Why water is vital for your rabbit

By Link the Bun December 27th, 2020

Ceramic Water Bowl

Fresh Water is crucial

Water is your rabbit’s best and generally only drink, It is because rabbits are made of 73 percent of water. As rabbits have a complex and sensitive digestive system, their body’s need good quality hay and of course water!

Why you should keep your rabbit hydrated

Water is needed for your rabbit to function at their best. A high intake of water makes is essential as it provides various benefits.

  • Helps keep the gut moving and assist with getting rid of waste
  • It helps regulate body temperature which is extremely important for avoiding heat stroke.
  • Removes excess calcium
  • Helps keep your rabbits organs functioning!

If a rabbit is deprived of drinking water or does not drink enough of it, it can go into GI Stasis, which is a life-threatening condition.

Did you know Rabbits have a high water intake than other animals? For example a rabbit weighing 4.5 lbs drinks as much as a 22 lbs dog, which is 5 times more!

But, how should rabbits drink water? You can encourage your rabbit to drink in several ways.

Water Bowl vs Water Bottle

There’s a lot of debate on whether or not you shit give your rabbit a water bottle or water bowl, typically if you have an indoor rabbit you should give them a water bowl as it’s the better of the options. However, if you cannot use a bowl inside or out, a bottle is fine.

For the most part, it’s down to your rabbits preference.

Water Bowl

Ceramic Rabbit Water Bowl

How you provide your rabbit with clean and fresh water depends on your rabbit’s preference. If you choose a water bowl for your rabbit, you must make sure that you maintain it as that is vital for the rabbit health.

The container should be cleaned regularly with hot soapy water, and the water should be changed everyday too.

Biofilm develops on bowls that aren’t cleaned regularly which is a gateway for bacteria. To simplify it, Biofilm is a layer of bacteria that sits ontop of something.

Rabbits love to toss things around so you must choose a bowl that can’t be tipped easily, opt for a sturdy ceramic or metal bowl and avoid plastic bowls as they can bechewed and tossed by the rabbit.

If your rabbit knocks over the bowl then you can buy a bowl that can be clipped on the sides of the cage, the bowl is called coop cups and is usually used for birds.

When you choose to get a bowl for your rabbit, you must keep an eye on their water through out the day. Accidents are bound to happen, so there’s no harm in there being some hay etc in it, just clean it up and move on.

Water Bottles

Rabbit Water Bottle

A bottle of 600 ml is enough for two small rabbits, if you’ve got many rabbits then it’s a better idea to have multiple bottles so the water does not run out.

Ideally, you’ll want to have a water bowl over a water bottle as the water in a bowl is less likely to freeze and get stuck and it can be changed easily.

Water bottles are easy to mount, easy to fill and are durable. They contain water nicely but the rabbits have to get into an unnatural position to drink the water from the bottle as compared to the bowl.

That’s a downside to it; some bottles may leak and only allow little water to be dispensed. If you touch push in the ball at the tip and drops of water come out, you should be fine.

It is important to check the bottle regularly at least twice a day as algae can grow inside the bottle when it’s exposed to sunlight.

The water bottles should be cleaned and refilled with fresh water daily. Biofilm develops inside bottles too if they aren’t cleaned which may lead to bacterial growth and cause illnesses.

Just to add, these bottles are extremely difficult to clean without the correct utensils. I highly recommend grabbing a Bottle Cleaning Brush if you are going to use a bottle.

How much water do rabbits drink?

The amount of water that a rabbit drinks depends on many factors, some of which include:

  • The size of the rabbit matters, the bigger the rabbit the more water they will drink and the smaller the rabbit the little amount they’ll need.
  • The more active the rabbit, higher will be the intake of water.
  • The environmental factors like the temperature also affect the intake of water. Rabbits drink more water during the summer season.
  • The age of the rabbit, water intake of rabbits reduce with age.
  • The amount of water that is consumed as food (contains water) decreases the intake.
  • The addition of vitamins or carrot juice in the water can also increase the intake.
  • Drinking from a bowl is physically easier whether you use a bowl or bottle.

The important thing is to have enough water available for your rabbit to drink.

Does my Rabbits choice matter?

Animals are happy when they have some control over their environment. While in the wild, animals have control over their environment and they make decisions based on their need to drink, eat, and stay warm and safe.

Our pet rabbits have little to no choice over their environment but if you offer them to have an option for drinking from both a water bowl and a water bottle, it gives them a choice and allows them to have a preference which may change overtime.

However, if they are an outdoors rabbit we do suggest a clippable bowl rather than a bottle so they don’t dehydrate should something go wrong with the bottle.

Can rabbits drink tap water?

This depends on your location, but in most cases drinking tap water is safe for your rabbit. Typically tap water is fresh and clean however it will break down into two categories:

  • Soft Water – Is treated and contains low levels of sodium and limescale
  • Hard Water – Includes Calcium & Magnesium. Typically hard water is cloudly and lacks bubbles

Rabbits which have pre-existing health conditions with their kidney and bladder should avoid tap water and should have pure water. This is due to needing less calcium with their intake, how can typically grab a cheap water filter jug in the range of £10/$15.

Alternatively, you can purchase bottled water in bulk as long as it’s been purified.

Can my rabbits drink rain water?

Whilst it’s technically fine to drink rain water as wild rabbits do, we highly recommend against giving your rabbit rain water as it can contain various substances from the surface and dirt which may cause your rabbit to get ill.

You will also want to make sure the water they drink from hasn’t been sat there for a long time, as this will contain increased levels of Biofilm.

Remember, rain is only as clean as the container it falls in.

How do rabbits consume water in the wild?

Whether the rabbit is domestic or wild, they need high water intake for the proper functioning of their bodies.

The field rabbits usually drink water from ponds, rivers or lakes found in their natural habitat. Most of the times these water sources are found to be contaminated by many harmful substances or microorganisms which can cause diseases.

Fun Fact about Wild Rabbits: Wild rabbits tend to form their burrows near a water source to make sure they are always well hydrated.

Keeping your rabbits water from freezing during winters

Before winding up, we thought you might appreciate some helpful tips to prevent your bunny’s water from freezing and getting chill. Most of the rabbits stay indoors where freezing may not be an issue, but if your rabbit lives outside you may need these tips.

  • You can insulate the water bottle with a woolen sock
  • Warm water can be added into the water bottle few timesa day.
  • You can move the hutch indoors to keep the rabbits safe from cold spells
  • Adding ping pong balls into the water bowl can also prevent the ice from forming (Assuming your rabbit knocks the bottle enough to make the balls move)

Conclusion

We hope that we have provided you with enough information about the water needs of your rabbit and how to manage it with the equipment that is available to you.

Rabbits love drinking water and it’s very important to make sure that your rabbit drinks enough water so they don’t become dehydrated.

Now that you know about the basic needs of the rabbits and how they can be happy and healthy,we can enjoy watching the rabbits lapping in their water bowls as they just love fresh water!


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