My rabbit does not eat: what to do?

“My rabbit does not eat, what do I do?” This is one of the most common queries from the owners of these endearing pets. The causes can be diverse. Therefore, it is important that you know your pet’s eating habits very well to know when the lack of appetite could become a serious problem for which to go to the vet immediately.

My rabbit does not eat or drink

Rabbits love to eat. It is quite common to see them, several times a day, eating hay and other foods in their diet. But what happens when they lose their appetite and even the urge to drink water? Why have you started rejecting your favourite fruit and fresh hay that is offered to you? Pay attention to the reasons that we tell you below, as something is likely to happen to your rabbit. In addition to the rejection of food, you will also find as a consequence the absence of excrement and urine in its cage. 

My rabbit does not eat: the possible reasons

Ileus in rabbits

The gastrointestinal stop or ileus is the main reason why rabbits stop eating or drinking water. This condition occurs when the movement of the stomach slows down and sometimes stops completely. If you have asked yourself “why doesn’t my rabbit eat?”, This could be one of the causes, and we advise you to go immediately to the vet because if it is not treated in time, the consequences could be fatal.

One of the symptoms to detect this condition is the absence of gas and flatulence, and abdominal pain caused by the inability to expel gas. It is a fairly common disease in this species and causes fecal matter to remain in the intestines. But what does ileus produce? The causes vary and can range from a foreign object obstructing the digestive system, to anorexia and even a poor diet.


Like humans, rabbits can also suffer from anorexia or loss of appetite. In addition to the fact that the rabbit does not eat, we can find the consequent loss of weight , as well as changes in the appearance of the animal. The causes of anorexia in rabbits are different, and it is the veterinarian who can offer you an appropriate treatment to improve their health.

Among these causes of loss of appetite, we find:

  1. Gastric ulcer
  2. Overgrown teeth or swollen gums
  3. Stomach or mouth tumor
  4. Fleas and lice
  5. Intestinal parasites
  6. Neurological diseases
  7. Stress and anxiety
  8. Poisoning
  9. Respiratory infection
  10. Arthritis

My rabbit does not eat hay, why?

If it is observed that a rabbit spends several hours without consuming hay, it is time to be alert and go to the vet, as it can be a symptom of a serious condition. However, it is possible that if your pet does not eat hay, it could simply be due to a change in the usual brand or that the food is not fresh. 

Among the serious pathologies that can cause a rabbit not to eat hay, we find scabies in the mouth, abnormal tooth growth, hairballs trapped in the stomach, and coccidiosis , an intestinal infection. Coccidiosis is common in small rabbits and appears a few weeks after weaning. It occurs when the animal comes into contact with fecal matter or biological remains infected by parasites, and its main symptom is bloody diarrhea. 

The importance of hay in the diet of rabbits

The diet of rabbits is essential so that they do not have intestinal problems. In addition to the special feed for rabbits , and fruits and vegetables, it is very important that fresh hay is present in the diet of adult rabbits. The amount? Unlimited . Hay is a dry cut grass that sometimes also contains grass flowers. The mixture to form the hay is also composed of grasses, clovers, alfalfa, wheat, barley and oats.

Hay is particularly important, because it is responsible for the correct movement of the intestines of rabbits, whose species is already prone to gastrointestinal problems. Thanks to the hay, the incisors wear out, preventing their abnormal growth, something that could cause anorexia. In addition, hay contains large amounts of fiber, which facilitates intestinal transit. 

What can happen to my rabbit if it does not eat?

If a rabbit goes only a couple of days without eating, there is no greater problem, since its lack of appetite may simply be due to the fact that it previously ate excessively and is purging naturally. 

But, if you stop eating for more than two days and, especially if you do not even want to drink, in the absence of continued intake by the rabbit, it is recommended to visit the veterinarian immediately. Once this determines that the lack of appetite of the rabbit does not attend any of the pathologies described above, it is time to try to get your rabbit to consume the foods that will make it healthy and strong. 

What can I do if my rabbit does not want to eat?

If your rabbit does not eat, start by changing the brand of feed you give them and introduce more natural foods: it is very possible that your pet will eat again with pleasure. As for hay in particular, another tip is to feed it fresh hay in small amounts . It is a big mistake to fill the cage with hay, since it is very likely that, if it has been there all day, it will not want to eat it; rabbits are very cunning and it is very difficult to fool them with food.

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