How to Tell if Your Rabbit is Happy and Healthy

How to Tell if Your Rabbit is Happy and Healthy

It may not be possible to always know what your pet rabbit is thinking, but there are some signs to watch out for if you want to find out if he’s a happy, healthy pet. Body language can be a huge indictor to how your rabbit may be feeling, and as a bunny parent, it’s important to keep an eye on this so you can ensure the best possible care for them.

In this blog post, I’ll explain the signs of a happy, healthy rabbit, how to care for them, and signs to watch out for if your rabbit may be unhappy in their environment.

Dr Bobby Ortiz, small and exotic pet vet, posing with a bunny patient

Dr. Bobby Ortiz, M.V.B.

Dr Bobby Ortiz, aka 'Dogtor Bob', is a small animal and exotic veterinarian based in Dublin. He has a strong interest in Small Mammal (rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets) and Reptile medicine and surgery.

He grew up in a family of avid animal lovers, which led him to work as an Aquarist at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific in California. It was there he decided he wanted to become a vet, and specialise in exotic animals, that needed the same care and medical attention that dogs and cats are given.

He lives with his wife and Brittany Spaniel Bodhi, and has dreams to build a new tropical marine fish tank in the near future!

Signs of a Happy Rabbit

  • Relaxed Body-If your rabbit is happy, he will be comfortable and relaxed. He may sit with his legs tucked under his body or decide to lie down still for a few seconds, completely stretched out.
  • Licking-If your bunny licks you when you come near, this is a sign of a bunny content in his surroundings. He is telling you that not only is he comfortable and secure around you, but that he loves you!
  • Happy Hops-Is your rabbit full of energy and happily hopping around high in the air? These happy hops, known as a ‘binky’ means extreme happiness. It is similar to ‘zoomies’ in dogs, where they get a burst of energy.
  • Purring-Just like cats, rabbits purr when they’re relaxed. If your bunny purrs when he is stroked, petted, hugged, or anything that makes him relaxed-you’ve got a happy rabbit on your hands!

Signs of a Healthy Rabbit

Every day you should be carrying out checks on your rabbit to ensure there are no issues that may require medical attention from a vet. This includes petting them, checking for lumps on their body, inspecting their ears, feeling their fur and examining their hygiene areas.

  • Eyes-There should be no discharge from the eyes and they should be clear and bright. If you pull up or down their eyelid, the eye tissue should be pink. If you notice it is a red colour, this could be a sign of infection, and if it’s very pale, it could indicate illness. In both cases, it is important your rabbit is taken to see a vet right away.
  • Ears-Like the eyes, there should be no discharge from the ears and watch out for a build up of wax and dirt. If you notice a scabby, crusty material in their ears, this could be ‘ear canker’, an infection which can cause irritation and mites.
  • Nose– Your rabbit’s nose should be free from discharge. If you do notice any discharge coming from the nose, I recommend calling your local veterinarian. Rabbits usually like to use their paws to wipe their noses, so it is a good idea to check their front paws for any crustiness or wetness from the discharge.
rabbit eating hay at petting zoo
  • Teeth-Check your rabbit’s front teeth regularly and make sure they are not loose and that they are aligning with the lower teeth, with a slight overbite. Inspect the gums and make sure they are pink and healthy. If you notice that your rabbit’s teeth don’t meet properly, he could be suffering from malocclusion, and could lead to your rabbit avoiding eating. If you notice this, bring him to your vets immediately.
  • Breathing-Your rabbit’s breathing should be normal, and not wheezy or crackly. If you think your rabbit’s breathing may be off, consult with your vet immediately as issues with breathing can be signs of an emergency.
  • Hygiene Areas-Inspect their bum area for signs of diarrhoea. This can lead to fly-strike, which is where flies will lay eggs at the hygiene area and cause a lot of discomfort. This is especially important to check if your rabbit is being kept outside.
  • Fur– It is a good idea to run your hands and through the rabbit’s fur. This will allow you to check for any skin irritations, fur loss or fleas/fur mites. Alopecia could be a sign of ringworm, which a fungal infection causing hair loss. Consult with your vet right away if you notice any of these symptoms.

Remember, rabbits will try hide signs of disease and pain due to being a prey species. Signs of them hiding pain include growling, grinding their teeth, excessive thumping or a loss of appetite. It’s essential that if you see any of these signs, you get them to a vet straight away.

Any More Questions?

If you have any concerns regarding your rabbit’s health, I recommend you consult with your local veterinarian. For more on feeding and caring for your rabbit, speak to a member of the Petmania team in store today.

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