An image of rabbits and a water bowl. The caption reads "Can rabbits drink from a bowl."

Yes, rabbits can drink water from a bowl, but a water bottle is a better choice for several reasons. Water in a bowl can become contaminated with urine, fecal matter and harmful bacteria and viruses. This is the main reason rabbits should not drink from a bowl.

Can rabbits drink water from a bowl?

As stated, above rabbits can drink from a bowl, but it is not the safest and most hygienic reason. There are advantages and disadvantages to using a bowl vs a bottle. Some pet rabbit owners argue that bunnies should drink from a bowl like they would in a natural setting. This is a great thought but is not the healthiest option for rabbits. Rabbits love to dig, make messes and knock things over. While this is fun behavior to watch it is not a great thing when water is involved.

Water bowls are unsanitary for rabbits

Even if you keep your rabbits water bowl away from his or her food, litter and hay it is still possible for it to become contaminated. If someone sneezes or coughs in the room as the water bottle it is very possible to become contaminated. Although most viruses and bacteria do not cross between humans and animals it does happen from time to time. Recently we have seen cross infection between animals and humans with covid-19.

Aside from coughing and sneezing hair, dust, cleaning products, hair, dead skin cells, pollen, mites, bugs, poop and urine can end up in your rabbit’s water bowl. While this might not cause your rabbit a health issue most of the time is it worth the risk?

I only use water bowls if needed due to a medical issue. If you are looking for the best water bottle for rabbits check out this post. I promise no leaks and no problems!

Water bottles are better than bowls

You can use either a water bottle or bowl but personally use a water bottle for Mr. Bunny and other past pet rabbits.

  • Cleanliness – Covered in the paragraph above already.
  • Water tracking – Most water bottles come with measurements along the side so if you do want to be able to track how much water your rabbit is drinking then a water bottle is key.
  • Convenience – You can get some pretty big water bottles so you don’t have to fill it up as often. Water dishes can only be so big so that your rabbit is not afraid of it. They do not like water so if you have some giant bowl they will be uneasy about using it and you never want to deprive your rabbit of water. Therefore you need to fill up the smaller dish much more often than you would the water bottle.

This does not mean that you have to use a water bottle, it is just our personal recommendation based on my experience. Rabbits can drink from a water bowl just fine and I am sure many pet rabbit owners use them. We just find a water bottle to be the best, most efficient option because of the reasons we have outlined for you above.

About the Author

My name is Vanessa and I love my buns. My current house rabbit is Mr. Bunny, he is a black and white Dutch that just turned 9 years old.

I believe that rabbits are a magnificent animal that make great pets for SOME people. My mission is to share what I have learned about rabbits over the past 20 years to improve the relationship between our pets and us. Please contact me or comment if you have any questions or comments.