If your kid isn’t feeling well, they let you know. If only your rabbit could talk and let you know how they are feeling…
Actually, maybe they can.
Your rabbit’s poop tells you a lot of things about your rabbit's health. So actually, your rabbit is telling you something… and they are doing it one hundred times a day.
Ah-ha! You knew all that rabbit poop you were scooping would come in handy one day. It’s a window into your rabbit's health. Stay with me and in 2 minutes that window will look crystal clear.
What Is Normal Rabbit Poop
Normal rabbit poop is firm, pea-sized, and rolls across the floor when your rabbit hops out of its box. Your rabbit is telling you they’re feeling good. This bunny poop (fecal pellets) shouldn’t be rock hard, and a pellet should fall apart when you squish it between your fingers.
Yes, this language is very up close and personal.
Hindgut fermentation is the digestive process of herbivores with a simple single-chambered stomach. This is the case with your rabbit. This process breaks down their high-fiber diet into digestible material. When the food is digested in the small intestine during the first trip through your rabbit, it comes out as a fecal pellet.
Here’s a little plot twist though. There is another type of rabbit poop that is normal. This type looks like a tiny bunch of grapes and is called cecotropes (cecal pellets).
Have you ever noticed your rabbit eating poop? It was these cecotropes and its normal and healthy! Thank goodness right, your bunny eating poop is normal…
These pellets come from non-digestible plant material. They get to travel through your rabbit's digestive system a second time. They get re-ingested in the caecum. The caecum is home to enzymes and bacteria that transform this indigestible fiber into nutrients that your rabbit’s body can absorb.
So when you see your rabbit eating their poop they are actually being very resourceful. Leave no nutrients left behind…
It’s normal to not see many cecotropes. Rabbits like to eat cecotropes as soon as they are produced. They don’t save them for later. If you are seeing a lot of them left behind in your bun’s litter box then they might be eating too many sweets or carb-rich treats. In this case, your bunny is telling you they need more hay in their life.
Just so you know, there’s a little bunny at the bottom of this blog post who has a coupon for high quality hay. Okay, back to poop.
The types of rabbit poop you see tell you if your rabbit is getting the right diet, and if your bun is digesting it well.
When You See Rabbit Poop Smaller Than Usual
Good, healthy rabbit poop
Small, hard rabbit poop
If you notice the rabbit droppings are smaller than usual, this could mean two things. Either your bun is stressed or they aren’t eating enough. Or both. Did you rearrange your rabbit’s bedroom without asking again?
Your rabbit should be spending a lot of its day eating. It’s a good life, right? They may stop eating if they are stressed or have a health concern like a tooth problem.
You may also see small or deformed rabbit poop if there is a blockage that the poop is having a hard time getting around.
When Your Rabbit Has Elongated Oval Poop
Your rabbit produces fecal pellets at regular intervals. If this production slows down then you will see normal poops that have merged together. Sometimes they have merged so much that they take on an elongated oval shape.
A couple of oval poops are nothing to worry about. If you turned on the vacuum your rabbit may have been startled and that slowed their system down for a short time.
If you are seeing an increasing number of these poops, that means your rabbit’s digestive system is slowing down for a longer period of time and there might be an underlying concern. You can try to increase fiber and decrease stress. The vet will know if there is anything more serious going on.
When Your Rabbit Has a Poopy Butt
Sometimes you may find soft rabbit poop or cecotropes that are mushy. This can be a sign of the intestines slowing down. You are going to start to notice something here… your rabbit says they need more fiber a lot. So fill their world with hay.
When you see the poopy butt, this can mean your bunny isn’t getting enough fiber and is having too many carbohydrates or sugar. This as well as an underlying illness can cause the delicate balance of bacteria in your rabbit to be disrupted.
If you are thinking you need to go start a bath for your rabbit, stop right there. Rabbits don’t get baths the same way a dog does. Read this for the proper way to bathe that rabbit poopy butt.
When Your Rabbit Has Diarrhea
When you see diarrhea, your rabbit is telling you it’s time to go to the vet. This can get serious, very fast. Diarrhea can be caused by coccidiosis, mucoid enteritis, enterotoxaemia, or Tyzzer’s disease.
Diarrhea can happen when a baby rabbit is weaned from their mother too early (earlier than 8 weeks). Nursing provides them with antibodies that they need to protect themselves from parasites.
You can’t fix diarrhea without addressing the underlying cause. Sorry bun-bun, a change of scenery is in order.
When Your Rabbit Poop Gets Hairy
This is not unusual. Rabbits frequently groom themselves but unlike cats, they can’t throw up. Any hair they are ingesting has to come out the other end.
This will look like poop strung together by fur. This could cause a blockage. When you're seeing hairy rabbit poop then your bunny is telling you they need to be brushed more. This is especially the case with long-haired rabbits and rabbits who are in a season of shedding (molting).
They are also telling you they need more fiber. It’s important to keep your rabbit hydrated, active, and full of fiber to keep everything passing through efficiently.
When You See Mucus in the Rabbit Poop
Mucus in your rabbit’s poop is often a sign of parasites, a severe overgrowth of harmful bacteria, or cecal impaction. To the vet bun-bun!
Mucus covered bunny poop is a little less scary. This may mean something irritated the lining of the intestine. This can happen if your rabbit was recently on antibiotics or if they passed a larger mass from biting off more than they could chew.
Where Would My Rabbit Get a Parasite From?
Pinworms come from eating food contaminated with pinworm eggs. Tapeworms attach themselves to grass. Protozoa-based parasites occur when your bun’s living space isn’t cleaned regularly. These parasites are treatable so I wouldn’t deny your rabbit the joy of a binkie in the grass on Sunday morning. Just know what their poop is telling you and take care of any issues with a vet.
When Your Rabbit is Not Pooping at All
If you notice your rabbit has completely stopped pooping, this is an emergency. Your rabbit may have developed GI stasis. If their digestive system isn’t up and moving again quickly, it could be fatal.
GI stasis happens when a rabbit’s digestive system slows down or completely stops. The longer this goes on the worse the blockage becomes. Your rabbit’s gut bacteria will increase, and your rabbit may experience painful gas.
This can be treated if you act very quickly and take your rabbit to the vet.
Some of these situations are scary. The best you can do is set your bunny up for the best health you can before any concerns have a chance to rise.
Proactive Tips: Keep Your Rabbit's Digestive System Happy
- Feed your rabbit unlimited hay. Keep your hay stash stocked!
- Keep your rabbit hydrated. Make sure they always have access to water and rinsed leafy greens are hydrating as well.
- Make sure your rabbit has lots of space to run and exercise. Their digestive system keeps moving when they do.
- Keep your rabbit’s stress low. You want a quiet, safe, indoor space for them to live.
- Have a vet before an emergency happens. A vet can help you sort through any issues before they become life-threatening.
Hay for Everybunny
What our rabbit friends like to talk about the most is hay. At Small Pet Select we have everything you need to give your bun the best fiber-rich diet they could ask for. We have a whole collection of high quality hay and pellets.
The best way to keep your rabbit’s poop normal and digestive system healthy is by being proactive with a healthy diet. Not all rabbit food is created equal, so get your rabbit the best to keep those binkies high.
DISCLAIMER: These links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Small Pet Select of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual.