How Long Can Rabbits Go Without Food and Water? {Signs & Symptoms To Look Out For)}

Starvation or dehydration in rabbits are serious concerns. Are you wondering how long can rabbits go without food and water?

I remember when my rabbit Roger, stopped drinking water all day and we didn’t know why. Turns out he found a puddle outside and drank from it when we didn’t notice. We were so scared that he was sick.

In this article, it’s important to find out the signs and symptoms of dehydration or starvation to find out if you need to visit the vet with your rabbit. Let’s first find out, how long can rabbits go without food and water?

How Long Can Rabbits Go Without Food and Water?

A rabbit should not go 12 hours without eating hay. In extreme conditions, rabbits can survive 3-4 days without eating. GI stasis or other medical emergencies will emerge with a dehydrated or starving rabbit.

Your rabbit needs to drink water in a 24 hour period. In warmer weather, water is even more crucial within 12 hours.

How Many Days Can Rabbits Go Without Water?

Rabbits will not survive more than a day without water. They need to drink water in a 24 hour timespan or risk dying.

Rabbits also absorb water or hydrate themselves from the variety of fresh foods they eat. Typically, leafy greens contain some water for a rabbit, but this doesn’t mean they can give up drinking fresh water in a 24 hour period.

How Much Water Should a Rabbit Drink a Day?

Rabbits actually drink more water than most animals comparable to their size relative to their own. This means that a 5 pound rabbit would need as much or more water than a dog twice or triple its size.

Rabbits on average drink 50-150 milliliters of water per kilogram of weight (1kg = 2.2 pounds). Calculate the amount of water your rabbit needs after weighing them.

How Much Water Should a Baby Rabbit Drink?

Do baby rabbits drink a lot of water? Baby rabbits need to stay hydrated without formula, solid foods and water.

You should not leave a deep water dish in their shelter because they can fall into it and the risk of drowning is always present.

How much water an 8 week old rabbit drinks is about 50-150 milliliters per kilogram of weight each day. A smaller sized rabbit could drink 30-40 milliliters of water per kilogram of weight.

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How Do I Know if My Rabbit Is Drinking Enough Water?

A rabbit that is dehydrated will show signs that are truly alarming which could lead to death. A vet will have to intervene to assess why your rabbit is not drinking.

Notice some of the following if your rabbit is abstaining from their daily water needs:

  • Darker poop
  • Darker urine that is thick in consistency
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lack of activity or lethargic.
  • Sticky saliva that is think
  • Crusty eyes

All of these signs could indicate that your rabbit may have gut issues such as GI stasis and needs a proper diagnosis and possibly medication from the vet.

How Long Can Rabbits Go Without Hay?

A rabbit needs hay as part of their staple diet. The most important element in hay is the fiber which helps move things along .

Without hay in a 12 hour period, their poop will harden or create intestinal blockages. A deficiency in fiber or hay as a staple food will ultimately lead to the likelihood of developing gut issues such as the common condition known as GI Stasis.

How Long Can a Rabbit Go Without Pooping?

Rabbits need to poop all the time. They will excrete multiple pellets or droppings per day and without it, there is a serious problem that needs attention or medication.

If a rabbit does not poop in a 24 hour period, there is a gut problem.  GI stasis is a common gastrointestinal condition that will kill your rabbit if not treated.

Do not wait longer than a day if your rabbit has not pooped. Medical help is on the way from a visit to the vet.

Can a Rabbit Free Feed?

You should not allow your rabbit to eat as much as they want if it is any other food aside from hay. When it comes to hay, keep the supply unlimited and copious.

Pellets should be weighed to about a 1/4 cup serving per day for an average sized adult rabbit. Treats such as fruits and veggies need to also be limited.

Bunnies could easily develop gut issues or become obese. It depends on each individual rabbit. Some rabbits are more likely to overeat than other rabbits.

Can a Rabbit Overeat?

Yes. Rabbits who are constant grazers, may find nothing else to do, but eat in an enclosure. Foods that are high in sugar or fat will cause greater issues if you allow your rabbit to overeat foods without measuring the amount you are offering.

Keep the hay coming, but limit the amount of pellets and fruits or other vegetables.

Why Is My Rabbit Drinking So Much Water?

Your rabbit could be dehydrated or the weather is getting warmer. The activity of your rabbit may have increased recently which causes them to drink more.

Sometimes, the answer is more serious. Here are some other reasons why a rabbit would drinks more water than usual:

  • Dehydration
  • Diabetes
  • Medication
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Territory marking

If you don’t know whether or not the above causes could be occurring to cause your rabbit to drink more water, seek the assistance of a vet and let them run a few tests to determine the underlying cause.

Why Do Rabbits Not Drink Water?

Sometimes a rabbit stops drinking water out of a mental state or a physical reaction to the water itself or the surrounding environment. Here are some possible explanations:

  • The water smells strange or tastes funny. Rabbits are fussy about this.
  • The water is too hot or too cold.
  • Your rabbit has a dental issues and drinking is causing pain.
  • The water vessel is dirty.
  • Your rabbit is absorbing enough water from the greens you are feeding them.
  • This rabbit may have found another water source during playtime outdoors.
  • The rabbit might be sick.

Signs of Starvation in a rabbit:

How do I know if my rabbit is starving? Look for the following signs:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of body fat
  • Weakened heartbeat
  • loss of muscle or bone density.
  • Not acting normal
  • Drooling

Signs of Dehydration in a rabbit:

How do I know if my rabbit is dehydrated? Check to see if you notice any of the following:

  • Lethargy
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry gums or nose
  • Depression
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dry Tongue
  • Rapid heart rate

How Long Can a Rabbit Go Without Food Before Dying?

If a rabbit goes longer than 12 hours without eating they run the risk of dying. Since rabbits graze constantly in the wild, a captive rabbit who is not eating is far from normal and healthy.

There will be a shift in pH level and a failed production of necessary digestive enzymes to keep your rabbits’ sensitive gut healthy. As a result, gastrointestinal issues may occur such as GI Stasis.

Painful gas could lead to bloating or death. Rabbits need a constant supply of hay and a variety of dark greens with a measured cup of pellet according to their size.

How Much Food Does A Rabbit Need to Eat?

A rabbit needs to eat a contact supply of high quality hay such as timothy hay, alfalfa hay, oat hay or orchard hay.

  • When it comes to pellets, rabbits need at least a ¼ cup of pellets per 6 pounds of body weight.
  • For veggies. You can feed an average sized rabbit 2 cups of vegetables per 6 pounds of body weight.
  • With fruit, consider feeding your rabbit 1-2 ounces of fruit per the same amount of body weight each day.

A baby rabbit only needs milk from the mother in their first 3 weeks. After that, you will start providing solid foods while they continue drinking mother’s milk.


The larger your rabbit, the more water you need to supply for their drinking needs. An obese rabbit does not need more than 1/4 cup of pellets per day, but will continue to benefit grazing copious amounts of hay.

Keep in mind that rabbits drink more when the weather is warm and they can absorb water from the vegetables and fruits they eat. The more energetic your rabbit is, the more they will eat and drink.

A lazy rabbit may not drink as much water. Rabbits should drink 10% of their body weight in water. A 4 pound rabbit could handle as much as 180 milliliters of water each day. Rabbits should not go more than 12 hours without eating.

3-4 days of not eating has been witnessed, but is not something we wish to see ourselves. 24 hours without water is a sign of extreme hydration. A vet needs to step in to find out why your rabbit would not wish to eat or drink after a 12-24 period.


Thank you for visiting for the best information to help you enjoy the life of your pocket pet companion in a fun, safe & healthy way.


My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.