Is my Rabbit Happy? A Massage Might Help!
Its usually good to wait for the bunny to lay down (unless you get on great with it). I start with the nosies but not everyone will be able to. its very simple, I rub my nose on Cocoa's nose. Its that easy, and super relaxing. Cocoa will grit her teeth for hours after a good little nose massage.
The shoulder rub: This is also quite simple, being gently, just rub circles around each of their shoulders. Sometimes I do this with nosies, sometimes without. But she certainly enjoys it and will lie flat on the ground for a while after sleeping. make sure not to poke their inner ears, that will wake them up.
The back rub: basically an extension of the Shoulder rub, instead of sticking to the shoulders, just rub one long stroke own her back, you can go for the middle down the spine, or two hands on both sides. If your bunny relaxes its shoulders and lies further to the ground, it's a good sign.
The tummy Massage (not for beginners): If your bunny is used to being handled then this is the one to do. If your bun doesn't but still lies with their Tummy exposed then that is perfect too. I would start on the floor, rubbing from just under the front legs to the back legs, sometimes with a nice soft blanket. Mother bunnies do this to the babies to get their digestion working, so because Cocoa never got that, she really responds to it. I don't pick her up to do it, but if you can. then lying them on their backs is the best way. Most bunnies will fall asleep on their backs, so giving them a tum rub as they fall asleep is the epitome of relaxation.
Chin Massages: Cocoa doesn't always like this one. Bunnies chins are sensitive,they use them to identify things by rubbing off things like their babies, or family members to recognize them. So if your bunny flinches, I wouldn't. The dd time Cocoa will let me do it, and I just place my open hand, palm up under her chin slowly, and then gently scratch underneath.
The Ear Massage: Cocoa's favorite massage is the ear and face. I start with her ears and softly stroke one ear from the base to the top, then move on the to the other. Or you can do both ears at once. For this start at the nose and keeping you hand closed around, but not touching, the face. Then as you move your hand up past the jaw, the ears will catch in your hand and you can either keep going down the buns back, or hold the ears and rub them as you lift them up and then drop them.
Another ear massage is where you simply use your fingers to rub circles at the base of their ears, then rub again from the base to the end of the ear.
Cheek massage: Cocoa not only loves this, but its an important way for me to check her teeth and gums. Sometimes bunnies can have teeth problems that affect their eating, so my rubbing very small circles on their cheeks, I can check for lumps or cuts.
All round face Massage: This I can do anywhere with Cocoa, she will stop what ever she's doing, get comfy and lift her chin for me to get at her face. Starting with her nose, rub gently between the eyes, from bottom to top, when you reach the ears, rub the base of each ear, and then a knuckle rub (it sounds rough, its not) for the cheeks. Repeat for as long as you like.
Another way of doing the face massage is by using one hand held in the 'n' shape, use this to start at the nose and rub cheeks and nose simultaneously .