How To Comfort a Dying Rabbit

How To Comfort a Dying Rabbit

It’s difficult to realize that your time with your closest friend is limited. You want to do what’s best for your rabbit, but it might be tough to decide when to say goodbye. As a result, you will find this article useful.

It’s never easy to say goodbye to a beloved pet. Comforting your dying rabbit requires you to provide them with water and food, keep them warm or cold, when necessary, take them to the vet and provide them with pain meds. You should also provide them with a good resting place and give them loads of attention.

What Are the Signs That a Rabbit Would Inevitably Die?

The first step in calming a dying rabbit is to confirm that it is indeed dying and that death is unavoidable. It’s not a good idea to give up when there’s a possibility your rabbit may recover.

Symptoms of a rabbit’s impending death include:


Despite the fact that lethargy may manifest itself in various conditions, a rabbit on the verge of death would have an unusually high degree of lethargy. It would spend the whole day in one location but would always refuse to move.

The rabbit would not respond to anything at all while it stayed still for all that time.

Changes in Vital Signs

It would be possible to detect changes in the vital signs of a dying rabbit. While rabbits generally have a heart rate of 180-250 bpm, a dying rabbit’s heart rate may be greater or lower depending on the ailment that is causing them to die.

Lack of Appetite

Rabbits would seldom refuse to eat if given the opportunity. Hay provides them with a lot of fiber for their stomach, which helps them to move about more easily. 

As a result, if you observe a change in your rabbit’s appetite, you should always take them to a veterinarian for a complete evaluation and treatment. This is not always a sign of a dying bunny; it can just simply a normal illness.

A Limp Body

Typically, they will be unable to move and weak, so it is better to leave them alone rather than attempt to pick them up yourself. Bunnies that flop are in grave danger, and if they haven’t already, a trip to the veterinarian is highly recommended in these circumstances.

Lying on Its Side

If you see your bunny lying on its side as it breaths heavily, that is a sign of near death.

Involuntary Jerks and Movements

The most terrible to see is this. Even if you have a cushioned cage for your rabbit to save him from hurting himself, he may jerk so hard that he hits the ceiling.

The best thing to do in this circumstance is clear a wide area on the floor, lay down a blanket and cushions, and gently set your rabbit there. 

When they start jerking, you’ll be shocked how far they can go; you may need to clear the whole living room floor, so he doesn’t strike anything. I don’t recommend pushing them down since this might further harm and injure them.


Shivering is another red flag. It indicates that they are either very cold, shocked, or a mix of the two. The best thing to do is cover them with a little, light blanket. They need room to move, so don’t tuck them in.

A veterinarian’s confirmation is the greatest approach to ensure that your rabbit is indeed dying. Even if you detect any of the above indicators, you should still take your rabbit to the doctor to ensure that death is indeed approaching.

How Do You Make Your Dying Rabbit Comfortable?

During this difficult moment, the bunny needs nothing more than comfort. Don’t attempt to meddle since it will simply make them feel more stressed.

The rabbit doesn’t have to know you are there; caress and kiss him during the whole time, and murmur to him. 

The essential thing to remember is to avoid stressing out your rabbit any more than they already are by doing so. When they are unwell, water should constantly be placed in front of them; however, do not attempt to feed them with it. 

A lot of movement and forced drinking is not recommended, and you should avoid attempting to push them to sit up.

Unfortunately, if your rabbit exhibits two or more of the signs listed above, it is most definitely on its way to death. Simply being there for them and letting them know you care about them would do. 

As bunny parents, it’s about all you can do to help our children. The following tips will go a long way towards helping you comfort your rabbit:

Provide Pain Medications

In order to ensure that your pet dies peacefully, the first step should be to ensure that their suffering is well handled. In order to guarantee that your rabbit dies without experiencing any agony, ask your veterinarian for some pain meds to give him. 

The problem with rabbits is that they would not make their pain known even if they are on the verge of dying. Sometimes they opt to hide the pain because they are at the bottom of the food chain, so it serves them well not to make it known that they are an easy meal.

Signs that your rabbit is in a great deal of discomfort include:

  • Screaming. The scream of a bunny will send shivers down your spine because they sound like a frightening kid, and they are usually produced in response to something really serious. There is never a false alert when it screams.

Even though it is uncommon for rabbits to vocalize anything that may put them in danger, when they are experiencing acute agony or anxiety or having a seizure, they may emit a high-pitched shriek that is highly frightening to anybody who hears it.

  • Sudden aggression
  • Hunched posture if the rabbit feels abdominal pain
  • Persistently squinting the eyes
  • Tooth grinding
  • Lethargy
  • Increase in respiration
  • A rabbit with aching feet may be seen lying spread out on the ground. It is also possible that a rabbit lying spread out with his feet kicked back is expressing signs of contentment and relaxation. So, keep an eye out for any of the other symptoms that he or she is in discomfort.

If your rabbit exhibits any of the symptoms listed above, take him or her to the veterinarian to ensure that he or she is given the proper medicine to relieve their discomfort and feel more comfortable. Please do not provide any medications to your bunny unless a certified veterinarian has recommended them.

Provide a Comfortable Resting Place

A rabbit that is towards the end of its life would spend most of its time in its cage. Make certain that your rabbit’s last resting spot is clear of dirt so that he or she may slumber and rest peacefully in their final hours.

In order to make your bunny even more comfortable, you should also give appropriate bedding that is not moist. It is not recommended for rabbits to sleep on wet or moist surfaces.

Provide Lots of Attention

When it comes to happiness, rabbits thrive in social situations, and this involves being in close proximity to their loved ones, which includes you. Your bunnies would care for you till the end of your life, and you should do the same for them.

Play, love, touch, and groom the rabbit if they so choose. When a rabbit is sick, it may grow distant from you; thus, you should let the bunny choose how much attention you should offer them.

Warm Them Up or Cool Them Down

Although shaking and shivering in dying rabbits does not always imply that they are cold, the rabbit’s ears are an excellent measure of temperature since they contain numerous blood veins.

You may assist by covering the rabbit in a towel or putting them on a blanket to keep them warm, much like we do when we’re ill.

Under blankets and towels, heat pads or hot water bottles may be used as long as they are not in direct contact with the rabbit’s skin.

A dying rabbit may also be suffering from a high temperature, depending on the reason for the discomfort. Wrapping it in a blanket or towel is the last thing it needs in this situation.

Place the rabbit in a calm, cool environment.

Tile flooring is ideal since it keeps the rabbits cool and allows them to stretch out. It’s also popular to provide frozen bottles of water for the rabbit to sleep next to, although cold packs or bags of frozen veggies put beneath the rabbit’s belly and around the sides would work.

If the rabbit seems to be overheated, massaging its ears with an ice cube will help, but be careful not to induce frostbite by leaving the cube in place too long.

Allow Them to Their Favorite Treats

Despite major problems, some rabbits may still be interested in food. This may happen when the rabbit is unable to walk due to the loss of a leg.

This has an impact on the rabbit’s capacity to maintain cleanliness and, as a result, on his quality of life. Until the end, the rabbit may keep a good appetite.

As he approaches the end, make sure you continue to feed him the finest meals you can.

Provide Them with Access to Food and Water

Rabbits must feed often and drink 50 to 100 cc of water per kilogram of body weight every day. A sick or dying bunny may refuse to eat or drink, but this will make them uncomfortable and ultimately kill them.

Rabbits may spend up to 12 hours without eating or eating their favorite snacks. On the other hand, Rabbits are grazers, and if they go without feeding for more than 12 hours, their metabolism will stop operating; this is known as gastrointestinal (GI) stasis, and it is a medical emergency.

Make sure your rabbit eats on a regular basis to prevent GI problems. This is your time to pamper them with their favorite foods; give them a carrot or cauliflower or whatever meal they like; it’s a wonderful way to say farewell.

If their favorite meals aren’t encouraging them to eat, make sure they’re grazing on the hay you’ve placed in their cage. Drinking is also necessary for your furry friend’s well-being.

Organ failure, dehydration, and intestinal obstructions may occur in a rabbit that goes without drinking for more than 24 hours.

Consult your veterinarian right immediately if your rabbit refuses to eat or drink. If you don’t have access to your veterinarian for a short amount of time, you may have to force-feed them until you can consult the vet.

Buy two feeding syringes from a pet shop to force-feed your rabbit. One to fill with water and the other to feel it with their favorite pure veggies or specialized healthy meals.

Place the rabbit beneath your elbow (carefully not to squash it) and hold its head with your index finger before inserting the syringe into its mouth. To keep your rabbit from choking, move carefully. Give them 1 mL of food and 5–10 mL of water.

Move The Rabbit Away from Disturbances

Because of their prey position, rabbits are inherently sensitive to noise and acutely alert of danger. The last thing a dying rabbit needs is to be bothered by televisions, children, or the family dog barking.

Take the rabbit to the quietest place in the home or sit outdoors in the yard so it may experience the sun’s warmth during its dying hours.

Also, while they wait to cross the rainbow bridge, senior bunnies would welcome a quiet finish to their lives. You may assist them by keeping them away from loud environments and perceived risks throughout their last months, weeks, or years.

How Do You Know Your Rabbit Is Comfortable While Dying?

Because rabbits have evolved to not display any weakness, there is no clear way to determine whether your bunny is actually comfortable when they are dying. Bunnies tend to conceal their agony until it’s too late, which is why many rabbit owners are surprised at how quickly their rabbits perished.

They just did not understand that their bunnies had been dying for quite some time.

However, if your rabbit is screaming, you can know whether they are in great discomfort. Rabbits seldom scream since they would merely alert a predator in the wild.

As a result, rabbits only scream when the agony becomes too much to handle. If your rabbit is wailing in agony, you should consider euthanizing him to save additional suffering.

How Do Rabbits Behave When They Are About to Die?

They Refuse to Eat or Drink

Rabbits are grazers, which is necessary for their metabolism and digestive system to operate properly.

A rabbit’s intestines are in danger of growing harmful germs if they go without food for 12 hours. These bacteria will leak gas into your rabbit’s system, causing excruciating bloating and reducing your rabbit’s desire for food and/or water.

Not only will these bacteria starve them, but they will also raise the chance of life-threatening illnesses taking over their digestive system.

Take your rabbit to the vet right away if he or she isn’t eating his or her favorite meals or grazing on the hay you put in their cage in the morning/evening.

If you don’t have access to a veterinarian, you may attempt force-feeding them. However, keep in mind that this is just a temporary fix. Your best option is to see a veterinarian.

They Lose Interest in Grooming

Rabbits are tidy animals, and grooming is one of their ways of keeping themselves tidy. However, if your rabbit isn’t eating or drinking or is in discomfort, it’s possible that he or she lacks the energy to keep oneself clean.

Instead, this is something you can do for them; what a wonderful opportunity to spend time with your pet and show them how much they mean to you.

Remember that rabbits have delicate skin, and your rabbit may be in discomfort as a result of whatever sickness he or she is dying from, so proceed with caution.

Behavioral Modification

If your rabbit gets violent or hides and refuses to engage after becoming unwell or old, it is probable that the end is close. Fear may be to blame for these shifts in behavior as they realize the end is close.

If, on the other hand, your rabbit is healthy and young and suddenly demonstrates a change in behavior, take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible since an underlying sickness may be present.

Alteration to Breathing

Your rabbit’s breathing rhythm will alter as it approaches death, resulting in a rattling sound known as the death rattle. This is one of your rabbit’s last symptoms before passing away.

Stay close to your rabbit if they begin to exhibit this behavior; talk to them in soothing tones, stroke them, and show them how much they mean to you; this is your final opportunity to say goodbye.

Release of Bowels

Another last sign that your rabbit will feel like the time of death approaches is an abrupt expulsion of its bowels.

If this occurs, maintain your composure, avoid becoming frustrated, and realize that they are unable to prevent it.

Rabbits Become Sluggish

A rabbit that is in good health and happiness will want to run, leap, play, and explore the world around him. Rabbits may become sluggish and reluctant to perform anything if they are in discomfort or do not have enough food in their system at any one time.

If your rabbit seems to be sleepy, take him or her to the veterinarian as soon as possible since pain treatment may be necessary.

What Are the Illnesses That Can Kill Your Rabbit?

Upper Respiratory Disease

When a rabbit is in excellent health, it will only take in oxygen via its nose. Your rabbit may be suffering from upper airway illness if he or she is straining to take a breath via its mouth.

If your rabbit is breathing via its mouth, you will notice the following signs:

Drooling and turning its head back in an effort to get more oxygen into its lungs are signs that your rabbit is dehydrated.

Immediately take your rabbit to the veterinarian if he or she is breathing through their mouth because they need emergency medical assistance.


Tularemia (also known as Rabbit Fever) is a bacterial illness that may be transmitted between rabbits and humans and is potentially fatal to both species.

Symptoms include:

  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Increase heart rate
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Loss of appetite and
  • Confusion

Drooling or Wet Chin

Slobber is the term used to describe this motion, which is often caused by dental disorders or malocclusion.

If your rabbit is drooling and you’ve seen a decline in his appetite and ability to consume hard foods such as a whole carrot, you should take him to the vet right soon to have him treated.

It is possible that your rabbit may get an infection in the jaw bone if this is left untreated, it might result in their death.

Sneezing, Runny Eyes, and Runny Nose

If the discharge is thick and whitish, it might signify a bacterial infection in the upper respiratory tract. Consult your physician if your rabbit has this discharge.

Extreme Temperature Changes in the Body

A healthy rabbit’s temperature is between 100°F and 103°F.

Rabbits that are sick or dying may have lower or higher temperatures.

A higher temperature indicates a fever, whereas a lower temperature indicates hypothermia. Neither is desirable, and both have the potential to be deadly.

If your rabbit’s temperature drops below 100 ℉ or rises beyond 106 ℉, immediately stabilize it

When your rabbit’s temperature rises or falls, take him to the vet (depending on the situation).


Giving your rabbit lots of attention, keeping their temperature in check, cleaning their resting place, pain meds, and enough food and water can all help them be more comfortable while they’re dying.

7 thoughts on “How To Comfort a Dying Rabbit

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