Sunlight is an essential need for everything living. Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D which helps in strengthening bones in animals. But does the same apply to your furry friend?
Do rabbits need sunlight? How often do they need the sun? How much sun is too much? Let’s look into it together…
Rabbits need sunlight. It is very important for their health. It is a very rich source of vitamin D. Lack of vitamin D in rabbits can cause weak bones and dental problems.
In this article, we will discuss more rabbits and sunlight.
Let us hop straight in!
Do Domestic Rabbits Need Sunlight?
Wild rabbits are out there in the sun and mud and grass where they are closer to nature and can get sufficient nutrients from nature directly. It is no surprise that indoor rabbits lack many nutrients. As responsible pet owners, it is your responsibility to give indoor rabbits access to nature and the nutrient supply.
Domestic rabbits need sunlight. It is essential for them as they don’t receive as much sunlight as wild rabbits. Sunlight helps rabbits to get the needed vitamin D to develop stronger bones and teeth.
According to research conducted by the University of Illinois, rabbits need sunlight for absorbing essential vitamin D. Lack of vitamin D can lead to brittle and weak bones and also teeth problems.
In indoor rabbits, their food cannot always provide the need for vitamin D and calcium. They have to get out in the open to absorb that vitamin D and UV rays.
For indoor rabbits, most of the vitamin D and UV rays are blocked out by roofs and windows. This is why it is necessary to give your little bunny a frequent stroll in the garden to absorb a little sunlight.
Some rabbit owners will be reluctant to let their pet rabbit out in the open due to potential predators or the danger of eating something toxic but you have to keep in mind that sunlight is an absolute necessity for your rabbit.
While taking your rabbit out into the sunlight, you have to be mindful of how much sunlight rabbits need and how long they are supposed to be in the sunlight. Let’s explore more about it in this article.
Do Rabbits Need Direct Sunlight?
Rabbits require direct sunlight for absorbing vitamin D. It is not just the sunlight they need, it is also the UltraViolet B(UVB) rays that rabbits require. Most windows block the UVB rays that are necessary for rabbits.
When your rabbit’s skin is exposed to sunlight, it manufactures vitamin D. The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays interact with a protein called 7-DHC in the skin, converting it into vitamin D3, the active form of vitamin D. This is why direct contact with the sunlight is necessary for the rabbits.
You can help your rabbit get direct sunlight in many ways. But direct sunlight means out in the open which means more chance of danger. So you have to expose your rabbit to the sunlight in a safe way.
Taking Rabbits For A Walk:
The best and easiest option is to take your bunny out for a walk in the morning or evening. Morning and evening sunlight is the best way to absorb vitamin D without giving your rabbit a heatstroke.
You can put a leash or harness on your rabbit and walk them. This way you can make sure that your rabbit doesn’t wander or run off from you.
Rabbit owners with a garden or a backyard can make an outdoor rabbit run. You can leave your rabbit out in the rabbit run to get the sunlight. You have to make sure the rabbit run is rabbit-proofed.
You have to keep an eye out for poisonous plants and clear them out from the run because our furry friends tend to taste everything that comes their way. You also have to make sure that there are no predators nearby and choose a space where your rabbit feels safe and comfortable.
if you don’t have a backyard or the facility to take your rabbit outside, then a window can help you out. You can open a window through which the most sunlight comes and can keep your rabbit there.
Can’t seem to get your bunny to stay still beside the open window? Don’t worry… Just keep some rabbit food treats beside the window while your rabbit soaks up vitamin D.
UVB Lamps are one of the easiest and most convenient ways to give your rabbit some sunlight. You can set it up anywhere in your house and give a pocket of sunlight anytime to your rabbit.
UVB Lamps come in handy mostly on a winter or rainy day when the sun is shy to come out. You have to make sure you set the temperature in your lamp according to the range your rabbit can handle.
You have to understand that direct sunlight can easily cause overheating and heatstroke. So make sure that there is a shady area nearby to take breaks from the sunlight.
How Many Hours Of Sunlight Do Rabbits Need?
Sunlight provides vitamin D to the rabbit’s body. It has been seen that those rabbits which get sun rays once a day are healthier and maintain a higher immune system.
It is recommended for your rabbit to be out in the sunlight for 30 minutes. It is better to take your rabbit out to absorb the morning and evening sunlight which is milder and has more vitamin D.
You can let your rabbit spend a little more than 30 minutes on winter or cloudy or rainy days. You have to keep in mind that you don’t leave the rabbit unattended in the sun.
Leaving the rabbit unattended in the sun for a long time can cause the rabbit to have a heatstroke. Leaving them in the sun for more than 30 minutes can also cause dehydration.
If your rabbit gets a heat stroke, it is likely they faint, become dull, or show a decrease in their breathing and blood pressure. If you see these symptoms in your rabbit immediately take them to a shady area and give them more water to drink.
Try to cool them down but do not submerge them in the water or splash water at them as it could give rabbits a shock. If the rabbit does not cool down then it is recommended to visit the vet immediately.
What Happens If a Rabbit Doesn’t Get Sunlight?
Sunlight is very much necessary for rabbits. Sunlight is the main source of vitamin D for rabbits. Their food alone cannot provide the necessary amount of vitamin D. Along with the vitamin, sunlight also provides the UVB rays which is also essential for the rabbits.
A deficiency in vitamin D causes rabbits to develop weak and brittle bones which will be prone to breaking easily. Vitamin D deficiency will also cause weak teeth.
Vitamin D deficiency affects the eyesight of rabbits. A lack of vitamin D for a long period can cause anemia in rabbits which will result ultimately in a weak immune system leaving your rabbit in the danger of acquiring diseases easily.
Now you know how important vitamin D is for your little bunny and what the deficiency or lack of sunlight can cause in your rabbit.
Do Rabbits Like Laying In The Sun?
Rabbits like how the sunlight feels and tend to spend time in the sun. However, animals such as rabbits who are very energetic and are always running won’t lay in the sun and sunbathe.
This is a good thing because overexposure to the sunlight can cause heatstroke, dehydration, and skin cancer in your rabbit. You have to make sure that your rabbit doesn’t become a big fan of sunbathing.
Enjoying the sun with frequent breaks is the best way for your rabbit to get some sunlight to keep them healthy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it good to keep your rabbits indoors?
It is better to keep domestic rabbits indoors. Outdoors will come off as a dangerous place for domestic rabbits as it is filled with predators and poisonous plants. Indoors is always safer but you have to give your rabbit some outdoor time as well under your supervision.
How to cool down a rabbit?
You can move your rabbit into a shade, you can keep your rabbit on a cooler surface, give them water to drink, keep your rabbit near a fan, and keep a bottle of ice around them.
Sunlight is an absolute necessity for your rabbit. It is the best source of vitamin D and UVB rays for your rabbit.
You have to make sure that by exposing your rabbit to sunlight, you are not giving them a heat stroke. In case you witness symptoms of heatstroke or dehydration, try to cool the rabbit down and visit the vet immediately.
I hope this article solves all your doubts and queries about whether your rabbit needs sunlight or not.
For more queries and doubts, comment down below.