One of my friends who raise rabbits has relocated to a hot country. After a period of 3 days of relocation, she observed that her rabbit has suddenly stopped drinking water and also panted due to heat. In her case, it was predominant that the external temperature has dehydrated the rabbit.
Back in 2019, one of my rabbits was suddenly displaying hatred towards food. While observing her for two continuous hours, I noticed that she is feeling dehydrated. I was able to bring her back to normalcy in less than 1 hour. How to tell if a rabbit is dehydrated? Well, in this article, I am going to tell you what I followed so you can do the same for your bunny.
How much water does a rabbit drink?
Rabbits, on average, drink at least a quarter-liter of water per day and this is consumed through pellet, vegetables, and hay in addition to water. The water content in regular rabbit foods keeps them hydrated. When your bunny is not eating well, there is a likelihood for dehydration and you need to take measures in advance.
If you need more information on how much water does a rabbit need to drink, follow the steps below.
- A rabbit of the normal size and shape requires a minimum of a quarter-liter (250mL) per day. If your bunny is big enough, increase the water quantity proportionally.
- Quarter liter per day is ideal if your rabbit is moderately active. However, extremely active rabbits need more water and you can also give more pellets and vegetables rich in water to keep up the energy.
- When the external temperature is high, increase the quantity of water as much as possible.
Note – I would always advise the bunny owner to keep an eye on eating patterns, activity type, diet nature, and size to determine the water. My bunny is estimated to consume anywhere between 250-270mL water each day.
Why is my rabbit not drinking water?
Your rabbit is not drinking water due to one of these reasons – change in water taste, temperature inconvenience, boring diet pattern, sickness, and tooth problem.
- Boring diet – Sometimes, a rabbit becomes bored of the same diet being repeated each day. As a result, there is hatred in consuming the same one more time.
- Inconvenient temperature – The ambiance surrounding the bunny matters so much. When the temperatures are rough, rabbits prefer security over the water and hence, cut down water consumption.
- Change in water taste – This occurs commonly if you have relocated your place or have not maintained your bunny’s place. It takes time for a rabbit to adapt to a new water taste. Though rabbits are fussy, they also prefer their place to be clean.
- Tooth problem – Pellets and vegetables increase the hydration level of a rabbit but a problem with the tooth can force the rabbit to skip drinking water.
- Sickness – This can happen due to prolonged dehydration affecting the gut or intestine. Perhaps, there could be other problems preventing your rabbit from drinking water.
How to tell if your rabbit is dehydrated?
Having handled several rabbits for a decade, I have wrapped up and written down the common signs of a dehydrated rabbit so you can develop an action plan to fix the problem.
- Hard tummy
- Urine smells bad
- Eating little to no food
- Sticks to a place
- Extreme disorientation
- Sudden fever
- Hard feces
- Rolling out of discomfort
- Weird movements
- Shrinking and scared looks
As much as it is hard for us to overcome dehydration, a rabbit develops signs of dying if dehydration is not noticed in the early stages.
How to rehydrate my rabbit?
Here comes the most important section of this article. Following are the steps I followed exactly to rehydrate my rabbit and it works.
- Quickly set up a warm place.
- Take a 5mL syringe and fill it with water. Give it once in 10 mins and you can see a visible difference in the first hour.
- Rub the stomach so that digestion happens naturally.
Note – There are times when these might not work. In that case, you need to rush to a vet to get IV fluids injected. This will help in regaining energy and developing activity levels.
How to make rabbits drink water?
The easiest way to avoid rabbit dehydration is to keep your surroundings clean and provide 24/7 access to water and water-rich foods.
Years have passed but none of my rabbits have experienced dehydration.
Here are the key steps I followed.
- Change water each day
- Wash the water bowl regularly so that it has no bacteria/fungi
- On the water outlet, give the taste of a banana or a sweet substance. This is meant to persuade the rabbit to drink water relishing this taste.
- Regular washing is different from sanitizing the bowl. I sanitize the bowl with hot water and chemical-free soap water. The idea here is to ensure that there is no dirt sticking to the end of the bowl.
- Include more leafy vegetables that are fiber and water-rich.
- Clean the poop area of the rabbit.
- Constantly interact with the bunny to determine abnormalities in advance.
- Ensure water and food are available all day.
- Check out if the rabbit is frightened for any reason and set the environment sans predators.
Ideally, a bunny needs sufficient water to stay active. Behavioral and physical changes are predominant when a bunny is becoming dehydrated. Sometimes, old or heavy rabbits tend to struggle drinking water due to the excess activity needed. In that case, spoonfeeding helps!