Did you know that kangaroo rats can live without water for ten years? Tortoises can survive for around a year without water, and camels can go for fifteen days without a single drop of liquid. What about rabbits? Let’s learn аll about it.
How Long Can Rabbits Survive Without Water?
Rabbits cannot go long without water. A human being can live without liquids for around three to four days, and rabbits can survive without water for about a day.
On certain occasions, a bunny may be able to live more than 24 hours without drinking, but anything over this time limit would cause severe health damage.
Keep in mind that “water” implies any fruits and vegetables that contain it as well. Having this in mind, it’s absolutely necessary to provide your pet bunny with fresh water and food every day.
What About Wild Rabbits?
Wild rabbits are no different from domestic ones regarding their water needs. A wild rabbit can’t survive without water for more than one day in most cases. The only difference is the origins of the water they consume.
While domestic rabbits get water from their owners, wild rabbits need to fend for themselves and find it in their habitat.
They usually get liquids from the fruits and vegetables they eat and from dew, ponds, lakes, and rivers, depending on the availability of water bodies in their living radius.
Why Is Water Important For Rabbits?
Water is one of the most important things for the bodies of living things. It keeps other animals and us alive, but if you ever wondered how, here are some of the crucial points on how water is beneficial to all the living bodies.
Water greatly helps the whole digestion process. When a rabbit swallows food, water helps break down that food so the body can absorb all the necessary nutrients and minerals.
It also prevents constipation by softening the excretion products. Constipation can cause significant damage to your pet bunny – it can even be fatal, so you should try to prevent it at all costs.
Rabbits’ body temperature is regulated differently from humans because rabbits don’t sweat. However, in both cases, water plays a significant role. While humans dissipate excess heat from their bodies by sweating, rabbits do that with the help of their breathing and ears.
Blood is a necessary tool to transport oxygen and nutrients to the different body parts. A considerable percentage of blood is water, so you can see how important it is for your pet bunny.
In addition, it also helps the bunny’s kidneys, bowels, and liver remove toxins and harmful substances out of the body through urine and feces.
How Much Water Should Rabbits Drink Daily?
A typical daily water intake for rabbits depends on several things. The usual amount of water your pet should drink is approximately 100 milliliters per kilo of the bunny’s weight.
This means that an average domestic rabbit drinks around a cup of water each day. If your bunny’s diet consists primarily of hay, your pet will probably drink more water.
If you implement fresh fruits and vegetables with high water content in your bunny’s diet, they will get a certain percentage of liquid needs from the food, so their water container won’t be empty at the end of the day.
As mentioned, rabbits need water for body temperature regulation, among other things. This is why your rabbit will drink more water during the summer than winter.
It’s also important to provide your bunny with slightly colder water during the summer months than when it is cold outside.
Another thing that can affect your pet’s daily water intake is active hours during the day. If your rabbit plays and hops around a lot, it will require more water than during the lazy days.
The first reason for this is the extra food your rabbit will eat to compensate for the lost calories. The more food your rabbit eats, the thirstier it gets. Another reason is rehydration of the body, which is necessary during active times.
Considering all the factors that go into your rabbit’s needs for liquids, provide your pet with water every few hours. Even if your bunny’s bowl is half-full, make sure to regularly fill it up with new, fresh water.
What Water To Give To Your Rabbit?
If you are new to the whole “keeping a bunny as a pet” thing, you may wonder what the best water option for your new pet is. The answer is – any water that you drink, you can give to your rabbit.
While wild rabbits don’t have a lot of options for drinking fresh, clean water daily, they are also acclimated to rougher conditions than household bunnies.
Domestic rabbits need clean, pure water that isn’t stale. You can give your bunny bottled, filtered, or tap water, as long as you would drink it too.
What Water Container To Use For Your Rabbit?
The question that can bug some of the rabbit owners is – what water container to buy? Let’s see a couple of options so you can choose what you think will suit your pet the most.
Many bunny owners choose a bottle as a water container for their pets. This is a good option for several reasons – it leaks water only when your pet starts drinking, so there is not a lot of room for spillage; it is practical when you leave your bunny alone for a few hours – they can drink whenever thirsty without the risk of spilling the water, and your bunny can’t get it dirty with food.
Another advantage is that you can use weather-resistant bottles during the winter. However, if you opt for a bottle, you will probably need to be prepared to teach your bunny how to use it as it doesn’t come naturally to them.
Unlike a water bottle, the bowl imitates the rabbit’s natural habitat conditions – they approach a water source and lap from it. It is easier for rabbits to get the hang of it, and they know how to use the bowl from the beginning.
However, you will need to replace the water quite often, and if you keep your bunny outside, make sure it doesn’t freeze.
Also, you can’t be safe with a water bowl if you leave your bunny alone for some time. They may tip it over or get it dirty with food, which leaves them without a water source.
Why Do Rabbits Stop Drinking Water?
Suppose you notice that your rabbit is drinking less water than usual or no water at all; it can be a cause for concern. There are a few things that may be the reason for this behavior.
Your Rabbit Isn’t Thirsty
The most likely reason for your bunny not drinking water is very simple – your pet may not be thirsty. If your rabbit’s behavior isn’t any different and you noticed that it hasn’t drunk water for a few hours, don’t despair; it’s usually nothing to worry about.
Replace the water in a container and wait for a few more hours for your bunny to get thirsty.
Water Is Dirty
If your bunny isn’t drinking water, you need to check if the water is 100% clean and pure. Your pet may have brought some food to the bowl or doesn’t like stale water.
In this case, change the water source you give to your rabbit – switch to bottled or filtered water. You can also try giving them tap water that you previously boiled, once it cools down.
Rabbit Is Sick
The least common reason for your bunny not drinking enough water is sickness. Apart from this symptom, you will notice your rabbit getting lethargic, sad, and lazy.
Your pet will probably deny food too. If this happens, take your furry friend to a vet as soon as possible to get to the root of the problem.
What To Do If A Bunny Is Dehydrated?
If your rabbit doesn’t drink enough water, it can lead to serious health consequences. Some first signs of dehydration are dark urine that smells funny, wrinkled skin, lethargic behavior, and food denial.
Your rabbit may even refuse to drink water, so you need to encourage it to do so. You can take a syringe and stick it into your pet’s mouth while slowly releasing water.
Another thing you can do is offer your pet some watermelon or similar watery fruit. The sugary taste may motivate them to eat it, and it will get them hydrated a bit.
If you notice any of these symptoms, try to make your rabbit drink some water immediately. If that doesn’t work and your bunny doesn’t get better, seek professional attention right away.
Rabbits can survive for around a day without water. However, even if they survive for longer than that, they can still suffer critical health consequences.
It is crucial to provide your bunny with fresh water every few hours to keep it hydrated. If dehydration somehow happens, take your rabbit to a vet.