The main and most important drink for rabbits should be water. It’s an essential part of their diet and should be what they drink the majority of the time. While there are exceptions to the rule, you shouldn’t normally give them anything else unless it’s under advice from a vet.
Drinking Water for Rabbits
Rabbits should have a constant supply of fresh, clean water.
You can give them water in either a bowl or a bottle. If you have multiple rabbits, it’ll be drunk far more quickly. But even if you only have a single rabbit, you should be checking at several points during the day to check they haven’t run out.
The general rule of thumb to follow is to give your rabbits water that you would be happy to drink. This covers tap, bottled, filtered, and other forms of drinking water.
Another way that rabbits get water is through their food. Eating foods like fresh fruits and vegetables will help to keep your rabbit hydrated. Some fruits are significantly more watery than others – like melons, celery, and strawberries.
What Else Can Rabbits Drink?
As mentioned above, there are a few other drinks that you can give to your rabbit. This could be to entice a reluctant rabbit into drinking again or for a special treat.
- Orange juice, if it’s fresh with no added ingredients, can be added to water. A few drops will be a tasty, refreshing treat for rabbits and might persuade them to drink more.
- Apple juice is another fruit juice that can be added to water as long as it’s fresh with no extra additives.
- Herbal teas are a good way to reduce stress, ease joint pain, and encourage drinking. The only teas to avoid are black and green tea which contain caffeine.
- In emergencies, you could add crushed banana or pineapple juice. This should be a last resort to get some water in your rabbit before rushing them to the vet.
Drinks That Are Poisonous to Rabbits
Some drinks aren’t just unhealthy to rabbits, but ones that are outright poisonous to rabbits due to their ingredients. You should avoid these drinks at all costs for the sake of your rabbit’s health.
Make sure to avoid:
- Alcohol: Even the smallest drop of alcohol could destroy your rabbit’s liver. It could lead to diarrhea, tremors, a coma, difficulty breathing, and even death.
- Fizzy drinks: Any carbonated drinks are bad for rabbits – with high sugar levels and a chance to make your rabbit gassy, these drinks are a recipe for disaster for rabbits.
- Tea and coffee: As well as any other caffeinated drinks, these are toxic to rabbits since they stimulate the central nervous system, increasing their heart rate.
- Hot chocolate: This drink combines caffeine, theobromine, and dairy amongst other things. It is a toxic combination that will immediately upset your rabbit’s stomach, but maybe worse too.
- Milk: Since rabbits are lactose intolerant, they can’t have anything with dairy in. This includes milk from any animal.
How to Persuade a Rabbit to Drink
If your rabbit is reluctant to drink, there are a few tricks you can try to persuade them:
- Put an ice cube in: This is an extra useful trick for in the summer and to cool down the water.
- Avoid warm water: Your rabbit won’t enjoy drinking warm water, it might be the temperature putting them off.
- Switch to a bowl: Changing the container might be enough for your rabbit to start drinking again.
- Clean the water bowl or bottle out: Rabbits will outright refuse to drink from a dirty container.
- Add a drop or two of fresh fruit juice: A sweet taste might encourage your rabbit to drink. Good juices to use are fresh orange or apple.
- Add fragrant herbs to the water: Using herbs like mint or basil gives the water a more appealing smell.
- Try bottled or purified water: Mixing up the water type might be enough to tempt your rabbit into drinking more.
- Use an eyedropper: This will allow you to put water directly into your rabbit’s mouth if they’re unable to drink themselves.
Bear in mind that some of these tips will be better for a stubborn bunny, and some might help a sick bunny but treatment from a vet might still be required.
Bottle or Bowl for Rabbits?
Bowls are a better choice for your rabbit to drink from where possible. They’re more natural (there are no bottles in the wild), allow your rabbit to drink more, and are better for their teeth.
That being said, there are some downsides to bowls. They can be knocked or tipped over by the rabbit and it’s easy for a rabbit to kick dirt into them or use them as a litter tray. Once a bowl is soiled, a rabbit is unlikely to drink until it’s been cleaned.
If your rabbit is struggling, you could try and get a heavy ceramic bowl and move the location of it in their cage or hutch. If this doesn’t work, a bottle is the next best option to keep them drinking and hydrated.
Can Rabbits Drink Warm Water?
In the summer, your rabbit will prefer cold water. In cooler weather, room-temperature water would be more appropriate. You should avoid hot water that could burn them.
How Do I Know if My Rabbit Is Dehydrated?
ess urine than normal that’s a darker color. Their fecal pellets might be hard and dry too. You should immediately give them extra water, if symptoms persist you’ll need to see a vet.
Can Rabbits Drink Salt Water?
Rabbits shouldn’t drink salt water, as fresh water should be their main source. Though they need both salt and water in their diet, too much salt could have disastrous effects. Where possible, stick with fresh water for your rabbit’s main drink and only resort to salt water if your vet tells you their salt levels are low and that they need extra.
Why Do Rabbits Need to Drink Water?
Rabbits need to drink water to aid their digestion in making cecotropes. It’s also used to help the kidneys filter toxins and produce blood, mucus, and tissues. Without enough water, cells can shrink and die.
Why Has My Rabbit Stopped Drinking Water?
Your rabbit might have stopped drinking because they’re stressed, if they have a digestion issue, an illness, if they’re too hot or too cold, or to do with old age. Any of these factors could explain why your rabbit is drinking less than normal. If you can’t tempt them within a few hours you’ll need to go to a vet.
What Do Rabbits Eat?
A balanced diet for rabbits looks like an unlimited supply of hay, a variety of fresh vegetables, a daily portion of pellets from the store, and treats up to twice per week. Unlimited water to drink should be in addition to this diet.