It’s important to feed your sick rabbit foods that are high in micronutrients. Sick rabbits are much more likely to eat soft foods such as canned pumpkin or applesauce. If your rabbit refuses to eat, you may need to syringe feed them pureed baby food, veggies, or fruit.
If your rabbit is sick, it is best to take them to the vet. In the meantime, you can continue to care for them by giving them specific foods that may help them feel better.
Most rabbits will have a decreased appetite if they are sick, which means force or syringe feeding may be necessary.
A sick rabbit requires soft foods such as applesauce, canned pumpkin, or baby food. Some sick rabbits will continue to eat herbs and vegetables, which must be readily available.
What You'll Learn
The Best Foods For a Sick Rabbit
Sick rabbits may refuse to eat and need as many nutrients as possible. Applesauce is an excellent source of fiber and vitamins and is easy to feed through a syringe.
Rabbits should only eat 1-2 tablespoons per week, as it differs from their regular diet. Although applesauce is full of nutrients, it’s also high in sugar, and too much sugar can cause digestive issues. If you cannot find natural applesauce, you can cut an apple and mash it to create your own!
Organic and Unsweetened Baby Food
Baby food is beneficial for rabbits with gastrointestinal problems. Like applesauce, it is easy to syringe feed. Fruit and vegetable options are the best choices. Avoid baby foods containing sugar or meat as they can worsen problems, and only feed small amounts.
Pumpkin is a great option to entice a sick rabbit. As pumpkins are full of Vitamin A, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, and Magnesium, it will help with their sickness and be a special treat!
You can syringe feed your rabbit or even put some on their favorite herbs! You may give one teaspoon to ⅓ cup daily to treat digestive issues.
Herbs are a natural remedy for sick rabbits. Many types are available: fresh, dried, or even mixed into their water!
The following herbs are recommended for sick rabbits:
Shredded Slippery Elm Bark: This herb is excellent for rabbits with gastrointestinal problems.
Grapefruit Seed Extract: This natural antibiotic, anti-parasitic, and antiviral herb are perfect for sick rabbits that may have more than stomach issues.
Marigold: This herb can help treat many illnesses such as wounds, ulcers, skin diseases, and digestive issues.
Dandelion Greens: This includes the flower, stem, and root. Dandelions can help your rabbit if they have diarrhea, constipation, respiratory problems, and even bladder infections.
Echinacea Purpurea: This super herb provides great immunity support for rabbits as it is an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory.
Olive Leaf: As an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antioxidant, olive leaves are great for rabbits with diarrhea, various infections, and digestive issues.
Although these herbs are great for your rabbit, you are not limited to this list. Herbs are always a healthy option for your rabbit and are easy to feed.
Introduce your pet to the herbs by giving them fresh plants or leaves to chew on. Mix them into their water dish or syringe.
How to Syringe Feed a Rabbit
If your pet refuses to eat food, you need to syringe feed them. To syringe feed your rabbit, mix warm water with one of the following:
- Pureed baby food
- Pureed vegetables or fruit
- Mashed rabbit food pellets
- Pureed leafy greens that your rabbit prefers
This process will be messy and uncomfortable for you and your pet, but it’s necessary to help stimulate their gastrointestinal tract.
Syringe feeding isn’t the ideal process, but it’s doable! You will need the following materials:
- Warm Water
- Pureed/Blended Food (listed above)
Once you have these materials, you can mix the warm water with the puree, creating a paste-like substance that can pass through the syringe. Then, fill the syringe with only 2-4 ml of the mixture.
Place your rabbit on the floor or lap while wrapped in a towel. Place the syringe into your rabbit’s mouth, behind the front teeth. Angling the syringe, press it slowly and allow your rabbit to swallow the food until the syringe is empty.
Continue this process until you feed your rabbit 10 ml of the mixture. Do this every 2-6 hours, depending on your rabbit’s symptoms.
When in Doubt, Syringe it Out!
A sick rabbit is something that everyone wishes to avoid, but if you suspect your rabbit may be sick, you can feed them soft foods or even syringe feed them to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need.
It’s always best to have fresh herbs, baby food, or applesauce on hand, just in case. However, the bottom line is that if your rabbit is sick, it will most likely need veterinary care.