How to tell if a Rabbit is Dehydrated

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"How to tell if a Rabbit is Dehydrated"
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Rabbits work hard to look normal even though they may be sick this alone makes it difficult to tell if a rabbit is dehydrated. In the wild rabbits avoid looking like they are sick due to the fact that once they show signs of weakness they make for very easy prey. Unfortunately tame rabbits have the same instinct which makes it more difficult for you to tell if they are sick but watching for the right signs can ensure that you can tell if a rabbit is dehydrated.


Dehydration in rabbits takes place when a loss of body fluids is present. This is usually accompanied by diarrhea, loss of appetite and when he stops taking fluids. The diarrhea continues and takes water from your rabbits system and without some sort of replacement your rabbit will get sicker. Dehydration in rabbits is a very serious condition that needs immediate attention.  His life may depend on your actions.

Signs of dehydration

Signs of dehydration in your rabbit can be detected by the skin on their body. All you have to do is take the skin on the back of your rabbit’s neck and raise it upwards until it is stretched enough that is comfortable to your rabbit. Let the skin go and if it snaps rights back onto your rabbit then he is healthy with no signs of dehydration. If the skin takes its time returning to your rabbits body the chances of your rabbit being dehydrated is very good. The slower it takes for the skin to return to your rabbit’s body the more dehydrated he is.

Know your rabbit

It is only you that knows your rabbit’s behaviors which give you an excellent insight on his health. You will know when your rabbit is not feeling well and it is up to you to see that he is taken to the vet to make sure he is not dehydrated. Dehydration in rabbits can be very serious especially if it is accompanied by diarrhea.  Dehydration needs to be seen to by a vet as soon as possible but there are a few things you can do if necessary to save his life until you can get him emergency help.

Things that may help

Of course the best thing that can be done for a rabbit that is dehydrated is get him to a vet immediately but if this is not possible there are some things you can do to try and hydrate him again. Some rabbits will take small amounts of Gatorade if they are refusing water. Mix the Gatorade half and half with water and give it to your rabbit even if you have to do this with a sterilized eye dropper.

There is also another product that can be given to your rabbit and that is Pedialyte. This is the same product that you use for children. Both of these may have to be administered by the same method and if your rabbit shows no interest, be persistent. Your rabbit’s life may depend on it.

Sometimes ground up parsley may get them back on the road of eating and drinking again. The reason for this is not known and if your rabbit is too dehydrated this may not work but could make a difference if your rabbit as just started to refuse food or drink.

Other things that may help

As soon as you notice signs of dehydration keep your rabbit warm regardless how warm it is outside. This can be done with warm hot water bottles placed on both sides of him. Do not box your rabbit in where he cannot get away from the heat. This will help him absorb any fluids that you can get him to take much better. Of course in the meantime the best thing you can do is address the matter of diarrhea. You have to get this stopped or he will continue to lose body fluid.

Taking your rabbit to a vet

Vets can help your rabbit in ways that you cannot. It is imperative that you get your rabbit to a vet as soon as you notice he is sick. If your rabbit is really dehydrated your vet will give him injections under the skin to help hydrate him. This is much more productive than any fluids that can be taken by mouth. Only your vet knows the exact amount of fluids that will be given.

Rabbits are too cute and if you are as close to your rabbit as you should be you will be the first one to notice if he is not acting like his usually self. Do not wait to take action. Do what needs to be done immediately. Once you are informed on how to tell if your rabbit is dehydrated then you are doing the best you can for your bunny.

More about this author: Betty Carew

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