Is your rabbit drinking enough water? Dehydration in rabbits- symptoms & prevention

Water is so important to rabbits and their health in many different ways. Follow our tips on what symptoms to look out for when a rabbit becomes dehydrated & how you can prevent it. 

Does your rabbit prefer to drink water out of a bowl or a bottle?

This is a very important question that all bunny parents should know the answer to. Why? Because a rabbit that is not drinking enough water can become seriously ill very quickly. Some rabbits will prefer to drink from a bowl rather than a bottle, but every rabbit is different, so it is very important to check which your rabbit prefers.

To find this out, simply provide both a bottle and a bowl and check which one your rabbit/s drinks out of. If they use both then keep both!

Rabbits drinking from a bowl is a more natural way for them to drink water than from a bottle.

Studies have shown rabbits will drink 40% more water when drinking from a bowl.

Make sure the bowls are heavy ceramic bowls, so they cannot be thrown around.

If you use a bowl, it is a good idea to provide either two bowls (& place in different places) or a bottle and a bowl, just incase your rabbit spills the water from the bowl.

If you use a bottle, never let it go green with algae. Clean daily and cover with a sock or bottle cover to prevent the green algae forming.

It is so important that a rabbit has access to clean water 24 hours a day, every day!

Always provide fresh water morning and evening.

Observe your rabbits normal drinking habits, so you know when something is not right.

Some rabbits will drink more than others.

Dehydration can be a serious problem and often happens suddenly.

Many say that dehydration in rabbits only occurs in conjunction with diarrhoea, but this is not true.

There are many reasons why a rabbit might not drink water, or stop drinking it when everything was fine before.

Rabbits that are dehydrated are very likely to go off their food.

Rabbits that produce very small dark coloured droppings may be dehydrated.

The more advanced the dehydration the more lethargic your rabbit will be.

Did you know it is very common for a rabbit to suffer from GI stasis just because they have not drunk enough water. This is because a rabbit’s digestive system only works properly when it’s well-hydrated

Water also helps flush out excess calcium in rabbits, which will help prevent bladder sludge, bladder stones and kidney stones.

If you think your rabbit is dehydrated, try to syringe a little water into their mouth to encourage them to drink again.

Try to feed them some water based vegetables or a little fruit, but only foods they are used to, as you don’t want to upset their stomachs. To get them to take in more water, try sprinkling a little water over their vegetables, but watch this does not put them off eating them.

if you are concerned that your rabbit is showing signs of dehydration call your vet asap. A vet can administer fluids to a dehydrated rabbit.

If you notice your rabbit is drinking a lot more than usual all of a sudden then this could be a sign they are in pain or stressed. Have your vet carry out a health check.

For more health advice on rabbits, visit our Health & MOT section of our website here