. Luckily, there are dog clothing in almost every size and some very small breeds are comparable in size to rabbits. You will want to look over the clothing and ensure that you are choosing a size that is realistic for your pet.
Just as you would do when choosing rabbit specific clothing, you will want to put thought and time into choosing dog clothing for your bunny. Some benefits and things to consider about dog clothing for your rabbit are:
They Fit Your Rabbit’s Body Shape
Surprisingly, most dog clothing will fit your rabbit’s body shape perfectly. While it is hard to believe that a rabbit and dog are that similar in shape, they actually are. Most dog clothing will have spots for your rabbits two front paws, two back legs, and clearly a space for their head.
Of course, you will want to look over the clothing and make sure that it follows the natural shape of your rabbit. Some dog clothing may have more restricting leg areas, which you will want to avoid.
Choose Quality Items
While dog clothing is more abundantly available, it is not always the best quality. You do not want to purchase your rabbit clothing that seems low quality or may break down with wear. The last thing you want is for the clothing to fall apart and your rabbit eat a piece of the outfit.
Consider the Material
Just as you will in rabbit specific clothing, it is important to look over the material being used on the dog clothing. Many dog clothing items will be a thicker material, which can be a bit heavy or restricting to your bunny. You will want to choose dog clothing that is lighter and will not weigh down your rabbit.
Can the Clothing be Cleaned?
Another important thing to keep in mind is if the dog clothing you are choosing can be washed or cleaned easily. As you know, most bunnies are regularly using the restroom, drinking water, or munching on foods, which can cause the clothing to get dirty. You will want to choose a material that can easily be washed.
Consider the Availability
If you have found rabbit specific clothing in your area, it may be best to just purchase this. However, if you have not found clothing that is made for rabbits near you and you do not wish to order this, dog clothing is often more available. This will heavily rely on your area and the types of pet stores near you.
Think About the Costs
If you find rabbit clothing online or at a local store near you, it is important to consider the overall costs. At times, specialty clothing such as rabbit clothing will be more expensive than similar dog clothing. In this case, it may be best to purchase dog clothing that is similar.
However, you can always shop on Amazon or other online retailers and find rabbit clothing that is relatively low in price. Overall, it highly depends on your personal budget and what you are looking for, for your pet.
Can a Rabbit Wear a Collar?
One form of clothing that many choose for their rabbit is a collar. In theory, you can easily put a collar on your rabbit and may even be able to use these for taking your rabbit for a walk.
However, collars are actually not the best choice for your pet. They can easily choke your rabbit and can cause distress for many bunnies. In fact, if you would like to take your rabbit for a walk, the collar can pull on their neck and head, causing pain.
While we will discuss better options for your rabbit, if you truly want to put the rabbit in a collar, you must consider these safety tips:
- Absolutely never force your rabbit to wear a collar! Just as we discussed with clothing, you will always want to consider your rabbit’s feelings and never force them into wearing the collar.
- Always choose a collar that fits your rabbit properly. You will want the collar snug enough that it does not slip off but loose enough that your rabbit can breathe properly.
- If you plan to use a leash with the collar, always ensure that it is long enough. Rabbits can be fast and a bit unpredictable. You never want your rabbit to choke because they have run the length of the leash quickly.
- Always allow your rabbit to lead when walking. You do not want to jerk your rabbit with the leash as this can cause damage to their frail bones.
- You should always watch your rabbit when wearing a collar. You do not want them to get caught on something due to the collar. This can quickly cause strangulation.
- Never tie your rabbit’s leash to an object and leave them. Collars can become dangerous very quickly. Instead remove the collar and put your rabbit in their designated cage or home.
While collars can be a cute addition to your rabbit’s wardrobe, they should not be used often. If you do use a collar, never leave your pet alone and always monitor the collar around your rabbit’s neck.
A Harness is Often a Better Option
Just as readily available and a much safer option is the harness. These can be purchased for rabbits and used in a way that is highly similar to a collar. They are safer as they create a more even distribution of weight through the rabbit’s body, not putting direct pressure on the neck.
You will want to find a harness that fits your rabbit correctly, as this is just as important as it is with a collar. The harness will be fastened with Velcro or buckles around your pet and should be snug but not too tight. The best way to ensure a proper fit is to see if you can fit two fingers beneath the harness.
Most veterinarians will highly recommend a harness over a collar. Simply put, they are safer on the rabbit’s neck and less likely to cause damage to their frail bones.
How to Use a Harness
If you plan to use a harness, it is more than likely you will want to leash train your rabbit. While this is not an easy process, it can be done with a little patience and work. You will want to move at your rabbit’s pace and never force your rabbit into walking on a leash.
To easily harness train your rabbit for walking on a leash, you will want to follow these steps:
- Start by simply introducing your rabbit to the harness. You will want to allow the rabbit to smell the harness and become accustomed to the fabric. This should be a similar process to the clothing we mentioned previously.
- Next, you will want to put the harness on your pet. Never force this but rather move at your pet’s pace. You can offer treats and make sure to offer plenty of petting around the time you begin this process.
- If your rabbit highly resists the harness, stop and try again at a different time. If they seem indifferent and are not objecting the harness, continue putting it on.
- Give your rabbit some time to just wear the harness. You do not want to overwhelm them by immediately trying to walk the pet. Instead, give them at least a few hours but preferably use the harness for a few days before leash training.
- If you notice your rabbit begins to look anxious, is messing the harness, or is in distress, always remove it immediately. You never want your rabbit to be in distress.
- After a few days, when your rabbit seems comfortable in the harness, you can begin leash training. Start by simply attaching the leash and allowing your rabbit to walk around with you on the leash.
- You can slowly begin training your rabbit to walk with you on the leash. You should never tug your rabbit or pull them, rather guide them with the leash. Start in a safe, confined area such as in your home or fenced in back yard.
- Remember a rabbit is not a dog, you should not have unrealistic expectations for your pet. You will find that most rabbits simply want to walk slowly and eat grass while on their leash.
With routine training and patience, most rabbits can become leash trained. Of course, this is something that will require you to work closely and spend a lot of time training. You should always remove the leash and harness after a training session and never leave your bunny unattended.
With Proper Care, Your Rabbit Can Wear Clothing
There is nothing cuter than a rabbit wearing an adorable outfit, and this is a possibility with proper care. You will always want to be patient with your pet and ensure that you are not forcing the clothing onto your rabbit. Always remember that a rabbit in clothing should be monitored at all times–never leave your rabbit unattended in an outfit, collar, or harness or they could hurt themselves!
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