How Long Can A Rabbit Go Without Food?

Categorized as Bunny Health Tagged

Last Updated on August 3, 2022 by Rei Garnet

People generally have this idea that having a pet rabbit is easy to care for. While it’s true that rabbits can be great pets, it’s still a huge responsibility to keep them healthy and happy.

One of those responsibilities is the rabbit’s diet. A rabbit’s digestive system is extremely sensitive. So much so that even a slight mistake can cost them their life.

Rabbit owners should be aware of the ins and outs of their rabbit’s diet. Like what should be included and what should be avoided.

And one of those mistakes is the topic of this article. Not feeding your rabbit for long periods of time or more than 12 hours could lead to GI stasis. GI stasis is the slowing of the passage of food in your rabbit’s GI tract.

GI stasis can be caused by a number of reasons. Not eating enough fiber, too much carbohydrates in their diet, or not eating for long periods of time are the most common.

Rabbits that do not eat for more than 12 hours, will undergo a pH change in their digestive tract. This in turn promotes the growth of gas-producing bacteria. When this happens, the gas will cause the rabbit to not eat at all and eventually lead to organ failure and death.

So to answer the question, how long can a rabbit go without eating? To prevent GI stasis, your rabbit should never go more than 12 hours without eating.

Can rabbits go a day without food?

Can rabbits go a day without food?

No, rabbits should not go more than 12 hours without eating anything because it could lead to a pH change in their GI tract, which in turn could lead to painful gas. This painful gas would lead to a decreased appetite and eventually not eating anything at all.

This condition is called GI stasis, or the slowing down of the passage of food. If left untreated, it could lead to organ failure and, eventually, death.

If you suspect that your rabbit might be suffering from GI stasis, immediately bring your rabbit to a veterinarian.

How long can a rabbit go without food before dying?

How long can a rabbit go without food before dying?

Rabbits, being grazers, should always have food to keep their digestive system working.

If a rabbit is not eating for more than 12 hours, it could cause a shift in the pH level in the digestive system, which leads to painful gas.

This painful gas, in turn, could lead to your rabbit not eating their food.

Providing your rabbit with a constant supply of food is especially important for rabbits that are less than 1 year old.

Young rabbit’s digestive systems are sensitive to changes. It’s common for young rabbits to die from digestive problems due to improper feeding.

In summary, never leave your rabbit without access to food for more than 12 hours. Doing so could lead to GI stasis, which could kill a rabbit extremely fast.

What can you do if your rabbit is not eating?

A rabbit that’s not eating can mean that it’s sick or is in pain. If this is the case, immediately bring your rabbit to a veterinarian. A rabbit that’s not eating is a sign that something is seriously wrong with them.

Rabbits, being grazers, should never stop eating for long periods of time. Their gut requires the fiber they get from food to move. Without this constant movement, it could lead to GI stasis and, eventually, organ failure.

It could also mean that they don’t like the food you’re providing. To test if it’s the food, remove any other food except high-quality alfalfa hay or timothy hay.

Rabbits will always eat hay. Sometimes rabbits don’t like certain brands of pellets. So if that’s what you’re feeding your rabbit, buy from a reputable brand.

Summary

A rabbit should never be left alone without any food for more than 12 hours. Doing so could lead to a condition called gastrointestinal stasis, or GI stasis.

GI stasis is the slowing down of the passage of food. GI stasis is a vicious cycle of your rabbit having painful gas due to the pH changes in their GI tract, which in turn leads to your rabbit not eating anything.

Cite this article:

Bunny Horde (September 14, 2022) How Long Can A Rabbit Go Without Food?. Retrieved from https://bunnyhorde.com/how-long-can-a-rabbit-go-without-food/.
"How Long Can A Rabbit Go Without Food?." Bunny Horde - September 14, 2022, https://bunnyhorde.com/how-long-can-a-rabbit-go-without-food/
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Sources and further reading

  • Buseth, Marit Emilie., and Richard A. Saunders. Rabbit Behaviour, Health, and Care. CABI, 2014.
  • Lebas, F. The Rabbit: Husbandry, Health, and Production. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1997.
  • Patry, Karen, et al. The Rabbit-Raising Problem Solver: Your Questions Answered about Housing, Feeding, Behavior, Health Care, Breeding, and Kindling. Storey Publishing, 2014.

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By Rei Garnet

I’ve loved and cared for rabbits since I was 9 years old, and I’m here to share my passion for rabbits. My objective is to help rabbit owners give their rabbits the best life possible.