How Long Can Rabbits Be Left Alone?
A question that every rabbit owner is confronted with sooner or later is: How long can rabbits be left alone? How long can they manage without food and water?
Does a short trip with an overnight stay away from home already become a problem?
In this article, we will tell you how to ideally deal with your rabbit when a vacation is imminent and give you 4 proven tips that have proven themselves in practice.
How long can rabbits be left alone?
Healthy rabbits can be left alone for a day or two without any problems.
Since you, as a responsible pet owner, have at least two rabbits anyway, none of your animals will be alone if you are away from home for a certain amount of time.
However, you should keep in mind that your animals are 100% dependent on you.
This means that they cannot get their own food or water when they are hungry or thirsty.
Therefore, make sure your rabbit has enough water and food before you leave.
If you have a rabbit that – for whatever reason – lives in solitary confinement, it is not advisable to leave it alone for more than a few hours. Your rabbit is not made to live alone and it knows instinctively that it is only in the group from hunters, such as the fox, reasonably protected.
If it is all alone and you go away for a while, your rabbit will get scared and be very stressed. It will instinctively sense that being alone is dangerous for the animal and therefore will not be able to relax.
In addition, rabbits form deep bonds and partnerships and love to invest time in maintaining these friendships.
Now, if your rabbit does not have a conspecific with whom it can live out these needs, it will live them out a little with you – you are therefore a big and important building block for satisfaction in your rabbit’s life.
If your rabbit is sick, you should not leave it alone at all, if possible.
Sick animals should always be under observation so that you can react immediately if their condition worsens. Otherwise, your absence can have potentially fatal consequences for your pet!
Also, be sure to give your rabbits plenty of exercise while you are away. Of course, confining rabbits to a small and dark hutch for a day or two is anything but pet-friendly!
But it can also be dangerous to leave them unattended in their run in the garden.
Therefore, the best option is to either put your rabbits in an optimally secured run in the garden for the time of your absence or to bring them to your apartment for this period and offer them a safe – room or a separated part of it.
Remember: rabbits can climb and love to do so.
Does my rabbit have abandonment anxiety?
Your rabbit does not have abandonment fears in the classical sense.
He is not afraid that he will be rejected by the other rabbits or by you because of his perceived faults.
Nevertheless, your rabbit is very afraid of being alone.
In the wild, a rabbit living alone is easy prey and its chances of survival decrease drastically. Now, if your rabbit is alone for an extended period of time, it feels helpless and defenseless.
Being abandoned triggers real fears of death, which are perfectly justified in the wild.
Of course, it is inevitable that you will leave your rabbit alone from time to time. For this reason, at least make sure that your rabbit has a safe, dark place to retreat to, where it can feel completely at ease.
This way you can make the time until your return at least a little bit more pleasant for him.
The best solution is, of course, partner animals, so that your rabbit is never alone at all.
How long can rabbits survive without food?
How long a rabbit can survive without food depends on several factors.
First of all, the general condition of the animal plays a big role.
Is the animal healthy?
Is it in normal weight, overweight or even already underweight?
The age of the animal also plays a role: younger rabbits are much more robust than old animals.
While in young animals the organism and therefore also the digestive tract is usually intact and can regulate itself to a certain degree, a long feeding break in old animals can throw the digestion completely off track, so that consequential damage can occur, from which the animal finally dies.
You can expect a healthy rabbit to go 1-2 days without food.
Attention: Hereby we do not mean that this period remains for the rabbit without consequences!
Already 12 hours without food can cause the first discomfort, because the rabbit stomach depends on a steady food supply.
In an absolute emergency, it is also possible for a rabbit to survive 3 to 4 days without food. However, this period of time should already be considered as really very critical.
It also matters if your rabbit really has no food available at all or if it cannot eat any food in addition to hay.
A rabbit that can at least nibble a little hay will be able to survive much longer without food.
But of course this is not a healthy way of keeping rabbits!
Rabbits should not be fed only hay in the long run, even if it is provided 24/7.
How long can rabbits survive without water?
Water is extremely important for a well-functioning organism.
If the water balance in the body of a human or an animal is not correct, the first consequences are already noticeable, even far before life is in danger.
Dehydration should not be underestimated in any case.
It is also important that the water of your animals is always kept clean, so that germs have no chance to make your animals sick. Therefore, change the water at least once, even better twice a day.
Of course, the question of how long rabbits can survive without water always depends a bit on the context.
If you feed your rabbit a lot of fresh food and also vegetables with a high water content, e.g. cucumbers, then your animal can of course survive much longer than if it really has no water at all.
In a worst case scenario, a rabbit is able to survive without water for about two days.
However, your rabbit’s condition will deteriorate significantly before the first 24 hours are up.
Therefore, don’t let it get to that point and make sure that your pet is always able to drink enough fluids!
What to do with your rabbit when you travel for a long time? 4 proven tips
There are several possibilities if it is unavoidable that you have to travel not only for one day, but perhaps for a week or even a month.
We will now show you which options are available to you with the help of this list:
As a rule, you will always be able to find one or the other person in your family who will gladly take care of your animals if you have to go away for a longer period of time.
However, be sure to inform the family member in question in advance about what is involved in caring for the rabbits.
Both in terms of food and water and in terms of checking the general condition of the animals.
If there is no one in the immediate vicinity who can take care of your animals, then you can expand your search to a little bit and ask friends and acquaintances if someone would be willing to take care of your animals.
Again, you should make sure that the person has the most important basic skills to prevent your animals from getting sick.
- small animal boarding
If you are traveling for a longer period of time and cannot find someone who can take care of your rabbits, then you have the option of placing your animals in a small animal boarding facility for the period of your absence.
Of course, the care will cost a little money, but with a qualified boarding kennel you can be sure that the staff has good knowledge about the care of your rabbits.
- care at your home by sitters
If you do not want to leave your animals in a foreign environment, there are also small animal care services for your home.
In this case, the sitter will come to your home as often as agreed upon and will take care of all the tasks that have been previously agreed upon.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
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