Why is your bunny not eating?

Updated: 8/10/2023
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8y ago

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Yikes! The vet!

You should take your rabbit to the vet immediately. Not eating or drinking is a very bad sign. Rabbits are grazing animals and should basically be eating most of the time they are awake.

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15y ago
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8y ago

There are many different reasons why a pet rabbit might stop eating.

No matter what the reason is, it's always a serious emergency when a rabbit stops eating. Unless you bring your rabbit to a vet, it's most likely the rabbit will die, and it will be a very painful death.

WHY Do Rabbits Stop Eating?

Rabbits often respond to pain by not eating. The pain could be caused by anything -- a pulled muscle, gas, an overgrown tooth, a sinus infection -- but the response is the same: to stop eating.

Another reason bunnies stop eating is if they have a blockage in their digestive system. The blockage could be a hair ball, or it could be some non-food item like carpeting or rubber or corn hulls. This is one reason why it's really important to...

  • Keep your bunny groomed, so they don't eat a lot of fur
  • Rabbit-proof your bunny's environment, so they aren't eating non-food things
  • Only give your rabbit safe foods to eat

WHAT HAPPENS When Bunnies Stop Eating: GI Stasis

Once rabbits stop eating, they can't just start again: they get sick and can't eat, and then they die.

Rabbits have a very different digestive system than humans do. When rabbits stop eating, no matter what the reason, their digestive system stops working. This is called GI Stasis, or ileus.

Gi Stasis is very painful for rabbits, and it is deadly.

WHAT TO DO When Your Rabbit Stops Eating

When you notice your rabbit isn't eating, you should bring her to the vet immediately.

There are things you can do at home to help, but the rabbit requires medicine to get him eating again (specifically: a pain medication, and a gut motility drug). Depending on what caused her to stop eating, more medical procedures may be required as well.

Things you can do to help, ** in addition to vet care **

  • Belly rubs: gently massage your rabbit's belly to break up gas bubbles, and to stimulate the digestive system. If gas is the problem, rub as deeply as your bunny will let you to break up the bubbles (but carefully! don't injure your rabbit -- be firm but slow and steady, and if your rabbit responds to anything with pain then stop). A gentle rippling motion from front to back can also be useful.
  • Encourage as much water drinking as possible. For example, put some apple juice in the rabbit's water (not too much! e.g. 1 juice : 6 water; and only use 100% pure juice, nothing added)
  • Encourage as much activity as possible, hopping around, etc.
  • Provide as comfortable an environment as possible (calm, quiet, but not isolated -- pet him, be there for him)

If you have the experience, then you should force-feed your rabbit. There are commercial products available, like Critical Care. If there are no emergency-hours rabbit vets and you have no commercial feeder, you can make your own by mixing ground-up pellets, baby carrot food, and watered-down pedialyte. If the rabbit has a blockage, however, more food can make the problem worse, so you must see a vet.


If you don't already have a vet, be careful looking for one. Not all vets are trained or experienced in rabbit care. There is information online that can help you find a good vet. The House Rabbit Society is a good place to start -- you can find their website by doing a web search.

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14y ago

Take it to a vet

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