It’s heartbreaking for any fur parents to see their bunnies in discomfort.
So as you wait for the vet on the line…
Or while your bunny’s recovering after getting treated…
I gathered some tips you can do at home to help ease their pain and mind.
Keep reading to discover:
- 7 proven ways to comfort a rabbit in pain.
- If you can give massages to your bunny and how.
- 3 types of sounds that may soothe your sick rabbit.
- And many more…
Table of contents
How to comfort a rabbit in pain? 7 ways
#1: Put them in a stress-free environment
Bunnies are sensitive to sounds.
On normal days, sudden loud noises startle them. So they may find places to hide or dig blankets.
Plus, even the slightest movements freak them out.
Now, if your rabbit’s in pain, they’re already under too much stress.
And you don’t want to add more to that.
Thus, one easy way to comfort them is by giving them a ‘safe haven.’
What to do?
Designate a quiet spot for your rabbit.
It can be any part of your house – away from noises (e.g., running children barking dogs).
Or a hiding place. Like a simple cardboard box with at least 2 holes cut on the sides.
This is so your bunny can go in and out as they like.
Also, leave enough fresh hay or pellets in their safe spot.
And always keep their litter boxes clean.
How does this help?
Even if your rabbit’s in pain or not, doing this can:
- Make them feel safer.
- Minimize their discomfort.
- Reduce their stress and anxiety.
You’ll know if your bunny’s content if they’re:
- Simply lying down.
- Sitting with legs tucked.
- Purring or rubbing their teeth together.
Continue reading: 21 Quick & Effective Ways To Reduce Stress In Rabbits
#2: Play soothing music
If unwanted noises cause more stress to rabbits…
Pleasant sounds do the opposite.
Based on a study, bunnies who listened to calm music for 6 months had less ‘cortisol,’ a.k.a. stress hormone.
Then it increased when they didn’t play relaxing tunes to the rabbits.
“What kind of music did they use?”
The researchers played tracks from the Pet Melodies Rabbit edition.
Just set it on a low volume. And avoid putting the speakers too close to your rabbit’s space.
Apart from this…
Pleasing sounds can also help ease pain
In another study, researchers played 3 different tracks to mice.
And they’re as follows:
- White noise.
- Classical music.
- An unpleasant version of the classical piece.
They found that when these are in low volume (regardless of the track)…
The mice became less sensitive to pain.
It’s because when they hear a low-intensity sound, they have less activity in their ‘thalamus.’
Or a part of the brain that receives pain signals.
So you may also try other soothing music for bunnies. As well as white noise or classical pieces to comfort them.
#3: Talk to them in a sweet manner
Rabbits are social animals too.
Most of them love having companions. And they like it when their parents pay attention to them.
So if you’ve bonded together…
I’m sure your bunny can recognize your voice.
And they may have also associated it with love and security.
Thus, when they’re in pain…
Your voice might have a healing quality in it too. Which can comfort and make your sick rabbit feel safe.
What to do?
Speak with your bunny the way you would talk to a little child.
Use your sweetest tone. And raise your voice a little.
But not too loud to scare your rabbit.
Tell them you love them or that they’ll be okay soon.
Ask them about their day and share yours. Or any topic you can think of.
Your bunny wouldn’t mind.
And you’ll know if they’re listening if their ears are twitching and all perked up.
#4: Keep them warm
Did you know that too much pain can put rabbits into shock?
Specialists say it could happen within 24-48 hours. And it can lead to death if left untreated.
Also, cold temperatures can worsen the pain of bunnies with arthritis.
As damp weather could make their joints swell and hurt.
So, to avoid any of these from happening…
Always keep your rabbit warm.
What to do?
- Ensure their bedding’s dry and clean.
- Put more dust-free hay as their bedding.
- Move their cage to a sheltered area (for outdoors).
- Replace the cold water in their bowl with a warm one.
- Put newspaper sheets or an old blanket over their hutch.
Or, you can simply snuggle with your fur baby if they enjoy cuddles.
Note: This will help, too, if your bunny has an aching tummy or bad gas.
#5: Caress them softly
Some rabbits might be timider than others. And shy away from human hands.
It’s a natural tendency of prey. As handling them can make bunnies feel caught or trapped.
But if your rabbit already trusts you or they’re a confident one…
They’ll enjoy a few strokes or scratches from you.
According to a study, people feel less stressed too after petting a bunny and a turtle.
Plus, it doesn’t matter which animal they touched.
It’s because stroking a living animal may help reduce anxiety in humans.
And this also has the same effect on animals.
But only if you do it properly.
How to safely pet a rabbit
- Ensure your bunny knows they’ll be touched.
- Never approach them directly in the front, as they may not see your hand well.
- Do it by slightly lifting your hand on either side of your rabbit’s head.
- Gently stroke it.
Like other animals, you must also know your bunny’s ‘sweet spots.’ Or parts where they enjoy being touched most.
In general, the common safest areas are the following:
- Neck or back.
- Behind the ears.
- Side of the cheeks.
Meanwhile, the restricted parts are:
Warning: As I said earlier, some rabbits may not like to be touched and act aggressively. So watch your bunny’s reactions first. Then stop if they seem to hate it or are in pain.
But even if your rabbit’s okay with this, don’t handle them too often.
Your fur baby’s in pain, so doing it many times might stress them out.
#6: Give them a massage
Now, does your bunny like it when you pet them?
If so, you may try this next tip.
But before doing it, keep this in mind.
Warning: Be alert and extra gentle because rabbits are delicate. Read your bunny’s body signals before and while doing the massage. Halt at once if they show a strong dislike or discomfort.
Belly massage for bad gas
One common reason for pain in rabbits is excess gas in the tummy.
It’s a painful condition that can make them shake.
And vets say it’s often due to eating more carbohydrates than fiber.
Say when your rabbit has too many pellets on their diet than hay.
Over time, this can upset their tummy.
Which can even encourage bacteria to grow inside.
These will then produce painful gas and toxins. Which may cause organ failure and death if not cured asap.
Now, unlike us, experts say bunnies can’t burp.
So the only way to let the bad gas out is through their bum.
Follow these easy-to-follow steps:
- Place each of your hands on the sides of your rabbit’s tummy.
- Gently scoop both sides of their belly by putting your hands under them.
- Slowly lift each side alternately.
- Do it like you’re gently rocking their tummy from side to side.
- Stroke both sides of your bunny’s belly simultaneously.
- Perform it in a circular motion.
- Softly rock their tummy again side to side.
By applying enough pressure under your rabbit’s belly…
You can help ease out the trapped gas. And relieve your bunny’s pain.
Note: To help you visualize the steps, here’s a short clip:
Spine massage for arthritis
Aching joints make it hard for rabbits to move.
Usually, older ones ages 6 years and above are at high risk of arthritis.
And also obese and large-breed rabbits, as per vets.
The usual signs of joint pains are:
- Wobbly legs.
- Reluctance to move.
- Stiffness when standing or getting up.
Now, your vet can give your bunny medications for this.
But you may also comfort your rabbit at home using a massage.
Just be gentle as possible. And don’t force your fur baby if they don’t like it.
So here’s how:
- Put your one hand on your rabbit’s neck.
- Gently stroke their back all the way to their spine.
- Repeat this 3 to 5 times.
- Place your fingers on top of their spine.
- Softly scratch their back and see your bunny’s reactions.
You can do this for a minute or more. Until your rabbit seems more relaxed or falls asleep.
This could also make them lick or groom you.
And it’s a way of saying,
“Hooman, thank you for the great massage. You’re the best!”
#7: Stay by their side
Lastly, spend more time with your rabbit.
Bunnies thrive on interactions too. So they won’t do well alone.
Moreso if they’re stressed and in pain.
It’s the time when your rabbit needs you the most.
So, hang out with them as much as you can.
You don’t have to do anything special.
Sit close to your rabbit. Speak with your bunny in a gentle tone.
Then stay calm as possible, as your emotions may also affect your rabbit.
Note: If your bunny’s condition worsens even after applying the suggested tips, call the vet and go to the clinic immediately.