Can Rabbits Drink Out of a Bowl?

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Like all animals, rabbits need water to survive. In the wild, a rabbit will drink from streams and ponds, while in captivity, we must make sure it has constant access to fresh water. Water bottles are a convenient option, but can rabbits drink out of a bowl, too? The answer: Yes, they can. But you shouldn’t give your rabbit just any bowl.

How much water does my rabbit need?

First, it’s important to find out how much water your rabbit needs to drink.

According to Hastings Veterinary Hospital, rabbits need to drink somewhere around 120-150ml of water per kilogram of body weight to stay hydrated. That means a healthy adult rabbit weighing 2 kilograms should drink 240-300ml of water each day.

Translating to pounds and ounces, a good rule of thumb is that rabbits should drink up to 2.5 ounces of water for every pound they weigh. So, a rabbit that weighs 4 pounds should drink approximately 10 ounces of water.

Should rabbits drink out of a bowl or bottle?

Back to our question, can rabbits drink out of a bowl? Should they drink from a water bottle instead? The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer to this question, as both options have their pros and cons.

Water bottles are often seen as the best option for rabbits, as they cannot knock them over and make a mess. Also, water bottles don’t take up space in the cage and they provide a constant supply of water, which is important for rabbits that live in hot climates or during the summer months.

However, water bottles can be difficult to clean, and if not cleaned regularly, they can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Similarly, bottles often get clogged with hay, and they require more effort to fill than water bowls.

But maybe the most important downside of water bottles is that they are made of plastic, which can leach chemicals into the water.

Should rabbits drink out of a bowl or bottle: pros and cons table

On the other hand, water bowls are much easier to clean and refill. Rabbits can also drink from them more easily and may even prefer them to water bottles. That said, water bowls can be easily knocked over by excited or playful rabbits, and they need to be refilled more often than water bottles.

If you have an outdoor rabbit, a water bottle may also be a better option because the bowl can be easily frozen in cold weather or contaminated by bugs, leaves, and dirt.

So, which is the best option for your rabbit? It really depends on your individual pet. Some rabbits prefer a bottle over a bowl. However, I tend to recommend water bowls, especially inside, as they provide a more natural drinking experience for rabbits.

What kind of water bowl should I use for my rabbit?

If you do choose to use a water bowl for your rabbit, it’s important to pick the right type of bowl. Ideally, the bowl should be made of a durable material that won’t break if your rabbit bumps into it or knocks it over. It should also be heavy enough to resist being tipped over.

Ceramic and glass bowls are good options, but they can break if dropped. Stainless steel bowls are more durable, but they can get very slippery, making it difficult for your rabbit to drink from them.

Plastic bowls are the most popular choice, but they should be avoided if possible. Bisphenol A (or BPA) is a chemical found in many hard plastics and in the lining of food and beverage cans. Unfortunately, it can leach out of these products and into our food and drinks. Or in this case, our rabbit’s water.

Studies have shown that BPA exposure can cause chronic inflammation in animal offspring, and this inflammation may be passed down through generations. If you do decide to use plastic, make sure it is marked “BPA-free.”

Personally, I believe that a heavy ceramic crock is the best option. While it can break, it is less likely to do so than a glass bowl. Ceramic bowls are also very easy to clean and provide a good grip for rabbits to drink from.

A water fountain is another good alternative. Especially if your rabbit prefers drinking from a stream of flowing water as opposed to a bowl of still water.

If your rabbit is used to drinking from a bottle, you may have trouble getting him to switch to a bowl. Here are a few tips for making the switch easier for your pet:

  • Start with both the water bowl and the bottle available at the same time. This gives your rabbit a choice and also helps to prevent dehydration.
  • Use a shallow, wide bowl so that your rabbit can reach the water easily. If possible, place the bowl where your rabbit spends most of its time.
  • Add a few drops of fresh apple or carrot juice to the water. Alternately, add herbs such as chamomile and mint to the water to give it flavor.
  • Offer your rabbit ice cubes made out of flavored water. This will help keep the water cool and fresh.

How can I keep my rabbit’s water clean?

A grey rabbit drinks water out of a large bowl

Whether you choose to use a water bottle or bowl, keeping the water clean is essential to your rabbit’s health.

The water should be changed daily and the bowl or bottle should be cleaned weekly. If you have more than one rabbit, you may need to clean the bowl or bottle more often, as multiple rabbits drinking from the same source can increase the risk of bacteria growth.

With that out of the way, the best and easiest way to clean a water bowl is to use warm, soapy water and a sponge. Simply rinse the bowl thoroughly with clean water and let it air dry before adding fresh water.

You can also use a mild vinegar solution to clean the bowl, but be sure to rinse it well afterwards. Vinegar can be harmful to rabbits if ingested in large quantities.

If you’re using a water bottle, empty the water from the bottle and rinse it out with warm, soapy water. Use a bottle brush to clean the spout and the inside of the bottle. Then, rinse the bottle with clean water and let it air dry.

You should also clean the water dispenser itself every few weeks. Remove the bottle from the dispenser and unscrew the base. Wash all of the parts with warm, soapy water and let them air dry before reassembling the dispenser.


A rabbit can drink from a bowl, water bottle, and even a water fountain. However, the best option for most rabbits is a water bowl.

Water bottles can be difficult to clean and may leach chemicals into the water. Bowls are generally easier to wash and refill, but it’s important to pick a durable bowl that won’t break easily and is heavy enough so it won’t tip over or spill. And while plastic bowls should not be your first choice, if you do use plastic, make sure it’s BPA-free.

About the author

Li-ran B.

Li-ran pretty much grew up in a household that was like a tiny zoo, full of all sorts of animals. However, rabbits and guinea pigs were always his go-to buddies. To this day, that love for these adorable creatures (including Tutti, a sweet and sassy Dutch rabbit) is still going strong.