While answering this question, we are going to not only confirm to you whether they drink water or not but also look at how much water rabbits drink a day.
We will also highlight why your rabbit could be drinking too much water or why it is not drinking any at all. Finally, we will also discuss the role it plays in their life and something small on how to give your bunnies water.
Do they drink water?
Rabbits drink water, including the wild rabbits. Those in the wild often turn to groundwater sources to help them stay hydrated while those kept at home must be provided with by their owner.
How much water do rabbits drink in a day?
Water is very an essential nutrient to your furry friends. It accounts for over 50% of its body weight. Typically, “rabbit may consume approximately 10 milliliters of water per 100 grams of body weight (8 teaspoons of water per pound of body weight),” notes Extension.org. Therefore, if you have a bunny weighing 5 pounds, it will need about 40 teaspoons daily.
Other sources state that bunnies need about 50 -100ml of water per 1kg of their weight. Therefore, depending on their size, expect it to take 100-600 ml per day. Larger ones such as the giant angora, giant chinchilla, Flemish giants, and so on will consume more.
However, expect a variation on the amount consumed daily depending on several factors which include their environment and diets. Owing to these variations, you must ensure your rabbit has an unlimited supply of clean, fresh water.
Factors affecting water consumption
The actual amount that your furry friend will consume will be depended on several factors.
To begin with, nursing rabbits require more amount than the amounts we have mentioned to cater for its milk production requirements.
Secondly, the moisture content of the various foods they consume will also affect the amount they will drink. Those depending on commercial foods which have less moisture will require more water than those that rely on fresh foods which have a higher moisture content. This is in line with Rabbitwelfare.co.uk that states “rabbits eating lots of fresh grass and greens will drink less, while those eating mostly hay will drink more.”
Thirdly, studies have shown that using rabbit water bottles may encourage a bunny to drink more as opposed to the sipper bottle. However, these bowl and bottles have their cons and pros. For instance, bottles have a risk of being clogged, freezing during winter and so on while contamination and trampling are high in bowls.
The University of Zurich has research on “water intake in domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) from open dishes and nipple drinkers under different water and feeding regimes” which can elaborate the above facts more.
Why is water important?
Some of the significant roles it has in the body of rabbits include the following:
- It helps keep every organ and cell inside their body
- It helps in gastrointestinal content mobility – keeps gut content moving because ingested food must remain moist to be able to move in the digestive tract.
- Helps in flushing excess calcium
- It forms a large part of blood, and without it, these animals will die
What if your bunny does not get enough water?
From its significance, you can guess what happens if your bunny does not get enough of this essential nutrient. Let us look at dehydration and calcium flushing more.
Dehydration and GI stasis
The first problem is dehydration because they will try drawing water from their GI tract to prevent their cells from dehydrating. You should expect the contents of their gut to be drier, cause blockages or GI stasis. GI stasis is a fatal condition.
Signs of dehydration and low gut motility include loss of appetite as well as no droppings or small and very hard.
Urinary crystals and stones
Secondly, bunnies that often take less water have a higher risk of developing urinary crystals or stones. This is because it helps flush out calcium. Rabbits absorb all the calcium they consume in the proportion it is provided in their diets. It is necessary for its teeth growth and strong bones.
However, they cannot keep all the calcium they absorb, and they pass any excess in their urine, something that makes the urine to appear chalky. Water helps in flushing the excess out and without enough of it, expect bladder stones, bladder sludge, or kidney stones.
Therefore, always try to balance the amount of calcium provided in a rabbit’s diet so that it is not too much. Too little is not also recommended.