First Aid for a Choking Rabbit

Choking is often deadly. Know what to look for and what to do.

If your bunny is choking now, watch the video below immediately for instructions.
You probably don’t have time to get to the vet.

How can I tell if my bunny is choking?

If your bunny is in obvious distress and seems to be having trouble breathing she might be choking. Look for:

  • Frantic behavior
  • Head up and back
  • Loud, rattley, or open-mouth breathing
  • Lips and nose turning blue
  • Running from you when you try to assist
  • Your bunny might scream
  • Fluid or mucus will be coming out of the mouth and nose.

How do I help a choking rabbit?

Watch the video for a demonstration of the bunny heimlich maneuver.

You probably do NOT have enough time to get to a vet. You must try to help your bunny yourself.

  • Get control of your rabbit. This will probably be difficult because he or she will be frantic. You MUST be brave and bold and catch your rabbit.
  • Check the mouth if you can to see if there is an obvious obstruction. You may get bitten. Often, the obstruction can’t be seen or felt (it’s often food)
  • Perform a bunny heimlich manuver–see video. The three critical things to remember:
    • Protect the spine and hold the rabbit tightly.
    • Wipe any fluid as it comes out of the mouth or nose to avoid aspiration.
    • You are using gravity and any air in the lungs to try to force the blockage out. 

We highly recommend the detailed write-up, videos, and stories at vgr1.com/choking

  • Videos of what a choking rabbit looks like
  • Detailed descriptions of various heimlich maneuvers for rabbits
  • Stories from other rabbit owners

Take your bunny to the vet after a choking incident.

If your bunny has any fluid left in his or her lungs, it could cause an infection or pneumonia. Your vet will assess and determine any further treatment needed. Often, our has prescribed antibiotics.