Your Rabbit Not Drinking: Cause and Cure

Your Rabbit Not Drinking: Cause and Cure

A bunny that stops drinking is in extreme danger. Hydration is important to the survival of your pet. Hydration is key to the survival of your pet. The animal will suffer if it doesn’t have regular access to clean drinking water. 

Your rabbit drinks water. If your pet is not drinking water every day, its life will be in danger. Like other living things, water makes up a big percentage of the rabbit’s body. Likewise, drinking ample water is important for various organic functions. 

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Water will keep your pet’s blood flowing properly at the right thickness. It ensures your bunny’s organs will continuously work optimally. Water will help the sensitive digestive system of your pet process and move the food that leads to elimination.

Water flushes the excess calcium from your pet’s blood. It thus prevents some associated health problems like urinary incontinence and bladder stones.

When a bunny doesn’t drink water, dehydration is a big problem. Other health problems would rise, though. Your pet will find it hard to defecate and urinate, resulting in intestinal blockages. It then quickly becomes a deadly condition. 

Good thing, a rabbit is smart enough as it can tell itself when it needs to drink. A wild rabbit builds a warren near to water sources. When your pet is not drinking, there is a reason why. 

How Long Can a Rabbit Stay Alive Without Water?

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A bunny can’t go for more than 24 hours without water. In hot weather conditions, a rabbit may even fail and die earlier if it doesn’t drink water. Not drinking causes stress to the animal, which best explains how crucial water is for the bunny. 

What if your rabbit is drinking some water? Well, “some water” is different from “no water.” If the bunny is drinking but just a bit, the situation is not that immediately dangerous. 

The situation should be looked into. A rabbit becomes dehydrated when it is not drinking enough water. If you give water to your pet and it refused to drink, find out why and do something right away. Sooner, your pet will be sick and dying if you do nothing about the situation. 

Why Does a Rabbit Not Drinking Water and What to Do About it?

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A bunny may refuse to drink for several reasons that range from medical to psychological aspects. These reasons include:

  • The water smells or tastes funny. A rabbit is a fussy animal. When it tastes or smells different, the rabbit will hesitate to drink. So, when giving water to your pet, just empty the bottle or bowl and refill it. 
  • The water’s temperature is wrong. A rabbit likes water that complements the ambient temperature. When the water is too hot or too cold, your bunny may reject it. 
  • Your rabbit suffers from a toothache. The teeth of your pet are sensitive. So, if it experiences a toothache, the animal will refuse to eat as drinking and eating can even worsen the problem. Bring your pet to a veterinarian for immediate care and treatment.
  • The water vessel is dirty and contaminated. You should wash your bunny’s water bottle or bowl. If you leave it dirty, then be ready as you will struggle to encourage your pet to drink. The bunny will assume the content of that bowl or bottle is also dirty. 
  • Your rabbit feels hydrated from its food. Are you feeding your pet with more leafy greens? If that is the case, then your pet will feel hydrated. You should check it closely. Food alone doesn’t provide ample water. 
  • Your rabbit comes with an alternative source of water. It is possible that your pet drinks water elsewhere. Perhaps, it found a leaking pipe or tap inside your house.
  • Your pet is sick. Different health problems cause a rabbit to avoid drinking and eating. 

A bunny that refuses to drink is not typical behavior. Something is wrong for sure. You must take the situation seriously, even when your pet is only being fussy. Remember, a bunny can become stubborn, which sometimes puts it in danger. 

Signs of a Dehydrated Rabbit

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For a rabbit, dehydration is the most common complication for not drinking water. Therefore, you must be aware of the early warning symptoms of dehydration in rabbits. 

Tightening of the Skin

To know if your pet’s skin is tight, gently pinch the fur on the skin of the rabbit’s neck. If the skin does not snap back to its position right away, that the rabbit is likely dehydrated.

Foul-Smelling Urine

The scent of ammonia tends to be more pronounced when the animal suffers dehydration. The color of the urine will also be darker. 


When the body temperature of your pet is more than 103 degrees Fahrenheit, then take your pet immediately to a veterinarian. Your pet is in danger. 

Disorientation and Lethargy

Dehydration is a big enemy of your pet. It severely affects the energy levels of your pet. Likewise, the rabbit may appear abnormally uncoordinated and clumsy. 

Poor Appetite

When the bunny is not drinking, its body fails to function properly. It makes the animal unwilling to eat, too. That will make the situation more dangerous. 

Dehydration can kill a rabbit. Whether your pet is old or young, a vulnerable animal is always at risk. Offer water to your pet as soon as you notice something is wrong.

Rehydrating a rabbit is important. Giving s bowl of water will not solve the problem. Try syringe feeding. Get one from a pet store.

To use the syringe, fill it with water then put it in the side of your pet’s mouth. Release the water in controlled bursts. Allow the rabbit to shallow. Don’t rush. Let the rabbit rest for an hour or so before giving it another drink.

If the rabbit stays unwilling to drink and can’t swallow, bring your pet to a nearby veterinary clinic. Your pet requires IV fluids. At this phase, the scenario becomes urgent, so make sure the vet sees and checks your pet as soon as possible. 

Getting Your Bunny to Drink Water

Aside from keeping the water bowl or bottle clean, you can also try adding something tasty to the water to encourage your pet to drink. If you’re facing a hard time persuading your pet to drink, you can mix some drops of unsweetened juice to the water. 

Rest assured, your pet will begin to show interest once again. Carrot or apple juice often works great. If this tactic works, then let the rabbit drink and stop giving extra juice. 

If you are not careful, your rabbit may end up unwilling to drink water, waiting for another round of juice. Be sure as well that you’re aware of the difference between the unsweetened and sugar-free juice. 

Unsweetened juice usually contains naturally-occurring sugars that are safe for rabbits when provided in small amounts. Those juices marketed as sugar-free might have harmful artificial sweeteners. 


It is important to make sure your pet is getting the right amount of water it needs every day. Whether you preferred to help him drink by using a bottle or bowl, that is not a big deal because each option comes with advantages and disadvantages.

If the bunny drinks a bit less or more than the suggested 10 percent of its body weight, then you don’t have a reason to worry. It could be due to the kind of setting where your pet stays or its dietary habits. If your pet’s drinking habit is not normal at all, consult a veterinarian. 

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