Bunnies need a lot of love and care. Just like humans, some of the essential things they need are access to fresh water and a healthy, balanced diet. You’ve set up a great living environment for them, and now it’s time to decide on the best water source for your floppy-eared friend.
How do rabbits drink water?
Rabbits drink water by lapping it from a water bowl (known as a crock), which is more natural. They can also drink from a water bottle that’s fixed to their hutch. Both of these options have pros and cons. Rabbits also get some of their water from their food, such as fresh fruit and vegetables.
If you’re looking for advice on the best water source for your bun, this guide will provide you with all the information you need about how rabbits drink water and how much water they can (and should) drink.
How Do Rabbits Drink Water: Water Bowl vs Water Bottle
Each bunny is different and has its own personality. You may find that your bun enjoys drinking from a water bottle and someone else’s bun prefers the water bowl.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of using a water bowl vs a water bottle:
Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of using a water bowl:
- Wild rabbits naturally get their water source from the ground. A crock (water bowl) allows your bun to drink water in a natural position.
- Easy to clean and refill with fresh water.
- There are different types of crocks, such as ceramic, metal, or plastic.
- It works well in winter as it won’t break when the water freezes. Bringing the crock inside to thaw is also easy.
- Allows your bun to sip or gulp water with ease.
- Water evaporates faster than water from a bottle. (You’ll need to top up the water often,)
- Hay, poop, and urine can quickly end up in the crock, which leads to contamination if you don’t clean the bowl regularly.
- If left in the sun, it can grow algae, making the crock slimy with the growing bacteria.
- Rabbits like to play and often end up tipping over the crock. It would be best if you watched out for this, as access to water is vital for their health.
- The water heats up quickly in the sun or in a warm room.
Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of using a water bottle:
- No risk of water being contaminated with hay, urine, or poop.
- Very little water wastage, as the bottle can’t be tipped over, and the water goes directly into their mouths when they suck.
- The water doesn’t evaporate.
- The temperature of the water remains constant.
- Are known to make an annoying noise when your bun drinks.
- Unnatural drinking position for a rabbit.
- More difficult to clean than a crock, so harmful bacteria can easily grow.
- Bottles are known to malfunction and leak.
How Much Water Do Rabbits Need?
Your bun can regulate their water intake as rabbits drink when they are thirsty. In general, your bun should take in around 1.5 to 5 fluid ounces of water per 2.2 pounds of body weight daily.
Baby rabbits can only start drinking small amounts of water from about 3 to 4 weeks old. Before this, they should only drink their mother’s milk.
They will get the water they need through the doe’s milk.
It’s vital to ensure your bun has access to fresh, clean water daily. Rabbits don’t like drinking warm water. If the temperature is hot outside (or inside), keep topping up their bowl or bottle with cool water.
Ideally, your bun should have filtered drinking water as strong chemicals like chlorine from tap water can cause irritation. If you don’t have a filter, leave the tap water to stand in a jug for 24 hours. This will cause the chlorine to evaporate.
How Often Do Rabbits Drink Water?
How often your floppy-eared friend needs to drink water depends on a few factors, such as:
- The temperature of your bun’s living environment. They’ll drink more water if it’s warmer.
- Do they have a good amount of fresh fruit and vegetables in their diet? Rabbits also get a source of water from the food they eat.
- The bigger the bunny is, the more water they need.
- Is your bun very active? The more exercise they do affects how often they drink water.
- Older rabbits drink less water as they aren’t as active anymore.
If you notice your bun is drinking water excessively, you should consider taking them to the vet.
This can be a sign that your bunny is in pain or has an underlying health condition such as:
- Infected gums or dental issues
- Kidney damage or failure
Your bun will typically increase its water intake if the weather is hot or if you have flavored its water (which isn’t necessary).
How Long Can Rabbits Go Without Water?
Your bun needs constant access to fresh water, as it will drink numerous times throughout the day. If your bun has no water for several hours, it can become ill. After 24 hours, they can become seriously dehydrated.
Watch out for these signs if you suspect your bun is dehydrated:
- Battling to urinate (or very dark-colored urine)
- Thick and sticky saliva
- Lack of appetite
- Obvious lethargy
- Hard and dry poop pellets
- Crusty eyes
If your bun is dehydrated, you must seek veterinary assistance immediately, as this can be fatal if left untreated.
My Last Bunny Thoughts
If you’re struggling to choose between a water bottle or a water bowl (crock), why not consider giving your floppy-eared friend a choice?
Bunnies are brilliant animals, and they like to exhibit some sort of control over their environment.
Place a bowl of water in their hutch and attach a bottle to the side as well. Monitor your bun for a couple of days, and you will quickly see which one they prefer. Just like humans, each bun has its own likes and dislikes.
Luckily, both options (water bottle or water bowl) have pros and cons, and they are both excellent options for your bun as long as you clean them regularly and provide fresh water daily.