How to deal with a sick rabbit

Learn how to recognize rabbit illness signs and symptoms

Chris McLaughlin is a homesteading expert and writer with over 35 years of hands-on experience caring for rabbits and alpacas. She has written many books, including one on keeping rabbits, and owns Laughing Crow & Company, a farm that’s home to all kinds of animals, including horses and goats.

How to deal with a sick rabbit

A healthy rabbit makes for a wonderful pet. Like other pets, though, your bunny must be cared for to avoid serious health conditions. Regular trips to the vet and a healthy diet can go a long way to ensure that your bunny stays healthy and happy, but keep an eye out of signs that your rabbit might be sick.

Why Do Rabbits Get Sick

Like most pets, there are a number of reasons that rabbits get sick. They can be exposed to germs, eat something that causes sickness, be genetically predisposed to a condition, or other reasons. Because of their status at the low end of the food chain, rabbits typically hide signs of illness. Showing weakness puts them at risk of becoming prey. Of course, your pet probably isn’t at risk of being eaten, but you still have to carefully observe it to catch early signs of sickness. Some common signs of illness include:

How to deal with a sick rabbit


The treatment that a vet will prescribe will depend on the condition that the rabbit has. While you seek treatment, try to keep your rabbit hydrated and warm. A syringe with water or soft foods (applesauce or baby food) can assist. Depending on the condition, your vet may prescribe prescription medication to help your rabbit’s condition. Illness can happen quickly with rabbits so make sure you have a vet that treats rabbits. Like other pets, rabbits should visit a vet at least once a year until age 4, when the visit should be scheduled for every 6 months. A vet has specialty knowledge that can catch rabbit illness signs before they blossom into a bigger health issue.

How to Prevent Illnesses

It’s not entirely possible to prevent illnesses in rabbits. Practicing prevention will help. Feed them a healthy diet, provide a clean and loving environment, and take care to avoid extreme temperatures. Touching their bodies is just as important as monitoring their behavior for any illnesses. Your hands will let you know about any changes in body condition, and you’ll spot lumps or injuries early. It’s not as time-consuming as you might think. Rabbits will quickly adapt to physical attention and you’ll get used to tending to them.

This post was most recently updated on July 27th, 2021

Healthy strong stock will avoid most rabbit diseases. You can breed your rabbits to be resistant to most illnesses, and to be resilient and strong. However, there are always times where animals will get sick. If you are wondering how to treat a sick rabbit, read on!

Please read: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

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Below is also what to do for a sick rabbit in case your wonderful preventative methods are foiled by a disease.

How to Grow Resilient Rabbits

Choose your breeding stock from the best of the best that you have access to, and cull any stock that show illness/weakness. This will result in you having very little trouble with rabbit diseases in your rabbits.

Culling rabbits does not mean to kill them. It simply means to remove them from your breeding stock. In our house, that means to add them to the dinner table, but that does not have to be the case. You can remove them to their own area, or simply not let them visit the buck, or you can sell them on as pets.

Good nutrition is the next most important pillar to preventing rabbit diseases in your rabbitry. Ensure your rabbits get plenty of whole grains, fresh vegetables, unlimited hay, fresh water and a mineral supplement. If you prefer pellets ensure that they are a complete meal option for them.

How to deal with a sick rabbit

Provide Suitable Healthy Housing

Keep the rabbitry clean and dry. This will go a long way toward preventing many rabbit diseases. Avoid moldy bedding, and keep the floors clean.

If you are using a deep litter system, add fresh bedding regularly, especially where they toilet. If your floor is a soil/dirt floor you can seed it with grass/grains and water it to reduce/remove the urine on the surface.

Barn lime can be sprinkled over the floor, and in very wet urine areas to reduce the ammonia in the air. There is a direct correlation between the level of ammonia in a rabbitry and the amount of respiratory disease in rabbits.

An effective manure removal system and 10–20 air changes per hour are necessary to reduce the ammonia to an acceptable level. To do this, we simply have the side of our shed open, enclosed in wire.

How to deal with a sick rabbit

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How to deal with a sick rabbit

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Managing New Stock

All new stock should be quarantined for 4 weeks away from the main rabbitry. Feed/tend to them last on your rotations and wash your hand/clothes/equipment extremely well after contact.

If all this prevention doesn’t work and you still end up will illness in your rabbitry, you are not alone! Usually these illnesses have come from contact with an infected animal/person/food.

What to do if a Rabbit is Sick

1. Mark or note pens that contain sick animals.
2. Isolate sick animals. If possible, keep them in rooms or buildings separate from healthy rabbits.
3. Care for the sick animal last. Only after all other rabbits in the herd have been cared for to prevent carrying infection from sick to healthy rabbits. Be sure to wash hands and disinfect boots after caring for sick animals. Clean and disinfect any equipment moved from an area where there are sick animals to the pens containing healthy animals.
4. Get help. If you cannot determine the cause of the trouble quickly, send a few typically sick rabbits to a diagnostic laboratory or your local veterinarian.
5. Keep your place clean. Destroy all hopelessly sick animals and bury or burn all dead animals. Open disposal pits are not recommended.
6. Clean and disinfect all pens before placing new rabbits in them.

To find out what illness it might be, and how to treat it, have a read of our Rabbit Diseases Guide

The majority, if people think of pets, dogs or cats will usually pop up in mind their mind, but there are many folks that are convinced that bunnies should be included in one of the best pets between cat and dog. The Rabbits’ popularity as pets is gradually increasing, and some surveys suggest that their numbers in households actually exceed the total number of pet dogs in this country. Rabbit or usually called bunnies is a sociable, personable, fluffy and lovable pet. Here are Reasons Why You Should Choose A Rabbit As Your Pet.

But please remember that rabbit are included as not low maintenance cost pet, same as cat and dog. So as such, they require your energy, time and professional veterinary care (for their health and medical purposes) as same as pet cat and dog. You need to know when your rabbit is sick, so you can prepare to reach your vet as soon you find your rabbit pet get sick. Please read to find “12 Symptoms That Your Rabbit is Sick” article so you can keep an eye on your rabbit and get the help they need.

Should your rabbit get some health problem yet can’t reach your pet for some reason, this article will help you to get you to Treat a Sick Rabbit with Home Remedies. Even so, please prioritize your rabbit to get veterinary care to make your rabbit healthy and able to live a long life.

1. Herb for Enhanced Immunity

The recommended herbs that balance the immune system for all rabbits are E. purpurea. E. purpurea is a herb that nearly everyone can grow in the backyard, and a bulk of echinacea is available in health-food stores. Please buy the plant form rather the capsule form. Use both the aerial parts and the chopped roots then mix it together and added atop a bunny’s feed. Echinacea Purpurea acts as an immune- system balancer and not simply as an immune-system stimulant, it can be added to a bunny’s food on a daily basis. However, It usually recommends an on-off routine. For example, add echinacea five days a week and none on weekends, throughout the lifetime of the bunny.

2. Gastrointestinal Herbs

A rabbit’s digestive system functions best with a high-fiber diet. Most of a rabbit’s nibbling gives him plenty of coarse fiber. It founded that some of the household rabbit diets are “Too Varied” —they provide good protein and well-ground grains but not enough fibrous material. So rabbit sometimes suffered a belly problem due to lack of fiber diet.

3. Bladder Infections Herb

Bladder infections are quite a common malady in the rabbits and often related to an immune-system imbalance. you can use a combination of three major herbs for treating bladder infections: Echinacea, dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale), and one or more antibiotic herbs. Echinacea has mild antibiotic properties as mentioned above, Dandelion root supports the kidneys and acts as a diuretic. The extra cleansing power of increased urine flow often helps cure the problem. More antibiotic herb like Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis), Oregon grape root (Mahonia aquifolium), and Uva Ursi (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) are excellent herbs for bladder infections. Please note that uva ursi works best in an alkaline media, and rabbits—because they are vegetarians—have alkaline urine. Because of that, dogs and cats, being meat eaters, have acid urine so uva ursi is not as effective for them.

Once you’ve cleared up an ongoing infection, to help prevent further occurrences, you might try a continuation of the echinacea and dandelion root combination, along with some cranberry treats several times a week. Cranberry prevents bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall.

4. Herb for Calming Aggressive Rabbit

Sometimes, rabbits can be very aggressive, especially to other rabbits who they feel are invading their turf and not specially bonded to be recognized as a friend to the aggressive rabbit. Its widely know that rabbit is highly social animals and most rabbit pet owner recommends to have two or three compatible rabbits be housed together. Even so, the transition time when you’re trying to bond two rabbits together can be experimental and sometimes downright traumatizing for them.

It is recommended for mixing calming herbs into their diets during the bonding phase. Please mix one of the following herbs that may be helpful: valerian (Valeriana officinalis), chamomile (Matricaria recutita), or kava (Piper methysticum).

5. Herb for Arthritis Treatment

Many House rabbit have a quite chance of getting arthritis. It might be caused by their sedentary lifestyle (compared to their wild kinfolk) as a major contributor. Acupuncture and chiropractic methods are one of the solutions, but for home remedies, you might need these herbs along. To treat the cortisone-like, anti-inflammatory properties, It recommended using licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra). Also, add echinacea because there a connection be caused by immune-system imbalance. Willow bark (Salix spp.) seems to be an effective pain reliever, and rabbits actually like its taste. Finally, adding, as a sprinkle atop the food, one or more of the herbs that have been used traditionally when treating arthritis: Yucca (Yucca spp.), devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens), and feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) are also good.

6. Flystrike Remedies and Treatment

Flystrike happens when flies lay their eggs in moist areas of skin on a rabbit and this is a terrible disease that I hope you will be able to keep from your rabbits. These eggs will hatch into maggots within 24 hours. This disease can happen when your rabbit has messy rear due to urinal or poop leakage and not get treated either. They will live under your rabbit’s skin and release a poison that will kill your rabbit.

You will need to be sure that your rabbit’s hind quarters are kept very clean. If you have a rabbit that is overweight or a female that has a large dewlap, then it may be hard for them to clean themselves properly. If this is the case, be sure to clean your rabbits daily.

Rather than only giving some homemade remedy, you should give them treat it as soon as possible, should you cannot reach your vet, please follow this guide.

  • You’ll need to grab the tweezer and begin pulling the maggots out of your rabbit’s skin. Then you’ll want to soak your rabbit’s rear in warm water. But be sure to dry their hindquarters thoroughly after the act.
  • Then, you’ll need to shave off carefully any dirty or soiled hair around their bum. Be very careful as rabbit’s skin is very thin.
  • Lastly, you’ll need to administer antibiotics for the rabbit to ensure that no infection sets up.

Hopefully, with this article, you will able to give you some insight about homemade remedies. For more article all about some rabbit common behavioral problem, you might want to read “6 Effective Method to Treat Rabbit That Won’t Eat“and “8 Ways to Get Your Pet Rabbit Back in Its Cage“.

Common rabbit diseases and other ailments

Our emergency and critical vets see thousands of rabbits every year. Here we’ve listed some of the most common rabbit ailments, rabbit illnesses and emergencies and some general advice on how to deal with them. You can always seek advice from nearest Vets Now emergency clinic or 24/7 hospital if it’s out of hours.

We also offer an online video consultation service to make professional veterinary advice more easily available. While the service is not suitable for life-threatening emergencies, our experienced vets are available to discuss any worries or concerns you might have about your rabbit. If your pet needs an in-person follow-up appointment at any vet practice, we will refund the online consultation fee, so you never pay twice.

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1. Swellings

These may be due to abscesses — common around the head in particular — or tumours. In most cases, abscesses and tumours appear gradually over weeks. But you may only notice them when they reach a certain size. If you discover any unusual lumps or bumps on your rabbit you should contact your vet as soon as possible.

How to deal with a sick rabbit

2. Holly, mistletoe and ivy poisoning

Believe it or not, rabbits aren’t indigenous to the UK. They were introduced by the aristocracy in the 12th Century for fur and meat. As a result many of our native plants aren’t good for them. One of the most common is ivy. All of the plant is toxic to rabbits although particularly the leaves and berries. If your rabbit has eaten ivy symptoms may show within hours or they could take up to three days to appear. Signs of ivy poisoning include lack of appetite, diarrhoea, abdominal tenderness, and colic, as well as muscle twitching, paralysis and convulsions. Holly and mistletoe can also be poisonous.

3. Loss of balance or head tilt

Head tilt is often caused by bacterial infections of the middle and inner ear or infections of the brain. Another common cause is the parasite Encephalitozoon cuniculi which is a significant cause of disease and can, occasionally, pass to humans. Once a rabbit has E. cuniculi. it passes infectious spores in its urine. Transmission to another rabbit occurs by eating these spores in contaminated food and water. If your rabbit has been affected it may struggle to stand up and its head may circle continuously in one direction. Rabbits should be kept as quiet as possible with dimmed lighting to avoid self-injury occurring.

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4. Loss of appetite

Loss of appetite may happen gradually or suddenly and may be associated with abdominal pain or swelling, passing mucus instead of droppings, or increased salivation and dribbling and wet fur around the mouth. While loss of appetite is not a specific indicator of one disease, it may be serious as it can lead to lack of gut movements, also known as gut stasis. This, in turn, can result in the onset of shock due to bacterial poisons. Any rabbit that fails to eat for more than four to six hours should be seen by a vet.

How to deal with a sick rabbit

5. Myxomatosis

Myxomatosis is a virus spread by biting insects including fleas and mosquitoes. It killed 99% of the UK’s rabbit population when it arrived in the country in 1953. It causes a gradual swelling of the area around the eyes, ears, anus and genitals and can be fatal. You should always get your rabbit vaccinated by your vet to prevent infection. But if you do see any of the signs mentioned, then you should see a vet immediately.

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6. Rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease

RVHD is a virus spread between rabbits by direct and indirect contact such as contaminated feed.

There are two strains of the disease — RVHD1 which has been in the UK since the 1980’s, and the more recently discovered RVHD2. In unvaccinated rabbits it’s fatal and sometimes there are no warning signs. In rabbits that survive the first few days after infection, diarrhoea with blood is often seen.

7. Paralysis of one or more limbs

Paralysis of one leg may be associated with a fracture, nerve damage or a dislocation. Paralysis of both hind legs is more likely to be associated with a spinal injury such as a fracture or dislocation. These sorts of injuries are common in rabbits. Any rabbit showing signs of paralysis should be seen immediately.

8. Breathing difficulties in rabbits

If you notice a discharge from your rabbit’s eyes and nose as well as noisy breathing, your rabbit breathing fast, or open-mouthed breathing, you should contact either your own vet or, out of hours, your nearest Vets Now pet emergency clinic immediately. These may indicate respiratory infections or heat stress, which can be serious.

How to deal with a sick rabbit

9. Ear mites

Ear mite infestation in rabbits is caused by the parasite Psoroptes cuniculiis. The main symptom is skin scales on the inner ear, which turn into larger, thicker crusted lesions with surrounding hair loss. Ear mites are generally not an emergency but if left untreated the lesions can become infected, which can cause loss of balance and hearing. If your rabbit has ear mites you may see itching around the ear, head and neck, head shaking and a thick beige fluid in the ear canal.

10. Flystrike

Flystrike in rabbits is a devastating condition, which is particularly common during warm weather. It is caused by the Lucilia sericata, or green bottle fly which is attracted to damp fur soiled with urine or soft faeces.

Each fly can lay up to 200 eggs on the skin, usually at the rear end of an animal, which then hatch into maggots within hours. The maggots grow by feeding on the rabbit’s flesh and, collectively, they can get through a large area of skin frighteningly quickly. The rabbit’s bottom, tail, belly and back is usually worst affected.

During the summer months, our emergency clinics see a big increase in the number of cases of flystrike.

About the Author

How to deal with a sick rabbit

Alex Shirlow

Alex is a rotating intern in Vets Now Referrals in Glasgow, rotating through specialist disciplines such as surgery, medicine, oncology and emergency and critical care. Before joining Vets Now, Alex worked in small animal practice in Northern Ireland. She graduated from University College Dublin in 2015.

About the Article

Vets Now assumes no liability for the content of this page. This advice is not a substitute for a proper consultation with a vet and is only intended as a guide. Please contact your local veterinary practice for advice or treatment immediately if you are worried about your pet’s health — even if they are closed, they will always have an out-of-hours service available. Find out more about what to do in an emergency.

People who live with rabbits need to be particularly attentive to subtle changes. If your rabbit usually greets you with leaps and bounds and he is now lying in the back of the cage when you approach, perhaps hunched over, this could be a cause for concern. Couple this with no droppings in his litterbox and loads of hay still present from the previous night, and you could have a very sick rabbit.

What is “normal” behavior? Some rabbits jump up to greet you; some don’t. Some rabbits are very active, running all over the house; some aren’t. In general, rabbits mellow a bit as they age. A three-month-old bunny might seem hyperactive compared to a more sedate five-year-old rabbit. Both activity levels are normal, just different.

Be sure to find a good veterinarian before your rabbit gets sick. When Bunny is ill, you need help quickly and you won’t have time to “shop” for a vet. If you are ever in question about your rabbit’s health, call your vet. You may also want to check out our FAQ on medical concerns for companion rabbits.

Tooth grinding: Loud tooth grinding is a sign of pain. Note: This tooth grinding is different from the less-loud “tooth purring” you may hear when you snuggle and kiss Bun’s face!

Body heat: Rabbits regulate body temperature by their ears. Very cold or hot ears could indicate a fever or a drop in body temperature. This, coupled with other warning signs, could warrant a trip to the vet.

Runny eyes or nose, labored breathing or chronic sneezing: These could indicate allergies, upper respiratory infection, a blocked tear duct or other problems. See your vet.

Wet chin or drooling: Usually a sign of tooth problems, or malocclusion. You may also notice a decrease in appetite and ability to eat hard foods such as whole carrot. See your vet. Left untreated, tooth problems can lead to infection of the jaw bone, which is very difficult to treat. Depending on the severity of the misalignment, your rabbit’s teeth may need to be trimmed regularly. In severe cases, teeth can be pulled.

Loss of balance or a head tilt: This is often called wry neck (or wry-neck), typically an inner ear infection. This can come on suddenly. Although treatment can be lengthy, a head tilt can usually be cured if treatment is begun quickly.

In one end, out the other: Your rabbit’s litterbox contains a wealth of information. A healthy digestive tract will produce large, round fecal pellets. Increasingly smaller, irregularly shaped droppings or droppings strung together with fur (or carpet) may indicate a problem. Proper grooming by you, especially during a molt, and plenty of fresh hay will help produce optimum digestive tract health, along with appealing to the rabbit’s urge to chew.

Loss of appetite or lethargy: Even a rabbit can have a “bad hare day.” But if your rabbit refuses his usual fresh food or any of his special treats for more than a day, and seems particularly lethargic, you should call the vet.

One of the first steps to determining whether or not your rabbit is sick is to examine its waste. It should be recognizable – in particular, discolored or cloudy feces are red flags. When blood appears in feces, it usually indicates an internal problem. In the case of bloody feces, it can be indicative of hemorrhoids, anal tearing, constipation, or cancer. If you notice blood in its urine, this is another sign of a serious illness.

If your rabbit displays any of these symptoms, visit your veterinarian as soon as possible. If the symptoms are not severe enough to be treated by home remedies, try syringing food or water into its mouth. Keep the rabbit warm, but not too warm. If your rabbit’s temperature drops, the vet will start heat therapy and provide pain relief. Diarrhea can be a sign of an underlying problem, and your veterinarian will prescribe medication to get the digestive tract moving again.

Changes in your rabbit’s posture and gait should also raise red flags. If your rabbit is stumbling or tilting its head, this may be a sign of illness. A wry neck could indicate a neurological or ear problem. A change in posture can also signal pain. If you notice these changes, take your rabbit to a vet emergency clinic for immediate treatment.

Your rabbit’s appetite can indicate several health problems. If your rabbit refuses to eat, he may be suffering from dental problems, GI stasis, or pain. It may also have a change in bowel habits, causing it to be less hungry than normal. Your rabbit may also only eat its favorite foods, and this should be a cause for concern. If you notice a change in appetite, it could be a sign of an illness.

Symptoms of ear mite infestation in rabbits include thick, crusty lesions and loss of hearing. Other symptoms include ear mite infestation, head shaking, and beige fluid in the ear canal. Flys can be another cause of ear mites in rabbits. Lucilia sericata and Yeasts feed on soft, damp fur. Infections can also lead to skin lesions.

Though bunnies cannot vomit, they have a tendency to hunch over and rest rigidly. They may also press their bellies into the floor, or sit in unusual positions. If your rabbit is unable to sit upright, it may be suffering from digestive problems. If your pet isn’t responding to these signs, he may need to be taken to the vet. In addition, your rabbit may not drink enough water.

As a caring pet, rabbits need regular vet care to stay healthy and happy. A regular diet and vet visits are crucial for rabbit health. But even if you suspect that your rabbit is ill, it may just be an allergy or another issue. So, it’s a good idea to visit your veterinarian immediately if you notice symptoms of illness. It could save your rabbit’s life! There are also some basic ways to determine if your rabbit is sick.

What can I do for my sick rabbit

While you seek treatment, try to keep your rabbit hydrated and warm. A syringe with water or soft foods (applesauce or baby food) can assist. Depending on the condition, your vet may prescribe prescription medication to help your rabbit’s condition.J

What is the most common disease for rabbits

– Overgrown teeth. – Snuffles. – Hairballs. – Uterine tumours. – Myxomatosis. – Calicivirus (Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus)

What medicine can I give my rabbit

What is a common bacterial problem in rabbits

Pasteurellosis, a bacterial infection caused by Pasteurella multocida, is common in domestic rabbits. It is highly contagious and is transmitted primarily by direct contact, although transmission by coughing or sneezing may also occur.

How do you give a bunny a pill

What medicine is good for rabbits

– Doxycycline: Oral Suspension. Strengths available: 26, ranging from 5 mg/ml to 100 mg/ml. … – Aspirin: Oral Oil Suspension. … – Terbinafine: Oral Suspension. … – Enrofloxacin: Oral Suspension. … – Griseofulvin: Oral Suspension. … – Metoclopramide: Oral Solution. … – Metronidazole: Oral Suspension. … – Furosemide: Oral Oil Suspension.

Can you give human medicine to animals

Yes, there are a few human medicines that pets can take, but it’s not that simple. While some human drugs can be given to pets on a regular basis, others can be very toxic. Always get specific pet medicine instructions from your veterinarian.S

What three 3 signs may indicate a rabbit has calicivirus

Signs include fever, restlessness, lethargy and poor appetite with bleeding from the nose and/or blood on the floor where rabbits are housed. Often infected rabbits will show no signs and die suddenly.A

What are two common diseases of rabbits

– Overgrown teeth. – Snuffles. – Hairballs. – Uterine tumours. – Myxomatosis. – Calicivirus (Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus)

Which medicine is good for rabbit

Antibiotic Injectable Use Risk of Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea————————————– ————— —————————————————————— Metronidazole No Low Oxytetracycline Yes Low Oral use not recommended, calcium in GI tract inactivates drug Penicillin (procaine) Yes High, when given orally or applied topicallyPenicillin (procaine and benzthiazine) Yes High, when given orally or applied topically

What human medicine can I give my dog for upset stomach

How do you check a rabbits health

Rabbit health checklist Eyes and nose – look out for discharge or mucus. Ears and teeth – check weekly for signs of problems. The skin around the rear end of your rabbit – look out for any urine staining or stuck faeces. Check weekly in cold weather and twice daily in dry, warm weather.

How do I know if my rabbit needs help

Can we give human medicine to rabbits

Unfortunately, it is commonly assumed that a medication that is safe for humans will also be safe for pets. As a result, a number of animals are poisoned every year when their owners attempt to give them treatment for pain without consulting their vet. The short answer is NO.

What are the three most common health problems of rabbits

– Gastrointestinal (GI) Stasis. … – Dental Disease. … – Uterine Tumors. … – Head Tilt. … – Respiratory Tract Infections.

Harvesting your garden is the bountiful payoff for all of that hard work. But if the area you live in is home to many greenery-munching rabbits, you may want to rethink what you’ve planted. Here are some common plants and flowers that repel rabbits, almost guaranteeing you’ll have one less pest to deal with this year.

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How to deal with a sick rabbit

What Do Rabbits Like to Eat?

Rabbits are herbivores and tend to eat all parts of a plant—from the roots and the stems to soft, tender leaves and flowers—preferring new growth over old.

And while Looney Tunes showed Bugs Bunny perpetually chomping on a carrot, in reality, rabbits don’t typically spend time digging up root vegetables (and if they do eat a root vegetable, it’s most likely because another animal dug up the vegetable for them). Instead, they usually opt to nibble on the green tops, which still ruins the crop just the same.

How to Keep Rabbits From Eating Your Garden Plants

The simplest way to make your garden less appetizing for these little critters is to avoid the varieties that they love the most. The plants that rabbits prefer to eat are grasses, roses, clovers, daisies, dandelions, kale, spinach, broccoli, beans, and lettuce.

But if you still want to include these plants, there are also a few other tricks for making rabbits disappear from your garden. Consider adding plants with a strong scent—a rabbit’s sense of smell is much stronger than a human’s.

Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants

They are also not crazy about anything with a bitter taste, prickles, thorns, fuzzy foliage, tough leathery leaves, or woody stems. So you could create a border using these plants to surround your other more susceptible crops to help deter rabbits and keep them out. Of course, a hungry rabbit will eat just about anything, but making your garden less tempting will hopefully have them scurrying to look for a tastier meal elsewhere.

Rabbit-Resistant Flowers, Plants, & Ground Covers


How to deal with a sick rabbit


  • Where Daffodils Grow Best: Hardy to Zones 3-9
  • Maintenance of Daffodils: Easy to grow, these flowers flourish in full and partial sun, and well-drained soil makes a great natural border—potentially protecting your growing garden.

English Ivy

  • Where English Ivy Grows Best: Hardy to Zones 4-8
  • Maintenance of English Ivy: Partial to full shade. Prefers well-drained, slightly dry soil.


  • Where Garlic Grows Best: All hardy zones, depending on frost and cold temperatures
  • Maintenance of Garlic: Easy to grow, garlic prefers full sun and well-drained soil with regular watering initially and then reducing its water mid-summer.

Geranium (Cranesbill)

  • Where Cranesbill Grow Best: Hardy to Zones 4-8
  • Maintenance of Cranesbill: A low-maintenance plant, these geraniums adapt to full sun to partial shade and need to be watered once their soil is dry to the touch.

Geranium (Pelargonium)

How to deal with a sick rabbit


  • Where Geranium Grows Best: Hardy to Zones 9-12
  • Maintenance of Geraniums: Plant in full sun to partial shade. Geraniums are easy to grow, and prefer well-drained soil and regular watering.


  • Where Lavender Grows Best: Hardy to Zones 5-10
  • Maintenance of Lavender: Full sun, well-drained soil, lavender plants do particularly well in drought-like conditions.


  • Where Marigold Grows Best: Hardy to Zones 2-11
  • Maintenance of Marigold: Plant in the spring. These flowers thrive in full sun and require little maintenance. Allow the soil to become dry between waterings.
  • Where Mint Grows Best: Hardy to Zones 3-8
  • Maintenance of Mint: This low-maintenance plant prefers well-drained soil and grows well in sun or partial shade. Be careful with this prolific grower; this plant may take over your garden if left alone.


  • Where Onions Grow Best: All hardy zones, depending on the variety
  • Maintenance of Onions: Full sun and water regularly (about once a week) unless it’s dry, then water more often.


  • Where Oregano Grows Best: Hardy to Zones 4-10
  • Maintenance of Oregano: This quick grower prefers dry soil and full sun. Plant as a border or a ground cover—deterring rabbits as they approach your garden.


  • Where Rhododendron Grows Best: Hardy to Zones 4-8
  • Maintenance of Rhododendron: Avoid full sun and full shade. These plants prefer moist soil—add mulch to prevent moisture loss.

How to deal with a sick rabbit


  • Where Sage Grows Best: Hardy to Zones 4-10
  • Maintenance of Sage: This plant prefers full sun and well-drained soil.

How to deal with a sick rabbit

How to deal with a sick rabbit

How to deal with a sick rabbit

Sarah Scott is a fact checker with more than 16 years of experience in researching, writing, and editing digital and print media. She has verified and edited articles on a variety of subjects for The Spruce Pets, including pet behavior, health, and care as well as the latest trends in products for animals in the home.

How to deal with a sick rabbit

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Your rabbit may be happier staying with a pet sitter at home rather than coming along for a road trip, but sometimes you have no choice but to travel with your rabbit. Because travel can be quite stressful for rabbits, there are a few things you should do to make the trip safe and a bit more enjoyable.

Get a Good Carrier

If your rabbit cage fits in your vehicle, your rabbit can travel this way, but most cages take up too much room and may allow your rabbit to hurt themselves if you have to stop or turn suddenly. Some people use small crates meant for dogs, but it can be awkward to get your rabbit in and out of a front-opening cage if they won’t willingly hop in it. Instead, consider getting a travel carrier that opens on the top and sides. With this type, you can easily lift your rabbit in and out of the carrier. Additionally, the solid walls make it private for your rabbit to feel secure, rather than open to the elements like a dog crate would be.

Get Your Rabbit Used to Their Carrier

Allow your rabbit to get used to the carrier before the car ride by following a few steps.

  1. First, allow them to explore the carrier on their own. Place it on the floor during playtime and put a few favorite treats inside on top of a towel.
  2. After a while, gently put your rabbit in the carrier for a few minutes at a time with their favorite treat or toy.
  3. To get them adjusted to having to stay in the carrier, start out by placing your rabbit in their carrier on the blanket with the treats. Close the door securely and pick up the carrier making sure to keep it close to your body, not swinging by your side like a bucket.
  4. Walk around the house and hold the carrier on your lap for a few minutes.
  5. Eventually, work up to keeping your rabbit in the carrier for 30 minutes before letting them hop out on their own.

Cool the Car Before Traveling With Your Rabbit

Now that your rabbit is comfortable in its carrier, consider the temperature of the car before going on a real car ride. Rabbits do not tolerate temperatures over 75 degrees F. Therefore, you need to make sure they stay cool.

  • Don’t allow the carrier to sit in direct sunlight in the car to prevent overheating.
  • Never leave your rabbit unattended in the vehicle on a warm day.
  • Turn the air conditioning on, but don’t allow the vents to blow directly onto your rabbit’s carrier.
  • On a really hot day (or if you do not have air conditioning), place a damp towel over the carrier along with an ice pack wrapped in a small towel inside the carrier for added cooling.
  • If it’s the other extreme and cold outside, make sure the heat vents are not blowing directly onto the carrier.

Practice Going on a Car Ride

Once your rabbit is used to their carrier and the car is a safe temperature, place the carrier on the floor of your car or buckled into a seat. Start out taking short trips around the block and work up to longer trips of 30 minutes to an hour to acclimate your rabbit to both the carrier and the sensation of a moving vehicle.

Plan Ahead for the Car Ride

Now that your rabbit is ready to travel, you must make sure you don’t forget to pack for them.

  • Pack extra food that your rabbit normally eats, a water bottle that can attach to the carrier, and some favorite treats.
  • Get a health certificate from your vet if you are crossing state lines or attending a rabbit event, and consider getting your rabbit microchipped in case they get away from you.
  • Pack some cleaning supplies like paper towels and a safe pet cleaner for any messes or spills. You can also place a blanket, trash bag, or cardboard piece over the seats in the car where the carrier will sit to protect from any stress-induced urine spraying or spills. Consider placing a puppy training pad on the bottom of the carrier for extra absorbency or if the carrier has room, a corner litter box.
  • Place some pellets and hay in the carrier for your car ride and offer the water bottle regularly for a few minutes every hour if it isn’t attached to the carrier. If your bunny prefers, you can give him water in a dish during stops.
  • When you stop, offer your bunny their favorite treats as many rabbits don’t eat much due to the stress of traveling.
  • If your trip is longer than a single day, pack an exercise pen to use as temporary overnight housing.
  • Only take your rabbit out of the carrier in enclosed spaces to prevent escapes. A stressed rabbit may dash away in a panic if they get out of their carrier outdoors.

Traveling with your Pet FAQ. American Veterinary Medical Association.

Companion Animals. USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

How to deal with a sick rabbit

Winter is a difficult time for many animal species, including rabbits. With proper care, however, you can ensure that your rabbit will remain healthy through the cold weather. Rabbits are more able to cope with cold weather conditions than hot conditions, but given the wrong conditions, rabbits can suffer from exposure, frostbite, and decreased body temperature. Smaller breeds of rabbits may be more susceptible to cold temperatures than larger breeds of rabbits because their small body mass cannot retain heat as well.

Housing considerations

Rabbits housed outdoors are often kept in hutches. These hutches provide a place for your rabbit to get away from the wind and cold. Hutches should be off the ground to prevent them from getting water and snow inside and to allow colder temperatures near the ground to affect the rabbit less. Placement of the hutch is a key factor in helping your rabbit make it through the cold winter. The back should be facing north and should be solid or positioned against a building. This prevents the cold north wind from entering the hutch. A south-facing hutch will allow the warmer air to enter.

The sides of the hutch should be boarded up, and the front, south-facing side of the hutch should be partially covered to prevent wind-whipped snow from entering. Additionally, if your hutch does not have a dropping pan, you might want to place boards around this open area. Doing this prevents cold air from coming up from the bottom and prevents snow accumulation in the manure, which make it more difficult to remove if the manure and urine freezes. But do not close off your rabbit’s cage too tightly. Rabbits need plenty of fresh air, and being enclosed with the fumes from their urine may cause respiratory distress.

If you choose to move your rabbit inside during the cold weather, keep a few things in mind. Do not move your rabbit to a garage where it may be exposed to fumes from a running car engine. This can causes respiratory distress or kill your rabbit due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Rabbits do not tolerate sudden changes in temperature well, so moving a rabbit directly from the cold into your heated house may not be a good idea. Gradually move your rabbit into the warmer temperatures, or try placing it on an enclosed porch or shed rather than into your home. Avoid placing the rabbit’s hutch in a drafty location. Most rabbits will not need a heated environment to make it through the winter.

An easy way to keep your rabbit comfortable and safe during the winter is to place straw or hay in the nest portion of the hutch. It is recommended that straw be used over hay because straw has better insulating properties. Plus, rabbits are less likely to eat this type of bedding. One thing to keep in mind is that during extreme cold, your rabbit will be less likely to venture outside the nesting area. The rabbits’ reluctance to leave often means the rabbit will urinate and defecate in the nesting area. Thus, the straw will need to be changed periodically to maintain a clean and warm environment for the rabbit.

Food and water

Food and water during the winter is also very important. More calories will be needed to maintain body heat. A way to increase calories is to add a little corn to the diet to increase body heat production. A lot of corn, however, is not good for your rabbit, especially if the rabbit is not accustomed to the corn or if the corn is not a component of its existing diet. One must remember that rabbits are grazers of grass and do not readily have access to corn. Too much corn can cause gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, and dehydration if the rabbit consumes too much. Adding a little more food to the food bowl will also help increase caloric intake, as will adding a little alfalfa hay for nibbling. However, it is important that you do not overfeed your rabbit. It is difficult to get the extra weight off once the spring comes and excess weight can cause a variety of health problems and decreases reproductive success.

Water supply is an important consideration in cold weather, as well. Water should be available to the rabbit at all times, even if it means changing the water and removing the ice multiple times a day. Water bottles should not be used during the winter because they freeze and crack easily. The best way to ensure that your rabbit is always exposed to fresh, unfrozen water is to keep a few bowls, either plastic or ceramic, on hand. As one bowl’s water freezes, bring that one in the house to thaw and replace it with a bowl of fresh water. Again, this may need to be done several times a day in extremely cold situations.

By following these steps, you can greatly increase the likelihood of your rabbit having a safe, comfortable winter. Always remember that having a healthy rabbit and a rabbit with a good coat of fur is essential to keeping your rabbit healthy, happy, and warm through the cold winter months.

Brett Kreifels, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

How to deal with a sick rabbit

What is flystrike in rabbits?

Flystrike in rabbits is a devastating condition, which is particularly common during warm weather. It is caused by the Lucilia sericata, or green bottle fly which is attracted to damp fur soiled with urine or soft faeces.

Each fly can lay up to 200 eggs on the skin, usually at the rear end of an animal, which then hatch into maggots within hours. The maggots grow by feeding on the rabbit’s flesh and, collectively, they can get through a large area of skin frighteningly quickly. The rabbit’s bottom, tail, belly and back is usually worst affected.

During the summer months, our emergency clinics see a big increase in the number of cases of flystrike.

My rabbit has maggots, what should I do?

Flystrike in rabbits is life-threatening. You should contact your vet straight away if your rabbit is showing signs of rabbit flystrike or if you find a maggot on your rabbit or in their cage. If it’s out of hours, call your nearest Vets Now pet emergency clinic or 24/7 hospital. Do not wait until your daytime vet reopens as it may be too late.

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What are the signs of flystrike in rabbits?

When suffering from flystrike, rabbits may initially seem quiet and lethargic. They may also refuse food and drink and you may notice a strong smell coming from their hutch. Another typical sign of rabbit flystrike is digging into corners to try to relieve the pain. As the maggots grow and eat away more of the skin, severe shock develops, eventually leading to collapse and death. It’s important to check your rabbit’s fur daily for any signs of maggots and if you find them crawling in your rabbit’s fur, you must call your vet immediately.

How to deal with a sick rabbitFlystrike is a devastating condition caused by the green bottle fly

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Can rabbits recover from flystrike?

How to deal with a sick rabbit

Obesity in rabbits

Obesity can make it very difficult for a rabbit to clean themselves. It also hinders their ability to squat properly, meaning their fur can become easily soiled. If your rabbit is obese you should speak to your vet about a weight loss programme. Obesity is a growing problem in all pets, including rabbits. In the UK, an estimated 28% to 30% of pet rabbits are classed as obese.

Rabbits with flystrike can and do recover as long as the maggots are removed in the early stages. This is, however, a tricky procedure and should be carried out by your vet.

How to deal with a sick rabbit

Obesity in rabbits

Obesity can make it very difficult for a rabbit to clean themselves. It also hinders their ability to squat properly, meaning their fur can become easily soiled. If your rabbit is obese you should speak to your vet about a weight loss programme. Obesity is a growing problem in all pets, including rabbits. In the UK, an estimated 28% to 30% of pet rabbits are classed as obese.

How will my vet treat rabbit flystrike?

In treating flystrike, it’s likely your vet will clip and clean your rabbit’s fur as well as administer pain relief and soothing products.

Rabbits with flystrike may also often need antibiotics to prevent infection. In severe cases, your rabbit may be put on a drip and fed through a syringe. If extensive tissue loss has occurred, sadly, your rabbit may need to be put to sleep to relieve suffering.

Preventing flystrike in rabbits

Rabbits who struggle to groom themselves, perhaps due to long fur, obesity, arthritis or painful teeth, are at greatest risk of flystrike as green bottles are attracted to areas soiled with faeces and urine. Most of the rabbits we see at Vets Now are well looked after, but it only takes a small amount of soiling for flies to strike, so our advice is to check your rabbit’s bottom at least twice a day. If your rabbit is dirty, wash with warm water and a shampoo specifically for small pets before rinsing and drying.

You may also want to apply a topical product containing the insect growth regulator cyromazine as it’s highly effective in preventing fly eggs from hatching. Protection typically lasts for eight to 10 weeks. Your daytime veterinary practice should be able to supply you with this treatment. Another common cause of flystrike in rabbits is housing them in an unsanitary hutch. It’s vital owners clean their rabbit’s bedding regularly.

It’s also worth considering putting up fly screens around your rabbit’s hutch, and growing plants and herbs that repel flies, for example, rosemary, peppermint, basil and green oregano.

About the Author

How to deal with a sick rabbit

Vets Now Team Member

Our emergency vets, vet nurses and support staff are all encouraged to provide insightful, evidence-based advice and content for our website. This article is one of many written by a member of our frontline team.

About the Article

Vets Now assumes no liability for the content of this page. This advice is not a substitute for a proper consultation with a vet and is only intended as a guide. Please contact your local veterinary practice for advice or treatment immediately if you are worried about your pet’s health — even if they are closed, they will always have an out-of-hours service available. Find out more about what to do in an emergency.

Rabbits are naturally sociable and inquisitive, so developing a good relationship with them can be rewarding for both of you. Socialise your rabbit from an early age so they’re comfortable with human contact.

It’s crucial to get rabbit handling right, as, without correct handling, it’s possible your rabbits will see you as a threat.

Watch vet Molly demonstrate how to hold a rabbit so that your rabbits learn to see you as a friend and companion.

Top tips for handling rabbits

Start early

Get your rabbits used to human touch by socialising them early. Rabbits who aren’t handled regularly from a young age, or who experience rough handling at any age, may find human contact distressing.

Be gentle

Move slowly and talk quietly around rabbits so as not to startle them. They’re more likely to be relaxed in a quiet and calm handling environment.

Picking rabbits up when you’re close to ground level is less likely to scare them, and is also more safe, as it helps prevent them from being dropped from a height by accident.

We advise all interactions to take place on ground level when possible.

Covering their eyes with a towel or in the crook of your arm can help them feel more relaxed while being held, but you should ensure their nostrils aren’t blocked.

Be safe

Safety is paramount when handling rabbits, as their fragile spines can be seriously, or even fatally, damaged if they feel insecure and struggle when held.

  • Hold rabbits gently but firmly – ensure one hand supports their back and hindquarters at all times. Help them feel secure by holding all four feet against your body.
  • Never pick rabbits up by their ears – this would be extremely stressful and is highly likely to injure them.
  • Minimise restraint – reduce stress and minimise the risk of injury by using the minimum level of restraint necessary. This depends on your pet’s temperament, health and activity.
  • Supervise children at all times – only adults or responsible older children should be able to pick up rabbits.
  • Avoid placing rabbits on slippery surfaces – putting a towel down can help make rabbits feel more secure.

If you’re concerned about your rabbit’s behaviour, ask your vet to rule out any form of illness or injury that could be causing problems. Their reaction to handling may also depend on their past handling experiences, so you’ll need patience to help grow their confidence around people.

Have a read of our rabbit handling advice for more on handling and training your rabbit. Or why not try something new today and enjoy watching your rabbits investigate and play with different toys and objects?

What is myxomatosis?

How to deal with a sick rabbit

Myxomatosis is a severe, usually fatal, viral disease. In some countries, it has been used as a way of reducing the number of wild rabbits. It first reached the UK in the 1950s and decimated the wild rabbit population at the time. The disease remains a risk today, to both wild and pet rabbits.

The acute form can kill a rabbit within 10 days and the chronic form within two weeks, although some rabbits do survive this.

How does myxomatosis spread?

Myxomatosis is spread easily between rabbits by blood-sucking insects, such as fleas, ticks, mites and mosquitoes. It spreads rapidly among wild rabbit populations and can easily be passed on to domestic rabbits in the vicinity by the parasites.

Myxomatosis is found throughout the UK and no area is safe from the disease.

What are the symptoms of myxomatosis?

Depending on the strain of the virus, it can take up to 14 days for an infected rabbit to begin to show symptoms. During the incubation period, a rabbit’s behaviour and eating habits may change. When the virus takes hold, the eyes, nose and genitals are usually the first parts of the body to be affected. Symptoms include:

  • Swelling, redness and/or ulcers
  • Nasal and eye discharge
  • Blindness caused by inflammation of the eyes
  • Respiratory problems
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

How do I prevent my rabbit from getting myxomatosis?

It’s advisable to get your rabbit vaccinated; although, like all vaccines, it may not protect them completely. A vaccinated rabbit can still catch a mild form of myxomatosis but with veterinary care recovery rates are good.

Regular vaccinations against both myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease should be given to all pet rabbits. Making sure there are no areas of stagnant water in your garden, which attract disease vectors will also help, as will mosquito-proof guards on hutches.

How is myxomatosis treated?

There is no cure for myxomatosis. Only supportive care can be given, so prevention is key.

What is the prognosis for a pet rabbit with myxomatosis?

For wild rabbits, and unvaccinated pet rabbits, the prognosis is extremely poor. It usually kills or leaves the rabbit in need euthanasia. If your rabbit catches myxomatosis in a mild form because they have been vaccinated, then there is a good chance that they will make a full recovery with supportive veterinary care.

What do I do if I find a wild rabbit which looks like it has myxomatosis?

You should try to confine any wild rabbit that looks like it has myxomatosis and take it to the nearest vet. Wear gloves and wash hands thoroughly after touching the rabbit. If you are unable to take the rabbit to the vet, report the animal to the RSPCA.

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Realize all the lonely rabbit behavior first to better understand whether your new pet rabbit is lonely or simply stressed due to some unusual changes in its environment.

Knowing your rabbit’s lonely behavior will aid you to prevent your house rabbits from further feelings of depression.

I have described in this article several actions of rabbits which determines the rabbit is lonely. Unless you understand that your rabbit is lonely you can’t prevent your rabbits from getting stressed or sick.

A bunny has to be lively in order to stay healthy.

Below is an audio file which you can listen to if you do not want to read the full article.

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Lonely rabbit behavior: Is my rabbit lonely?

In order to know if your rabbit is lonely or not you have to pay attention to your rabbit’s behavior.

A lonely rabbit may show signs of aggression towards other rabbits or its guardian. Similarly, a lonely rabbit will overeat and pull at its own fur.

A rabbit will act in different ways when they are lonely:

  1. A lonely rabbit will seek your attention and nudge at you;
  2. It may simply refuse to interact and bond with you. A lonely rabbit will not show any interest when you pet him/her or try to play with your rabbit.
  3. A lonely rabbit will show aggression towards other rabbits;
  4. A lonely rabbit will become destructive. They will bite furniture and rip off carpets with their tooth.
  5. A rabbit that is eating more than usual and pulling on its own far is also a lonely rabbit.

How to stop your pet rabbits from being lonely?

To stop your rabbits from being lonely or depressed, you can do any one of these:

  1. Introduce a rabbit of the opposite gender to your current pet rabbit. Allow time for them to become friends and follow the rabbit bonding stages for proper rabbit introduction.
  2. OR if you are not willing to bring home another pet rabbit, then make sure you spend plenty of time with your current pet rabbit.

Two above mentioned are the only ways to stop your pet rabbits from being lonely.

As well as you can bond a rabbit with other pets like cats and dogs. In order to bond a rabbit with a cat, you will have to be patient and follow the steps I have discussed here >>> Do cats and rabbits live together?

In case you have a dog as a pet and want your new rabbits to live happily with your dogs >>> Read HERE.

Human interaction to prevent rabbit depression.

A rabbit guardian must prevent their rabbit from getting depressed at any cost.

What shall you do if you do not have any other pet to bond with your bunny?

Do you have plenty of time to spend with your rabbits? If you have enough time to bond with your rabbit and be the best companion of your rabbit you can do as follows:

  1. Do not lock your rabbit inside a cage all the time. Rabbits like to run around and explore. Give them a running space and make sure you bunny-proof your house.
    If you cannot bunny-proof your house then choose a play-pen for bunnies to build a bunny running space.
  2. Your rabbits will explore themselves and in time slowly they will come close to you. Once they come close to you pet them slowly. Learn here how to pet a rabbit the right way?
  3. Do not pick up your bunny. Rabbits are prey animals and if you pick them up they may get scared. Get down to their level and play with them.
  4. Use rabbit toys for your rabbits. Toss some rabbit toys and see your rabbits playing with and chewing on them.
  5. Do not invade their space or they can think of you as their enemy. Allow your pet rabbits to come close to you.

Lonely rabbit after the death of a bonded partner.

A rabbit will get very lonely after the death of its bonded partner. Rabbits are very social animals and require a companion to remain happy and healthy.

Rabbits build a strong relationship with their partner and the death of their partner will cause severe stress and depression in a rabbit.

What can you actually do to prevent?

To prevent your pet rabbit from further loneliness you have to spend a lot of time with your rabbit. Do not allow your rabbit to remain lonely.

Try to bond with your grieving pet rabbit.

Your rabbit will grief and it will cause extreme stress in your rabbits. Once they are stressed beyond limits they will get sick very fast.

If you can’t spend sufficient time with your rabbit you can help your rabbit to come out of depression by introducing a new rabbit friend to improve the scenario.

However proper introduction is required before doing so. Do not expect your older rabbit to accept a new bunny companion right away.

Follow the correct steps and perhaps it will help your grieving rabbit come out from depression.

Can rabbits die of loneliness?

YES, rabbits can die of loneliness. There have been several cases where a rabbit passed away after a few days of its bonded partner’s death.

Losing a friend or a bonded partner will cause the rabbit to grieve and depression. As a result, the grieving rabbit will be stressed.

AND in time the stressed rabbit will become unhealthy.

Staying in such a condition may result in the death of a lonely rabbit.

Therefore it is always a rabbit guardian duty to look after a lonely rabbit and do everything possible to keep the pet rabbit in a good shape.

Want your rabbit to be happy and healthy?

Like cats, rabbits spend a huge amount of time grooming. Keeping clean is very important to their health.

How often to groom

We can help our pets by grooming them regularly, and this is especially important when they are moulting. When rabbits groom themselves they swallow a lot of fur and if they swallow too much it can cause their gut to slow down, which can be dangerous. Unlike cats, rabbits cannot vomit, so it’s important to remove as much loose fur as possible.

Rabbits’ skin is very delicate and easily damaged, so it’s important that any grooming equipment is comfortable for them and used carefully

Ideally you should groom your rabbit every day. It’ll help you and your rabbit become better acquainted and at the same time give you the chance to check your rabbit for any problems – more on that later.

Grooming kit

There are several tools on the market, made for cats and dogs, that are specifically for removing fur build-up during moulting. These are not suitable for rabbits. Their skin is much more delicate than that of a cat or a dog and is very easily torn.

When rabbits are moulting the amount of fur they lose is significant. You can often see lines in their coat where dead fur has come out and the new coat is showing. The lines seem to travel along the rabbit’s body, generally from head to tail.

How to deal with a sick rabbit

How to deal with a sick rabbit

How to deal with a sick rabbit

How to deal with a sick rabbit

How to deal with a sick rabbit

How to deal with a sick rabbit

How to deal with a sick rabbit

How to deal with a sick rabbit

How to deal with a sick rabbit

Rubber pimple brush or mitt

Rubber brushes or pimple mitts are very useful during moulting. They are fairly gentle but will remove the build-up of loose fur quite effectively. The rubber is quite soft but it still needs to be used carefully.

Soft brush

Soft brushes are great for general grooming, and many rabbits will enjoy sessions where they are used. However, during a moult they need to be backed up with the use of something else.

Combs are especially useful for longer-haired rabbits or when short coated rabbits are moulting. They must be used carefully to avoid injury.

Nail clippers

There is a page on this site devoted to nail clipping. Nail clippers may be a scissor design or guillotine. The scissor type will have a notched section for the nail to fit into. Please don’t use ordinary scissors or human nail clippers as these can split the nails and really hurt your rabbit.

Matted fur

If your rabbit has any matted fur and you cannot gently brush the matt out, try untangling with your fingers, but be very careful not to tug on the fur as that can be uncomfortable for your rabbit and may even cause injury to his skin. If this doesn’t work, you may need to cut the matt out. Be careful, especially if it’s very close to the skin. If you are worried that it’s so close to the skin that cutting it might cause injury, ask your vet to clip the fur instead, using a clipper head that is appropriate for a rabbit’s fine fur.

A note about “hypnotising” or “trancing” rabbits

Some people when grooming will hold their rabbit on its back so it goes perfectly still as if in a trance. This is in fact extremely cruel as the rabbit is, terrified and playing dead as part of its prey animal response to being caught by a predator. Never do this to your rabbits.

You can either hold your rabbit with it’s backside supported as if it is sitting up to cut the nails or place it on a towel on a worktop and very gently pull the foot to the side to get to the nails.

Fur’s not the limit

Grooming isn’t only about getting out loose fur, it’s also the opportunity to examine:

  • eyes to ensure they are clean and bright,
  • ears to ensure they are clean with no discharge and no unpleasant odour,
  • feet to ensure there are no injuries or abrasions,
  • bottoms to ensure they are clean and there is no sign of flystrike
  • your rabbit’s body condition – not too fat nor too thin and with no lumps or bumps.

If you do find lumps or bumps, any suggestion of flystrike, injuries, discharge from nose, ears or eyes, book a visit to see a rabbit-savvy vet.

Getting your rabbits wet

As a prey species, rabbits do not like to feel vulnerable, and a rabbit in water isn’t a natural position for them to be in. Even just getting them wet is problematic. When wet rabbit hair clumps together, getting them completely dry is a very difficult task, and rabbits who are left damp are potentially prone to respiratory infections and hypothermia.

Remember: Yes, bunnies can get mad. And a mad bunny can grunt, box, and, in a few circumstances, bite. No matter how badly your bunny behaves, it is never a good idea to try to physically discipline your rabbit. Not only does it not work — it can kill your rabbit. Rabbits have been designed to be easily frightened and broken; never physically discipline your rabbit. You and/or your rabbit could end up seriously hurt and your rabbit will end up terrified of you rather than your loving companion.

Rabbits do not typically bite for the fun of it. They have been known to bite if frightened or when attempting to defend either themselves or their belongings, including their space.

Rabbits prefer to be on the ground. A rabbit that isn’t being held correctly will become scared and could bite in order to get the handler’s hands to release them. This is why it is very important that small children do not handle or carry your rabbit around. Small children just do not have the dexterity to enable a rabbit to feel safe and secure and this could easily cause either or both to end up seriously hurt.


Rabbits can become protective of their belongings, including toys, food and water bowls, bedding, etc. If you have a rabbit who bites when you try to clean his/her housing, then remove them before getting in there and cleaning things out. Rabbits like to have things a certain way; keep in mind their decor may not match your ideas. 🙂 After cleaning out their housing, try to put everything back in its rightful place. If your rabbit bites or charges when you are trying to feed (I have one like this) then pat the rabbit while placing fresh greens in their housing or food area. Distraction is a wonderful tool when dealing with a biter.

Another reason rabbits become cage protective is because their housing is too small and/or they are not getting enough play time out. Increasing play time and/or providing more spacious housing can really make a difference.


Rabbits can sometimes be aggressive because of raging hormones. Neutering or spaying your rabbit can help alleviate all sorts of bad behaviors. Just make sure you have the surgery performed by a rabbit knowledgeable vet.


There are also those rabbits that will bite to get your attention. Bored buns get into all sorts of mischief. Being social creatures by nature, a friend could make a world of difference for your bun. It is emotionally and physically in the best interest of your rabbit. Many bad behaviors lessen in intensity or cease to exist once bun has a companion of his/her own.


Whatever the reason your rabbit it biting, there are several steps you should take consistently. Always give a loud eeeeep whenever they bite you. This is how rabbits communicate to one another that they have been hurt. Follow quickly with a firm “No Bite!” Once the behavior has stopped, be as quick to offer praise and love to reinforce their good behavior. Never use physical discipline in an attempt to correct your rabbit’s unacceptable behaviors. You can also include a loud hand clap, stomp of your foot or loud whistle to get your rabbit’s attention right before your “No Bite!” A soda can, with a few pennies tucked inside and the opening closed over with something like Duc Tape, can also be used to get bun’s attention when the can is shaken. Consistency is an important factor when trying to get your rabbit to unlearn a bad behavior. This means that when your rabbit does a little nip that doesn’t hurt at all, you follow the same steps as if it had been a hard one.

When approaching a rabbit that bites use a flat hand, palm side down, with fingers spread as wide as possible. Have the hand several inches above the head and bring it down gently onto the rabbit’s forehead and nose from the front if possible. Pat and reassure bun that you mean it no harm and everything is okay with a loving, soothing voice. Never let anyone poke their fingers at your rabbit’s face; they’re very likely to get bit even if the rabbit isn’t a known biter. Depending on the intensity of your rabbit’s bite and your experience, you may want to use a pair of thick gloves at first to prevent any bites. When you become more comfortable, you can start practicing without the gloves. In time, the behavior will improve as the rabbit unlearns it with your help, patience and love.


Tellington TTouch is a method of physically interacting with your rabbit to help calm and socialize them.

How rabbits cope with the loss of a bonded partner and how to help them recover from it.

For bonded rabbits, the loss of a partner can be very traumatic. Bonded rabbits live very closely together, spending hours sleeping, grooming, eating, playing and “talking” so the sudden absence of their partner is difficult for them to cope with. In particular, rabbits who have been bonded from babies, either with their litter mates or another rabbit, may react very badly to losing their partner.

As an owner, this is a very tough time, trying to understand and support your remaining rabbit while dealing with your own grief.

Coping with death

We all wish a peaceful death for our rabbits and the happiest scenario is when your rabbit simply goes to sleep and doesn’t wake up. In fact, this is also the best thing for your remaining rabbit.

Rabbits are not traumatised by the sight of a dead partner and in fact it is beneficial for them to see this so they can understand what has happened and do not think that their partner has simply disappeared. Rabbits have been known to engage in a kind of dance when their partner dies – it is unknown what the purpose of this is but some people think it is the rabbit’s way of expressing their grief while giving their friend a good “send off”.

If you are in the sad positition of having to have your rabbit euthanised, wherever possible it is better to do this at your home in their own environment. This is not only less stressful for your rabbit, but the remaining rabbit will have a chance to see their partner and accept its death.

It is recommended that you give your remaining rabbit at least an hour with its partners body. This may seem very morbid to us but it really is the best thing for your rabbit. Stay with your rabbit and monitor its behaviour; it will find your presence comforting and will understand that you are grieving too.

Early days

In the days and weeks following its partners death, your rabbit may be withdrawn and hide away from you. It may even show aggression towards you, even if it has never been aggressive before. Others may seek you out for companionship, following you around and lying down close to your chair. However your rabbit behaves, remember that this is a temporary situation caused by grief so be patient and respect its needs.

Moving on

The best thing you can do for your rabbit is to find it another partner. Although rabbits can be happy singles if they have enough companionship from humans, a rabbit that has been used to living in a pair is unlikely to ever be completely happy on its own again. A bereaved rabbit will sometimes accept a new partner very quickly, even the day after its old partner has died in some cases. Others need a few weeks or even months to adjust and be ready to accept a newcomer. In all cases, introductions should always be carried out slowly.

It is often us as owners who find it hardest to move on, feeling that we would be betraying the lost rabbit by welcoming another into our home so soon. In this respect we can learn from our rabbits – welcoming a new rabbit does not lessen the love we felt, and will always feel, for the departed rabbit.

It can be heartbreaking to see a neighbor’s animal suffering in a situation of neglect. Depending on the situation, there are various ways you can help the animal or animals involved.

For emergency situations in which an animal’s life or safety is in immediate danger, contact your local law enforcement or call 911 immediately.

If the animal’s life is not in danger but you suspect neglect, it may be productive to approach the guardian and offer assistance such as walking the dog or even helping to place the animal in a more appropriate home. It is a sad fact that at times people get animals without thinking about the long-term commitment they are taking on; when the reality of the situation becomes apparent, they may be relieved to have someone offer their assistance.

There are times when the caretaker of the animal is blind to their inability to offer the appropriate care for the animal or animals under their guardianship. When more animals are taken in than the caretaker is able to care for, such a situation readily spirals out of control into what is referred to as “animal hoarding.” Read here for more information about the issue of animal hoarding.

How to deal with a sick rabbit

If the guardian of the animals is not approachable, or if you suspect the animal is suffering from abuse as well as neglect, alert law enforcement, your local humane society, or your local SPCA (whichever is appropriate in your area) about the situation. It will be helpful to document what you have witnessed, including noting dates, locations and specific incidents and problems in a detailed journal. Photographs, video, and other evidence of the abusive conditions are helpful and persuasive. The Animal Legal Defense Fund does not have an investigative unit, so it is imperative that local authorities fully investigate the case.

If the overseeing agency is non-responsive, consider circulating a petition that you can then present to the agency demanding that the abusive conditions be immediately corrected. Consider enlisting the help of the local media such as newspapers, radio and television stations to publicize the situation.

A number of laws may apply; usually these would be state and/or local laws, but there may be federal laws as well (e.g., if you suspect the animals are used for fighting). To obtain local ordinances, contact your city council, local humane organization, visit your local library or check online at

For situations in which your state’s anti-cruelty statutes may have been violated, see the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s information about criminal anti-cruelty cases.

If your state anti-cruelty statutes are weak, you can help to strengthen them with the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s model law information.

How to deal with a sick rabbit

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Raising Meat Rabbits To Save The World!

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How to deal with a sick rabbitSo you go to do your rabbit chores and you see fur in one of the rabbits drop pans, or some hair in the cage corner or sides (even in the crocks). It looks like your rabbit is loosing hair or shedding, well it is! Molting is when a rabbit looses its coat (shedding) and grows a new coat, This is also known as “blowing their coat”. A molt can last from 2 to 6 weeks, or more, it varies from rabbit to rabbit and from breed to breed.

The rabbit molts regularly at different stages in its life. The baby coat is replaced by an intermediate coat when the rabbit is about 4 to 5 months of age. After this molt the adult coat develops, after the adult coat is fully in, The molts are much more noticeable. Molting naturally occurs seasonally but may be brought on by stress and diet, When the adult rabbit molts the rabbits coat may appear very sparse, until it grows in again. This can sometimes leave small bald patches on the rabbit. If the rabbit is healthy the bald spots will begin to become pigmented by new hair growth and then start to grow normally.

The rabbits molt usually begins on the head, moving down the neck and back then towards the stomach, but some rabbits molt in patches all over their bodies. The molt can also get stuck. Know as being “Stuck in the molt”. This usually happens on the rabbits flanks, just above the tail, and on the belly. Some rabbits are known to molt almost continuously in these areas. By adding extra protein to their diet, this will help them “blow” their coat faster. I use Calf Manna to do this, 1 Tblsp per day when they are molting. You could also use Black Oil Sunflower Seeds.

Rabbits shed every three months. Every other time they will have a light molt that may not even be notice. Then the seasonal molts, Which are the heaviest molts are generally at the end of the winter season their winter coat is fully grown and no longer needed for protection. This is the heaviest of the molts. The next heaviest is at the end of summer or in early fall. Their summer coat molts away to bring in the prime thick winter pelt. Rabbits shed in different ways some will take a few weeks others will be ready to get rid of their old coats in a few days and these fast molting rabbits need to be groomed!

Rabbits have the molting process as an aid in controlling their body temperature to the varying temperatures of their environment. Because rabbits are not mouth breathers and can not pant to cool down (A panting rabbit should be viewed as needing attention ASAP). The main way a rabbit can cool themselves is by the blood flowing through the blood vessels in the rabbits ear, these are very close to the surface, and as the blood flows close to the surface it is cooled down. The rabbit needs as many aids as possible to keep cool and molting helps. This allows them to survive seasonal weather changes from very cold winter weather to relativity hot summer weather. So molting helps to control body temperature the rabbits will either add or loose excess hair until the proper body temperature is reached. If rabbits are moved into a heated building what is comfortable for you may not be comfortable to your rabbits, Causing the rabbits molting process to be triggered when normally the rabbit should be growing a prime thick winter coat

Rabbits should be brushed daily during their heavy molts and at least weekly during the light molts. The more hair you get out of the rabbit by brushing, The less that will get into your rabbits by them ingesting it. You can often remove a large portion of the hair by just pulling it out with your hands. Rabbits are constant groomers so they can get hairballs that can cause bad GI problems. Giving your rabbits lots of hay should help keep their digestive tract moving during this time. Rabbits cannot vomit so the obstruction of hair needs to pass through the complete digestive system. A small piece of banana will also help keep the gut moving along. During the summer months a few dandelion leaves will also help add much-needed water to hydrate their digestive track.

Check your rabbits droppings daily during their molts and if you see fecal chains (Poop balls hung together with hair) you need to add more dark greens to their diet, but at least their gut is moving the hair through. If you see no poop then the problems begin. GI stasis can be a real rabbit killer. The digestive system of the rabbit is where you will have most of the health issues with your rabbits.

For more information on the rabbits gut and how it works check out the April archives for the post on THE RABBITS DIGESTIVE SYSTEM. Hope this post helped answers some of your questions on your rabbit going through its molt! Any ideas or question please leave a comment! RAISING MEAT RABBITS TO SAVE THE WORLD! JOIN THE RABBIT REVOLUTION -LIKE US ON FACEBOOK and subscribe to the blog to get the new updates as they are posted!

  • Pet Nutrition
  • Bunnies/Rabbits

How to deal with a sick rabbit

What should pet bunnies eat? Contrary to popular belief, rabbits need to eat more than just carrots and lettuce. They require a balanced diet of hay, fresh veggies and fruit, and a few pellets. Rabbits have very sensitive digestive tracts, so the transition to hay or pellets, or the introduction of new fruits and vegetables, must be done gradually to allow the rabbit’s system to adjust.

Hay: The staple of a rabbit’s diet

The bottom of a rabbit food pyramid would contain long-stemmed fiber, in the form of hay, which makes up 80 to 90 percent of a rabbit’s diet. As grazing animals, rabbits need to have an unlimited supply of fresh hay daily.

You’ll want to feed your rabbit grass hays. Good types of grass hay for bunnies are timothy, orchard grass, brome and oat hay. You can feed your bunnies either one type or a mixture of different grass hays. Buy the freshest hay possible and check for the presence of mold or dust, which could make your rabbit sick.

Alfalfa hay is not a good choice for an adult rabbit, since it’s a legume, not a grass, and as such is too rich to be fed on a daily basis. Alfalfa can be given to rabbits once in awhile as a treat. Rabbits under one year of age can be fed alfalfa hay, but as they get older they should be switched to grass hay, especially if they are also being fed alfalfa pellets.

Pellets: Feed a bunny small quantities

Timothy hay pellets can be given to bunnies in small quantities. An average-sized (6-10 pounds) adult rabbit only needs one-quarter cup of pellets daily. If your rabbit is under five pounds, feed just one-eighth of a cup. Rabbits larger than 10 pounds do not need more than a quarter of a cup, since it’s not a crucial part of a bunny’s diet.

Rabbits under one year old can be fed alfalfa pellets. Be sure to feed grass hay (rather than alfalfa) if you are feeding your young rabbit alfalfa pellets. Look for pellets with a high fiber content — the higher the better. Do not buy the rabbit pellets that have dried corn, nuts and seeds added, because those foods can potentially be very harmful for rabbits.

Vegetables: A rabbit’s favorite foods

Rabbits count vegetables and herbs among their favorite foods. Most greens found in a supermarket are safe for rabbits, with a few limitations and exceptions. (See the list of foods to avoid below.)

No more than two cups daily of fresh vegetables should be given to adult rabbits. Dwarf breeds and rabbits under five pounds should get just one cup of fresh veggies per day. A variety of two or three vegetables is ideal. Add one new vegetable at a time, and watch for signs of loose stool or diarrhea because, as mentioned above, bunnies have delicate digestive systems. Certain vegetables can be given every day, while others should be fed sparingly, one or two times a week.

Do not feed your rabbit potatoes, corn, beans, seeds or nuts. These foods are difficult for rabbits to digest and can cause serious digestive problems.

Vegetables that can be fed to a rabbit daily:

  • Bell peppers
  • Bok choy
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrot tops
  • Cucumber
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Fennel
  • Herbs: basil, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme
  • Lettuces: romaine, green leaf, red leaf, Boston bibb, arugula, butter
  • Okra leaves
  • Radicchio
  • Radish tops
  • Sprouts: alfalfa, radish, clover
  • Watercress
  • Wheatgrass
  • Zucchini

Vegetables and plants to give sparingly (one or two times a week) to a bunny:

  • Broccoli (stems and leaves only)
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Clover
  • Collard greens
  • Dandelion greens (pesticide-free)
  • Flowers: calendula, chamomile, daylily, dianthus, English daisy, hibiscus, honeysuckle, marigold, nasturtium, pansy, rose
  • Kale
  • Spinach

Fruit: Give to a bunny once or twice per week

Fruit should be given to your bunny one or two times a week. The appropriate serving is one to two tablespoons of fruit (either one kind or a mixture) per five pounds of body weight. As with vegetables, fruit should be introduced slowly and one at a time.

Fruit to feed your rabbit (one or two times a week):

  • Apple (no seeds)
  • Banana
  • Berries: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries
  • Cherries (no seeds)
  • Grapes
  • Melon
  • Nectarine
  • Orange
  • Papaya
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Pineapple
  • Plum
  • Watermelon

Treats: Feed to a rabbit sparingly

Like lots of people, many rabbits have a sweet tooth. As with humans, treats are at the top of the food pyramid for bunnies and therefore should be fed sparingly. Healthy treats for your bunny include small pieces of fresh or freeze-dried fruit (the approved fruits listed above); natural, unprocessed mixes that include hay and dried flowers (the approved flowers listed above); and Oxbow brand rabbit treats.

Always read the ingredient list on store-bought treats because not all of them are safe for bunnies. Avoid treats that include added sugar, preservatives and artificial coloring, and never give your rabbit human treats.

Foods to avoid giving a rabbit

Some foods are not good for rabbits under any circumstances because they can make rabbits extremely sick. Here are foods to avoid giving your bunny completely:

  • All human treats
  • Beans
  • Beet greens
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Cereal
  • Chocolate
  • Corn or corn-cob treats
  • Crackers
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Legumes
  • Mustard greens
  • Nuts
  • Pasta
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Rhubarb
  • Seeds
  • Sugar
  • Turnip greens
  • Yogurt

Fresh water: Unlimited supply for a bunny

Finally, rabbits need to stay hydrated, so they should have an unlimited supply of fresh water, which should be changed daily. The water container should be cleaned with soap and water every few days. Water bottles are not easy to clean and can be difficult for rabbits to use, so bowls are better. A heavy ceramic bowl is ideal, since it doesn’t tip over easily.

About Best Friends Animal Society: A leader in the no-kill movement, Best Friends runs the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals, as well as lifesaving programs in collaboration with thousands of partners nationwide working to Save Them All.

If you see a rabbit in the wild, it’s unlikely to be alone. Rabbits travel in pairs and large groups, protecting each other from predators. While rabbits do need time on their own occasionally, they dislike being alone. This is why rabbits are so often sold and kept in bonded pairs.

Rabbits are social animals, so a single rabbit is likely to feel lonely and depressed. Rabbits can live alone, but you’ll need to provide your pet with the attention (company, petting, grooming, exercise, playing, and enrichment) that a bonded rabbit partner would provide.

It’s always advisable to keep rabbits in pairs. If you can find a pair of rabbits that are already bonded, so much the better. These rabbits should not be separated, and they’ll keep each other company. Keeping two bonded rabbits will cost more, but it’ll half your responsibilities.

Do Rabbits Get Lonely Without Another Rabbit?

Your rabbit will likely become lonely without the company of another rabbit. Rabbits are hardwired to be social. Wild rabbits live in large colonies, so the species instinctively seeks company.

Part of this is due to survival instinct. Wild rabbits understand that there is safety in numbers. The more rabbits live together, the higher the likelihood of predator being spotted.

Your domesticated rabbit will be kept safe from predators. All the same, unless your pet is a rare antisocial rabbit, she will desire company. Keeping her alone will likely make her lonely.

How Do I Know if My Rabbit is Lonely?

Lonely rabbit behavior includes the following:

  • Wants more attention. This could involve nudging, nipping, and biting you.
  • Hyperactivity. She has so much energy and nobody to share it with.
  • Destructive behavior. She is frustrated and lonely, taking it out on furniture and belongings.
  • Withdrawn and depressed. She will stop responding when called. She may even lose interest in eating and drinking.

Can Rabbits Die of Loneliness?

No vet will write, “loneliness” as the cause of death following a rabbit autopsy. Loneliness can kill a rabbit, albeit indirectly. Isolation in rabbits leads to boredom. Rabbits want to play, and to interact. Your pet will do this with you if she must. She would prefer it to be with a fellow rabbit, though.

When a rabbit becomes stressed, her health will deteriorate. A rabbit’s heart is as frail as her delicate skeleton. Stress can cause cardiac arrest, or accelerate other health problems.

Stress and loneliness can be linked to bereavement in rabbits. If your pet had a bonded partner that suddenly disappears, it’s stressful. Your pet misses her friend and wonders if she’ll be next.

How to deal with a sick rabbit

What Happens if One of My Rabbits Dies?

When two rabbits bond, they usually do so for life, but this doesn’t mean they’ll live forever. Typically, one rabbit will outlive a partner. Rabbits are believed to have some understanding of death. If your pet sees the corpse of a partner, she will not be traumatized. It will aid her understanding.

As BunnyHugga explains, your rabbit may even seem jolly at first. She will perform a form of dance over the body of her partner. This is your rabbit saying goodbye to her treasured friend. Just like in humans, grief does strange things to rabbits.

Eventually, you’ll need to consider a new, second rabbit. Once a rabbit gets used to living as a pair, she’ll rarely cope with being alone. The bonding process may take time as it’s not easy to replace a bonded partner. Just don’t rush the bonding process.

Can Rabbits Live Alone Happily?

Rabbits can live alone, and may even thrive with a solitary lifestyle. You will need to be more actively involved, though. This means not leaving your rabbit alone for a prolonged period of time.

If you work long hours, a single rabbit is not an option for you. The only way this could work is if you hire a pet sitter. This way, at least somebody will keep your rabbit company.

Let your rabbit run free around the home if she is a solo pet. Life alone in a hutch can be very lonely. This will be compounded by the fact that rabbits keep a different schedule to humans. Let’s take a look at a typical day in the life of a rabbit:

Daybreak Your rabbit will wake up at dawn. She’ll have a snack, use her litter tray, and seek entertainment. In her hutch, this would involve toys. She’ll wake you up for attention.
Early Morning to Mid-Morning This is the time that your rabbit will be most active. She’ll want to run, jump, and play. Ensure that she can enjoy outside time at this point.
Mid-Morning to Late Afternoon After a while, your rabbit will exhaust herself. She may well fall asleep. If she has a hutch, return her for a nap. If she runs free, place your pet somewhere quiet and comfy.
Late Afternoon to Early Evening Your rabbit will wake up from her afternoon nap feeling refreshed. She’ll eat, use her litter tray, and groom herself. She will then expect attention again.
Early Evening to (Human) Bedtime After an initial flurry of activity, your rabbit will calm down. Don’t be surprised if your rabbit sits in your lap.
Human Bedtime Rabbits tend to active after humans retire for the night. Your pet is unlikely to want to return to her hutch alone. She’ll want to sleep on your bed.

My Rabbit Likes Living Alone

It’s rare, but sometimes rabbits actively prefer to live alone. This will be more prevalent in female rabbits. The female of this species tends to be more independent.

Most often, this will be because the rabbit had a miserable shared experience previously. Also, rabbits are territorial. Your pet may struggle with the idea of sharing space and food.

If your rabbit appears antisocial with her own species, you’ll need to consider alternatives. A rabbit that does not like other rabbits will still dislike being alone for too long.

This leaves you with two options. Dedicate more of your own time to your rabbit, or pair her with a different pet. Rabbits can forge unlikely friendships with animals of different species.

How to deal with a sick rabbit

Can Other Animals Keep a Rabbit Company?

You could consider housing your pet with a different animal. Rabbits and chickens can live together. If you have a sizable outdoor space, this could be an ideal solution for both animals. They’ll keep each company, and with the right safety protocols, live harmoniously.

Some people house rabbits with guinea pigs. While similar in theory, these small animals have several differences. They eat different diets and have different play styles. This can result in miscommunication, injury, and health concerns.

If you have a cat or dog, you should ensure your rabbit is kept separate from them. They can get along, but cats and dogs have hunting instincts. Remember that rabbits are a prey species.

Rabbits are unique animals. With this in mind, they should be housed with fellow rabbits. If you keep two bonded rabbits together, both will be completely content.

Rabbits regulate their body temperature by growing a thinner or thicker coat so this makes it difficult to move them frequently between indoors and outdoors.

Rabbits do not cope well with temperature extremes; in the wild their burrows stay at almost the same temperature year round. They regulate their body temperature by growing a thinner or thicker coat according to the season so this makes it difficult to move them frequently between indoors and outdoors as the rabbit will either overheat or be too cold. Rabbits cannot sweat; they cool themselves by dilating the blood vessels in their ears. You can check whether a rabbit is too hot or too cold by feeling the temperature of its ears – they should feel warm to the touch. A rabbit that is too hot will probably be panting or flopping down frequently while a rabbit that is too cold may be sitting hunched up with its hair fluffed out.

Sudden changes

If you have an indoor rabbit, it is fine to let it out in the garden for exercise during the day. If the weather is very cold, only let it out for short periods so that it is always running around and keeping warm i.e. don’t let it become chilled through. An indoor rabbit is unlikely to grow a much thicker coat for the winter as it is always warm inside.

If you have an outdoor rabbit, you can bring it inside to play but only do this for short periods of time during the day. Otherwise the shock when you put it back outside may be very harmful to it. During the winter do not bring your rabbit inside at all – the sudden temperature change when you put it back outside can be fatal to your rabbit.

Indoors to outdoors

If you have an indoors rabbit and want to move it outdoors permanently, you can do this anytime after early spring when the frosts are over. Do not move a rabbit during the winter months. For the first few days ensure the rabbit is warm enough by giving it plenty of hay to snuggle in and cover the hutch with a blanket or hutch snuggle. Check on your rabbit frequently to ensure it is not too cold.

When winter comes protect the hutch permanently with a blanket or hutch snuggle or move it into a shed or outbuilding for extra protection.

Outdoors to indoors

Again, it is best to move your rabbit during the spring or summer months when your central heating is turned off. If you are using a cage, position it in a cool, shady area away from direct sunlight and radiators. House rabbits (no cage) will find their own cool spot to lie in if they get too hot.

If moving your rabbit during the winter, put it in a room with the heating turned off for the first week or so and check it frequently for signs of overheating. Always make sure it has plenty of water to drink.

How to deal with a sick rabbit

Rabbits are some of the most adored and benevolent creatures to grace our back yards and meadows. Their long, pink ears, powerful hind legs, black button noses, and cotton tails give them their distinctive, cuddly appearance and have made them the subject of childhood fables over the course of several centuries.

About Rabbits

During warmer seasons, rabbits will eat weeds, grasses, clover, wildflowers, and flower and vegetable plants. When the weather turns cold, rabbits will munch on twigs, buds, bark, conifer needles, and any remaining green plants.

Rabbits are famous for their ability to reproduce. They can have several litters of four to seven kits a year. However, rabbits will naturally have fewer litters or will have litters with fewer kits when food or water is scarce. Wild rabbits have relatively short life spans (typically, less than two years), but they mature quickly and have short (30-day) gestation periods. Their mortality is based on food availability, predator presence, and weather stability.

Rabbits are altricial—which means that they are born hairless, blind, and helpless. Mother rabbits leave newborns in their nests, visiting them only at dusk and at dawn to avoid drawing the attention of predators. If you find a nest of baby rabbits unattended and want to make sure that the animals have not been abandoned or orphaned, drape a thin string across the entryway to the nest or burrow and leave the area. Return at 12-hour intervals. If the string has been moved, you can rest assured that the babies are being cared for. If the string has not been moved in more than 24 hours, visit our Wildlife Emergencies page to find out how to best care for orphaned rabbits. Rabbits more than 5 inches in length need no assistance unless they are sick or injured. A good rule of thumb is, if you have to chase a baby rabbit to catch him or her, the rabbit is fine!

Rabbits and hares look similar, so people often mistake them for one another. The easiest way to tell them apart is by their physical appearance. Hares’ ears are longer and, though both rabbits and hares often have brown coats, hares’ coats have black tips. Most rabbits (except for cottontails) live underground, while hares live in aboveground nests. Since their nests are often not very well hidden, young hares need to be able to evade predators. Therefore, hares are precocial—meaning that they are born with hair and the ability to see. Most hares can hop within a few hours of their birth.

Did You Know?

  • Rabbit communities can reside underground in extensive, complex, engineered burrows.
  • When being chased, rabbits will run in zigzag formations to confuse, rather than outrun, their predators.
  • In the spring, some types of hares are seen chasing one another and having frequent boxing matches. It was once thought that this behavior signaled competition between males. However, scientists now know that it is typically a female boxing a male. The female is either signaling that she is not ready to mate or is testing the male’s endurance and strength.
  • Rabbits scope out “bolt-to” locations before choosing a grazing location. Rabbits in open fields or yards will sit perfectly still to avoid their predators and bolt to their predesignated area when alarmed.
  • In arid areas, some rabbits are known to climb sloping tree trunks or limbs to access green or dew-laden vegetation.
  • Rabbits produce two types of droppings—one is a hard, light-colored pellet made of feces, and the other is soft, dark, undigested food material. To gain nutrients from undigested food, rabbits will re-ingest these droppings to further digest the material.

Solving Conflicts Compassionately

While many people love to watch these furry animals graze on weeds and clover in their yards, some people are not fond of rabbits’ tendency to chew on garden or landscaping plants. Humane, effective solutions to perceived human-wildlife conflicts target the things that animals are attracted to in a particular area rather than the animals themselves. Killing or removing the rabbits is not necessary and, in most cases, not possible. In most cases, site aversion and exclusion methods alone will quickly solve any perceived issues.

No matter how soft-hearted you are, you probably don’t want rabbits nibbling on your plants, even if those bunnies look adorable hopping through your garden. It can take a little patience and persistence to find what works best to keep rabbits out of your garden and prevent them from eating your plants. What seems to work for one gardener may be completely ineffective for another. For example, your neighbor may swear by planting a few marigolds around the perimeter of a raised bed vegetable garden, but the bunnies happily munch on your marigolds and all the plants around them. Whether your long-eared visitors are cottontails or jackrabbits, your best options are to fence them out, stink them out, or try scaring them away.

How to Keep Rabbits Out of Your Garden with Fencing

The most reliable way to protect your vegetable garden from rabbits is with fencing. Putting up a fence takes some time and effort, but once it’s done you have a permanent barrier and you won’t have to run around spraying repellants after each rain. Rabbits hop but they don’t jump very high, so a 2-foot fence can keep them out. Wire fencing with openings of 1 inch or smaller is best, such as chicken wire ($36, The Home Depot) or rabbit wire ($37, The Home Depot). Support the fencing with sturdy stakes, secure the bottom to the ground with landscape pins ($5, Walmart) so rabbits can wiggle their way under. More determined rabbits may try to dig under the fence, so it’s a good idea to bury the lowest 2-3 inches of fencing underground.

Alternatively, if you just have a few plants that rabbits consistently nibble to nubs, encircle individual plants with a chicken wire cage pinned securely to the ground. This may be especially important while plants are young or are putting out a lot of fresh new growth in spring. You can also try growing plants you know rabbits love, such as tender lettuces, in hanging baskets or tall containers to keep them out of reach.

The Best Rabbit Repellents

Where a fence is not practical or possible, your next best bet for stopping rabbits from eating your plants is to offend their sense of smell. Rabbits will turn up their twitchy noses at a garden repellent ($17, The Home Depot) that contain rotten eggs or garlic. (Bonus: These odors also help repel deer and are safe to use around pets and children.) Wear waterproof gloves while you’re spraying so you don’t end up smelling awful, too. You’ll need to reapply the product after each rain. If you use repellent sprays on your vegetables, be sure the product is one of those approved for edible plants.

How to Frighten Rabbits Away

Chasing after a rabbit with a rake didn’t work well for Mr. McGregor in the story of Peter Rabbit, and it probably won’t for you either. Scare techniques are temporary fixes at best, because the rabbits will soon figure out that no actual harm comes to them. Motion sensor lights or water sprays, air horn sounds, flashing CDs hanging from branches, or sparkly streamers moving in the breeze may all help a little at first, but it won’t be long before your resident bunnies will just ignore them. The one exception is having dogs that will enthusiastically chase any rabbit that dares to set a furry little toe in your yard. Otherwise, you’re better off spending your efforts on fencing and repellents.

Rabbits are complicated little souls. They tend to go to the bathroom in the same area, which makes them good candidates for using a litter box. But just because they can understand the concept of using a litter box, this doesn’t always mean that they will. If your bunny is peeing and pooping outside the litter box, don’t get upset. Get curious! Litter box habits can give you insight into your furry friend’s thoughts, feelings, and health.

Begin At The Beginning

First things first. If you just added a bunny to your family, don’t expect great litter box habits right away. You don’t know what training your new pal has had, and transitioning to a new home is stressful. Even litter box all-stars can experience accidents after a move. Give your bunny a couple of weeks to settle in. Provide several litter boxes of different sizes with low entrances in the areas where your pal roams. Seed them with a bit of his or her feces; not enough to make the litter box dirty, just enough to give your rabbit the idea that this is the place to go. Clean all litter boxes daily.

Rule Out Medical Issues

If your rabbit is new to your home, you likely already took your buddy to a rabbit-savvy veterinarian for an initial checkup. Rabbits should be spayed/neutered for the best litter box success, otherwise instinct will drive them to marking behavior. If your pal still frequently misses the litter box after a couple of weeks or if the litter box habits seem more like accidents than the result of ignorance, it’s time for another veterinary visit.

A visit to the vet is also needed if your longtime bunny friend suddenly begins missing the litter box. Your rabbit can’t tell you if he or she isn’t feeling well and probably wouldn’t do so even if it were possible. This is because rabbits are prey animals who instinctively hide signs of illness. That’s why litter box habits are so important. Sudden changes in use of the litter box or output might be early signs of illness.

Observe Your Rabbit

Once your veterinarian clears your rabbit of any health issues that might be causing litter box problems, put on your detective hat and observe your rabbit. Through observation and experimentation, you should be able to solve the mystery of why your rabbit is missing the litter box. Note that most rabbits have occasional litter box accidents and stray fecal pellets are part of life with rabbits. A problem might exist if your rabbit is regularly, once a day or more, peeing outside the litter box.

Observe your rabbit to answer the following questions.
1. Do misses happen all the time, or only in certain situations?
2. Have you changed anything in your rabbit’s environment recently (moved furniture, switched litter boxes, switched litter, added someone to the household, etc.)?
3. Do you have enough litter boxes?
4. Could the type of litter box, type of litter or location of the litter box be an issue?

Environment And Litter Box Accidents

If loud noises, certain people, other pets or other specific stimuli seem to be the cause of your rabbit’s litter box accidents, do what you can to minimize exposure to these things. If no specific stimuli seem to cause the problem and your veterinarian says your rabbit is healthy, it might be time to revisit litter box training.

Rabbits can’t tell us how they’re feeling, but they often show us. Refusing to use the litter box or going near it instead of in it could be your bunny’s way of sending you a message. Think about any changes that have occurred in your bunny’s life since the problem began. This might be something obvious like switching to a different type of litter box or adding a rabbit or other pet to the family, or it might be something very subtle, such as changing laundry soap or getting a new television. A change in laundry soap will change how things smell around your home and a change in television will change the sounds in your home. Rabbits pick up on these things.

Many times changes don’t matter, but sometimes they do. Experiment by changing back things that you can to test your rabbit’s reaction. If things can’t be changed back or you want changes to remain, talk to your rabbit about what’s happened and why a change was needed. No, your furry friend won’t understand all of your words, but your tone and attention can convey a lot. Give your pal more time to adjust. Bring your rabbit near the location of a change and offer a special treat. Hey!Berries are one healthy treat to try. Do this on and off for a few weeks to create positive feelings toward the change.

Experiment With Litter, Litter Box, And Location

One of the simplest solutions to litter box accidents is to increase the number of litter boxes. A rabbit who has free-roam of one or several rooms might not be able to make it back in time if there’s only one box and it’s more than a hop or two away when Nature calls. If more than one rabbit is using the litter boxes, perhaps a dirty box isn’t acceptable to the rabbit suffering the accidents.

The location of the litter box, type of box, and type of litter are also factors that might meet with rabbit disapproval. If your rabbit consistently has accidents in a certain spot, put a litter box there if it’s a safe location. If accidents are happening all over a room or the house, think about whether the locations have something in common. Are they partially hidden? Put a litter box in a similar location.

What about the litter box itself? If it’s new to your rabbit, perhaps your pal doesn’t like the size, shape, or entry. Try a different type. Maybe your rabbit prefers puppy pads or newspapers. Try these same solutions even if your rabbit previously used a litter box successfully for a while. Perhaps something has changed in your rabbit’s mind to make the box undesirable. Aging rabbits might no longer wish to hop into a high-sided box.

Paper, recycled paper, kiln-dried pine, and other types of litter are safe for rabbits. If your rabbit just joined your family, he or she might not recognize the type of litter you offer as being litter. And any rabbit might object to any type of litter “just because.” It’s not common, but it’s something to explore if your rabbit is having a problem. Try switching to a different litter or even using puppy pads, incontinence pads, or newspapers.

Your Buddy For Life

Despite all your efforts, it’s possible that your rabbit might continue to have litter box accidents. This is no reason to give up on your pal. Accidents could stop as mysteriously as they began. Meanwhile, many products can help minimize the effects of accidents.