Hot Bunnies! How to keep you Rabbit Cool in the Summer

Now that summer has officially begun, I thought I’d write a post about how to keep your precious bunnies cool in this hot weather.
 
For your bunny to be safest and live longest, domestic rabbits should be kept indoors, period. They are highly susceptible to heat extremes and stress, which can rapidly cause death. Keeping your rabbit in your home is also the best way for them to relax and bond with your family. You’ll also be able to tell quickly if there are any other health issues you might miss if your bun lives outdoors.  So what are some ways to keep your home cool and comfortable for your fur-baby?

  • Make sure your home is an acceptable temperature for your rabbit. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for someone with a fur coat on! Use your air conditioner or fans to keep your home cool.
  • Your rabbit’s pen needs to be out of direct sunlight, so be sure to determine how much sunlight is streaming through the windows in the rabbit’s main area.
  • Place a fan directly near your rabbit’s area or in his or her room. Make sure the cord is in a bunny-proofed position! You can even place damp towels on the side of your rabbit’s pen and let the fan blow through them; this will create cooler air.
  • Frozen water bottles are a cheap and easy addition to your rabbit’s room. Wrap them in towels and place them in prime lounging territory – some buns love lying next to them to keep cool.
  • Bowls or tubs of ice can provide some relief from the heat, as well as another way for your rabbit to stay hydrated.
  • Ceramic tiles or small slabs of marble are great for making a cool spot for you bun to lie on.
  • Always keep your rabbit well-groomed to remove excess hair. If you have a long-haired rabbit, getting them a shorter “summer cut” may be a good option to help keep them cooler.
  • Rabbits should always have plenty of fresh, bun-safe veggies. Rinse them well with cool water before giving them to your bunny; this will help keep them hydrated.
  • If your rabbit will tolerate it, you can mist his or her ears with a spray bottle. A lot of heat dissipates through the ears, and misting them will help cool the blood.

Signs of Heat Stroke or Stress in Rabbits

  • Increased respiration rate (fast breathing)
  • Breathing with an open mouth
  • Increased heart rate
  • Warm or hot ears; redness of the ears
  • Drooling or moisture around the muzzle area
  • Lethargy
  • Refusal to drink water for extended periods of time
  • Convulsions
  • Confused behavior

What should you do if you think your rabbit has heat stroke?

  • Take your rabbit to a qualified veterinarian IMMEDIATELY. Rabbits are highly sensitive to heat stroke, and they require immediate attention.
  • Mist your rabbit’s ears with cool water, and wrap their body in a cool, damp towel. DO NOT SUBMERSE YOUR RABBIT IN COLD WATER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
  • On the way to the veterinarian, make sure your car air conditioner is on and the car is as cool as possible.

Remember, though, that summer time can also be a fun time for your bunny, because trips outdoors are possible! If you would like to give your rabbit time to play outdoors, make sure they are in a secure space (i.e. exercise pen) that is safe from predators, toxic plants, and stressful noises. Make sure the top of the pen is covered to protect him/her from predators, and keep the pen in the shade. Supervise your bun at all times when he or she is outdoors, and always provide fresh water. It’s ok to let your rabbit munch on grass and dandelions when in your yard, but they need to be pesticide and poison-free.
 
Have a happy, and safe, bunny-filled summer!

- Emily, Veterinary Student and Bunny Blogger

2 Responses to “Hot Bunnies! How to keep you Rabbit Cool in the Summer”

  1. Diane Goodman Says:

    Don’t forget FLY STRIKE in hot weather. I have incidents and now my bun lives inside.
    It is a horrible thing.
    Thanks.

  2. Devin Ferry Says:

    This is definitly very helpful information. i Lost a rabbit to the summer heat 3 years ago on the day of my surprise birthday party and it was very upsetting. This even now has given me more of an idea of have to keep my new rabbit safe from the hot summer heat. It was really nice reading this and having my rabbit indoors during the summer because it gave me a lot of time to bond with my rabbit and also for my other pets to get along eith him. I know from exsperience that it is very sad to lose a rabbit to the heat so lets do ourselfs and our rabbits a favor and move them inside. At least for the summer that is. Thnks a lot for the extra info!

    -Devin

Leave a Reply