My Rabbit Has Stopped Eating, What Can I Do?
Rabbits will stop eating for a number of different reasons and it is more common than most people realise. Pain, Surgery, Stress, and or a change in diet are all potential triggers that can cause a rabbit to stop eating. If your rabbit stops eating you need to address it as quickly as possible due to the rabbits gastrointestinal system it is important that he eats regularly and continues to ingest fibre.
Here are our tips for getting your rabbit to eat properly again.
- Always ensure that following surgery or during illness you rabbit has sufficient painkillers and make sure you use them. A rabbit that is in pain will not eat!
- Rabbits are naturally active at dawn and dusk. Try to mimic these conditions for your rabbit. With house rabbits dim the lights, ensure it is quiet and keep the room at the correct temperature (21-23 degrees). Make sure there are no predators within sight or smell (including your pet dog or cat) and ensure that your rabbit is comfortable, clean and dry. Rabbits who feel stressed, dirty or threatened will not eat.
- Anorexic rabbits generally crave Fiber. Offer good quality sweet smelling hay with greens, freshly picked grass, dandelion leaves or your bunnie’s favourite Rabbit food. Getting your rabbit to start eating is the most important thing at this stage.
- Ensure the food is within easy reach of your rabbit.
- Contrary to popular belief rabbits, like most prey animals, do not like being picked up and cuddled if they are unwell. Gentle stroking and talking to your rabbits is more effective and will allow them to feel safe and secure and start to eat.
- Some rabbits will take the elusive first bite if you waft food under their nose. Tickle their nose with a strand of hay or grass to see if you can encourage them to start to nibble, initially you might need to slowly introduce on strand after another to kick start your rabbits appetite
- Don’t overload your rabbits bowl and avoid outfacing them. Small amounts give n often or spread out in several feed bowls is often more effective than on large bowl full given once per day.
- If you rabbit has a companion and it is possible keep them together, the sight of a friend eating and the comfort a companion brings will often be enough to get your bunny eating again.
Lastly Persevere! It can take several days to ge an anorexic rabbit to begin eating again. As long as they are comfortable and not deteriorating then it is worth persisting.
If you Feel that your rabbit has stopped eating you must consult your veterinary surgeon so they can diagnose the problem. In many cases this is the first sign of illness or a deeper problem.
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