The Rabbit Isn’t Drinking Enough: Tips for a Healthy Thirst

Every organism needs a certain amount of fluid on a regular basis in order to function properly. It is no different with rabbits. Although the Mummler meets a large part of their water needs with fresh feed, it is still important that the animals always have fresh and clean drinking water available. If, for whatever reason, a rabbit does not drink enough fluids, it can pose serious health problems. Read here how you can check whether your animals are drinking enough and how you can make the water tasty for the rabbits if necessary.

How Much Do Rabbits Drink Each Day?

A dwarf rabbit needs about a quarter of a liter of water a day to maintain its fluid balance. It is very possible that you rarely see your rabbits drink and have no real control over how much water they are consuming. If you feed a lot of green fodder and the animals drink liquids from vegetables that contain water such as lettuce or cucumber, for example, it is very possible that the water bowl will be ignored completely for a while. There is nothing to worry about as long as there is enough freshwater available and the animals can and do quench their thirst.

The digestion of a rabbit is highly efficient when it comes to the yield of liquid from food: In the intestine, the moisture is pressed out of the mashed food and supplied to the body. The result is the well-known solid rabbit droppings in which little moisture remains. As a rule, rabbits fed appropriately are not big drinkers. However, exactly the opposite is also possible: a rabbit’s water requirement can suddenly increase. The animal gets more thirsty through heating air, climatic fluctuations, unfamiliar food, or the like. Illness can also lead to a greatly increased feeling of thirst. Check regularly whether there is still enough water in the bowls and refill immediately if it is running low. If you suspect an illness with an excessive need to drink, please visit the veterinarian.

If the fluid supply is out of balance and the rabbit drinks too little, serious problems threaten:

  • Metabolic disorders;
  • Mineral deficiency;
  • Arrhythmia;
  • Disorders of organ functions.

Suckling rabbits and animals exposed to extreme heat are particularly at risk of dehydration – the vet calls it desiccosis. The first symptoms of dehydration are restlessness and reduced urine flow, which is more concentrated and more odorous. The consistency of the manure also changes, it becomes drier. When touching the animal, it is noticeable that the elasticity of the skin decreases. As dehydration progresses, restless behavior can turn into weakness and apathy and even culminate in a coma. The animal needs veterinary help even if there are small signs of dehydration, as the loss of fluids is life-threatening.

If the rabbit has enough fresh water at all times, there are several possible causes of dehydration:

  • Loss of appetite: If the animal eats too little and consequently eats less green fodder, this can lead to deficits in the water balance. Possible reasons are a disease of the animal, age-related reluctance to eat, or stress.
  • Diarrhea: In the case of diarrhea, the rabbit body loses fluids faster than can be supplied again. Diarrhea can appear as an accompanying symptom of illness, be the result of a symptom of poisoning, or be caused by spoiled food.
  • Kidney diseases: The rabbit loses fluids, especially if the kidneys are impaired due to a disease caused by tumors, urinary stones, or infections.

With any of these triggers, you shouldn’t waste any time and introduce the animal to the doctor. By examining and analyzing blood, urine, and feces, he can narrow down the causes of dehydration and initiate therapy.

How Can I Encourage Rabbits to Drink?

Plain tap water is suitable as a drink for rabbits, provided the chlorine content is not excessively high. If you want to pamper your rabbits, you can also serve still mineral water. Occasionally it is advised to make the drinking water more interesting for the rabbits by adding a dash of apple or carrot juice to it. Some rabbits also appreciate diluted chamomile or fennel tea. Specialized multivitamin juices are also available in specialist shops as supplementary feed for rabbits. If the animal is actually drinking too little, you can try these methods. However, normal water should also be available so that the animal has a choice. However, this is not necessary as part of normal, species-appropriate rabbit nutrition. Another trick to improve the water absorption a little is to offer the green forage moist.

What are the Advantages of the Bowl and Nipple Drinker?

The big advantage of nipple drinkers is that the water stays clean and nothing can be spilled. Such a construction is useful for small rodents such as mice or rats. However, a nipple drinker is less recommended for rabbits, at least as the sole source of water. Only a few drops come out of the narrow tube so that the thirsty animal needs a long time to drink a proper sip, appropriate for its size.

When kept outside, nipple waterers are dangerous, especially in winter, as the water can freeze or the animal can freeze with its tongue on the tube and injure itself. In addition, the rabbit has to adopt an unnatural head position when drinking. It is better to provide your bum boys with conventional water bowls, preferably made of heavy ceramic or metal material that they won’t knock over easily. Another tip: Always place the water bowl a little higher so that it cannot be soiled by litter. Alternatively, you can use water dispensers or pet drinking fountains.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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