How Long Can Rabbits Survive Without Food?

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Bunnies are grazing creatures. In the wild, these animals tend to eat non-stop. Their main diet is 80 percent grass and hay. Those foods promote proper digestion, which is good for their delicate tummies. Their high fiber content helps in moving fur through their system. Their endless grazing habit also helps in preventing their teeth from growing too long. 

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Aside from food, rabbits need access to fresh and clean water. They get some of the total water volumes they get from eating green veggies, which is around 15 percent of their daily diet. If you are on a business or holiday trip, then there should be someone else to ensure the safety of your pet day and night.

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Bunnies are sociable. When left alone inside the house for over 24 hours, they might suffer from poor appetite, so they stop eating. If they don’t have access to foods, even for just one day, bunnies are more likely to enter the situation where gastrointestinal stasis can occur. This means your body will begin to shut down. If this occurs, their stomach may become dehydrated and full of gas. Once it occurs, your pet will require urgent medical assistance. 

In this post, I will show to you some tips to help in case you noticed your pet is not eating anything on its bowl. 

GI Stasis – What Is It?

So, how long do rabbits survive without water and food? In many cases, they can stay alive in this situation between 3 to 4 days. On the other hand, since they are grazing animals, they have to eat constantly. When they stop eating for at least 12 hours today, they become more susceptible to GI stasis, which is a very urgent medical emergency. 

The gastrointestinal stasis or GI for short is a severe condition that affects the gut and stomach of rabbits. The gastrointestinal stasis is due to the metabolic slowdown that continues and reaches stasis. In the worst cases, the metabolic process of the rabbits suffering from GI stops. Thus, gastrointestinal stasis is a serious medical situation that requires immediate care and treatment. 

As the metabolism of a rabbit stops, it begins to experience loss of appetite that is favorable to bacteria. In this case, the bacteria may grow, causing gas that further reduces the appetite of your rabbit. It not only makes your pet starving because GI stasis also puts the animal at risk for various life-threatening infections affecting the digestive system. 

Also, the failure to move food through the digestive tract can cause the pellets to harden. When they solidify, the rabbit will find it hard to pass during bowel movement that leads to another serious condition known as an obstruction. If you notice these signs in your pet, then it should see a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Causes of Gastrointestinal Stasis

  • The gastrointestinal stasis can be due to the following conditions:
  • Poor diet (lack fiber, excess carbohydrates, excess fat, etc.)
  • Dehydration
  • Stress. Bunnies are highly sensitive to pressure, anxiety, and stress that can be due to unhappy situations like losing a buddy and changes to the environment.
  • Extended use of antibiotics
  • Underlying health conditions like dental pain

The gastrointestinal stasis can be prevented, though it remains as a typical problem with rabbits. This condition is somewhat easy to manage and treat. If your rabbit experiences GI, make sure you feed it with a healthy, balanced diet that is richer in fiber that will help in making your pet feel better. 

Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Stasis 

The gastrointestinal stasis is more likely to occur if your rabbit stops eating. Aside from refusing to eat, there are other symptoms to watch out. These symptoms will help you see if your bunny is already in a dangerous scenario:

  • Poor appetite
  • Thirst
  • Malformed, small, and loose fecal pellets
  • Constipation
  • The rabbit does not want to be touched
  • Bloating
  • Hunched up posture

In certain cases, these symptoms are present due to a hairball. On the other hand, a lot of veterinarians believe that the hairballs are due to gastrointestinal stasis with a coat that will normally pass through when it gets stuck as your pet’s metabolism slows down. If the hairball fails to pass through, it may cause a severe obstruction that can seriously harm your pet. If you think your pet is suffering from obstruction caused by a hairball, then bring it right away to the nearest veterinary clinic. 

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While the symptoms mentioned above appear to be minor, they indicate a sign of a highly severe problem. If you’re in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian as soon as you can. Your veterinarian may take x-rays and perform a physical examination to determine the cause of those symptoms and determine whether your pet is already experiencing gastrointestinal stasis. 

If this condition is GI stasis, your veterinarian may administer the best drugs, antibiotics, and an IV fluid to aid your pet recover. At the same time, your pet will teach you what to do to help your pet recuperate and remain healthy. 

How to Encourage Your Pet to Eat?

Your pet’s refusal to eat is not a good thing. The longer you do nothing, the more harmful the situation can be. Here are some ways to encourage your pet to eat:

#1. Try Giving a New Kind of Food

If the rabbit goes up to 12 hours without food, it becomes more prone to gastrointestinal stasis. If you want to adjust your pet’s food and put up a fight, then try compromising. If it does not like hay, you can try other types. Whatever your pet resists, try combining it with foods your pet loves the most. If you do not know your pet’s favorite food, you can try a range of rabbit-safe choices. 

#2. Try to Feed Your Pet in Smaller Portions

If you don’t know what the rabbit likes, you may try giving a new kind of food in smaller portions and blend it well with the bunny’s favorites. Just be patient and keep on feeding your pet with that food until it gets used to it. From that point, you can already make it the primary food option of your pet.

#3. Contact Your Vet If the Rabbit Seems in Worse Case

If you’re still facing a hard time encouraging your bunny to eat, and you are not certain about what you should do, it is important to consult your veterinarian as soon as possible. Taking your pet to a veterinarian is very important, especially when your pet refuses to eat even those foods that you used to feed it. If your pet stops eating, it can be due to another health problem a dental issue, bloating, stress, or pain-causing woes. 


Your rabbit is a delicate pet. It needs your utmost care and attention, especially in delicate cases like this. What can you say about my post? Do you have any other tips that can help other rabbit owners out there? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section down here. Please like and share this article with your social media accounts so that your friends or relatives who own rabbits will also enjoy my post. 

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