An image of rabbits, a water faucet and rain. The caption reads "Why is my rabbit drinking a lot of water?"

There are numerous reasons why your rabbit is drinking a lot of water. These include a change in diet, pain, underlying health problems, infections, and dehydration. Some of the reasons indicate a medical problem while others do not.

Why is my rabbit drinking a lot of water?

Polydipsia also known as an over consumption of water, can be caused by many reasons. It may not necessarily be a cause for concern but there are other reasons your rabbit can be over consuming water that are a cause for concern and can be very serious. Since a rabbit drinking a lot of water can be due to a more serious underlying issue it is important to always keep an eye on your rabbit’s water consumption.

How much water should my rabbit be drinking?

The amount of water your rabbit should be drinking varies so greatly from bunny to bunny. No two rabbits are alike. The amount of water your rabbit should be drinking is dependent on their size, lifestyle, climate, location and age.

For example a larger rabbit would need to drink more than a smaller rabbit. They have a bigger GI tract so they will require more water to stay healthy, hydrated and to keep their gastrointestinal tract on track.

A healthy adult rabbit should drink anywhere between 1 – 3 ounces per pound of body weight. For example a four pound rabbit should be drinking somewhere around 6-8 ounces per day, give or take a few ounces, as to where a younger and smaller rabbit may only require 2-6 ounces per day.

Reasons your rabbit may be drinking more that are NOT a problem

  • Highly active rabbits– They, like people, will need to drink more than the 1-3 ounces per pound. Due to their higher activity level they will be thirstier than a less active rabbit.
  • Seasonal changes– Rabbits tend to drink more in the warmer months or if they live in an area of the world that is naturally warmer year round.
  • Shedding/Molting– Rabbits will also drink more during when they are molting (shedding.)
  • Lifestyle/personality– Some rabbits just naturally drink more than others, if you have a rabbit that has always drank more than the 1-3 ounces per pound then this isn’t a reason for concern, it is when your rabbit suddenly starts doing this that you should be concerned.

Reasons your rabbit may be drinking more that ARE a problem

  • Dehydration induced by diarrheaDiarrhea is a serious condition in rabbits and should be addressed by a vet immediately.
  • Changes in diet– They could be getting too much salt or not enough veggies. Salt will dehydrate your rabbit and veggies contain a lot of moisture so having too much salt or not enough veggies can be the cause of their issue and should be remedied.
  • Pain– When a rabbit is in pain they will either drink too much water or not enough. Pains that will cause a rabbit to drink more are usually caused by a dental issue, an injury or an upset stomach.
  • Urinary tract complications- Like people, rabbits can also contract a urinary tract infection which is very painful. If your rabbit has a UTI (urinary tract infection) they will have very dark, thick, cloudy urine and in extreme cases will yell out in pain when they urinate, you may also notice them in a hunched or straining position when urinating. Urinary tract complications will cause your rabbit to drink more as the more hydrated they are the less painful it will be to urinate. Kidney stones and bladder stones will also cause this reaction from your rabbit.
  • Diabetes- Rabbits can have type one and/or type two diabetes although for a rabbits to have type one diabetes is rare. Both type one and type two diabetes will have the symptom of drinking too much water. Other symptoms to look for are excessive urination and a highly increased desire to eat.
  • Liver complications- A lot of things can cause a rabbits liver to stop working as normal. It can become inflamed by infections or damaged by cirrhosis. It can also fail due to your rabbit eating something that is poisonous. Along with over drinking some other symptoms to look for if you are worried about liver issues are yellowing of their eyes and mouth, loss of appetite, weight loss and neurological issues.

How to treat excessive thirst in your rabbit

How to treat excessive thirst in your rabbit is dependent on what is wrong, if you believe the cause of your rabbit’s excessive thirst is due to an issue listed in our problem changes then you should seek out a vet for professional assistance in treating the underlying issue that is causing the excessive thirst. Whether the cause is diabetes, liver issues, urinary issues or dehydration, your vet can implement a treatment plan that will almost immediately relieve your rabbits excessive water consumption or your vet will direct you to allow them to continue drinking as they want until the issue at hand is under control.

If you are able to confirm the cause of your rabbits excessive water consumption is due to an issue that isn’t really a problem like a highly active rabbit, they are molting or a change in season to warmer weather then you don’t need to worry, you can allow them to consume the extra water during this time frame, it is not something to worry about. If your rabbit continues to drink a lot of water water over an extended period of time you should contact your vet.

Something else you want to be sure to look for is an increase in urine production, if your rabbit is drinking more he or she should be peeing more, if you have determined your rabbit is not drinking more due to an underlying medical issue then this is no cause for concern, it would be more concerning if your rabbits water consumption increased but their urine production did not. If this happens, regardless of the reason that your rabbit has increased their water intake, then you should seek out veterinary assistance.

Do baby rabbits drink water?

No, not to start, they will strictly drink their mother’s milk for the first three to four weeks. Following the first moth after their birth yes, they can begin to drink water. Once they are old enough to drink water it is important to remember that baby rabbits will not drink nearly as much as a full grown rabbit and they should not be excessively drinking at only a month old, if you notice they are then they likely have an underlying medical condition so they should be seen by a vet immediately.  Baby rabbits, after a month old are capable of drinking from the same water bottle as an adult rabbit as long as it is low enough for their little mouths to reach up to it.

Should I use a water bottle or water bowl?

You can use either a water bottle or bowl. We personally use a water bottle for Mr. Bunny and here is why:

  • 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.
  • Cleanliness– Because Mr. Bunny’s water is in his cage, if it were in a water bowl or dish he could easily contaminate it with poop, urine or food which is not only yucky but could also cause health concerns. Mr. Bunny also likes to pick up items with his teeth and thrash them around so to speak. Doing this with his water dish could cause quite a mess and could be a health concern if he were to aspirate any water by mistake.
  • 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, rabbits can drink from a water dish just fine. 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.