11 Worrying Signs A Rabbit Is Dying

Rabbits have a brimming personalities and are adorable when kept as indoor pets. However, they are not the most robust pets you can have. Their health deteriorates quickly and if you cannot read signs a rabbit is dying, you may lose your pet.

In this article, we will discuss signs that pet rabbits show when they are almost dying. We will also go ahead and explore ways in which you can save a dying rabbit or comfort them.

Worrying Signs A Rabbit Is Dying

Signs of a dying rabbit

Here are some signs to look out for that suggest your rabbit is dying;

Lack of appetite

Hopefully, you have been the rabbit’s pet parent for long enough to know their eating habits. If a rabbit shows less interest in the same diet you have been feeding it, there are chances something is not right.

Lack of appetite in rabbits can be easily noticed since they keep chewing most of the time. Eating constantly is a rabbit’s way to keep its gut healthy. If your pet rabbit stops eating, more problems such as gut stasis may occur worsening the situation.

When you notice your rabbit has reduced its food consumption, you should call a vet to investigate the cause. This is because sometimes the rabbit is just being picky, suffering from dental problems, or old age.

Change in feces

A healthy rabbit’s poop is usually round pellets which are fairly hard. The color of fecal pellets may vary depending on what you are feeding your rabbit. The most common colors of bunny poop are brown or green.

In most cases, it will be a sign of a dying rabbit when the pet has diarrhea. When the poop is too dark and has hair or pellets stuck in pairs, instances are associated with minor eating habits.

If you have been tracking your rabbit’s feces, it will be easier to notice when there is a slight change, and contact a veterinarian if need be.

Change in urine

While monitoring your bunny’s feces, you should also keep the urine in check. Normal rabbit urine varies from yellow to golden color depending on hydration level and diet.

If you notice white, red, or deep brown pee for more than three days you should contact a vet. A clear sign of a dying rabbit is the presence of blood in the urine or sand-like particles. Blood in a bunny’s pee is a sign of urinary tract stones which is a life-threatening condition for rabbits.

You should also check for odor as a very strong smell from the rabbit’s pee may indicate that the rabbit is dying.

They are less responsive

You will find healthy rabbits hopping around in joy. A dying rabbit on the other hand will be not reactive even when you try to play with it.

Since a rabbit is a prey animal, you will at least expect it to respond to any form of threat. If this is not happening, it might clearly indicate that your rabbit is dying. There are chances blood is not circulating to vital organs. They are therefore too weak to respond and are ready to rest forever.


A rabbit shaking in the room to warm temperatures is a sign that the bunny is dying. When rabbits are in crisis, their body has a hard time regulating their body temperature. This lowers their body temperature which is manifested through shaking. You may also find that the paws, ears, and nose are cold when you touch them.

Shivering in rabbits may also indicate pneumonia infection. Pneumonia in rabbits affects the lungs which may turn vital if not treated immediately.

Breathing difficulties

Breathing problems may occur when a rabbit is also shivering to indicate that the pet is feeling cold. A healthy rabbit will breathe quietly using their nose. When the nose is stuffy, you will notice the bunny struggling to catch up with its breath.

Difficulties in breathing are identified by;

  • Flared nostrils
  • Fast breathing
  • Coughing
  • Gasping
  • Breathing using the mouth

Excessive drolling

It’s very rare for a rabbit to let excessive saliva out of its mouth unless it is a sign that it is dying.

Excessive drolling in rabbits can be a symptom of respiratory problems, high fever, or food poisoning. Any of these conditions are fatal and could mean death to your pet rabbit.

It is quite normal to find fur around the rabbit’s mouth wet since rabbits drink water. However, if you find the fur too messy, then it’s one of the signs a rabbit is dying. 

Poor fur condition

Healthy rabbits are known to groom themselves all the time. You will find your pet rabbit clean all the time and the fur is silky.

If you find that your rabbit has stained fur, then the rabbit is not taking care of itself. It may as well be one of the signs of a dying rabbit.

The only time you should not be worried about your rabbit having patches on its skin is when it is heavily pregnant. A doe will remove its fur when it’s almost giving birth to make a bed for its kittens.

Change in eyes

Change in eyes is one of the signs a rabbit is dying. This may include the eyes turning red, crust around the eyeballs, bulging, dilated pupils, or crying.

Discharge from the eyes is a worrying condition that the rabbit is suffering from a serious illness such as infected lungs.

Happy and healthy rabbits have clear and aware eyes. If you notice changes in the color, size, and watery eyes of rabbits, you should consider contacting a vet.

Making strange noises

Rabbits will try their best to keep calm so when you hear them making strange noises then all is not well.

Rabbits make unusual noises when under stress, frightened, or in pain. These noises come involuntarily as signs a rabbit is dying.

Some of the strange noises you should look out for in an ill rabbit include;

  • Teeth grinding
  • Gasping
  • Squeaking
  • Wheezing


Seizures in rabbits are very uncommon until old age. Some of the causes of seizures include head injuries, cancer, blood clots, and on rare occasions a parasite called E.Cuniculi

These are vital infections and you should take seizure as one of the serious signs a rabbit is dying. 

You will know your pet rabbit is suffering from seizures when they move abruptly or behave as if they have lost consciousness. At this time, the rabbit may hit itself against objects such are walls involuntarily. This is generally because the brain of a rabbit is not functioning normally.

How to save a dying rabbit

When you spot a couple of signs of a dying rabbit, you should act fast. You should not assume that your pet rabbit has no chance to survive.

These are some of the tips on what you should do to save a dying rabbit;

Consult a veterinarian

If your rabbit is showing any signs of illness, you should contact a vet for an immediate check-up. After diagnosing your rabbit, he will recommend further steps you can take to ensure the pet has a peaceful death.

Syringe feed your rabbit

When a rabbit show signs of illness, they may lack the energy even to feed themselves. You should show your dying rabbit some care by syringe feeding and watering it.

To syringe feed your rabbit, you will need to blend their favorite meal and fill it in a needleless syringe. You will then slowly push it into the rabbit’s mouth. Repeat this process until the rabbit cannot take more food.

Keep them comfortable

You should not neglect your dying rabbit. Show it some love while it’s still breathing. One of the ways you can keep a rabbit comfortable is by cleaning its environment and placing soft materials it can lie on.

If your rabbit is experiencing seizures, you should clear its environment. This will reduce the chances of your pet hurting itself against objects.

Final words

For all living things, death is inevitable and we must come to terms with losing a pet at some time in our lives. However, we should strive to reduce the chances of losing a pet rabbit to illness-related causes.

You can increase the lifespan of your bunny by feeding it a proper diet, observing hygiene, reducing stress, and reacting quickly when you spot any of the signs of a dying rabbit.

How to deal with the loss of a rabbit

Even after studying signs a rabbit is dying, sometimes there is nothing we can do to save our beloved pet. Here are some tips to deal with the loss of a rabbit pet;

  • Grief- Allow yourself to go through the grief period. Let those tears out and cry as loud as you want. It will help you relieve some pain.
  • Accept comfort from others– People close to you may come to offer you condolences. You should accept their support graciously especially if they had interacted with your beloved pet.
  • Have a funeral- Conducting a pet funeral is the most challenging part for an owner. However, it is at this point that you accept the pet is really gone.