Unfortunately, your bunny has a touch of the blues.
And as a caring fur parent…
It’s heartbreaking to see your rabbit depressed.
But it’s time to say goodbye to your worries…
I’m here to help you and your bunny out.
Continue reading to discover:
- How important a companion is to your bunny’s well-being.
- 9 essential tips to treat a depressed rabbit (#5 is underrated).
- 3 mentally stimulating activities for your bunny (to get them out of depression).
- And much, much more…
How to treat a depressed rabbit? 9 vital tips
#1: Get them a companion rabbit
Your bunny is a social creature.
That’s why they must come in pairs or more.
Because with a bunny friend or 2, they can:
- Play together.
- Groom each other.
- Keep one another warm.
With that, the rabbits could provide each other valuable companionship…
Which can make them the happiest buns ever.
Moreover, specialists say that being in a group can ease a rabbit’s predation anxiety.
That’s an innate kind of worry as prey animals.
Now, when rabbits are together, they can watch each other’s backs…
And that puts their mind at ease…
Knowing they have fellow bunnies to alert them whenever there’s a nearby predator.
“Can another animal keep my rabbit company? Like my dog, for example?”
As heartwarming as it is to have animals come together in your home…
In cases of a depressed bunny, the answer to that question is a hard no.
So the best creature that’ll understand them is a fellow rabbit only.
Continue reading: Can Rabbits And Dogs Live Together? (+Rabbit Friendly Dogs)
#2: Give them more space
Your bunny will feel too confined in a small cage…
Which will make them feel depressed.
That’s why I advise you to get a large cage for your bunny.
It must be big enough for them to hop around, stretch out, and stand up.
Moreover, the pen should have enough space for your bunny’s:
- Litter box.
- Food holder.
With that, not only can your bunny freely explore around their cage…
They’ll also feel more comfortable as they have everything they need within reach. Which can make their blues go away.
#3: Provide a healthy diet for your bunny
They say, “You are what you eat.”
So if your bunny has a poor and deficient diet…
They become sickly and unhealthy.
And that won’t just affect their physical health.
A lacking diet also takes a toll on your rabbit’s mental well-being.
To be specific:
Specialists say eating unhealthy food can make your rabbit bored.
And in animals, boredom is a welfare concern…
So, if poor eating habits are reasons for your bunny’s depression…
You must provide them with a suitable and well-balanced diet to treat it.
Here’s PDSA’s guide on what to feed your bunny:
|Hay and grass||This must make up 85% of their daily diet. To measure, the bundle must be as big as your rabbit.|
|Greens and fresh vegetables||They need 1 (adult-sized) handful every day.|
|Rabbit food (nuggets and pellets)||Give them 1 tablespoon (0.5 oz) per day. For rabbits that weigh 7.7 lbs (3.5 kg), give them twice that amount daily.|
Aside from those, don’t forget to provide your bun access to fresh water.
They need at least 1.7 oz (50 mL) to 5 oz (150 mL) of water every day.
You might also want to know: 21 Human Foods Rabbits Can Eat Safely
#4: Play with your rabbit
You must set aside at least 1 hour of your day to spend time with your bunny.
Do whatever is best for your schedule. Just ensure you include your bunny in your everyday life.
Not only can it make your rabbit happy…
But it’ll also improve your bond with them.
Trivia: Research says that human-animal interactions reduce stress. It can also improve your immune system and help you with pain management.
That said, watch this video to know how you can play with your rabbit:
Continue reading: 29 Best Ways To Bond With Your Rabbits (Backed By Science)
#5: Let them explore under the sun
Being cooped up in a cage 24/7 is depressing for your rabbit.
And being let out to play inside the house can be no different.
So, take your bunny outside every once in a while.
They’ll be happy to explore different surroundings.
Warning #1: Domesticated rabbits are still indoor animals. When outside, they’re exposed to predators. That’s why you must supervise them all the time.
Pro tip: Keep them extra safe by limiting their range. You can put up a playpen to do so.
And apart from exploring…
Their body would surely appreciate the sunlight
A recent study revealed:
The UV rays from sunlight help your bunny produce vitamin D in their body. Which is critical for bone growth and development.
Most of all, the daylight can brighten your bunny’s day.
It does so by helping increase the happiness hormone in their body called serotonin.
Warning #2: There are no set rules on how much sunlight exposure can hurt them. Instead, ensure that the weather’s not too hot while they’re outside (above 77℉ or 25℃).
#6: Provide enough mental stimulation for them
As I mentioned, boredom can make your bunny depressed.
So, ensure there are enough mentally stimulating activities for them.
They’ll keep your rabbit busy and happy.
Not to mention, they can also make your bunny smarter.
So, here are some mental enrichment activities that I recommend for your bun:
#1: A container filled with shredded paper for digging
Rabbits love to dig around…
Heck, they’d even dig on you.
With that, take a container with the top open.
Then, fill it with shredded paper.
Put it in your bunny’s pen and let them do the digging.
#2: Playing with a ball chew toy
Keep your bunny happy by giving them this chew toy ball made of grass.
They can roll it and chase it around…
And once they get it, your bun can chew on them.
#3: They’d love a treasure hunt
Pro tip: This is also a great practice of tip #4. Not only do you mentally stimulate your bunny. But you also spend time and bond with them.
So, take a treat, hover it near your bunny’s nose, then hide it somewhere.
After that, your bunny will work on finding the snack.
Fun fact: Rabbits have an amazing sense of smell. The University of California (UC) says their noses can even detect dangers nearby.
#7: Create a routine for your bunny
As prey animals, chaos and unfamiliarity can be depressing for rabbits.
So to avoid them feeling down…
I highly suggest you provide a routine for your bunny.
Because when their life is predictable…
The familiarity will make your rabbit will feel safe and secure.
That said, practice feeding them at an exact time and frequency.
Then, regularly play with them within your schedule.
Don’t forget the mental enrichment activities I mentioned in #6 as well.
#8: Don’t stick with 1 toy or activity
In your quest to treat your bunny’s depression…
Boredom is your enemy.
So, you shouldn’t just play with your rabbit…
Or let them run around with 1 toy for their whole life…
But also, you must switch it up every once in a while.
So, I suggest you alternate the toys you give them…
As well as the activities you play during your playtime, like:
- Challenging them to a tug of war.
- Sitting down with your bunny to engage with them and their toy.
- Playing reverse fetch with them (where they throw the object and you give it back).
Note: As I mentioned, bunnies thrive in routine. But don’t worry. Their schedule shouldn’t be affected by the changes you’re aiming for. Here, you’re only switching the activity itself, not its time or frequency.
#9: Consult the vet
If you’re doing everything right:
- Interacting with them.
- Mentally stimulating your bunny.
- Providing them with a healthy diet.
- Maintaining a routine for your rabbit.
Yet, your bunny is depressed…
Then, I highly suggest taking them to the vet.
Your rabbit’s sudden depression could be a symptom of an underlying illness.
And to cheer your bunny up…
They also need proper treatment for the sickness they might be facing.