As important as his food, water should never be lacking. Your rabbit must be able to hydrate continuously, even if the consumption differs from one animal to another. It basically depends on lifestyle and eating habits. Water is essential for its survival. How much should he swallow daily? In which container to pour it? Are there other drinks? What to do in case of dehydration?
The daily amount of water in your rabbit
Your rabbit needs hydration every day to keep his body running .
Indeed, water allows its vital organs to work. Regular hydration prevents certain diseases from taking hold . It allows its kidneys to play their role and it avoids a rise in its body temperature (especially in summer).
In reality, water intake varies greatly from rabbit to rabbit . It all depends on their lifestyle and diet . If your lagomorph feeds mainly on dry foods , such as pellets and hay , and therefore very few vegetables and grasses , its water needs will increase.
Conversely, if you regularly offer watermelon , tomatoes , but also cucumbers , which all have a high water content , then your protege will go to his bowl or bottle less often .
It is estimated that a rabbit drinks on average 50 to 150 ml/kg each day. We advise you to provide him with some water-rich vegetables in his diet .
Which suitable container?
Inside his cage, your rabbit will need to be able to drink from 2 regularly mentioned containers: a bottle or a drinker . The first has the advantage of keeping the water clean. However, the nozzle can be difficult for your rabbit to grasp, and the water can sometimes be difficult to drain . Thus, you may opt for a water trough .
The latter must be designed in a fairly heavy material , such as terracotta or ceramic , in order to spill as little as possible . It is also advisable to change the water daily , because your rodent can soil it easily , or put hay or even litter in it.
Are all waters safe to drink?
Tap water can be fine, provided the lime level is very low.
Ideal water should only contain a low percentage of calcium . Thus, Vittel and Contrex are not recommended . Many brands of bottles, on sale in supermarkets, may be suitable for your rabbit. It is enough to observe their composition. The calcium level must be less than 15 mg/l.
What happens in case of dehydration?
Insufficient water intake , which leads to obvious dehydration , has been shown to cause kidney problems , stones and impaired fertility . What’s more, your rabbit will eat less and eventually lose weight .
It should be noted that in case of high temperatures, its water needs increase . In fact, unlike humans, your rabbit does not have sweat glands . In fact, he does not sweat . His body temperature , on average 39°C, should never rise .
If the outside temperature rises above around 24°C, you should start giving your rabbit more water , as well as protecting it and moving it to a cooler place ( if it lives indoors) .
What reflex to adopt in the face of heat stroke?
You need to cool his body. You can hydrate your rabbit using a syringe . Always with water at room temperature , never cold . In the event of strong heat , you must think of ventilating the room fairly early in the morning and late in the evening, during the coolest hours.
If you have tiling , do not hesitate to take your rabbit out of its cage and install it on this cool floor. In addition, you can also put a damp sheet around his cage , while preserving some ventilation .
Moreover, if this is still not enough to lower his temperature , we recommend that you moisten his ears, which are very vascularized. They will allow him to lower his temperature . Never give your rabbit a bath . This would stress him out and he could drown .
If your rabbit shows symptoms of heat stroke (shortness of breath, gasping, difficulty breathing), take him to his veterinarian immediately . Your rabbit is in danger.
Water should be your rabbit ‘s only drink . Do not attempt the adventure of offering him anything else . It will be harmful to his health.
In special cases, on the recommendation of your veterinarian only, fruit juice can be given to him. Especially if your rabbit, sick , needs to drink and refuses the water offered. Obviously, milk, coffee and tea are to be banned.
Your rabbit’s water needs vary from individual to individual. It all depends on the diet he is on. Dry foods force him to drink more than water-rich foods, such as some vegetables. However, your rodent has a vital need for daily hydration. He will need to drink more in the summer, when the temperatures are high.