It can be heartbreaking…
When your rabbit is about to say leave for good.
No matter how long it’s been… saying goodbye is not easy.
Instead… we can focus on doing something nice and peaceful.
During your bunny’s final moments… all they need is your comfort.
So… read on to know what to do:
- 17 ways to comfort a dying rabbit.
- What you can do to ease their pain.
- Factors that can cause stress in rabbits.
- How to avoid making their condition worse.
- And a lot more…
How to comfort a dying rabbit?
You can comfort a dying rabbit by keeping them company. As much as possible, stay beside them. Loneliness can speed up their death. You can also offer their favorite treat, ease their pain, avoid things that can stress them out, and keep them in a clean, peaceful room.
17 ways to comfort a dying rabbit
#1: Keep them close to their companion
Rabbits are social creatures.
They love being around other animals or people.
Warning: Loneliness can speed up their death. This means that you must never separate a bonded pair from each other.
So if your rabbit has a special companion…
Or a very close best friend…
It will make them feel at ease to be around them. Their friend’s presence gives them strength. It makes them feel calm and safe.
Plus, according to research…
Bonded pairs should stay together to help reduce stress.
This shows how important companionship is for rabbits.
This means that…
If you keep them away from their companions…
There’s a chance that they will feel more emotional pain.
It can make their final moments heavier for them.
At the same time…
The other rabbit can also fall into depression.
If they know their friend is dying… but they aren’t there to comfort them.
So remember: It’s healthier for bonded rabbits to stay together as much as possible.
You might also like: 21 Quick & Effective Ways To Reduce Stress In Rabbits
#2: Ease their pain
Rabbits can be vulnerable to pain…
Especially when they’re old, sick, or dying.
To help their final moments feel comfortable…
You can try to use medication to relieve pain.
Try to get your vet’s prescription.
This way, you’ll know which drugs are safe for your rabbit.
Here are some examples of safe ones to use:
Please consult your vet to know the right amount of dosage your rabbit can take.
Depending on the drug…
Some of them are for injecting… while others are for oral intake.
Before giving any medicine to your rabbit…
Make sure your vet approves it.
This is to avoid making their condition worse.
In case of GI stasis
If your rabbit has GI stasis massaging their belly can help.
Use your hand to press on their stomach.
But stop if they seem to start getting uncomfortable.
A gentle massage can help relieve pain in their tummy.
Do this for at least 3 to 5 minutes.
#3: Regulate their body temperature
A rabbit’s normal body temperature should be…
Around 101°F to 103°F (38.3°C to 39.4°C) based on a study.
If your rabbit has an abnormal body temperature…
There’s a chance that they’re sick.
You don’t want a dying rabbit to feel more pain.
Help them feel better… by keeping their temperature in check.
To check it, you can use a regular thermometer.
Insert it in their anus. It must be no deeper than 1 inch.
Make sure you’re supporting their back to avoid spinal injury in case they kick.
If their temperature is below 100°F to 30°F (37°C to -1.11°C)…
It’s a sign of hypothermia.
If their temperature is above 103°F (39°C) it’s a sign of fever.
You need to warm them up in case of hypothermia…
Or cool them down in case of fever.
If your rabbit has hypothermia…
Use a water bottle filled with warm water…
Place it next to them.
For fever, you can try using ice cubes.
Rub their ears with ice cubes to bring down the temperature.
You can also try using a cool, damp towel.
Place it next to them. Make sure it’s not too cold or wet.
Observe until their temperature improves.
#4: Wipe their fur clean
When a rabbit is dying…
They sometimes lose control of their bowel movements.
This means that they might make a mess.
As a result, they can get themselves dirty…
And they might be too weak to clean up on their own.
So they’ll get covered in their waste.
No matter how bad it is…
You have to be the one to clean them up.
You can use a damp, soft cloth to wipe them.
Remove the stains on their fur.
And be gentle during the process.
Rabbits aren’t used to water…
So getting them soaked can be dangerous.
Warning: Do NOT bathe your bunny. Giving them a full bath like other pets such as dogs can give them a heart attack. The shock from cold water can be very stressful for them.
Once you clean them up…
Your rabbit can feel fresh.
This video can guide you during the process:
#5: Know how to prevent making their condition worse
When a rabbit is dying…
Their body starts to shut down.
It can be a slow process… but it also means that…
Their body becomes weaker.
It will make them more prone to diseases.
As much as possible…
We don’t want a dying rabbit to suffer from more illnesses.
To avoid causing more pain for them…
You should be one step ahead of those diseases.
After all, prevention is better than cure.
So here are 9 important tips to avoid sickness in rabbits:
- Avoid strong odors.
- Keep everything clean.
- Feed them a healthy diet.
- Know their body language.
- Stay in touch with your vet.
- Pay attention to their body temperature.
- Know how to give basic first-aid treatment.
- Keep them away from stress and loneliness.
- Know the cause of common rabbit diseases.
Cleanliness is a very important factor for rabbits…
Even the tiniest speck of dust can make them sick….
Especially in their dying moments.
Learning about common rabbit diseases can also help a lot.
Knowing the cause of disease…
Will make it easier for you to prevent it.
You might also want to know: Why do baby rabbits die suddenly?
#6: Keep them at their ideal room temperature
Rabbits can be sensitive when it comes to temperatures.
Depending on their environment…
They can get better or worse.
If it’s too cold, rabbits can develop hypothermia.
Meanwhile, if it’s too hot…
They can get a heatstroke.
Sometimes they can become lethargic too.
To keep your rabbit comfortable…
Make sure the room temperature is around 60°F to 65°F (15°C to 18°C).
Check out also: 19 Alarming Reasons Why Rabbits Shake + 13 Important Tips
#7: Make sure they sleep in a silent room
Bunnies are quiet animals in nature.
They love silence and peace.
So make sure you keep them away from unnecessary noise.
Bear in mind that they have susceptible ears compared to ours.
As stated by research, rabbits have a hearing range of 360 hertz up to 42,000 hertz.
This shows that their hearing is twice better than a human’s.
So make sure your bunny friend can enjoy some peace and silence.
Reading tip: How do I make my rabbit sleep at night?
#8: Keep their surroundings clean
If a clean house can always give humans comfort…
Then the same thing works for bunnies.
When things are out of order…
Bunnies can get annoyed by the mess.
It also adds to their stress.
To help your bunny relax…
Keep everything around them clean.
Not only does it help prevent making them sick…
It also works like a magic spell in their minds.
It relieves them from stress.
But there’s something else you should know.
They have a fragile immune system. Which can make them vulnerable to dust. It can cause respiratory diseases. And it can make their final moments more difficult for them.
Note: No matter what their condition is… Cleanliness is crucial for a rabbit’s health.
#9: Proper air ventilation
A rabbit’s lungs can be fragile too…
It’s sensitive to humidity, chemicals… and cold temperatures.
According to research…
Humidity can make a rabbit sick.
It can damage their lungs. And make it hard for them to breathe.
As a result…
It can make things worse for your bunny.
Any bunny, sick or not… needs fresh air.
So make sure they stay in a room with enough airway flow.
This is to keep the room purified… free from chemical pollution in the air…
And to keep the humidity levels in control.
#10: Use sweet scents and avoid strong odors
Rabbits have a powerful nose. Even when they’re sick or dying.
Regardless of their condition, their nose will remain very sensitive.
Based on research, they rely on their nose as much as possible.
This is because rabbits have over 100 scent cells in their nose…
Making their sense of smell twice sharper than ours.
This means that strong odors can affect a rabbit in negative ways.
Here are a few scents to avoid:
- Chili spices.
- Other animals’ scent.
- Scented lotions and candles.
- Strong fragrances of perfume.
- Powdered food products and caffeine.
- Air fresheners or wax, toxic cleaning products.
Rabbits can get irritated by these odors…
Instead, you can try making them feel nice with sweet scents.
Most rabbits love sweets.
So they can get attracted to anything that smells like one.
Here are a few examples that they can enjoy:
- Rose and tomatoes.
- Bananas and apples.
A lot of rabbits love bananas.
The smell of it alone can make them feel happy.
We taste things by their scent.
This way… your rabbit can taste the banana…
Even when they’re too weak to eat.
#11: Avoid too much handling
When a rabbit is weakened…
It’s important to avoid moving them around. Or carrying them too much.
That’s because too much handling can stress them out.
Or make their condition worse by accident…
For example, if they’re paralyzed or have broken bones…
It’s safer not to touch them to avoid causing them pain.
As much as we’d love to pet them…
We need to reduce physical contact.
For the sake of their own comfort.
What you can do instead…
Is to stroke their fur and give them gentle pets. Do it in short minutes to avoid causing stress. Don’t carry them unless it’s necessary.
Note: Make sure your hands are clean before touching them too.
#12: Offer them their favorite treat
Since they’re leaving soon…
We have to make sure they get the taste of their favorite food once more.
There’s no harm in giving their favorite treat for the last time.
Break their treat down into small pieces or a bite-sized piece…
Then try to feed it to them.
You can try syringe feeding if they’re too weak to move.
If your bunny can’t swallow or chew food anymore…
You can let them sniff their treat instead.
As mentioned earlier…
We taste things by their smell.
The same works for bunnies.
As long as they can see and smell their favorite treat…
It’s almost the same as letting them eat it.
This is the time we have to spoil them the most.
So don’t hesitate to give them anything that they want.
#13: Keep them well-fed and hydrated
Even when they’re dying…
We still need to make sure they’re eating and drinking.
This will help reduce the pain they’re feeling.
It also avoids making them sicker than they already are.
For most average rabbits that weigh around 6 to 10 pounds (2 to 4 kilograms)…
They need to eat one-quarter cups of pellets daily. You can also come up with a food formula.
You can break down food pellets and soften it up with water or goat milk.
This can help make chewing easier for them. It’s like feeding a baby.
But of course… if they’re too weak to eat more than normal…
We don’t have to force them as well.
Forcing them will only lead to stress.
We only have to make sure they’re getting some food.
So their stomach doesn’t hurt from being hungry.
It will also give them even a small amount of energy.
Keeping them hydrated is also very important.
Since rabbits have small bodies…
They can become immediately dehydrated.
Most rabbits should drink about 1.69oz to 5.07oz (50 to 150ml) of water per day.
If your rabbit is unable to drink on their own…
You can try syringe feeding them as well.
Be gentle in the process to avoid choking.
#14: Talk to your rabbit
Sometimes, all your rabbit needs is to hear your voice.
It can be soothing for them to listen to.
You have to let them hear all the good things they need to know.
Even if they can’t understand our words…
Rabbits can recognize your tone of voice. And your facial expressions.
Which means they’re close to understanding your emotions.
No matter how sad it gets…
Try to show a positive front for your rabbit.
This can give them strength.
To see or hear that you’re trying to be strong for them.
Make sure you talk to them as much as possible.
And do it in a soft, gentle tone of voice.
Show them your care through your words.
This way, they won’t feel afraid to face their last moments.
Because they know you’re there for them… talking to them until the end.
#15: Keep them away from stress
Many things can stress a rabbit…
And stress is not good, especially for a dying rabbit.
Here are a few examples to avoid:
- Loud noises.
- Messy rooms.
- Lack of attention.
- Missing their companion.
The presence of other animals can also stress them out.
Keep them away from other animals that they’re not bonded with.
To make them feel comfortable…
Make sure you have all their needs prioritized.
- A clean room.
- A silent space.
- Relieve their pain.
- The presence of their best friends.
- Staying healthy, well-fed, and hydrated.
A stress-free bunny… is a happy bunny.
This will take a heavy load of worries off of them.
#16: Give them lots of attention
When you’ve done everything, you could…
The last thing to do is stay by their side at all times.
As much as possible… don’t leave them alone.
If you can, take a leave from work as well.
For a social animal like rabbits…
Being alone is one of their biggest fears.
In this crucial moment, give them all your attention.
Your presence alone can give them the most comfort.
So spoil them and shower them with love.
If it’s needed… you can also ask a family or a friend to help watch over them.
It must be someone they’re also familiar with to avoid scaring them.
Give them pets, kisses, and cuddles if you can.
Touch them and bring their favorite toys too.
Being surrounded by things or people they know and love…
Will make them feel safe and happy.
#17: Ask for advice from the vet
Even if you think there’s nothing left to do…
You should still seek advice from a professional.
A vet can tell you if there are ways to ease a rabbit’s pain.
Or to help make things more comfortable for them.
A vet might recommend a special formula that can make feeding easier for your bunny.
Which is something you can’t find on your own online.
Don’t hesitate to contact a vet for more helpful tips.
To make sure that your rabbit gets all the best help that they can use.