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Why is My Rabbit Sad?

 
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: September 2, 2018
Why is My Rabbit Sad?

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Rabbits are a beloved pet to many. This is not only due to their cute wee faces, but their amusing and friendly temperament. They can develop special bonds with their human counterparts and they certainly can bring us a lot of happiness. However, as with cats and dogs, rabbits can experience changes in behavior for various reasons. Rabbits do not have the same mental health concerns as humans, but we can observe them become sad looking and less energetic. Such sadness in rabbits usually appears as a symptom of some disease or nutritional deficit which can harm their optimal health and metabolism. However, there are factors related to environment, lack of stimulation and others which might contribute to a depressed state in your rabbit.

If you are asking yourself why is my rabbit sad? or just wonder why they don't have the same vim and vigor as before, then AnimalWised is here to help. We'll show you the reasons why as well as suggest what you might to to restore their pep.

Different breeds with different characters

When considering adopting a rabbit into our family, we should take some time getting to know this lovely creature a little better. Just as there are several breeds of dog and cat, there are also different breeds of rabbit, each with their own shared traits in character and appearance.

Some breeds such as the Rex tend to be more active and need a high allotment of daily exercise to maintain a good temperament. On the other hand Lionhead rabbit are generally much calmer in demeanor. They enjoy spending long periods in the arms of their caretakers and receive pets, so their lack of energy is not necessarily going to be a depressed state. This is why it is a good idea to consider which breed of rabbit you are going to adopt as there may be some which are better suited to your own temperament.

In saying this, although some breeds may be more likely to exhibit certain characteristics, each rabbit is an individual. They will have a personality of their own which they will develop under your care. If this care is lacking or neglectful, then it is more likely they will suffer behavioral or even physical health issues. It is important to treat them well and observe their own personality as it develops. If they do receive appropriate care and you know how they normally behave, you will be better able to tell when they are behaving out of the ordinary.

My rabbit is sad and doesn't want to eat

In general, rabbits can be characterized as very alert and intelligent animals. They show a remarkable predisposition to training of which many pet owners are not even aware. Therefore, although there is no single cause of a sad rabbit, it is usually a negative symptom which reveals a physiological problem. This is why we must stress the importance of taking your rabbit to the vet when you see they have a loss of appetite. Such a professional will be best able to reach a diagnosis of the root problem.

Rabbits are very clean and sensitive animals, which is why their health can be affected by various diseases. The first thing you should do when you notice your rabbit looks sad, refuses to eat or has no energy to play is to take them to the vet.

Additionally, rabbits need to receive adequate preventative medicine throughout their lives to preserve good health. To take good care of your pet, remember to make a checkup every 6 to 12 months and to respect vaccination and deworming schedules.

Why is My Rabbit Sad? - My rabbit is sad and doesn't want to eat

My rabbit is sad and doesn't want to play - nutritional deficiencies

A rabbit which loses interest in playing and seems apathetic and/or weak may not be receiving enough of their essential nutrients. They need these nutrients to strengthen their immune system and maintain an active metabolism. Nutritional deficiencies can aid the development of numerous diseases and can alter the habitual behavior of a rabbit. Therefore, a balanced diet is a crucial aspect in maintaining a rabbit's good health, preventing obesity and improving general well-being.

While good quality fresh hay and leafy green vegetables are recommended as the basis of a rabbit's natural diet, you can also offer supplementary fruits and vegetables. These will diversify their food routine and encourage appetite, especially if it has otherwise been lost. There are prohibitive foods for rabbits and you need to give them the right amount at the right time.

If you want to know more about a rabbit's general dietary requirements, take a look at our article on how much food should a rabbit eat.

My rabbit is sad and still - abnormal teeth growth

A rabbit's teeth will grow continuously throughout their lifetime. To maintain an optimal length, rabbits must chew and wear them down. When their teeth grow excessively or abnormally as well as displaying other negative symptoms, it is likely a sign of something being wrong. These other symptoms may include a loss of appetite, lack of energy, eye problems or even looking sad.

Abnormal tooth growth in rabbits can also have genetic influences or derive from sustained trauma. However, rabbits which have a commercial feed based diet may be more susceptible to this problem as they cannot properly wear down their teeth on this type of food.

In their natural habitat, rabbits will maintain dental integrity by chewing on fibrous plants. For this reason, fresh hay (or fodder) is such an important element in a domestic rabbit's diet. Chewing on this will give them the best chance for optimal tooth growth.

Why is My Rabbit Sad? - My rabbit is sad and still - abnormal teeth growth

My rabbit is very sad - lack of physical and/or mental stimulation

Many people believe rabbits do not need as much attention as cats or dogs, but this is a misconception. They are, in actuality, very sensitive and intelligence animals which need to exercise body and mind for optimal health and balanced behavior. Although their care is relatively simple when compared to dogs, loneliness, sedentary lifestyles, stress and boredom (among other negative feelings) can equally affect their well-being.

If your rabbit is sad, it could be due to loneliness. Your company is one of the best respites to improve their mood. Not only can it improve their mental state, but it will improve the bond you share. Ensure you reserve an adequate amount of time for play, cuddles and grooming. Also, remember to provide an enriched environment for the rabbit so they do not grow bored and melancholy. This will also improve their cognitive ability, reduce stress and provide a sense of security, even if you yourself are not physically present. It is very important for you rabbit's development.

Hygiene is also important, so ensure their cage is clean and they do not come in contact with contaminated substances. You may need to bathe them if they do become too dirty to clean themselves, but here is some information to consider on when to bathe a rabbit.

Why is My Rabbit Sad? - My rabbit is very sad - lack of physical and/or mental stimulation

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Why is My Rabbit Sad?, we recommend you visit our Mental problems category.

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