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Ask A Vet: Can Rabbits Die From Depression? (Updated 2023)

Can Rabbits Die From Depression

Much like peas in a pod…

Two bonded bunnies are inseparable.

But if one from the pair leaves the other behind…

The remaining rabbit usually ends up depressed.

In a snap, your bunny isn’t their usual self anymore.

Is this something you should be worried about?

Keep on reading to find out:

  • If rabbits can die from depression.
  • Simple tips to help rabbits get better.
  • 3 surprising causes of depression in bunnies.
  • And a lot more…

Can rabbits die from depression?

Rabbits can die from depression. They could get really heartbroken if they lose a companion. This also happens if they’re not happy with their environment. Or if they’re sick and in pain. If untreated, they might develop unhealthy behaviors that could cause their death.

Rabbits dying from depression: 3 causes

#1: They lost their companion

Much like us, rabbits can feel different emotions. 

They are also social and friendly animals that can form strong bonds with their companions.

So what happens if they lose a friend?

Naturally, they get sad. In fact, they tend to grieve for a long time.

You might see them looking for their buddy for a few days.

If they realize they’re gone, your rabbit may start feeling sad.

If this happens, it can badly affect their physical and mental health.

Rabbits Die From Depression Because They Lost Their Companion

It could lead to their death if left uncured.

Here are few signs that your rabbit might show if they’re lonely:

  • Pacing.
  • Isolation.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Hunched posture.
  • Reduced appetite.

“How can we help them feel better?”

Giving your bunnies extra care and attention helps a lot. 

You can do this by:

  • Proper feeding.
  • Playing with your rabbits.
  • Spending time with them.

On top of this, you could also consider getting them another bunny companion. 

If possible, it would also be great if you’ll introduce them to a bunny of the opposite sex. 

Note: A fellow rabbit is the best companion for your furry friend. But experts say it might take time for two bunnies to warm up to each other. So patience is a must.

#2: Their needs are neglected

Bunnies are sensitive animals. 

As such, their surroundings can easily affect their physical and mental state.

“So what happens if they’re alone in their cage all day?”

Without enough space to play around, they’ll likely get bored.

If this continues, it will lead to depression. 

Ideally, they need at least 32 ft2 (2.9 m2) of space.

It would be great if your rabbit has a big pen they could run around in. 

If they don’t have one, you could let them out of their cage and stroll into the house.

To keep rabbits happy and healthy, they should be physically active. 

 According to PDSA, they should exercise at least 3 hours daily.

Apart from that, these smart creatures also need to be kept occupied.

How can you ensure this?

For one, you could give them toys to play with. Here are some enjoyable ones you can get:

  • Rattles.
  • Toss toys.
  • Scratchpads.

You could also include other fun activities in their playtime, such as:

  • Digging.
  • Chasing.
  • Gathering food.

To learn more ways to keep your rabbit entertained, check this video out:

What’s more, bunnies are also creatures of habit. And a stable routine makes them happy.  

As such, sudden changes in their daily activities can make them scared and depressed.

“How can you avoid this?”

You can set a time every day to interact with them.

Similarly, you can also schedule a time to feed and give them treats daily.

You might also like: What are the best ways to bond with your rabbit?

#3: Pain from illnesses

Rabbits can also get depressed if they’re in pain.

The sad thing is, our furry friends can be vulnerable to diseases.

Like other rodents, bunnies have “open-rooted” teeth. This means that they keep growing throughout their lifetime.

Not only that, they grow quite fast…

Roughly about 0.08 in (2 mm) in height per week, according to a study.

But every time they chew, they grind down these teeth. So they’re kept at a good length.

“What happens if they don’t wear them down?”

These may lead to painful dental problems.

Rabbits with teeth issues may show symptoms like:

  • Drooling.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Runny eyes.
  • Low appetite.
  • Teeth-grinding.

“What other illnesses might they get?”

Apart from that, your bunny might also develop gut stasis.

Which happens when their intestines have slowed down.

Some symptoms of this health issue include:

  • Little to no stool.
  • Decreased appetite.

Rabbits can also suffer from wounds or injuries. Here are a few signs that your pet might be injured:

  • Swollen limb.
  • Difficulty in walking.

That being said, it is important to keep our bunnies in shape. And giving them a healthy diet is one of the best ways to do it.

So, make sure they are fed with timothy hay and fresh veggies.

Giving them yummy treats is also a great idea.

Besides this, you should also get them vaccinated against diseases. And check them regularly for signs of bad health. 

If you notice any of those symptoms in your bunny, take them to the vet immediately.

Learn more: 7 Best Ways To Comfort A Rabbit In Pain