Bowl Vs Bottle

When it comes to our bunnies, we want to give them the very best. Even simple things like water are important. Bunnies should have access to fresh drinking water at all times, even if they don’t drink much. For bunnies, there are lots of options when it comes to water. In this article, we will look at the bowl vs bottle debate to find out which is best!

What Options Are There For Bunnies To Drink From?

The most common form of water provision for bunnies is the water bottle. This is a plastic bottle with a water spout that hangs upside down the side of the cage or hutch. When your bunny wants a drink, they lick at the end of the spout and water is dispensed by movement of a small ball.

An alternative to this would be the traditional bowl. There is nothing special or sophisticated about it, just a solid metal or ceramic bowl will do the job. A third option is a combination of both; a water fountain. It looks similar to a water cooler that you might see in an office. Many rabbit water fountains can be used for either food or water. Simply fill the container with water and attach the base, which refills as the rabbit drinks.

What Are The Benefits Of A Bottle?

There are several benefits to choosing a bottle rather than a bowl. One of the most common complaints rabbit owners have is that their rabbit likes to throw their bowls around. This means water and food all over their newly cleaned enclosure! Water bottles solve this problem, as they attach to the door or side wall of the enclosure and rabbits will have difficulty pulling them down. Water bottles do not leak as the rabbit needs to lick at the spout to move the inner ball, which allows a few drops of water at a time to be released. Water bottles are also beneficial at saving space, especially if you have multiple rabbits. Bowls can take up a lot of space in a hutch or cage. If you have more than one rabbit, you will either need multiple water bowls or larger water bowls.


What Are The Negatives To A Bottle?

The main drawback to water bottles is that they do not promote a natural body position for rabbits while drinking. In the wild, rabbits will drink from water sources on the ground, with their head in a lowered position. Since water bottles sit upright and above the rabbit’s head, they must tilt their head upward and sideways to drink from the spout. This shouldn’t cause any health concerns, but water bottles might not be suitable for rabbits who drink a lot of water. Another downside to water bottles is that they can be fiddly to clean. The opening is too narrow to get your hand it, but a loofa with a long handle is ideal to solving this problem.

What are the benefits of a bowl?

Many experts believe that water bowls are the most natural way to provide water for rabbits. They encourage a natural drinking position that mirrors that of wild rabbits. Rabbits are able to access water more easily from a bowl than from a water bottle, which only lets out a couple of drops at a time. Water bowls are usually wide rimmed, so the rabbit can easily fit their face into the bowl. Water bowls are far easier to clean and so are less likely to harbour bacteria or insects that could contaminate the water. Most companies now offer their water bowls with a version that can be attached to the wall of the enclosure to prevent them being tipped or thrown around. This prevents the enclosure from being flooded with water and makes cleaning easier.


What Are The Negatives Of Bowl?

Some rabbits, especially playful or boisterous bunnies, like to throw their bowls around. This means water gets everywhere and you have to keep refilling the bowl and cleaning the enclosure. Too prevent this, you might try purchasing a heavier ceramic bowl, but these are typically more expensive than metal or plastic bowls. The other option is to choose a bowl that comes with an attachment to fix the bowl to the side of the enclosure, but this might not be suitable for you or your bunnies.

If you have multiple bunnies, one bowl will not hold enough water, so you will either need to keep topping up the bowl throughout the day, supply multiple bowls or swap for a larger bowl. The issue here is that larger bowls or using multiple bowls takes up a lot of space and increases the chance of your rabbits accidentally stepping in or tipping up the bowl's. Metal bowls are not good during the summer as they hold heat, which will increase the temperature of the water and can cause heat-stroke. Plastic bowls will prevent this, but bunnies are chewers by nature and plastic is not a durable material against strong bunny teeth.


Summary and conclusion

A happy middle ground might be to have a small ceramic bowl near the front of the enclosure and a water bowl hanging from the side of the enclosure. This way, your rabbit has access to both and can choose based on their preference.
This also limits the chance of water being thrown around, but this gives you extra cleaning to do, as you would need to wash and refill both the bowl and the bottle daily. Water fountains are the best option as they control the water access, refill as your bunny drinks and are heavy enough that your bunny should not be able to move it. Fountains are easy to clean as the containers are wider than traditional water bottles, so your bunny is safe from bacteria and insects that might carry disease.

In the end, the most important thing is that your bunny is happy and comfortable, and they have access to fresh, clean water daily. Why not have a look at our single bowl and double bowls we have available! 

- Hannah Elizabeth

Animal Health and Behaviour Blogger

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