Do rabbits fart? The simple answer is Yes, Absolutely!
Remember, bunnies are actually mammals and a great number of mammals fart. Breaking wind can be quite embarrassing for us as humans, and is even considered an indelicate subject matter.
However, experienced pet parents know that this is an important topic of discussion where the care of pets is concerned.
In this article, you will discover:
- Why do rabbits fart
- Should their farts smell?
- Should I be worried about my rabbit’s farts?
- How to spot a gassy rabbit
- How to relieve a gassy rabbit
- Foods to avoid in order to prevent too much gas in your rabbit
WHY DO RABBITS FART
Now, in order to thoroughly understand this, we may need to take a quick trip down memory lane to, you guessed it – High School Biology class. Turns out that the care of animals requires a constant refresher course in Basic Biology.
When consumed food is being broken down in the digestive system, gas is formed as a by-product. In rabbits, an organ called a cecum (which is also found in horses) plays a key role in the digestion process. The cecum requires a large amount of fiber in order to function optimally. This explains why your rabbit prefers a fibre rich diet as you may have noticed.
So, food like hay or fresh/dried grass keeps your bunny happy and provides the much needed energy source for your rabbit.
The food your bunny eats first of all stops at the small intestine. Nutrients are extracted here and water is added. Whatever is left of the food then moves on to the colon. In the colon, smaller digestible particles as well as starch are separated from the much larger and indigestible fiber. These smaller particles then travel to the cecum.
There are special microbes in the cecum that break down this fibre and in the process create gas. It really is that simple! And quite normal! This entire process is repeated over and over again and as you can imagine, quite a lot of gas is produced. This gas will have to come out somehow, hence the reason do rabbits fart.
SHOULD THEIR FARTS SMELL?
These farts are mostly silent and odorless (thank goodness), however, it could occasionally make a sound. When it does, it can be quite amusing. Rabbit’s farts have also been known to stink once in a while. A smelly fart is no cause for alarm and is usually an indicator that a slight change in diet is necessary.
Generally, some rabbit owners complain that they have never heard their rabbits fart. Others can describe in detail what these farts sound like, and even the faces their pets make just before they let it rip.
If you play with your rabbit often enough and it is left to roam free, not just cooped up in a hutch and you are observant enough, you will at some point hear your bunny pass gas.
SHOULD I BE WORRIED ABOUT MY BUNNY’S FART?
Not at all! If your bunny seems normal and is it’s usual playful self, there’s no need to worry. Passing gas is as natural to them as it is to humans. As long as its not excessive, flatulence in rabbits are essential to their digestion.
Simply, keep an eye on its temperature and changes in its behaviour; bunnies are sweet little cuties that are a joy to care for always.
HOW TO SPOT A GASSY RABBIT
Having established that farting in rabbits is completely normal, how do you spot a gassy bunny? A gassy bunny simply needs a change in diet! These are some of the tell tale signs that a bunny is having trouble passing gas:
- Bloating: As with humans, the inability to produce poop should never be taken lightly. If this happens to your bunny, you should take them to the vet immediately. It could be the start of GI STASIS.
- Regular rabbit poop should be medium green, dark green, dark brown or almost black. They should be hard, dry and in solid pellet form. If your bunny cannot produce poop, or the pellets become softer, smaller in size or drier, please visit your local veterinarian.
- Bubbling noises from the stomach: These noises can be quite audible especially if you lean in and place your ear on their tummy. They may sound like gurgling noises. This is a giveaway that there is a problem with their digestive system.
- Looks uncomfortable: A number of pet owners report that their bunnies looked uncomfortable just before a major passage of gas. If you find your bunny seated in a hunched posture, it is most likely uncomfortable as a result of gas. That is, if it is seated hunched up, with eyes half closed and grinding its teeth, it is most definitely in pain.
- Refuses food: When your bunny persistently refuses food, it could be a sign of gut blockage, dehydration or even liver disease. You should see a vet straight away.
- Your bunny looks lethargic or is sluggish and avoids movement: A lazy bunny is a sign that something is wrong because bunnies are very full of life and constantly moving and hopping about. If it has been caged up, please let it out and encourage it to move around and get curious. It is up to you as the furry parent to help your bunny feel safe and comfortable again.
- Grinding of the teeth from discomfort. Loud tooth grinding is a sign of pain in rabbits and it is a form of self-soothing. This is quite different from the gentle grinding of teeth that sounds akin to purring your rabbit makes when it is contented.
These are some of the signs that betray gas build up in rabbits.
HOW TO RELIEVE A GASSY BUNNY
In order to relieve your bunny, you could try any of these 3 things:
- Rub gently on the stomach: A soft massage can get the guts working again and encourage the gas to travel through the metabolism faster. You should place both hands under the belly, and rub in soft, slow circular motions. Encourage movement. The sooner the rabbit gets hopping about, the quicker the gas leaves.
- Keep your bunny warm: You can use heating pads, for further information on some of the best heat pads, check out this article. Or you could simply wrap it up in a blanket while intermittently massaging its stomach. This provides fast relief for the rabbit.
- Pediatric Simethicone or what is popularly known as Gripe Water can be quite effective when administered to them. Always ensure that you use a recommended brand approved by your local vet. It can be administered using a syringe. A recommended dose is 1ml every three hours. Mylicon is another drug that has proven to be quite effective in rabbits. 1 pipette every 45 minutes works wonders on the little critters.
FOODS TO AVOID IN ORDER TO PREVENT GAS
- Avoid sugary and sweet treats. For instance, chocolate. Chocolate can be very harmful and should never be given to bunnies or dogs for that matter. So also are Yoghurt drops or avocado. You can find out more about harmful foods that should never be given to rabbits in this article.
- Avoid starchy foods. This includes bread, grains or peas. The simple reason is that these lead to serious stomach upset, diarrhoea and soft stools. Foods high in starch can also lead to weight gain. It is best if avoided totally. Fruits such as carrots, bananas or apples should also be avoided or given in very little amounts because of the sugar content.
- Avoid dehydration. Ensure to always give your rabbits good, clean water as often as possible everyday. You could also sprinkle water on their daily vegetables as a way of getting them to ingest as much water as possible. Keep their water cool always. A neat trick to keep them interested in drinking water is to add little drops of flavor to it. You could also switch things up a bit by adding herbs to their water.
Gastrointestinal Stasis is a condition caused by a build-up of gas and can be fatal if not treated within 24 hours. It happens when digestion is slowed down or stopped usually because the rabbit has begun to eat less. This may be as a result of changes in environment or conditions affecting the mouth such as dental problems. GI stasis is quite common and can be dealt with effectively at home. However, if you are unsure, best play it safe by taking the bunny to the vet for expert attention.
Of course, the best cure for GI stasis is prevention. So, stick to the rules and guidelines outlined in this article and with deliberate care, our rabbits will be around for a long while to continue giving us happy, treasured moments! Hope this article has been helpful and answered your major concerns about ” do rabbits fart”. We’d love to hear from you, do leave a comment below!