From time to time your bunnies may need syringe feeding & (depending on your bunny) it’s not always easy to administer food or medications from a syringe into a rabbits mouth. So here are some handy tips to help make it easier for you and less stressful for your bunny.
Carry out in an unfamiliar place. Your rabbit won’t feel as confident and will be unlikely to struggle as much.
Never syringe feed a rabbit with them laid backwards like a baby. Always feed with them upright.
Always place the syringe in the side of the mouth, into the cheek and at a slight angle.
Never syringe feed from the front of the mouth and straight down the throat.
Feed slowly to allow time to swallow. They may keep the food/liquid in their mouth longer than usual. If you then feed them too quickly there is a chance it could end up in their lungs.
If they tend to spit food/liquid out the minute you let them go or as soon as your not looking – keep hold of them longer and place a finger under their chin gently and tickle to encourage them to swallow. Never use force.
One way to feed them is for you to kneel on the floor and place your rabbit between your legs with his back end nearest to you. Bend forwards and use your other hand to secure them at the front to avoid them running forwards.
You can wrap your rabbit in a towel to keep them from struggling whilst you syringe feed them. Wrap the towel diagonally from their shoulder to their hip.
If you are not very flexible then you can place your rabbit on to a table/counter, but always make sure they can’t jump off the table/counter and injure themselves. Place a chair nearby for them to jump on if you think they will jump. Or better still have a friend/partner help you out. Lean towards/over them to secure even further. Again you can wrap them in a towel to stop them struggling.
You could try syringe feeding them by placing them on a chair (not as high as a table/counter) and kneel down to them.
If your bunny really starts to struggle when being syringe fed, then stop and calm them down – give them nose rubs and talk to them softly and try again.
If your bunny tends to run away when it’s time for medications – never chase them as this will cause them stress. Partition off a small area where you can easily enclose your bunny into this space and then pick them up calmly.
If food mixtures are quite thick – gently poke a fork prong into the top of the syringe to widen it and this will help the mixture go into the syringe easier.
Most vets are happy to give you some syringes FREE of charge. Always handy to have at home in your rabbits medicine cabinet.
Before syringe feeding – always check your rabbit is producing droppings ok. If not or you are unsure, then always have your vet check your rabbit first. Your vet needs to check there is no blockage in your rabbit’s stomach and that it is ok to go ahead with syringe feeding food to your rabbit.
If you are not confident in syringe feeding your rabbit then always seek advice from your vet first.