Understanding the Drinking Habit of a Rabbit

Rabbit Drinking Water

Keeping your rabbit hydrated is just as important as planning their diet meal every day. Water assists rabbits’ digestion and removes excess waste in their body. In short, water is vital to keep your rabbit’s body functioning well.

That is why it’s important to understand the drinking habit of your rabbit. According to some studies, about two-thirds of your rabbit’s body is water. 

Hence, rabbits need to consume water to sustain that amount of fluid in their body because it can cause problems that might risk their health. 

Amount of Water Intake

Rabbits need water. Generally, a rabbit’s estimated daily water intake should be twice its daily food intake. PETMD stated that rabbits need more water because of the kind of diet that they have, unlike other animals that are fed meat and dry foods.

If your pet isn’t drinking water even for a day, you must be alert and go to the doctor as soon as possible, especially if they start showing symptoms of dehydration. Once it occurs, the next thing that can happen is they become lethargic, have kidney failure, or they can die.  

Knowing this, you might ask how much water your rabbit should consume. There is no accurate amount of water consumption for your rabbit because it sometimes depends on factors like breed, body weight, age, and the kind of diet they have. 

However, in most cases, the recommended amount for less than 2-month-old rabbits weighing around 750 grams is 120 ml of clean water daily. 

For rabbits 1 or 2 years old and weighing around 2.5 kg, they must consume up to 400 ml of water daily.

It is also important that you make sure that they have free access to water and change it daily to ensure that no bacteria will build up in the drinking water and the bowl. 

In some cases, you can also offer an alternative source of hydration for them, like fruits and veggies that are rich in water content. But remember not to let your rabbit become addicted to munching these types of food because it can still cause digestive problems.

Here is the list of food  that is rich in water content and your rabbit can safely eat:

Drinking Water Guide

Find Out How Much Your Pet Should Drink Based on Age, Weight, and Other Factors

To ensure that your rabbit will remain healthy, the right amount of water should be fodder for them. You must note their physical characteristics, like their weight and age, because it affects the amount of water intake rabbits should consume.

Moreover, it would help if you also considered how much food they eat daily to give you an idea of how much water they should drink. 

Choose a Healthy Water Source

Since keeping your rabbit hydrated is important, you must choose a healthy water source. The water safe for you will also be safe for your rabbit. Make sure that when offering water to rabbits, it is clean and fresh to avoid unwanted bacteria that can cause risk to rabbits’ health. 

Change The Water Bowl Regularly

One way to avoid exposing your rabbit to water bacteria is to change it regularly. According to some studies, pet bowls usually have bad bacteria like E. Coli, Salmonella, and MRSA, which can cause a threat to rabbits’ overall health. 

There are two types of drinking accessories that you can buy for your rabbit, water bowls and water bottle. Depending on the number of rabbits you have and the convenience of refilling water, you can choose the best type for your rabbit. 

Water Bowl Vs. Water Bottle

Rabbit Water Bowl

Bowl is the go-to water accessory you need if you keep your rabbit indoors. They are simpler and much easier to use since you pour water inside the bowl. 

However, one downside of using a water bowl is they don’t keep the freshwater longer because it is exposed to the air. Possible bacteria can grow, which can upset your rabbit’s digestion if they drink from it.  

Pieces of pellet poop can also end up inside the bowl. Hence, the drinking water becomes soiled too quickly with litter from your pet. And at times, if rabbits become playful, chances are they can step on the bowl and contaminate the water inside it.

If you decide to use a water bowl, ensure you place it in a safe area, like the corner of the room, away from the playpen or litter space. If you are busy, water bowls won’t be good for your pets as you need to replace the water regularly.  

In terms of the type of water bowls, you can buy ceramic texture bowls because they are heavy and rabbit-proof. When you use a ceramic bowl, leave it on a flat surface apart from the stairs or something that can break it. 

Don’t use plastic bowls because plastics can be too dangerous for a bunny. Studies reported that plastics contain toxins and chemicals that, in long-term exposure, can harm your pet. 

Rabbit Water Bottle

If you want a convenient water accessory, you can use a water bottle for your rabbit. Bottles are not susceptible to bacteria easily because the drinking water is in a closed bottle. You can change the water inside thrice a week, unlike water bowls that need refilling daily. 

Ideally, a 600ml bottle is the best size. This will provide water for regular-sized rabbits. Also, the drinking water will be enough for the rabbits for the whole day.

But if you own more than one rabbit, use a smaller bottle for only some of them. It will be more hygienic if you can buy bottles for each one. This can also decrease the chance of sharing the same sipper from the bottle. You can create a drinking station where your rabbit can hydrate themselves. 

Types of Bottle Sipper/Spout

  • The first is the standard kind, consisting of metal tubing with more balls. Gravity will lock the ball within the tip of the tubing until the bunny licks it. This will push the ball upward, allowing the water to pass through.
  • The second one is the non-drip sipping spout. It works silently, making it a better choice if you keep your pet in the room next to your bedroom. This water bottle has a wide top designed for easy cleaning and filling. 

Rabbit Not Drinking Water

Rabbits cannot survive without water; they cannot go for more than 24 hours without drinking because of their diet. Since they are fed a lot of fiber, water helps rabbits’ bodies distribute nutrition and support the function of the digestive system

Moreover, during hot weather, rabbits can increase the chance of heart attack if they don’t drink enough water. There are a lot of risks that your rabbit can experience, which is why you should worry if they start not drinking their water. 

If you give water to your pet and it refuses to drink, find out why and do something right away. 

Here are some common reasons why your rabbit refuses to drink water.

Water Has Poor Quality

The water smells or tastes funny. Your rabbit can sometimes be sensitive to what you offer them. The rabbit will hesitate to drink when it tastes different. You refill the water container at least twice a day. 

The Water’s Temperature Is Wrong

A rabbit likes water that complements the ambient temperature in its surroundings. Too cold or too hot can persuade your rabbit not to drink it. If the season is summer, you can offer them colder than usual to refresh their body, and on the other side, offer them warmer water if it’s cold outside. 

Your Rabbit Suffers From Oral Problems

The teeth of your pet are sensitive. So, if it experiences a toothache, the animal will refuse to eat, as drinking and eating can worsen the problem. Bring your pet to a veterinarian for immediate care and treatment.

The Water Vessel Is Dirty And Contaminated

Rabbits can sense if the water is already contaminated, which is why sometimes they refuse to drink water that has not been refilled for days. Although rabbits have some instinct about contaminated water, there are times that they will accidentally drink it, and this will cause them an upset stomach because of the microorganism that develops on the surface of the water. 

Your Rabbit Feels Hydrated From The Meal They Eat

If your rabbit’s diet is not limited to grass hay and alfalfa grass, they might sometimes refuse to drink water because they will feel hydrated from the veggies and fruits you offer. Although they hydrate your rabbit, food alone doesn’t provide enough water for their body. Please encourage them to drink directly from their water bowls or bottles. 

Restricted Drinks for Rabbits

Although your rabbit’s drinking habit is important, you should restrict a few drinks and compounds in your pet. The Animal Poison Control Center website of ASPCA creates a list of some drinks that can harm your rabbit because of toxins and saturated fats.


Unlike humans, who can drink moderate alcohol, rabbits cannot digest its contents. The consumption of alcohol also affects the metabolism because this drink is known as a contaminant that can affect body function. 

If your rabbit accidentally drinks alcohol, it will get drunk easily and cause vomiting and diarrhea. 


Drinking coffee can greatly affect your rabbit’s digestion because of the caffeine toxin. This stimulant makes anyone who consumes it addicted and dependent on the drink, especially rabbits, who cannot digest toxins. Drinking this can cause hyperactivity in their body and affects their nervous system. 

Milk and Dairy Products

Rabbits are lactose intolerant, so you should avoid giving your rabbit milk or dairy products. However, if you want them to drink, special pet milk is available in the market, free of lactose. 


Dehydration is a common health risk for anyone if they don’t drink enough water. For severe cases, emergency treatment like IV fluids is administered to provide extra water inside the body.

This case is dangerous for your pet and can even lead to death on rare occasions. 

Here are the common signs of a dehydrated rabbit:

Dry Nose

The tip of the nose of your rabbit is usually wet and smooth. If it appears dry, encourage your pet to drink water because they might be dehydrated. 

Tightening of the Skin

When you pinch the fur on your rabbit’s skin, it immediately returns to its original position. But if their body does have enough fluids, it begins to tighten. You can check this by pinching some of their skin above your rabbit’s neck. 

Foul-Smelling Urine

The scent of ammonia tends to be more distinct than usual when the animal suffers dehydration. The color of the urine will also be darker. In addition, rabbits will also decrease the amount of their urine since no fluids will excrete in their body. 


The normal temperature for your pet rabbit is around 100.5- 103 degrees Fahrenheit. When your pet’s body temperature is more than that number, take your pet immediately to a veterinarian. 

Disorientation and Lethargy

Dehydration causes your rabbit to be disoriented or not act normally because their oxygen level and fluids decrease in their body. Also, it can severely affect the energy levels of your pet. Hence, they will appear lethargic and weak.

Lose Appetite

Water is also part of your rabbit’s appetite. If they don’t drink enough water, they tend to lose their willingness to eat the meal you offer them. Ask for your doctor’s advice when this happens because rabbits cannot last long without food.

Key Takeaways

  • Keeping your rabbit hydrated is important because about two-thirds of its body consists of water.
  • The recommended amount of water for less than 2-month-old rabbits weighing around 750 grams is 120 ml daily. While adult rabbits aged 1 or 2 years old and weighing around 2.5 kg must consume up to 400 ml of water daily.
  • You can feed your additional rabbit hydration by feeding them safe food rich in water content, like watermelon, strawberry, broccoli, spinach, and lettuce. 
  • To encourage your rabbit’s drinking habit, you need to consider some things, such as the physical attributes of your rabbit (age, weight, diet), water source, and scheduling time for water refilling. 
  • A rabbit water bowl is easier and simpler because you can pour it directly inside. But the disadvantage of using this is bowl’s more susceptible to bacteria like E. Coli, salmonella, and MRSA, which can cause a threat to rabbits’ overall health. To avoid this change, twice a day, the water inside the bowl and put it in the area away from the litter box of rabbits.
  • Water Bottle is more convenient than bowls because the water is not easily exposed to air and bacteria. There are two types of sipper for bottles: standard and non-drip sipping. 
  • There are several reasons your rabbit does not drink water, such as poor quality, water temperature, the rabbit suffering from oral problems, water being contaminated, or the rabbit is already hydrated from eating foods.
  • Although rabbit hydration is important, there are certain drinks that you should not give to your pet because some of them contain toxins that can harm their health. For example, alcohol, coffee, milk, and other dairy products.
  • If your rabbit is not drinking enough water, it will get dehydrated. And severe cases of dehydration can cause serious problems for the rabbit’s bodies. Here are the common symptoms you should keep an eye on if the rabbit is dehydrated: dry nose, tightening skin, foul-smelling urine, fever, disoriented lethargy, and loss of appetite. 
  • If your rabbit is not drinking water or showing signs of dehydration, schedule your visit to your pet’s veterinarian. Doctors will help you diagnose the cause of why they are not drinking. In some cases, IV fluid will be administered to your rabbit to support the water deficiency in their body.
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