Water is one of the four things living beings need to survive. Interestingly enough, According to PETMD.com, rabbits require more water than other comparable species. Most rabbits can drink the right amount of water without their pawrent’s help. But what if your rabbit doesn't seem to be drinking enough? We're going to talk about how to get your rabbit to drink more water. However, if our suggestions don’t help, please bring your rabbit to your trusted exotic vet for a medical exam. An underlying illness may be the cause.
How Does Water Help Rabbits?
Water benefits living beings in many ways. The graphic below shows those benefits, but in a nutshell, it has four main functions, according to the Rabbit Welfare Association (RWAF).
- It keeps every cell and organ of the body alive.
- It is a major part of blood, and your rabbit wouldn't be able to live without that.
- It keeps everything moving in the gut.
- It flushes out excess calcium.
How Much Water Do Rabbits Need?
Did you know that a 5-pound rabbit drinks as much water as a 24-pound dog in one day? In fact, the average normal water intake for rabbits is 50-150 milliliter (mL) per kilogram (kg) of body weight daily. Or for those of us in the US, the conversions are 1.7-5.0 oz/2.2 pounds. But, as math is one of my weakest skills, it took me a little bit to figure out how much water my youngest bun, Pippi, should drink…
Weight: 6 lbs. or 2.72 kg (1 kg=2.2 lbs)
Water intake: 110-330 mL or 3.7-11 oz (1 mL=0.03 oz)
How Can You Tell if Your Rabbit is Drinking Enough Water?
If your rabbit isn’t drinking enough water, according to the RWAF, here are some clues they’re dehydrated:
- Small, dark poop compared to the average size and color of your rabbit's fecal pellets.
- Thick, dark urine. Normal rabbit urine is typically a golden yellow to bright orange. If they are dehydrated, it will be more brownish in color.
- Lethargic. They’ll have a lack of energy and may be losing balance.
- Not eating. Generally, if a rabbit is severely dehydrated, he will not be eating either.
How to Get Your Rabbit to Drink More Water
Fortunately, if your bun isn’t drinking enough, there are many solutions to get them to increase their intake.
Let them choose their water source
Some bunnies like to drink from hanging water bottles, and some prefer water bowls. Give your bun both and see which one they prefer.
Everybun at our house prefers a bowl, and we have two bowls for three buns. However, Pippi enjoys flipping the water bowl and making a mess. Therefore, one of their bowls is heavy ceramic, and the other latches to the side of their wabbitat.
Provide Clean Water in a Clean Bowl/Water
Do you like to drink dirty water? I bet not. Neither does your bun, so you should empty and refill their water sources several times daily. Additionally, if you don’t wash their water sources daily, they can grow biofilm, which may cause other health issues.
Leave Water on Their Daily Greens
Obviously, before you feed your lagomorph, you wash their veggies. However, after they’re clean, re-rinse them and serve immediately, so your bun consumes the water drops still attached to their dark lettuces and other greens.
When you give your rabbit their daily leafy greens, you want to make sure to wash them off first. Then, after washing, you can leave those extra drops of water on the greens. This way, your rabbit will be getting a little extra hydration as they are eating their yummy greens.
Put Fragrant Greens in their Water Bowl
Ever had water infused with lemon or cucumber at the spa? This is the same concept. After you fill their water bowl, float some basil, mint, or other fragrant greens in their water bowl. It will make the water taste better.
Add a Few Drops of Unsweetened Juice
Bunnies definitely have a sweet tooth. So while they shouldn’t have hardly any sugar (hello, carrots!), the RWAF recommends adding a few drops of unsweetened apple, carrot, or pineapple juice to their water. The juice will make it taste more interesting.
Use Bottled or Filtered Water
Is your bunny a water snob? They could be. We're blessed that our city water comes straight from the Rocky Mountains here in Colorado Springs. It tastes amazing. However, I can't say the same thing about the water taste in other places I've lived or visited.
Serve Water at Room Temperature
How many of you have friends who order water without ice at restaurants or don’t want it chilled? Your bun may prefer room temp water, too.
See, rabbits aren’t that different from their human family members and just might need a little help to ensure they’re getting the water they need. Do you have any other suggestions to get your rabbit to drink more water? We’d love to hear them. Please comment on our socials or email us.
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