How To Care For Your Lop Eared Rabbit

Those adorable lop ears make your bunny look cute as can be, but caring for their delicate floppy ears requires some special attention. Lop-eared rabbit owners need to be armed with the knowledge to keep their bunnies happy and healthy! Get the inside scoop on everything from cleaning routines to understanding your lop’s body language. You’ll be an expert on caring for your lop’s teeth, preventing weight gain, interpreting ear signals, and more. From the origins of lop breeds to preventing ear infections, this is your complete guide to raising a bright-eyed, long-eared, fuzzy ball of joy!

Care for lop rabbit ears

Lop-eared rabbits like the Holland Lop and Mini Lop have ears that flop down on the sides of their heads. This gives them an adorable appearance but also requires some special care to keep their ears healthy. Lop ears are more prone to ear infections and mites than upright ears. Here are some tips for caring for lop rabbit ears:

  • Check ears daily. Look inside the ears for any signs of redness, discharge, odor or debris. The inside of the ear should be clean and pink.

  • Clean ears weekly. Use a soft cotton ball or pad dampened with an ear cleaner recommended by your vet. Wipe out any dirt or wax, being careful not to go too deep into the ear canal.

  • Dry ears thoroughly after baths. Water left in the ear flap can lead to infection. Gently pat ears dry with a towel.

  • Trim fur around ears. Keeping fur trimmed around the ears improves air circulation and prevents moisture buildup.

  • Treat ear mites promptly. If your rabbit is shaking his head or scratching at his ears, he may have ear mites. See your vet for medication.

  • Avoid wet carpet or bedding. The floppy ear can drag through wet spots, exposing the sensitive inner ear to moisture.

With regular ear checks and proper drying and cleaning, you can help keep your lop's ears healthy and happy. Pay extra attention to monitoring and caring for these cute floppy ears!

How to clean lop rabbit ears

Cleaning your lop rabbit's ears regularly is important to prevent ear infections. Here are some tips on how to safely and effectively clean lop ears:

Supplies Needed:

  • Cotton balls or pads
  • Ear cleaning solution – your vet can recommend a good rabbit-safe brand
  • Towel


  1. Sit with your bunny in your lap or on a table at eye level. Gently tilt your rabbit's head to access one ear at a time.

  2. Dampen a cotton ball with ear cleaning solution. Gently wipe out any debris or wax from the visible part of the ear canal and inner flap.

  3. Take care not to insert the cotton too deeply into the canal, as this can damage the delicate inner ear. Clean only what you can see.

  4. For lop ears that flop closed, gently hold the ear flap open while cleaning.

  5. If excess wax is blocking the canal, use light circular motions to gently loosen and dissolve wax. Don't forcefully scrape or dig.

  6. Use a clean cotton ball for each ear to prevent spreading debris or irritants.

  7. After cleaning, gently pat ears dry with a soft towel. Ensure no moisture is left behind.

  8. Assess after cleaning. Ears should look clean with no odor or irritation. See your vet if problems persist.

  9. Discard used cotton balls and wash hands well after handling ears.

Regular ear cleaning helps remove dirt, debris and waxy buildup before it can cause infection in lop ears. Be very gentle, use proper solutions, and dry thoroughly after baths. With proper care, your bunny's adorable lop ears will stay healthy.

Care for lop rabbit teeth

Lop rabbits, like all rabbits, require diligent dental care due to their continuously growing teeth. Here are some tips for caring for your lop rabbit's teeth:

  • Provide plenty of hay. Hay should comprise 75% of diet. Eating hay promotes healthy grinding and wear on teeth.

  • Feed fresh vegetables. Carrots, leafy greens and celery require chewing and help grind teeth down.

  • Avoid sugary fruits and treats. Sugary foods increase risk for tooth decay.

  • Give chew toys. Untreated wood, mineral blocks and timothy mats promote healthy chewing.

  • Check teeth weekly. Look for any overgrown points or misaligned teeth. Seek vet help for corrections.

  • Have annual dental exams. Your vet will sedate your bunny and fully examine the mouth, filing overgrown teeth if needed.

  • Monitor eating habits. Decreased appetite or food dropping from mouth could indicate painful dental issues.

  • Treat abscesses promptly. Swollen jaw areas must be treated with antibiotics and drainage if pus is present.

With proper dental care, your lop eared rabbit can enjoy excellent dental health into old age. Be diligent about providing plenty of hay and chew opportunities. See your vet at the first sign of any teeth issues for treatment. Proper dental care prevents a lot of pain and medical issues in lops and all breeds of rabbits.

A healthy diet

The key to keeping your lop rabbit healthy is feeding them a balanced diet appropriate for rabbits. Here are some guidelines:

  • Hay should make up 75% of diet. Timothy or other grass hays provide fiber and promote dental health. Offer fresh hay daily.

  • Leafy greens high in nutrients like kale, spinach, romaine. Feed a few cups daily.

  • Vegetables like carrots, broccoli stems, celery. Feed up to 1/2 cup daily.

  • Pellets or feed made for rabbits to provide balanced nutrition. 1/4 cup pellets daily.

  • Occasional fruit like apple slices, banana or melon as treats only. High sugar so limit intake.

  • Always provide fresh, clean water daily in a bowl or bottle.

  • Limit treats with artificial flavors, colors and high fat/sugar. Stick to healthy options.

  • Monitor portions to prevent obesity, which strains the heart and joints.

  • Research safety of any people foods. Onions, chocolate, iceberg lettuce can be harmful.

  • Transition diet changes gradually over a week or two.

Feeding a wholesome diet appropriate for your lop rabbit’s digestive system is key to good health. Consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about safe foods, portions or diet concerns. Proper nutrition helps ensure a long, healthy life.

Rabbit teeth check

It's important to regularly check your lop rabbit's teeth to ensure there are no issues developing that could cause dental pain and health problems. Here is how to check your bunny's teeth:

Needed supplies:

  • Flashlight or other bright light source
  • Q-tips


  1. Sit with your rabbit in a comfortable but secure position. Tightly wrap bunny in a towel with only head exposed if needed.

  2. Shine the light into their mouth. You may need a second person to hold the light while you hold your rabbit still.

  3. Locate the incisors (front teeth). They should align correctly and meet tip-to-tip. Separated or misaligned incisors indicate overgrown teeth (a condition called malocclusion).

  4. Check for overgrown molar teeth farther back on the top and bottom. You may see points sticking out if molars are too long.

  5. Use a Q-tip to gently press against all surfaces of teeth. Your rabbit should not show any signs of discomfort.

  6. Look for any loose teeth, broken points, swelling of gums or abscesses – these require prompt vet attention.

  7. Monitor drooling and jaw chattering as signs of possible tooth pain.

Check teeth weekly to catch any issues early. Seek treatment from your vet if you spot overgrown, misaligned or broken teeth. Proper dental alignment is crucial to your lop rabbit's lifelong health and happiness.

Preventing obesity in lop rabbits

Lop rabbits can easily become overweight, which strains their joints and heart. Here are tips to keep your lop lean and healthy:

  • Feed recommended portions. Follow your vet's advice about ideal amounts of pellets, vegetables and hay daily.

  • Use a smaller dish for pellets to control portions.

  • Select timothy hay, which is lower calorie than alfalfa.

  • Increase exercise opportunities. Allow exercise time in a safe rabbit pen daily.

  • Limit sugary fruit and starchy veggie treats. Offer more leafy greens instead.

  • Weigh monthly. Track weight changes over time and adjust food if needed.

  • Feed measured amounts twice daily rather than free-feeding.

  • Swap high-fat treats for healthier options like apple slices.

  • Keep mealtimes and treat times consistent for a steady routine.

  • Check with your vet before putting your rabbit on a diet. Drastic reductions can be dangerous.

  • Spay/neuter lop rabbits by 6 months of age. This reduces long-term obesity risk.

With a healthy diet and active lifestyle, your floppy-eared lop will maintain a fit, lean and happy body as they hop through their days! Monitor weight routinely to catch any creeping pounds early.

Related Post

Helping Obese Rabbits Lose Weight

Is your lop-eared rabbit starting to look a little too round? Obesity is common in pet rabbits, but can lead to serious health issues. Here are some tips to help an overweight bunny slim down to a healthy weight safely.

  • Gradually reduce pellet portions by 10-15%. Continue decreasing until ideal amount is reached.

  • Increase hay feedings to boost fiber and digestive health.Aim for rabbit to eat hay equivalent to their body size daily.

  • Add more leafy greens, which are lower calorie than starchy veggies.

  • Eliminate high-fat treats like nuts, seeds, crackers. Swap for lower calorie fruits and veggies.

  • Encourage exercise by providing larger pens, engaging in playtime, adding ramps and tunnels.

  • Check weight weekly. Expect gradual loss of 1-2 oz per week for medium sized bunnies.

  • Weigh food for accurate portions. Don't free-feed pellets.

  • Visit your vet to rule out any underlying medical issues. Get advice on diet adjustments.

  • Be patient – rabbit weight loss takes time. Stick to the plan.

With a customized diet and exercise routine suited to your rabbit, you can successfully help an obese lop rabbit return to a healthy weight and enjoy a better quality of life.

Lop rabbit body language

Lop rabbits communicate through body language. Understanding their signals allows you to better interpret their mood and needs. Here are some common lop bunny behaviors:

  • Ears down and relaxed – content and happy

  • Ears back against head – scared or angry

  • Standing upright on hind legs – trying to investigate something

  • Nose nudging – asking for attention or food

  • Circling your feet – requesting to be picked up

  • Lounging on side – very relaxed and comfortable

  • Running & jumping for joy (binkying) – playing and expressing happiness

  • Flicking feet while lying down – irritated or angry

  • Teeth grinding – signals pain or illness

  • Licking lips – hungry

  • Flopping over – very happy and content

  • Stomping feet loudly – angry, afraid or asserting dominance

  • Chin rubbing on items – marking territory

Always observe your lop in context – sleepy lops will be more relaxed, playful buns more active. Get to know your individual rabbit's subtle signals over time.

How much control do lop rabbits have of their ears?

Lop rabbits have less control over their ear positioning and movement compared to rabbits with erect ears. Here's why:

  • The cartilage in lop ears is softened and flattened due to a genetic mutation. This affects muscle function.

  • Ear control is linked to a rabbit's occipital cervical vertebrae in the neck/skull area. The softened cartilage impacts these muscles' ability to move the ears.

  • Upright rabbits can rotate ears 180 degrees to pinpoint sounds. Lops lose some of this range of motion and accuracy.

  • Lop ears are heavier due to being larger and weighted down. The neck muscles tire from moving the heavier ears.

  • Lops often shake their heads more frequently to adjust their droopy ears.

  • When resting, lop ears simply relax down the sides of the head rather than being actively positioned.

While lop rabbits do have some ear control, they have significantly less ability to actively move their ears compared to upright eared breeds. Their cute floppy ears come at the cost of reduced hearing acuity and ear positioning ability.

Interpreting lop rabbit ears

While lop rabbits have less control over their ear positioning, observing their ears can still provide insight into their mood and health. Here's what to look for:

Relaxed ears laying naturally flat – This indicates your lop is content, calm and comfortable. Perked upright ears – If the ears stiffen upward briefly, this signals alertness or curiosity.

Ears folded back – Ears tightly folded back against the neck indicate fear. Watch for this if something startles your rabbit.

One ear up, one down – This uneven ear positioning can mean the upright ear detects an interesting sound.

Twitching ears – Ears that twitch randomly may indicate irritation by mites or debris in the ear canal.

Shaking head – Persistent head shaking can signal ear infection or presence of ear mites.

Ears feel cold – Since blood circulates through the large ear veins to regulate temperature, cold ears can indicate illness.

Ears dragged through wetness – This risks irritation and infection in the ear canal.

Crusty buildup in ears – This could indicate presence of ear mites or infection.

While their expressions are more subtle, attentive lop owners can absolutely learn the nuances of their rabbit's ear signals. Use ear clues along with full body language to understand your bunny's state and mood.

Lop rabbit temperament

Lop rabbits tend to have sweet, playful personalities when properly socialized from a young age. Here's an overview of typical lop rabbit temperament:

  • Affectionate – Lops crave affection from their owners and will happily snuggle up for petting sessions.

  • Gentle – Well handled lops rarely bite or scratch, even when picked up.

  • Calm – With ample exercise time, lops are relaxed and easygoing. They're not constantly on the move.

  • Social – Lops generally get along well with humans, other rabbits and sometimes cats and dogs.

  • Smart – Lops can be litter trained and taught some tricks. They're attentive and observant.

  • Playful – Lops stay playful into adulthood. They love toys, games and rearranging their environment.

  • Prefer routines – Consistent schedules and familiar environments help lops feel secure.

  • Not overly timid – With proper handling from a young age, lops are rarely shy or nervous around their owners.

  • May be territorial – Lops can be possessive of their cage and toys. Spaying/neutering helps curb territorial behaviors.

With positive handling, exercise and affection, the sweet personality of lops shines through and they become delightful lifelong companions.

Lop rabbit history

The origins of lop-eared rabbits can be traced back to 17th century Europe, though their exact beginnings are shrouded in mystery. Here is what we know about the history of these floppy-eared buns:

  • Early origins – Rabbits with lop ears were first depicted in European paintings in the 1600s. The first written account dates to 1631.

  • French Lops – The breed was refined in France in the 19th century. They bred rabbits with increasingly longer lop ears. French Lops became quite popular across Europe.

  • English Lops – English breeders began developing their own lines of lop eared rabbits around 1880, breeding for wide heads and substantial size.

  • Arrival in America – Lops first came to America in the early 20th century as exotic European imports. They generated great interest.

  • Breed diversification – In the 1920s-30s, a multitude of new lop breeds emerged including American Fuzzy Lop, Holland Lop, Mini Lop and more.

  • Rise as pets – By mid 20th century lops became popular exhibition and pet bunnies across Europe and North America due to their sweet personalities.

  • Continued development – Lop breeds continue to be refined today with an emphasis on ear size/position, head shape and temperament.

The long, fascinating history of these endearing floppy-eared rabbits spans centuries and continents – but it's still being written today as lops enjoy widespread popularity!

Anotomical differences

There are some key anatomical differences between lop rabbits and other rabbit breeds that account for the trademark floppy ears:

Head and neck:

  • Shorter, thicker neck limits range of motion for ear positioning

  • Wider skull to accommodate larger ear span


  • Enlarged ear cartilage which is softer and more pliable

  • Longer, heavier ear lobe which pulls the ear downward

  • Decreased strength in ear base muscles makes it difficult to raise ears

  • Reduced blood flow to ears which contain less connective tissue


  • Compressed occipital disks in upper neck/skull area limits ear mobility

  • Deformed atlas bone also contributes

Other factors:

  • Patchy fur around ears allows more light to enter ear canal

  • Higher ear vein exposure means less body heat regulation

These inherited anatomic abnormalities alter ear positioning, control and functioning in lop rabbits. However, responsible breeding minimizes ear issues and other genetic problems in pet lops today.

Lop ears development

A rabbit's trademark lop ears take weeks to fully develop. Here's the timeline:

Birth – Ears are straight up and similar to other rabbit breeds. Ear cartilage has not yet softened and flattened.

2 weeks – Ears start to weaken at the base as cartilage changes. Ears will droop over at the halfway point.

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