A lot of rabbit owners, especially those living in hotter climates worry that their pet rabbit isn’t drinking enough water. Rabbits usually drink water whenever they are thirsty and get quite a bit of hydration from their diet of fresh leafy vegetables.
Pet rabbits need a good supply of fresh drinking water everday. Unlike us humans, rabbits cannot sweat and cool down when they feel hot. Rabbits also need to excrete a lot of waste via their urine, a rabbit’s urine can quickly turn thick & cloudy when they are not getting enough water to drink.
While most rabbits know exactly when to get a drink, some rabbits can just be picky about drinking water, especially when they are young. So if you are wondering how to get your rabbit to drink more water then read along to find out exactly how much water a rabbit needs, how to get them to drink and even what happens when they are not getting enough.
How Much Water Does A Rabbit Drink Per Day?
A lot of factors can determine how much water a rabbit actually needs to drink per day. The answer will be different for every rabbit in the world. The factors that determine how much water a rabbit will need to drink are
it can vary greatly in different climates, different rabbit breeds, and in between different individual rabbits. Larger and more active rabbits need more drinking water compared to small or less active rabbits.
Baby rabbits almost never drink water when they are nursing and even after that they get most of their water from fresh hay and other green vegetables.
That being said, the rule of thumb for most healthy adult rabbits is around 1.5 to 5 ounces per 2.2 pounds or 50 to 150 ml/kg of drinking water by bodyweight every day.
What Happens When Rabbits Don't Drink Enough Water?
Pet rabbits are prone to develop dehydration if they are not getting enough drinking water everyday. A dehydrated rabbit can get severely ill quite quickly and may even require medical assistance if not taken care of immediately.
Rabbits in early stage of dehydration can start having trouble staying active, they may experience hot flashes and even faint. You can identify early symptoms yourself by checking if
- They are not drinking enough water
- Rabbit is lethargic even if you offer them a treat
- The rabbit is hiding all day
- Their pee is thick or dark colored
- Rapid weight loss within a few days
How To Get A Rabbit To Drink More Water?
Dehydration can be quite serious in pet rabbits, if you suspect that your rabbit is not getting enough water or they are showing the early sings of dehydration then here are a couple of tips you can employ in order to get a rabbit to drink more water!
Give Fresh Water Every Day
A simple and often overlooked fact is that you need to change a rabbit’s drinking water daily. Stale water in a rabbit’s enclosure can harbour nasty bacteria and make it unfit for a rabbit to drink.
Pet rabbits have a very keen sense of smell and often will not drink water that is stagnent, dirty or simply out for a couple of days. This is an evolutionary trait that has come about to keep them safe from dirty water.
Changing a rabbit;s water everyday and keeping their water bowl and bottles clean and sanitary could really help get a rabbit to drink more water through out the day.
Teach The Rabbit To Drink From A Bottle
In order to keep a rabbit’s drinking water fresh and contamination free, you could teach them to learn from a pet water bottle.
Rabbit water bottles can easily be installed in a rabbit’s enclosure and your rabbits could learn to use it withing a week or two. Learn how you can teach your rabbit to drink from a rabbit water bottle on How To Train Rabbits To Drink From A Water Bottle?
Not only are they great at keeping unwanted bits like fur, poop, or hay out of your rabbit’s water, it also prevents water from spilling over, which can be a common problem with water bowls in a rabbit’s cage.
Leave Multiple Drinking Sources Around The House
Another brilliant way to coax your rabbit into getting enough water is by placing multiple water bowls or water bottles around the house or their play area. Having a few water sources scattered around will make sure that your rabbit has access to drinking water no matter which part of the house they are in.
The most important spots to have a water bowl or bottle at are the litter box and near their play area. Some other places to consider could be near where your rabbit likes to hang out or in the living room.
Add Some Fruit Juice To The Water
We all know that rabbits love their sweet fruit treats. A good way to get your rabbit to drink more water is to add a few drops of fruit juice in it to slightly sweeten the water and gives it a fruity smell.
You can also steep a few pieces of fruit in water over night and give that water to your rabbits. Just be careful that the water is not too sweet as it can be bad for your rabbit.
As long as the water has a fruity smell you are good. This can get the pickiest of rabbits to start drinking more and more water. This is perhaps one of the easiest way to constantly get your rabbit to drink more water so definitely give this one a try.
Spray Water On Their Daily Vegetables
Rabbits need to eat a bunch of fresh vegetables vegetables as a part of a healthy diet. Vegetables are mostly made of water so they provide for a lot of the daily water requirements of a rabbit.
A good way help rabbits get some extra water from their vegetables is to spray it some water. Wetting the vegetables ensures that there is some extra water on the surface of the vegetables which adds to its total water content.
Spraying some water on your rabbit’s vegetables can also make them juicer and more enticing for a rabbit.
Feed Vegetables That Have High Water Content
Again, a rabbit’s daily vegetable intake provides for a lot of a rabbit’s daily water requirement. Most green leafy vegetables have a water content by weight of over 70%. That means green vegetables are made up of mostly water and can be a great source of hydration for rabbits.
Vegetables with the highest water content that you should add to your rabbit’s diet to increase their water intake are
- Swiss Chard
Learn more about the best vegetables for pet rabbits on
Steep Aromatic Herbs In Their Water Overnight
Rabbits are obligate herbivores who can only eat plant based foods which is mostly hay, vegetables and herbs. Herbs like cilantro or basil are some of their favorites.
A good way to get a rabbit to drink more water is to steep some herbs in their water overnight to infuse the flavor into the water. This makes the water more interesting and rabbits are much more likely to get enough water this way.
Change The Water If It Gets Too Warm
Last but not the least, try to keep your rabbit’s water from getting too warm. Rabbits generally prefer cooler room temperature water as they perceive it to be fresher.
The ideal temperatue of water for rabbits to drink should be around
So if you live somewhere where it can get real hot then you’ve got to try this one out and see if it really gets your rabbit to drink more water.