How to Tell If Your Rabbit Is Sad or Depressed

Rabbits in general are animals that like to explore and express themselves in various ways. But even rabbits can become sad or depressed, just like humans. Fortunately, there are a few signs to look out for that could indicate sadness and depression in your rabbit.

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10 Signs Your Rabbit Is Sad or Depressed:

1. Lack of appetite

Rabbits love to eat. They can be seen eating alfalfa hay regularly throughout the day, and they never seem to turn down the treats offered by their human companions. However, when rabbits become sad or depressed for whatever reason, they may shy away from the treats on offer and eat less during meal times. They may just bite the food or stop eating altogether.

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2. Frequent pacing

Stroking around the habitat every now and then could mean your rabbit is bored and needs a new toy to chew on or has to be removed from the habitat to stretch his legs. However, if your rabbit is pacing either in their habitat or outside and throughout the day, there’s a good chance that they are feeling sad or depressed. A good way to find out is to offer your rabbit more interaction and entertainment to see if it stops. Otherwise, depression should be the next focus.


3. Tendency to Hide

Another sign of depression is a tendency to hide, especially for rabbits who are not shy. A rabbit may run and hide when a stranger visits the house or a dog barks for some reason, which is normal for shock or fear. However, if your rabbit hides in a nest or corner for hours on end, there may be a mental or health reason for it, such as depression. Depressed rabbits like to hide in dark places where other rabbits and humans cannot easily find them.

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4. Early Biting

Rabbits chew something throughout the day to keep their growing teeth from getting out of control. If wooden toys and other interactive objects are available for chewing, they should happily do so during the day. However, if your rabbit starts biting into its cage, its plate of food or water, or the person, they may be expressing sadness or depression.


5. Forgetting Habits

This is a subtle sign that can be hard to spot if you don’t pay attention to your rabbit’s grooming habits because grooming is something that rabbits spend a lot of time doing. If a rabbit becomes depressed, they may begin to spend most of their time grooming themselves even when exercise is not needed. If you notice that your rabbit is grooming itself more often than usual, look for other signs that sadness or depression is present.

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6. Obvious Lethargy

Lethargy seems to be a universal sign of depression among living things. Depression results in a general lack of interest in life. So losing the desire or need to play, run, and explore in general shouldn’t come as a surprise when depression sets in. If you’re starting to notice that your rabbit is less interested in its normal activities, it may be time to assess. animals for depression.


7. Difference in Posture

Rabbits who are sad or depressed tend to take a “hunched over” posture that makes them look uncomfortable. A depressed rabbit usually won’t lie down and relax. Instead, they will sit with their backs bent and their eyes slightly closed, as if ignoring what is going on around them. Their ears may droop, and they will not move much unless urged to do so or needed to.

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8. Being Antisocial

As expected, a sad or depressed rabbit doesn’t feel like socializing, even with his favorite human companions. Antisocial behavior for more than a day could mean that depression has occurred. However, if your rabbit becomes antisocial only occasionally or for a short time, depression is likely not the problem. Temporary sadness can be the culprit, due to a change in their environment or separation from a bunny friend.


9. Smaller Stools

If rabbits become depressed and stop eating or drinking enough, their stools will become smaller and drier. Rabbit droppings should be about the size of a pea. However, it seems that a stressed rabbit that doesn’t eat or drink water properly can excrete half the size of feces. Instead of the wet pellets dropped by a healthy rabbit, the smaller pellets will look dry and may break when moved, stepped on, or cleaned.

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10. Destructive Behavior

Another sign to look for that could indicate depression in your rabbit is destructive behavior. Some rabbits are naturally destructive when they explore, which doesn’t show any kind of sadness. But if your rabbit starts destroying their habitat for no apparent reason or they become unprecedentedly destructive, there’s a reason for it: depression.

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Reasons for Your Rabbit to Be Sad or Depressed

Rabbits can become sad or depressed for a variety of different reasons. First and foremost, rabbits tend to get depressed quickly when they are lonely or bored. Habitats that are too small to explore and explore can also lead to depression. Feeling unwell, sudden changes in environment or routine, and traumatic experiences can be sources of sadness or depression, even if the changes are temporary. Once you see signs of sadness or depression in your rabbit, it’s up to you to find out what triggered the change in their mental health. Your vet can provide you with expert guidance and advice to help your rabbit deal with his depression and become the happy, healthy animal they deserve.

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Last Comment

Monitor your rabbit’s behavior daily to determine if there are any changes that need to be addressed. The sooner you notice signs of sadness and depression, the easier it will be to help your beloved pet feel better and be his normal self again.


Featured Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock