How To Tell If A Rabbit Is Dying

How To Tell If A Rabbit Is Dying


Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to know for sure exactly how long your bunny has left, but there are some signs of a dying rabbit to look out for. The most important thing is to ensure the bunny is comfortable and pain-free in their final days.

Know the signs to look for.

If you notice any of the following, it’s time to take your rabbit to the vet:

  • Not eating or drinking
  • Not moving around much and not grooming (barring a medical problem)
  • Not urinating or defecating as usual, or not at all (again, barring a medical problem)
  • Having trouble breathing that doesn’t improve after being given oxygen and fluids—it may be necessary to put them on oxygen in this case without waiting for an appointment with the vet

A dying rabbit is one who is not interacting with its human companion(s), not enjoying their favorite things (food treats, toys, etc.), and showing signs of illness like diarrhea or vomiting.

Change in eating habits.

Another sign that your rabbit may be sick is if they begin to eat less than usual. Rabbits are grazers, meaning that they will graze on food throughout the day rather than eating in one big meal. So if your rabbit suddenly stops eating at all and seems unwilling to take even a bite, this could be an indication of serious illness or impending death. However, if you notice that your rabbit has simply begun picking at their food rather than finishing it as normal, this may still mean that something is wrong; just not as severely so.

Loss of energy.

If you notice that your rabbit isn’t eating or drinking, it could be a sign of illness. Keep in mind that rabbits can hide their symptoms when they’re sick (they don’t want to scare the weather away), so it may take some time before any signs of lethargy appear. If you observe your rabbit not moving around much, not grooming itself properly and refusing food or water then it could mean that your pet is unwell. Other signs include lack of playfulness and interaction with other pets as well as toys lying untouched on the floor.

Lack of appetite.

If your rabbit has a loss of appetite, this is a sign that something is wrong. There are many reasons your rabbit may have a loss of appetite, including cancer, dental problems, and pain. If you notice that your rabbit isn’t eating as much as usual for more than 24 hours or if their droppings are loose and watery (instead of firm), seek veterinary care right away.

Breathing problems.

A rabbit’s breathing is a good indicator of health. A healthy rabbit will breathe smoothly and rhythmically, with no shortness of breath or gagging. If your pet is having trouble breathing, there may be a number of causes:

  • Snuffles (rhinitis) can cause sneezing and runny nose, which will make it difficult for your pet to breathe normally.
  • Upper respiratory infections may cause coughing and labored breathing due to congestion in the throat or lungs.
  • Pneumonia occurs when fluid collects in the chest cavity, making it harder for oxygen to reach vital organs like the heart and brain. This condition can lead to death if left untreated because it prevents blood flow inside the body, causing organ damage or failure.*

In rare cases where an illness has progressed this far without treatment being started immediately after symptoms first appeared on our checklist above then euthanasia might be necessary if there are no signs of improvement within 24 hours.*

Know when to euthanize a rabbit.

While some rabbits may have lived to the ripe old age of 15, there are other factors that will determine when your rabbit is ready to join the great beyond. [if it’s] suffering or in pain, you should put it down. If you can’t afford vet treatment for a terminal illness then there’s no point in prolonging its life with medications that will only mask the symptoms. Also if keeping your rabbit is causing a hardship on your family because of its size or care requirements (such as special food), then it might be time for everyone involved to consider re-homing their furry friend.

Finally, if all these other factors aren’t applicable but the animal just seems like he’s gotten too old and worn out from being passed around from house to house over his years; then again think about rehoming him instead of putting him through another stressful transfer from one family member’s home to another’s.”

Rabbits will give you clear indication that they are dying, so you should know what to look for and how to treat them.

Rabbits will give you clear indication that they are dying, so you should know what to look for and how to treat them.

  • Physical signs include loss of energy, breathing problems and change in eating habits.
  • Rabbits don’t usually like to be touched, so be careful around them.
  • Rabbits are prey animals, so they will hide their weaknesses from predators to avoid being eaten by something bigger than themselves.


While it is never pleasant to watch a pet pass on, we hope this article has given you some insight into what to expect in your rabbit’s final hours. Once again, there are no guarantees, but these signs will give you an idea of what to look for when the time comes for your pet.

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