In order to be able to offer the rabbit as a pet as species-appropriate a life as possible, some knowledge is required. This includes as a basic building block the equipment for its healthy diet.
However, especially the liquid supply often raises questions:
Do you want to know if there is a particularly healthy drink for your animal favorite?
Do you know that there are also those that are harmful to him?
Are you familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of the various drinking containers?
We provide well-founded answers to these questions!
In addition, you will receive helpful tips on how to supply your rabbit with liquid in an optimal and healthy way.
Water for rabbits – but which one?
For an adult rabbit, water is and remains the number 1 liquid food.
Fresh tap water is preferable here because it is enriched with important minerals, including calcium and magnesium. Water from the tap is also strictly controlled in Germany.
Still mineral water from the supermarket should only be your second choice, because it often contains large amounts of nitrate, which is converted to harmful nitrite during the digestive process.
Under no circumstances should your rabbit drink carbonated mineral water, as it will not tolerate it.
Rainwater is also bad for the organism of the fluffy fur bearer, because it contains plenty of pollutants that are only filtered out in the lower layers of rock. Many owners are clueless in this regard and think they are doing their animal some good, but in the long run the opposite is true.
Importance of drinking
Drinking enough water is extremely important for your rabbit. His body needs it for various processes and vital functions. Since it is lost rapidly with excretions and breathing, it must also be supplied quickly.
A daily check of the rabbit’s watering place is therefore obligatory and is part of the routine in the responsible handling of rabbits.
Especially at summer temperatures it is advisable to change the water more often, because if it is stale and stale, it will be spurned by the rabbit. This in turn leads to a lack of water, which can have fatal consequences for your animal.
Dehydration often leads to metabolic and cardiac arrhythmias, as well as damage to the organs and lack of minerals in the small body.
The less a rabbit drinks, the more likely urinary and renal stones will also form.
The early symptoms of dehydration are initially manifested by restless behavior. In addition, the affected animal produces less urine, which has a strong odor.
In addition, the lack of fluid is noticeable by a change in the consistency of the feces, and when palpating your rabbit, you will notice that the elasticity of the skin is decreasing.
If all these alarm signs have occurred, an immediate trip to the vet is inevitable!
How thirsty are rabbits?
How much water the hoppers consume depends on various factors and can therefore not be generally fixed to a certain amount.
In winter, your long-eared rabbit will drink less. Also the age, size and breed are decisive circumstances. Pregnant and lactating females have a higher need, as they have to compensate for the loss of fluids.
The food also has a significant influence on the amount of fluid drunk. Dry foods, such as hay and highly swelling foods, will increase your rabbit’s thirst.
On the other hand, if your rabbit is given plenty of juicy greens, vegetables and fruits, his water intake will be limited, as these already contain enough liquid.
The appropriate drinking container
A sufficient water supply is all well and good, but it also requires a suitable container for the cool water.
The trade has two different possibilities of drinking water supply for small animals ready. The widespread water bottles, also called nipple drinkers, are practically and simply attached to the cage bars.
However, they reveal serious disadvantages upon closer inspection:
The water is delivered only drop by drop.
The unnatural and strenuous head position is repugnant to the animals.
The thin tubes are difficult to clean and algae and bacteria form.
The much better alternative are bowls or dishes!
These should be quite sturdy so your agile long-eared pet can’t knock them over. Materials such as ceramic, stone or clay are excellent and are also easy to clean.
In studies, researchers let rabbits decide for themselves which watering trough they preferred. The results were clear: all animals preferred the water bowl!
Drinks other than water – good or bad?
Rabbit owners and their purchasing power are heavily courted by retailers as an extremely profitable line of business. So it’s no wonder that when you’re looking for drinkables for your animal roommate, you’ll quickly find what you’re looking for.
Your rabbit will also love it, because the feed industry knows perfectly what rabbits like.
However, these special juices and waters are not necessary for a species-appropriate diet. Vitamin supplements are also superfluous for healthy animals and are more likely to cause harm due to the threat of overdosing.
What should a sick rabbit drink?
The situation is somewhat different with a sick animal. Here you can safely use good vitamin preparations and add them to the drinking water. However, fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs are always preferable.
In cases of illness among rabbits, the administration of diluted herbal teas such as chamomile, fennel, lemon balm or peppermint tea, in winter additionally cold tea, has proven itself.
A home remedy that has a positive effect on your pet’s intestinal flora is apple cider vinegar: A few splashes in the drinking water are enough.
Can my rabbit drink milk?
The stomach of an adult rabbit is completely adapted to a vegan diet. It is not able to process animal protein, which is present in milk.
Only the small baby rabbits are naturally fed with their mother’s milk during the suckling phase. However, after four to eight weeks, this period is over. However, it may happen that a female rabbit does not accept her young or there are too many. In this case, hand-rearing with suitable replacement milk is necessary.
The best choice is cat milk, because it is the most similar to the rabbit’s breast milk. You can get it directly from the vet or also in the pet shop. Mixed in the right proportions and prepared with diluted fennel or chamomile tea, there is a chance that the young will survive the first crucial days and grow into healthy rabbits.
Under no circumstances should cow’s milk or condensed milk be used for hand rearing, this will give the cubs bad diarrhea!
The best at the end: tips and tricks
- it is advisable to position the water bowl on a slightly elevated and litter-free surface, so that the least amount of dirt gets into it.
- Rabbits like variety. If your fluffy pet drinks very little water, or none at all, it could simply be because it tastes boring. Spiking it with a shot of apple or carrot juice every now and then can do wonders. Another easy trick to keep your rabbit hydrated is to offer moist green food.
- If you keep your rabbits outside in an enclosure, they obviously need to have fresh water available to them at all times, even in the winter. To prevent water bowls from freezing, there is the trick of using two ping pong balls: They float on the surface and due to the constant movement, the water does not freeze as quickly. This works best with larger bowls
Are rabbits allowed to drink tea?
Yes, rabbits are allowed to drink tea. It is especially advisable to give it to your rabbit when it has a cold.
Can rabbits drink apple juice?
Yes, apple juice will not harm your rabbit. We recommend the use of natural cloudy apple juice without additives. However, not in pure form, but mixed with sufficient water.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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