provide ice packs to cool down your pet

12 Tips to Keep Your Bunny Cool In Summer: A Rabbit Survival Guide

Posted by Daniel on 3 November 2022

Summer means soaring temperatures, which can be dangerous for our bunnies. Rabbits struggle to regulate their body heat in very high temperatures, making them susceptible to heatstroke.

But don't fret! You can easily help your bunny stay cool and comfortable. This guide shares 12 effective tips, starting with their natural cooling strategies. Let's dive in!


Keep rabbits cool in summer

By Josefine S.

How Do Rabbits Keep Cool?

Unlike humans, rabbits lack sweat glands. How do they stay cool then? Here's their secret arsenal:

  • Ear cooling: Packed with blood vessels, their ears are adapted to release heat when exposed to cool air. The blood vessels in the ear expand and contract as needed to maintain their body temperatures.
  • Rapid breathing: Panting through their noses helps evaporate moisture and expel heat from their bodies. Keep in mind that rabbits cannot pant through their mouths, which makes this way of staying cool much less effective than that of a dog or a cat.
  • Sprawling strategy: Stretching out on cool surfaces maximizes heat release from their bellies.

While these mechanisms are impressive, the summer heat can still overpower them. Stay tuned for tips on helping your bunny thrive in the warm weather!

Keep cool by giving ice cubes to your rabbit or a damp towel and a frozen water bottle

By Gribin Isaf

How to Keep Your Rabbit Cool During Summer - 12 Effective Tips

Tip #1: Keep Air Conditioning on Throughout the Day

While some pet owners believe animals handle heat better than humans, rabbits are particularly vulnerable. Unlike dogs and cats who can pant effectively, they struggle to regulate their body temperature and are susceptible to heatstroke.

Therefore, air conditioning is crucial for your rabbit's well-being during hot weather. Even if you're not home, consider keeping it on at a moderate setting to ensure a safe and comfortable environment.

Ice cubes in drinkers, give your rabbit ice packs to lay on in warm weather,

By Adamantios - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Tip #2: Move Your Bunny to the Basement

During scorching days, consider moving your rabbit's enclosure to the basement! Basements tend to be significantly cooler than main floors due to being underground, with fewer windows and less sun exposure. This can be a great, air-conditioning-free option for keeping your bunny comfortable.

long haired rabbit need frozen soda bottles to stay cool

Tip #3: Place Ceramic Tiles in your Rabbits Enclosure

Ceramic and marble tiles can be helpful for regulating a rabbit's body temperature during warm weather. Unlike other surfaces that heat up quickly, these tiles retain coolness longer. It's true that people find them refreshing due to this property, but there's no evidence that rabbits specifically use them to mimic human behavior.

Here's how to use tiles for your bunny:

  • Place them in the enclosure: Put the tiles on the floor or lean them against walls where your rabbit likes to spend time. Make sure they are secure and cannot fall on your bunny.
  • Offer multiple tiles: This allows your bunny to choose the coolest one or move between them for better heat regulation.
  • Chill them beforehand: While placing them in the refrigerator for an hour can provide initial coolness, experts advise against it due to the possibility of condensation forming under the tile, which can cause discomfort or even harm to your rabbit. Instead, keep the tiles in a shaded area within the enclosure.

Additional tips:

  • Ensure the tiles are non-slip to prevent accidents.
  • Clean them regularly to avoid bacteria build-up.
  • Remember, tiles are just one method. Combine them with other heat-prevention strategies like proper ventilation, shade, frozen water bottles, and access to fresh water.
Provide shade in hot weather. if you can add a cooling fan in the cage

Tip # 4: Spray Water at the Back of Your Rabbit’s Ears (Spritzing)

While it's true rabbits lose heat through their ears, spraying their ears will help to cool them down, but it isn't always the best cooling method. In fact, the Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF) advises against it due to various risks:

  • Stress: Spraying can be stressful for rabbits.
  • Ear infections: Water trapped in the ear canal can lead to infections.
  • Ineffectiveness: The cooling effect may be minimal and short-lived.

Safer alternatives:

  • Offer cool ceramic tiles: Place unpainted, smooth ceramic tiles in shaded areas of the enclosure for your bunny to lie on.
  • Provide ample ventilation: Ensure their enclosure is well-ventilated with fresh air circulation.
  • Increase water access: Offer multiple water bowls and encourage frequent drinking.
  • Cool the environment: Consider air conditioning, fans, or shaded outdoor access (supervised to avoid predators).


  • Monitor your bunny: Watch for signs of heat stress like lethargy, panting, or floppy ears.
  • Seek vet help immediately: If you suspect heatstroke, contact your veterinarian promptly.

By focusing on safer alternatives and prioritizing environmental cooling, you can help your bunny stay comfortable and healthy in warm weather.

Look out for the signs of heat stroke and bring your bunny inddors when the temperatures outside reach an all time high

Tip #5: Use Frozen water bottles

While frozen water bottles seem to work great for some, expert advice recommends against them due to safety concerns.

Potential dangers:

  • Chewing hazard: Rabbits might chew on the plastic, leading to ingestion or choking.
  • Condensation: Wrapping the bottle can trap condensation, potentially causing skin irritation or dampness, which can lead to illness.
  • Uneven cooling: Rabbits typically regulate heat throughout their body, not just through contact with cool surfaces.
  • Stress: Unfamiliar objects and sudden temperature changes can stress rabbits.

Safer alternatives:

  • Use the bottles outside of the enclosure: Place them against the fence of your enclosure for bunnies to lean against as they please without being able to chew the bottles.
  • Ceramic tiles: As mentioned previously, unpainted, smooth ceramic tiles offer a safe and cool surface for bunnies to lie on.
  • Air conditioning: If possible, keep the room temperature comfortable with air conditioning.
  • Fans: Use pet-safe fans for gentle air circulation.
  • Hydration: Ensure your rabbit has ample access to fresh, cool water.
  • Shade: Provide shaded areas in their enclosure or outdoor access with supervision.
ice cubes, ice, frozen

Tip #6: Circulate the Air in the Room

Good air circulation is crucial for keeping your rabbit cool in summer! But while air circulation is important, direct air blowing can be harmful to rabbits. Here's why:

  • Stress: Direct airflow can be stressful and disruptive to rabbits.
  • Respiratory issues: Cold air blasts can irritate their sensitive respiratory system, potentially leading to illness.
  • Uneven cooling: Rabbits regulate heat throughout their bodies, not just through targeted airflow.

Safe air circulation methods:

  • Open windows and doors: Create cross-ventilation for natural air flow, prioritizing shaded areas.
  • Use pet-safe fans: Set fans to oscillate and point away from your bunny's enclosure to avoid direct air blasts.
  • Air conditioning: If possible, maintain a comfortable room temperature with air conditioning.
fan, ventilating, cooling

Tip #7: Make Fresh Cool Water Available 

Preventing dehydration is crucial for rabbits, especially during summer heat.

Hydration Essentials:

  • Unlimited access: Ensure your bunny has constant access to fresh, cool water, regardless of the weather.
  • Multiple water sources: Offer both a water bowl and a water bottle to cater to individual preferences. Some bunnies drink more from one than the other.
  • Frequent changes: Replace the water several times a day to ensure freshness and coolness.
  • Monitor water intake: Watch your bunny's drinking habits. Reduced intake can indicate illness or discomfort, requiring a vet visit.

Ice cubes:

  • Use them with caution. While they initially cool the water, they can melt quickly and leave the remaining water lukewarm, negating the purpose.
  • Opt for chilled water bowls instead, which provide consistent coolness without the temperature fluctuation.


  • Signs of dehydration: Watch for symptoms like lethargy, dry eyes, brown urine, and a lack of urination. If you suspect dehydration, see a vet immediately.
  • Heatstroke danger: Dehydration contributes to heatstroke, a life-threatening condition.
cold water bowl

Tip #8: “DIY” Cooling Unit With A Fan and Ice

While the idea of using a DIY ice-fan system is creative, it's not always the best choice, but in an emergency situation, go right ahead.

Reasons to avoid:

  • Stress: The unfamiliar setup and fluctuating air temperature can be stressful for rabbits.
  • Respiratory issues: Cold air blasts can irritate their sensitive respiratory systems, potentially leading to illness
  • Ineffectiveness: Ice melts quickly, making the coolness temporary and requiring constant refilling.

Safer alternatives:

  • Air conditioning: If possible, maintain a comfortable room temperature with air conditioning.
  • Pet-safe fans: Use oscillating fans pointed away from your bunny's enclosure to avoid direct blasts.
  • Shade and ventilation: Create shaded areas within their enclosure and ensure good air circulation with open windows and doors (prioritize areas with no drafts).
  • Cool surfaces: Offer unpainted, smooth ceramic tiles in shaded areas for them to lie on.
  • Hydration: Always provide fresh, cool water for your bunny to drink.
cool your bunny room with an air conditioner

Tip #9: Brush your Rabbit

Rabbits naturally adjust their fur to the seasons, shedding their winter coat for a lighter summer one. Here's what you need to know:


  • As the weather warms, your rabbit will shed its thick winter coat for a thinner, cooler summer one.
  • This natural process can take several weeks.
  • Grooming your rabbit can help: Brushing regularly removes loose fur, reducing shedding time and preventing uncomfortable clumps.


  • For long-haired rabbits only: Consider a professional groomer for a summer trim.
  • Never shave them completely: This can damage their skin and leave them vulnerable to sunburn and overheating.
  • Consult your vet first: Discuss if trimming is safe for your specific rabbit's health and breed.


  • Safe shedding: Let your rabbit's natural molting process happen.
  • Gentle grooming: Use a soft brush and avoid pulling fur.
  • Seek professional help: Consult a vet or groomer for safe trimming advice.
remove excessive hair

Tip #10: Create Shady Areas for Rabbits

Shade is crucial for rabbits, both indoors and outdoors, especially during scorching summer days. Here's how to ensure your furry friend stays cool and avoids the dangers of overheating:

Shade Essentials:

  • Always provide multiple shaded areas: Offer ample, easily accessible shade throughout your rabbit's environment. This allows them to choose a cool spot as needed.
  • Prioritize cool shade: Opt for shaded areas protected from direct sunlight for most of the day. Shady trees, covered areas, or commercially available shade structures are ideal.
  • Monitor sun exposure: Limit their time in direct sunlight, especially during peak heat hours. This is particularly important for rabbits with light fur or health conditions.

Heatstroke Alert:

  • Direct sunlight can quickly lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke, a life-threatening condition.
  • Signs of heatstroke: Watch for symptoms like lethargy, panting, glazed eyes, or floppy ears. Seek immediate veterinary care if you suspect heatstroke.
  • Empower your bunny: Providing adequate shade empowers your rabbit to self-regulate their body temperature, crucial for their well-being.


  • Shade is essential: Never leave your rabbit without access to cool shade, especially during hot weather.
  • Be proactive: Don't wait for signs of overheating. Ensure shade is readily available throughout the day.
  • Seek professional help: If you have concerns about your rabbit's heat tolerance or suspect heatstroke, consult your veterinarian immediately.
make sure your bunny has shade

Tip #11: Offer Rabbits Fresh Leafy Greens Rinsed in Cold Water

While the idea of giving your bunny chilled greens sounds refreshing, experts advise against it for several reasons. Room temperature wet greens on the other hand is always a great option.

Risks of chilled greens:

  • Gastrointestinal issues: Sudden temperature changes can disrupt gut bacteria, causing bloating, diarrhea, or other digestive problems.
  • Reduced appetite: Some rabbits might find the coldness unappealing and avoid eating their greens altogether.

Safer alternatives:

  • Offer fresh, room-temperature greens: Wash greens with cool water before feeding to your rabbit. Shake them to remove the largest droplets.
  • Freeze small water bottles: Place them outside your rabbit's enclosure for them to lean against, not to chew on.
  • Provide ample shade and ventilation: This is the most effective way to help your bunny regulate their body temperature.
  • Ensure fresh, cool water access: Encourage hydration with readily available, clean water at all times.
provide cold, fresh greens


Tip #12: Use Less Bedding

Removing SOME bedding is great, but you need to make sure there's enough left to provide some comfort to your bunny.


  • Discomfort: Rabbits rely on bedding for warmth, comfort, and digging behaviors. Removing it entirely can be stressful and uncomfortable.
  • Foot issues: Bare floors, especially hard surfaces, can be rough on your rabbit's feet and increase the risk of pododermatitis (bumblefoot) and sore hocks.
  • Reduced security: Bedding provides a sense of security and nesting instinct for rabbits. Removing it can leave them feeling exposed and anxious.

Safer alternatives:

  • Switch to lighter bedding: Opt for breathable materials like hay or aspen shavings, especially during summer. Avoid anything dusty or scented.
  • Offer cool surfaces: Place unpainted, smooth ceramic tiles in shaded areas within the enclosure for your rabbit to lie on. Clear the bedding away from the tiles for a better cooling effect.
  • Ensure air circulation: Provide good ventilation in the enclosure with open windows and doors (prioritize areas with no drafts).
provide ice packs to cool down your pet

Heat Stroke in Rabbits

Understanding Heatstroke:

Rabbits lack sweat glands and thick fur, making them vulnerable to heatstroke, a life-threatening condition during hot weather. Both indoor and outdoor rabbits are at risk, especially young, old, or stressed ones.

Signs of Overheating:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Red ears
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Head tilted back
  • Abnormal movements or slowness
  • Shaking
  • Unresponsive behavior

Immediate Action:

If you suspect heatstroke, seek immediate veterinary attention! While waiting, try these temporary cooling measures:

  • Spritz their ears with cool water (avoid eyes and nose).
  • Offer cool water to drink.
  • Wrap them in a damp towel (not soaked).
  • Place frozen water bottles (wrapped in a towel) near them, not directly on them.

Prevention is Key:

  • Monitor temperature: Keep their environment below 80°F (27°C).
  • Provide shade and ventilation: Use fans, open windows, or air conditioning.
  • Offer cool surfaces: Place ceramic tiles in shaded areas.
  • Ensure hydration: Keep fresh, cool water readily available.
  • Limit direct sunlight: Avoid midday sun exposure.
  • Adjust bedding: Use lighter materials like hay during hot weather.
  • Consider breed and age: Be extra cautious with young, old, or brachycephalic (flat-faced) rabbits.

Remember, quick action and preventive measures are crucial to keeping your bunny cool and safe during hot weather.

bunnies prefer cold over warm weather

Related Questions:

What Temperature is Too Hot for Rabbits?

A temperature that’s above 25℃ (77℉) is too hot and equally dangerous for a rabbit. Bunnies do not tolerate so much heat. Due to high temperatures, rabbits can suffer heat stroke, which can eventually lead to death.

What Temperature is Too Cold for Rabbits?

Anything below 15℉ is too cold for bunnies. As long as they are not wet and exposed to direct wind. If you live in cold parts of the world or during winter when it gets pretty cold, you should try to keep your rabbits warm and comfortable. 

Moreover, it shouldn’t be too warm to avoid overheating in bunnies. A rabbit can tolerate the cold more than heat.

How Do Wild Rabbits Handle the Heat?

Wild rabbits live in burrows underground, which provides shade. This is why they can control heat. 

In addition, they are most active during the cool times of the day, usually in the morning and the evening. Hence, this practice helps keep their body temperature cool during the summertime. 

keep your bunny out of the sun on hot days

Wrapping Up: Keep Your Bunny Cool & Comfortable

Keeping your furry friend cool during hot weather is crucial for their health and well-being. While rabbits have natural cooling mechanisms, extreme temperatures can still pose a risk.

The information provided in this guide offers various safe and effective options to help your bunny stay comfortable throughout the summer. Remember, you don't need to implement every single tip; choose the ones that best suit your rabbit's needs and your environment.

Key takeaways:

  • Monitor your rabbit: Watch for signs of overheating (lethargy, panting, red ears).
  • Prioritize prevention: Provide shade, ventilation, cool surfaces, and access to fresh water.
  • Choose safe methods: Avoid techniques that could stress or harm your rabbit.
  • Seek professional help: Consult your vet if you have concerns or suspect heatstroke.

By following these tips and prioritizing your rabbit's well-being, you can ensure they enjoy a happy and healthy summer!

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