Skip to main content

Healthy weights for rabbits explained

Just like humans, bunnies come in all shapes and sizes. And, just as it wouldn’t be prudent to expect a tall, muscular man to weigh the same as his shorter, leaner neighbor, it’s the same with rabbits. One weight does not fit all.

Having said that, keeping an eye on their weight is an important part of their overall health. Work with your veterinarian to establish a healthy weight for your rabbit, then monitor it weekly to maintain its optimal health.

How do I know if my bunny is too fat?

Since rabbits can hide weight loss and gain under their thick coats of fur, it’s best to use a body-assessment process to monitor what’s going on underneath. Use your hands to check these three main areas of the body and make notes so you can monitor any trends.

  • Ribs. Place your hands on your rabbit’s rib cage, located just behind its elbows, and press gently. Notice how much pressure it takes to feel its ribs. The more pressure you must exert, the more body fat. If your rabbit is too skinny, its rib cage will feel sharp and defined.
  • Hips. Use your hands to gently feel the hips and rump. If you feel any flattening or indented area on the rump or protruding hip bones, your rabbit is likely too thin. Likewise, a rabbit with too much weight may have a more rounded rump with hip bones that are hard to determine.
  • Spine. Finally, run your hands down the length of your rabbit’s spine and note what you feel. If the spine feels bony to the touch, your rabbit is on the thin side. Likewise, it will be difficult to feel the spine in a heavier rabbit.

Should I weigh my rabbit?

Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

If you don’t want to rely solely on touch, there are several effective ways to weigh your bunny instead. Keep notes. If you notice any dramatic shifts either way, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Any of these devices accurately weigh your bunny:

  • Bathroom scale. If your rabbit is too wiggly and won’t sit still long enough for the scale to register, try putting them in a lightweight box or carrier. You can either deduct the weight of the container from the measurement or simply weigh your rabbit in the same container each time.
  • Luggage scale. These traveler’s friends are also handy for weighing your pet. Attach the scale to the handle of your rabbit’s carrier and lift up to get a reading. Just remember to deduct the weight of the carrier or always weigh your rabbit the same way in order to record accurate measurements. Most luggage scales can measure the weight of luggage as heavy as 100 pounds, which should be more than enough to weigh your rabbit.
  • Kitchen scale. These are best used for small rabbits. Just make sure you use a scale capable of measuring your particular bunny’s weight. Most kitchen scales can measure up to 11 pounds. The largest rabbit ever recorded weighed almost 55 pounds, so know the limits of your scale before you choose this option.
  • Postal scale. Depending on the type scale, these devices can weigh items from 1 to 35 pounds. If you intend to use this option, make sure the scale you own is capable of weighing the size of your rabbit.

Why is my bunny too heavy?

If your rabbit is taking in more calories than it is expending, they will have a tendency to store the excess as weight. In collaboration with your veterinarian, determine whether you should decrease the amount of food you’re feeding it or simply increase the amount of exercise.

Overweight rabbits are at risk of developing a number of medical issues such as arthritis, heart disease, and liver failure. This can shorten their lifespan and reduce their quality of life.

What does excessive weight loss mean?

Olga Yatsenko/Shutterstock

There are many reasons why a rabbit might be losing weight. It could be diet-related or a medical issue. Common weight loss problems include:

  • Not being fed enough food. Some rabbits are energetic and require more calories to maintain their weight.
  • Being fed too much of the wrong food. Make sure your bunny receives good quality hay and grass in addition to fresh vegetables and pellets.
  • Dental disease. Bad teeth are the biggest cause of weight loss for rabbits and need to be addressed immediately.
  • Other medical problems such as a tumor or kidney disease.

Some bunny loves you!

Among the 47 breeds of rabbits you can own as a pet are those that weigh as little as 2.5 pounds all the way to those that weigh as much as 16. Like humans, each rabbit’s weight fluctuates with diet and exercise, so be vigilant. Your bunny’s happiness and longevity depend on your love and care.

Editors' Recommendations

Debbie Clason
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Debbie Clason's work has appeared in Family Life Magazine, Sports Illustrated, The Lutheran Witness, Massage Magazine…
Is my rabbit pregnant? 5 telltale signs you should know
Look for these signs to confirm your rabbit will soon have babies
Baby rabbit being held by owner

What's better than one pet rabbit? An entire litter of bunnies (as long as you're prepared for them, of course). If you've been wondering, "Is my rabbit pregnant?" now is the time to find out for sure. After all, you don't want to be caught unaware and suddenly have a whole new colony of animals in your hutch.

Sometimes, lady bunnies can take on the behaviors of expectant mamas, but it's actually a false pregnancy. The best way to find out if your rabbit is pregnant is to take her to the vet and have them confirm it. However, when you're figuring it out yourself, you should look for the signs that a rabbit is pregnant. If you spot these behaviors, be sure to call your animal doctor.

Read more
What fish can live with bettas? These are your best bets for fish buddies
These are the 6 fish that do well living with bettas
Blue betta fish staring at the camera

Betta fish are known for being territorial, feisty, rather combative, and therefore not great tank mates in general. This reputation, however, only holds true in particular situations and with certain fish friends. Male betta fish are aggressive, but only with other male bettas so it is important to never put two males in the same tank. It will lead to tail nipping and other aggressive behavior. So what fish can live with bettas?

Happily, there are several other fish that will keep your betta company in a safe and non-aggressive environment. Many colorful, friendly fish cohabitate well with bettas. This is our guide to finding the perfect fish companion (or companions) for your betta.

Read more
What you need to know about sugar gliders before you get an exotic pet
Follow these steps to set your sugar glider up for success
Sugar glider clings to their owner's thumb

Choosing a small pet involves almost as much deliberation as selecting a breed of dog. While there are a lot of factors to take into account, a sugar glider might turn out to be the perfect fit with their curious personality, attachment to your family, and fondness for pockets.

Like any exotic pet, gliders require expert care plus some dedicated research to choose the right breeder or pet store. But with the right prep, your new mammal will fit in perfectly and bond with the whole family. Keep reading to find out if sugar gliders are good pets.
What are sugar gliders?
Unlike most little pets, sugar gliders aren't rodents but marsupials. This gives you a few distinct advantages, as they behave differently from hamsters, guinea pigs, or gerbils. For starters, these are highly social creatures and they will bond with every member of the family and even other pets in the house. Because gliders don't smell like the animals your cats and dogs like to chase — rats, gophers, and bunnies, to name a few — many bigger pets can get along with your new friend. You'll need to introduce them carefully, but they can form lifelong attachments to each other.

Read more