Passing gas is normal for everybody, right? But what about our furry little bunnies? Do they fart? What do their farts sound like? Are their farts smelly? Does it mean that something is wrong with their stomachs? What makes them fart anyway? How do you deal with a farting rabbit?
Farting might be considered a funny and intriguing topic that most people would rather not discuss. But it’s a natural process of a rabbit’s digestive system.
This article will provide you with information about why rabbits fart and everything else surrounding the topic.
Do rabbits fart?
The simple answer is yes, they fart. Farting is a normal and natural process to help them pass gas and prevent gas build-up that can be painful and uncomfortable. Rabbits fart due to the gas produced during digestion.
Rabbits have a complex digestive system. Perhaps the most important element of that system is the caecum. In the caecum, there is a diverse population of bacteria that help to break down the food and extract various nutrients.
Some of these bacteria are good bacteria, while others are bad bacteria. A healthy rabbit should have a balance of good and bad bacteria.
The food your rabbit eats affects these bacteria. A good diet will increase the number of good bacteria, which is healthy. On the other hand, a poor diet will increase the number of bad bacteria, which can cause problems in the digestive system.
Some bacteria produce gas during digestion. Under normal circumstances, the gas is passed out as farts. If the gas is not passed out, there can be a build-up that can be painful and cause other complications, such as breathing difficulties due to the bloated stomach compressing the chest and lungs.
Can you hear a rabbit fart?
Most of the time, you can not hear a rabbit fart. But there is some evidence that you can sometimes hear rabbit farts.
Some rabbit owners describe the noise as a small squeak or air leaving a balloon. Others report that some rabbits fart so loudly that they scare themselves away with the farting noise.
Can you smell a rabbit fart?
Usually, a rabbit fart is scentless. A rabbit’s poop has no odor either. As prey animals, a strong scent would make it easier for predators to hunt them. As a result, they have evolved to have less odor.
But sometimes, you may smell a rabbit fart, especially if your rabbit has had a change in diet. If it eats something new, its farts and poop can stink.
What causes rabbits to fart?
There are various reasons why rabbits fart. Diet is the main cause of farting. But other factors include stress, dehydration, and eating too fast.
A rabbit’s diet can affect how often he farts. Food containing high levels of carbohydrates, sugars, and certain types of vegetables can promote gas production.
Starchy foods such as potatoes, grains, legumes, corn, bread, cereals, etc., can cause gas. Certain vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower, should be eaten in moderation. Additionally, sugary foods such as fruits and treats can make your rabbit gassy.
If taken in large amounts, these foods can cause gas problems. Moderation is key. Luckily, they are not recommended as the main component of a rabbit’s diet. The best diet you can feed your rabbit is hay or grass to keep them happy and healthy.
Water is very important in a rabbit’s body. One of the benefits of water is that it prevents gas. If your rabbit is not drinking enough water, dehydration can be a big problem. Dehydration causes an imbalance in electrolytes, which means that the rabbit’s body uses the water in its body. This causes the gas to be trapped in the stomach. Hence, your rabbit will fart more often.
Stress in a rabbit can negatively affect its thyroid gland, which can cause gas build-up. Some of the factors that can cause stress include:
- Physical pain
- Excessive light
- Excessive heat
- Change of environment
- Change of routine
- Small or congested living spaces
- Being exposed to predators
Avoid all these triggers, and your rabbit might fart less often.
Eating too fast
As much as it is important to check on your rabbit’s diet, it is also important to check how they eat. When rabbits eat too fast, they swallow a lot of air, which increases gas build-up. Since rabbits cannot belch, they can only expel the excess air through farting.
If you don’t feed your rabbit on time, he might get extra hungry and, as a result, eat quickly. To prevent this issue, feed your rabbit on time.
Another reason a rabbit can eat fast is anxiety, which has much to do with dominance. If you have several rabbits, the dominant one gets to eat first. As a result, the submissive one eats quickly for fear of losing food. If you have several rabbits, you can avoid this by feeding them in separate areas.
How can you tell if a rabbit is gassy?
Rabbits hide their weaknesses because they are prey animals, and showing signs of pain or discomfort can make them a bigger target for predators. Therefore, it is hard to tell when they are experiencing difficulties.
Farting is normal. The gas build-up is bad. Here are the symptoms to help you identify if your rabbit has gas problems.
- Bubbling noises from the stomach
- Loss in appetite even with his favorite foods and treats
- The stomach is hard
- The rabbit will lie in an uncomfortable position, usually on its side, to ease pain
- The rabbit is not pooping
- Restricted movements, even when he is supposed to be active
How can you help your rabbit release trapped gas?
Now that you know all the symptoms of gas build-up, there are some things you can do at home to help your rabbit fart.
Gas build-up can be a painful experience for your rabbit, and he will most likely not want to move around. However, encouraging movements can help expel the gas through the digestive tract quickly.
Place your hand under the rabbit’s stomach and rub it slowly and gently, massaging the stomach in a clockwise direction. You might feel your stomach giggling and the gas passing away.
Please do not apply strong pressure as it might cause more pain. Rub the stomach gently to let the trapped gas pass.
You can offer your rabbit a medicine known as pediatric simethicone. This medicine is also used to help human babies pass painful gas.
Give 1 mL per hour for three hours using a syringe.
If the rabbit is not drinking water, ensure he stays hydrated by dripping water into his mouth. Dehydration can not only cause gas build-up but can also cause other complications, such as lethargy and low energy levels.
Visit a vet
If you have taken all the above steps and do not see any improvement, it is time to seek medical help.
Can farting be a problem for rabbits?
Farting cannot hurt your rabbit. However, not farting can cause serious problems because excess gas builds up in the digestive system.
Here are some of the serious problems that can result from not passing gas:
Bloating happens when bacteria in the digestive system produce excess gas, which builds up in the system. It causes the stomach to swell on either side. Bloating can be painful and dangerous if not dealt with.
You can prevent stomach bloating by offering your rabbit grass hay-based diet.
If your rabbit cannot pass gas, it might cause GI Stasis, which happens when the digestive system slows down or stops completely.
GI stasis is partly caused by gas build-up. Other causes include:
- Lack of exercise
- High starch diet
The signs and symptoms look like this:
- Small fecal pellets
- Fewer or no fecal pellets
- Loss of appetite
While it can be treated, it can be potentially deadly if not addressed quickly. Hence, if you notice the signs, see your vet immediately.
In some cases, when there is gas build-up, the pressure and size of the stomach can cause gastric outflow to block. This condition is serious and needs treatment as soon as possible. It is usually treated through surgery.
Farting is a byproduct of digestion. So yes, rabbits fart. In fact, they fart a lot, which is normal and healthy.
Of course, you cannot always hear or smell rabbit farts. Therefore, it can be difficult to tell if your rabbit is farting or not.
It is important to look for signs, mainly lack of appetite and the rabbit not acting normally. If you have any concerns, call your vet.
If you do not want to stress your rabbit with a lot of gas, provide a hay-based diet. Avoid foods with high levels of carbs and sugar because they can affect your rabbit’s digestive system and cause gas.