Rabbits can get fleas from hay, but it depends on where you made the purchase. It’s unlikely pre-packaged hay from pet stores or a reputable company will contain fleas. However, hay purchased from a local farmer or feed store may contain fleas.
Fleas can be both a messy and scary experience for several reasons. They invade your pet’s coats and sink their teeth into anything they can, including you!
In most cases, treatment can be difficult, so caution is warranted. To protect your fluffy friend from extreme discomfort and financial strain, flea prevention is your best option.
What You'll Learn
- 1 Where Do They Come From, Where Do They Go?
- 2 Where Does The Feed Store Get Hay?
- 3 The Deadly Flea Disease
- 4 Tell Tale Signs of Flea Infestation in Hay
- 5 Why Can’t I Just Kill the Fleas and Feed My Rabbit The Hay?
- 6 How Can I Tell If My Rabbit Has Fleas?
- 7 How Can I Remove Fleas From My Rabbit’s Coat?
- 8 Nab-it for your Rabbit
Where Do They Come From, Where Do They Go?
Fleas are prominent parts of many pet owners’ lives, so where do they come from when we’ve seemingly closed off all sources?
For starters, let’s take a look at what has made its way into our homes. From muddy shoes with grass clippings stuck on them to that small bale of hay bought from the local gas station that doubles as a feed store.
For today’s topic, let’s take a closer look at that hay bale.
Where Does The Feed Store Get Hay?
Hay is primarily grass and legumes that are cut up, dried, and rolled tightly. Hay comes from farmers who have the capacity to either make some extra on the side or those that specialize in hay production.
Where In The Process Do Fleas Come In?
The fleas will latch on wherever they can. They reproduce by planting their eggs in the hay bales during the production process. They are then sent off, incubating in hot storage units and trucks.
They will likely have hatched or will hatch by the time they reach your local feed store.
Where Do They Go?
Fleas will latch tightly onto the skin of whatever animal they can jump to, including rabbits. When a rabbit gets infected with fleas, it will go from fine to extremely uncomfortable in minutes.
The Deadly Flea Disease
Fleas are dangerous little parasites that can cause your friend anemia and severe discomfort. Remember that fleas can drain blood and transmit deadly diseases if left unchecked.
One such deadly transfer is known as myxomatosis, a fatal virus 99% of the time.
Tell Tale Signs of Flea Infestation in Hay
Early in the process of hay infestation, fleas love mice. If your hay was stored in a barn, it was likely mouse infested and, because of this, most likely flea infested.
If you think you see something out of the corner of your eye, get some gloves and some goggles and check it out.
If there are larvae, and especially if there are little black dots, then toss the hay or take it back for a refund.
There’s no point in trying to save the hay at this point in the infestation. The best course of action would be to stop the fleas from getting to your rabbit in the first place.
Why Can’t I Just Kill the Fleas and Feed My Rabbit The Hay?
The chemical levels in a flea elimination product will do more than just take out the fleas. If you take the sprayed hay and use it to feed your rabbit, you are at the risk of losing your rabbit altogether. It’s not a risk that most are willing to take, especially when you can return the hay.
How Can I Tell If My Rabbit Has Fleas?
Your rabbit may have fleas if it seems aggressive. Along those lines, look out for excessive biting or nibbling at their own coats. They might scratch more with their hind legs.
If you have a rabbit with a semi-light to gray coat, check for dark spots in their coat. That spot may well be an adult flea feeding on your rabbit. If you have a rabbit with a darker coat, you can look for white specks in their coat, which would be a good indicator of flea eggs leading to a terrible infestation.
How Can I Remove Fleas From My Rabbit’s Coat?
Flea removal doesn’t have to be expensive if you know how to do it without exacerbating the problem. The goal is to avoid chemical solutions. Most dogs and cats are able to handle a small amount of chemicals, but most rabbits can’t handle it.
It is also not good to use flea prevention collars. Your rabbit will likely chew on them, leading to significant health concerns.
Instead, try these solutions before going to the vet. See a veterinarian if you don’t see results within 24 hours.
1. You can start by using a flea comb. This is a simple solution for a small flea infestation.
2. Apple cider vinegar can be effective since it doesn’t contain any chemicals and can repel fleas (fleas do not like the taste or smell of ACV). Combine apple cider vinegar with a flea comb for great results.
3. Clean your rabbit’s enclosure often and always inspect your rabbit’s hay for potential fleas.
Nab-it for your Rabbit
Rabbits can get fleas from hay, especially if purchased from a smaller store that doesn’t package hay in the safest way possible.
Trying to get more hay for your rabbit than what comes in the dinky little package at Petco? Ask a rabbit-specialized pet store where they get their bulk hay and see if they will sell to you!
Regardless of where you get your hay, take the time to check it, as your pet’s safety is more important than five minutes.