Do you recommend a water bowl or a water bottle for rabbits?
This has become quite a debate with many rabbit owners! Here are some things to consider for both:
Many people argue that a water bottle keeps your rabbit’s water clean whereas a water bowl leaves the water out in the open, free for dust, dirt, bugs and loose hair to collect in it. Your rabbit could then consume these leading to illness or blockages. Although this could happen, regular cleaning of your bowls and grooming of your rabbit especially in peak shedding season would make this highly unlikely. Please keep in mind that water bottles do build up bacteria and scum rather quickly and should still be thoroughly cleaned once a day. Water bowls should be emptied in the morning and night, given a quick rinse and scrub and filled with fresh water.
Nature did not intend rabbits to consume their water from a bottle. Rabbits drink more water per pound of body weight then any other mammal and a water bowl allows them to consume their water easily. I also find that my rabbits like to soak their chins and paws in the water and groom themselves with it!
Water bottles are also susceptible to leaks. If you are going to use a water bottle I would suggest testing it thoroughly first. There’s nothing worse then finding your rabbit sopping wet after a water bottle leaked out all night! This could also cause permanent damage to your cage depending on what materials you’ve built it with. Similarly the same problem arises from a knocked over water dish. If you plan on using a bowl please consider buying a large, heavy ceramic one and placing it in a corner of the cage. This will be harder for your rabbit to move and knock over, reducing the chance of it being tipped over by a naughty bunny.
Another reason people prefer water bottles over a water dish is because they don’t take up any extra space in their rabbit’s cage. The HRS recommends that your rabbit not be housed in a pen smaller than that in which your rabbit can hop 3 times from one end to the other. They recommend nothing smaller than an ex-pen. With this being said the amount of space the bowl takes up should be minimal compared to the cage size.
I have tried both over the years and prefer a water bowl. Although I don’t encourage people to house their rabbits outdoors if you do, then I think a water bottle would indeed be better as it would definitely keep your rabbit’s water cleaner for longer. In the end I think which you choose to use is up to you as only you know what’s best for you and your rabbit.