An extra layer of the flap under the chin of a rabbit is known as Dewlap. This fatty layer consists of many health issues. It is found in both male and female rabbits. A Dewlap Rabbit can probably have some fat issues that would adversely affect their health. Generally, this fold of skin is found in female rabbits once they become sexually mature. The dewlap is commonly found in large rabbit breeds such as the Flemish Giant. If your rabbit also has a Dewlap, then it doesn’t mean they are overweight or obese. We will discuss more Dewlap rabbit throughout this article, so keep reading to know.
What do you mean by Dewlap?
A Dewlap refers to the fold of loose skin hanging around the neck of animals. Rabbits also have Dewlap, and because of this, rabbits look overweight, but actually, they aren’t. The dewlap is mainly found in female rabbits, although it is also found in certain breeds. Sometimes, you may find male rabbits also have a small one. A rabbit with dewlap looks different from the normal one. People sometimes think that their rabbits have just become fat, but that’s not always the case. Here are some characteristics of a Dewlap.
Characteristics of a Dewlap
Mostly, a Dewlap looks like a bump under a rabbit’s chin. However, a small dewlap in rabbits looks like a double chin. Many rabbits have a large dewlap, and it can form around a rabbit’s head. You may observe that only mature female rabbits will develop pronounced dewlaps. However, it is also possible for male rabbits to have a dewlap. But it’s not common for every rabbit breed.
The Flemish Giant breed of rabbits have particularly impressive dewlaps as they belong to the larger breeds. Additionally, lop rabbits also have the propensity to have larger dewlaps than their uppity-eared counterparts. If you are worried that your rabbit may end up having a dewlap, then focus on its health and its diet. Dewlap may lead your rabbits to have various other basic concerns.
Why does my Rabbit have a double chin?
It is easy to notice the difference between an ordinary rabbit and one with a Dewlap. You must have seen a dewlap rabbit with a weird bump hanging around the neck of a rabbit. People often think of it as a double chin. However, it isn’t either a bump or double. Generally, you will notice a pouch of fat beneath the neck of female rabbits. Mother rabbits develop dewlap when they are pregnant and about to give birth to kittens. It’s perfectly normal to develop a dewlap for a good cause, mostly in females. Stay tuned to know more about why rabbits develop dewlap and what the purpose is.
How do Rabbits use Dewlaps?
Rabbits aren’t born with Dewlap, but they develop it later for various reasons. A female rabbit doesn’t even develop a dewlap up until it reaches sexual maturity. Later it will start growing it, but dewlap won’t reach its full size for a year or two. The dewlap will start appearing, and it will slowly increase its size in the next few years. However, the final size of the female rabbit’s dewlap is mostly based on genetics. So, it may end up becoming either a large or a small dewlap as well.
Female rabbits use her dewlap to get hair; she would need these hairs to line her nest to keep her babies warm and comfortable. The size and shape create a convenient way for the mother to take hairs to build the nest. Mother rabbits will form the dewlap when they reach sexual maturity, and it is an excellent way to tell if they are ready for breeding. Rabbits use their Dewlap mainly for their babies. Here are a few reasons why rabbits have a dewlap:
Dewlap by Breed
The size of every rabbit is different, and it is because they are from different breeds. Their size can be different depending on the type of rabbit. The Flemish Giant and the french lop often have a large dewlap. Primarily the female rabbit develops dewlap, but you will also find it in the french lop males. So, we can say that the breed plays an essential role in developing a dewlap. Other rabbit breeds don’t have any dewlap, and it includes Himalayan, polish, tan, and Netherland Dwarf.
We have illustrated that female rabbits develop a dewlap to pull out the hairs to make a nest. But no one knows why male rabbits develop dewlaps since they don’t even pull out the hairs to make the nest for the baby rabbits. Experts say that getting your pet spayed or neutered has a significant impact on the size of the dewlap. Nale rabbits neutered before puberty have more prominent dewlap than those waiting to get neutered after puberty. The effect of being spayed on female rabbits is adverse. If a female rabbit is spayed early, she is likely to have a smaller dewlap than what she would have if she spayed later.
As mentioned earlier, female rabbits usually develop the dewlap to use the fur to make the nest for their babies better. Female rabbits start building their nest even if you have got them spayed. However, no one knows why they do this. But if you have never kept a pet rabbit before then, you might find it surprising. A female rabbit starts pulling out her fur to male the nest. There is nothing to worry about if you see this happening.
What are the different health issues or concerns a Rabbit with Dewlap faces?
There are a couple of concerns with developing a dewlap. If your pet starts preparing a nest and uses the fur of its dewlap, then you don’t have to worry about anything as it’s perfectly normal. Female rabbits are more likely to have a dewlap, and it also depends on the breed of rabbit. There are a few concerns you should know about:
Wet Dewlap is also known as moist dermatitis. It is an uncomfortable skin condition you will find in rabbits. People often mistake the dewlap for a bump, abscess, or double chin. When your rabbit has a dewlap, then they can suffer from moist dermatitis and skin fold dermatitis. We know that dewlap is extra skin developed under a rabbit’s chin. When the dewlap is constantly wet and cannot dry completely, it can easily get irritated and inflamed. The dewlap skin can become infected quickly, so be attentive and keep a health check on your pet.
If the dewlap gets wet frequently, then it may happen so because of the following reasons:
- Drinking from a bowl instead of a bottle. We understand that drinking water from the bowl is easy as compared to a bottle. But the dewlap gets wet every time the rabbit drinks water from the bowl.
- A leaking water bottle can also be the cause of wet dewlap. So, you should check if the rabbit’s water bottle is broken or fine.
- Any animal can get the disease if they live in unclean or unsanitary living conditions.
- If their dental condition isn’t good enough, then they might face drooling or hypersalivation.
- The dewlap may get wet if the rabbits are overweight and have a large dewlap.
All the listed things lead to having a wet chin and dewlap.
Rabbits who are overweight or have large dewlap may have trouble while grooming themselves. Rabbits are habitual cleaners, and they spend a good portion of the day cleaning themselves. But large dewlap troubles rabbits to do so even while eating or drinking. When a rabbit won’t groom itself, then it may have leftover food or even water dropping on its dewlap. It can lead your rabbit to have infections. To prevent something like this from happening, you can put him on a diet and take care of him while eating and drinking. Groom your rabbit’s dewlap often during shedding season to prevent him from getting dirty throughout the day.
What are the symptoms and causes of wet Dewlap?
The symptom of wet dewlap is hair falling out of the affected area. The exposed skin will look red, raw, and sore. When the dewlap skin gets infected, it may turn green. Once the wet dewlap gets infected, it might attract flies as well, and it will only worsen the situation. If you see anything like this happening, don’t wait and immediately reach out to a veterinarian. They would help you not to get the situation out of hand.
How to prevent wet Dewlap?
We have recently discussed how far the wet dewlap situation can get. So, you should know how you can prevent anything like that from happening. Here are some tips that would help you and your rabbit to overcome this situation.
- You shouldn’t use any leaky water bottle or a large bowl. The dewlap of your rabbit will get wet if it uses any of such things.
- Trim the hair of your rabbits and groom the area frequently. It will help to dry the dewlap area fast.
- Don’t forget to clean the surroundings of the cage and remove the wet bedding, if any.
- Make sure your rabbit doesn’t have any dental problems. You can also supply an appropriate amount of hay and chew toys for your rabbit.
If the rabbit catches any more disease, then it would be difficult to keep him healthy. So, prevent moist dermatitis in the dewlap and try to keep the area dry and clean. Animals need utmost care almost every time, and if you neglect this fact, you might lose your favorite pet.
Do female Rabbits don’t have a Dewlap?
Female rabbits don’t have a dewlap right after they are born, but when they grow older and become sexually mature, they can develop it. However, most of the male rabbits don’t have it. Apparently, the female rabbits develop a dewlap a few years before they get pregnant. But a dewlap takes a year or two to develop. The female rabbits start preparing for the nest, and they also use the fur of their dewlap to do so. Some of the male rabbits also grow the dewlap, but the reason for doing so isn’t clear yet.
What if a female Rabbit doesn’t have a dewlap?
A rabbit doesn’t need to have a dewlap. Rabbits develop a dewlap by themselves. Some of the female rabbits don’t have a dewlap, and it is because some breeds don’t tend to have a large dewlap. Small rabbits are likely to have a small dewlap that may be visible to you or anyone else most of the time. Remember, young rabbits don’t have a dewlap, and they are not even developing it until the female rabbit reaches sexual maturity. If your rabbit is a year old or less, then they won’t have a dewlap. There is nothing to worry about either.
Can a Rabbit’s dewlap be too big?
Generally, Dewlap Rabbits are perfectly normal, and it’s a healthy sign of a female rabbit if she has developed a dewlap. But a very large dewlap may indicate some serious health issues. When a rabbit suffers from a wet dewlap, then it becomes difficult for them to groom. In such situations, you need to step in and help her overcome them. The Rabbits are habitual cleaners, and living in an unclean surrounding can bother them. So, you should pay attention and look at your Dewlap Rabbit more closely.
That was all about the Rabbit Dewlap and how they use it when they are pregnant. We have thoroughly discussed the concerns a pet owner should know about when their rabbits develop dewlap. I hope this article has helped you and answered all your queries. If you have any questions or suggestive words, feel free to drop them in the comment section. Your suggestions help us to provide good results.