Happy bunnies are easy to spot – they would frequently hop, play around, and binky. A normal bunny would like to socialize with other rabbits, eat and drink her heart out, and be comfortable in her house.
Feelings of loneliness and depression are not just found in humans. They are also present in animals. Rabbits are very sensitive creatures and events like the loss of a friend or partner can have a huge impact on their health.
If you’re wondering if bunnies can die of depression and sadness, you are in the right place. In this article, we will look at the signs of a depressed bunny, what are the reasons behind unhappiness and depression in rabbits, and how to make sure your bunny is happy and healthy.
And most importantly, we will find out if a rabbit can die of depression and sadness.
So, let’s get started.
How to Tell If My Rabbit is Depressed?
Depression often goes unnoticed in humans but when it comes to animals, you can easily check if they are going through a tough phase of their life.
Rabbits particularly stop eating and grooming themselves, show a lack of energy, and start chewing blatantly on objects especially their cage bars when they are stressed out or sad. These are unmistakable signs that indicate a bunny’s unhappy and depressed state of mind.
Some bunnies start drinking a lot of water when they are sad. Others start biting and show destructive behaviors, which is totally not characteristic of normal, happy bunnies.
If you notice a change in their eating and toilet habits, it is also a sign that the rabbit may be experiencing a low mood. A bunny that shows reluctance to move and wants to hide away all day long is definitely a lonely and sad bunny.
However, if your rabbit is just in a bad mood for a short time, that’s completely fine. She will get over it in a day or two and get back to her normal routine. Conversely, if this state of sadness lingers on for a long time and your bunny simply refuses to come back to life, it’s something you should be worried about.
What Makes a Rabbit Depressed?
From loneliness and illness to the loss of a companion, there can be many things that can lead to depression in bunnies. It’s your duty as the owner to make sure your bunny is adequately fed and looked after. Moreover, you need to provide her with a safe and comfortable home and ample space to move and play around.
How to Keep Rabbits Happy?
Bunnies are usually full of energy and quite active. But if they are lethargic and stay confined to their cages with no interest in life, it’s time to step in and do something about it.
Here are a few things you can try to make your rabbit happy and bring her back to life;
1. Bring her a new companion
A lonely rabbit will fall into a depression sooner or later. And if the reason behind a sad bunny is the loss of a partner, you should try bringing her a new partner right away. This way she will get over the loss and start enjoying life again.
Rabbits do not live alone in the wild. You can keep a single rabbit as a pet but then you will have to give her a lot of attention and company. If your bunny is feeling lonely, she will show a withdrawn personality and sometimes destructive and aggressive behavior.
Bunnies who have a partner to share their life with are usually very happy and satisfied. Also, make sure that your bunny never has to sleep alone.
2. Make sure she is being fed adequately
A healthy and well-functioning gut is crucial to the overall health and wellbeing of any animal and rabbits are no different. Since their digestive systems are quite complex, a deficiency of an important element may lead to health complications in bunnies.
Make sure your rabbit has unlimited access to high-quality hay, fresh grass, and a constant supply of clean water.
If you want to introduce new foods to her diet, make sure she eats a balanced diet at the end of the day. A healthy meal plan will keep pain, discomfort, and other complications of the digestive system at bay.
It’s good to have a variety of foods available so your bunny doesn’t get bored of the same options. Leafy greens are healthy and so are pellets. But make sure your rabbit doesn’t eat a lot of high-sugar foods because sugar can make these furry animals obese and bring on a number of other health problems.
3. Give your rabbit lots of attention
Rabbits are attention seekers by nature. They would love it if you keep them around, play with them, and give them a variety of toys to toss around. There are many games that you can play with your bunny to make sure they don’t get bored.
Toys are also a good option to ensure that bunnies never get bored and have something to chew on. There can a number of healthy choices including natural and homemade toys, which are totally safe for rabbits.
Mental, as well as physical stimulation, is important for bunnies to keep them occupied and make sure they never fall into a depressed and sad mood.
4. Look out for signs that mean your rabbit is happy and content
If your rabbit is not happy, you should be able to point it out. There are certain behaviors that indicate that a bunny is happy and content with her environment, food, and home base. These include;
Binky: If you see your bunny doing a twisted random jump in the air, it’s a clear-cut indication that your bunny is pleased and happy. Rabbits only binky when they are extremely happy and want to show off their joy.
Zooming: Sometimes a bunny starts zooming super-fast in circles around the room and it’s a sign that they are very happy. This type of activity is more common among younger rabbits.
Flops: It’s a common practice for a rabbit to flop down on her side when resting. It shows that she feels quite safe and comfortable in her abode.
Sprawls: Another position that indicates a happy and content bunny is when she sprawls out on the ground. In this position, she will take her feet out from beneath her showing her contentment and satisfaction.
Purring: Although a cat’s purr is registered in a different way, a rabbit’s purr means the same thing. It’s a sign of contentment when a bunny gently grinds her teeth to make a soft vibration in her head.
If your rabbit is consistently not showing any of these signs, it’s a worrisome situation because she might be feeling very sad and lonely. Don’t let the condition linger on indefinitely, step in and do something about it.
5. Make their enclosure comfortable and safe
A comfortable and appropriately-sized abode for rabbits is an important aspect of ensuring their happiness. They need a place where they will be able to relax, play, and eat in peace. It is recommended to offer a place as close to their natural habitat as possible.
There are many types of rabbit enclosures available on the market. Most of them are very small in size, which shouldn’t be a recommended choice. You can look for exercise playpens available out there for pets. These are made of metal and are quite large in size. They are also known as ex-pens or exercise pens.
Can Bunnies Die of Depression?
When a depressed bunny refuses to eat, socialize, and move around, her health will start deteriorating. If your efforts go to waste in bringing her back to life, she will eventually die of starvation and loneliness.
So, yes sadly and unfortunately, bunnies can die of depression, stress, and sadness. If you see a sad bunny, you should try your best to look after her needs and make her happy. However, at times you will just need to leave a rabbit alone who doesn’t wish to be cured.
While rabbits can be independent most of the time, they also depend on us for a number of things related to their wellbeing. They seek companionship, attention, and a comfortable and safe abode. If their needs are somehow not fulfilled or they experience a sudden loss of a partner, they may become unhappy.
If you see signs of unhappiness and loneliness in your bunny, it’s time you did something about it. Even after trying every effort, your bunny still refuses to come back to life, you can take her to a vet as a last resort.
Sometimes medical treatment can help bring back a depressed bunny to life. However, if everything fails, a sad and lonely bunny may just be left alone to die in peace. It’s not something any meticulous rabbit owner would want to do but at times there is simply no cure for an utterly depressed and hopeless bunny.