Can Rabbits Drink Out of Bowls?

brown rabbit drinking from a bowl.

Caring for a pet isn’t easy. You need to consider many things, some of which you might not have entered your mind. Take the case of a rabbit. Before you welcome one into your home, you’ll have to purchase the things your cuddly fur bundle requires to live comfortably. Complicating the task is the range of options.

For example, can rabbits drink out of bowls, or is a water bottle a better choice? Should you get hay for your pet’s litter needs, or are paper pellets more suitable? The list goes on.  But you don’t mind the challenges, do you? Because you know that you’ll get so much more from your adorable bun than whatever work you put into taking care of him.    

One question that often enters the mind of rabbit lovers, especially first-time owners, is whether it’s better to let their fur baby drink from a bowl instead of a water bottle. Which one is best for rabbits?   

What Can Rabbit’s Drink?   

Before we discuss where your pet should drink, let’s first consider the best way to keep him hydrated. For this purpose, stick to plain water. Even though it’s tempting to share your favorite beverages with your bun, be warned that many drinks can harm rabbits. These include coffee (or anything with caffeine), milk, alcohol, and citrus juices.   

Regarding the kind of water to give, offer your bun whatever you usually drink. Tap or bottled, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s fresh and clean. Most rabbits love water served at room temperature.   

brown rabbit drinking from green bowl.

Why Is Water Important to Rabbits?  

Rabbits should have access to water 24/7. This precious liquid is essential for their continued good health. They can dehydrate quickly, especially during warm weather, so water must always be available to them.

Water plays the following role.   

  • It provides lubrication for the digestive organs, helping your bun process and move food and helping him poop regularly.    
  • It’s a crucial component of the blood, making it liquid enough to flow through your bun’s veins.   
  • It feeds every cell of your rabbit’s body.   
  • It helps flush out excess calcium, preventing health issues like bladder stones.   

How Much Should They Drink?    

A rabbit shouldn’t be without water for more than 24 hours. If your pet cannot drink beyond that period, it can lead to fatal consequences. That’s how important water is to rabbits. On average, they need between 50 and 150 milliliters of water per kilogram of body weight a day.   


Opinions vary when it comes to the question of what drinking implement works best for rabbits. Some fur parents insist that water bowls make the best container, while others opine that bottle feeders are the better option.   

To help you decide, let’s consider each type’s pros and cons.   

The Water Bowl  

This container tends to be the more popular of the two choices. Water bowls are often made of metal, ceramic, plastic, or stoneware.   

The Advantages    

  • It encourages a more natural drinking position: Fur parents contend that offering water in a bowl mimics how rabbits drink in the wild, where they usually quench their thirst with water from the pond, river, or spring. As such, buns prefer going into a bent-over position when consuming water, as their instincts dictate.  
  • Rabbits can get the water faster: Water in a bowl is easier to access. Buns want to lap as much water as they want and as quickly as possible. The liquid flows in drops when it comes from a water bottle, which can frustrate your pet, especially if he’s particularly thirsty and wants to cool off. This can happen during the warmer months. With a bowl, he can drink the water freely.  
  • It helps rabbits drink more water: We mentioned that water comes out one drop at a time from a bottle, which can discourage an impatient bun. Consuming less than he needs can lead to dehydration, which, in turn, might cause some health issues.   
  • The water is usually fresher: Bowls require more frequent cleaning than bottles. This can be a bit of a hassle, but because you need to wash and refill the bowl often, the water is typically fresher.   


  • The water is more exposed to the environment: Water in a bottle is better protected from the environment, so it stays cleaner longer than water in a bowl. In contrast, bedding, hay, urine, and other debris can easily contaminate the contents of a bowl. Moreover, the water can evaporate more quickly, especially during hot weather.   
  • It’s easier to tip over: Rabbits love to play and often treat the objects around them as toys. So it’s common for them to tip their bowls over, leaving them with nothing to drink until someone notices the dumped container. Also, a tipped dish wastes bedding that gets soaked by the water.  
  • Requires more cleaning and refilling: A bowl holds less water than a bottle, so you’ll need to refill it more often. And like we mentioned, debris often gets into the contents of the bowl, requiring you to replace the water. In addition, rabbits often leave a film in the water when they drink. The film can cling to the bowl and must be washed off regularly.  
black and white rabbit drinking water.

The Water Bottle  

This unique drinking device lets water out through a nozzle. You have a wide array of choices when it comes to these containers, each with varying specifications, such as material, capacity, durability, and drips. Most are touted as leak-proof and chew-proof as rabbits tend to make chew toys out of anything they can reach inside their cage.  


  • It’s cleaner: Dirt and other contaminants can’t get inside the bottle. As such, you don’t need to change the water as often as when it’s in a bowl.  
  • There’s less waste: Your bun can’t tip the bottle over, minimizing waste when it comes to water and bedding material.   
  • The bottle holds the water temperature longer: The temperature in the room can easily affect the temperature of the water in the bowl because of the liquid’s exposure to the environment.  


  • The rabbit drinks in an awkward position: Drinking from a bottle requires your bun to tilt his head to reach the spout. This can lead to health issues later in life, especially if you don’t place the bottle at the right height.  
  • The spout can get clogged: The buildup of kibble residue can cause the ball inside the spout to get stuck, or the residue can clog the spout itself. The water can also freeze inside the nozzle during winter especially if your bun lives outdoors. Unless you notice it immediately, this can leave your pet without water for long periods, which can lead to dehydration.  
  • It provides less water: A bottle only allows your bun to drink one drop at a time. Some rabbits may lose patience and stop drinking, impacting their health.   

Can rabbits drink out of bowls? Yes, they can. Giving them water from bottles won’t harm them either. What’s more important is they get the amount of water they need for optimum hydration. In fact, because bowls sometimes get tipped over, attaching a water bottle to their cage will help ensure that your rabbit can drink as much as he wants.

We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, will you give it a share or two 🙂 Thank you! ~from Every Bunny Welcome

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