Winter is gone and now it’s summertime. This means it’ll be quite hot. Rabbits aren’t good with hear and thus, summer isn’t great for bunnies.
If a rabbit feels very hot, it can lead to a serious condition such as heat stroke. And this is a condition your rabbit should not experience.
Hence, you have a part to play in keeping your rabbit cool during this period. Interestingly, there are many ways to do this!
But to make it easier for you, this article will be sharing 12 tips for keeping a rabbit cool during summer.
However, before we jump right into this, it’s important to know how your furry friends can keep themselves cool on their own and without your help.
Let’s discuss this below!
RECOMMENDED READING: COMPLETE BUNNY CARE GUIDE!
By Josefine S.
How Do Rabbits Keep Cool?
Rabbits have unique ways to expel their internal heat since they don’t sweat through their skin pores. Here are the ways rabbits regulate their body temperature when it rises:
Rabbit’s ears are their primary heat regulators. A group of blood vessels runs through the ears of a rabbit and expands to help it stay cool.
Rabbits evaporate moisture through breathing to release their body heat. When a rabbit feels hot, it starts to breathe more quickly to exhale more of the heat it’s holding in its body.
Bunnies are fond of stretching out more during the warmer months on cool surfaces to keep their internal temperature cool. This way, they will not retain heat.
Inside a rabbit’s nasal passage, there’s mucus that aids in heat exchange during respiration. And when the days are hot, the mucus’ temperature adjusts to enable heat loss in rabbits.
Now you know how bunnies keep themselves cool. Nevertheless, they might not be able 5o handle summer heat all by themselves.
So this brings us to the part where we look at the different things you can do to help them in the summertime.
By Gribin Isaf
How to Keep Your Rabbit Cool During Summer – 12 Effective Tips
Tip #1: Keep Air Conditioning on Throughout the Day
Understand that air conditioning in homes is a good way to keep rabbits cool during the hot weather. Hence, if you have one, you should keep it on whether you’re at home or not.
For many pet owners, it’s unnecessary to leave the air conditioning on for pets. This is because they assume animals can handle heat better than people can. What’s more, this belief extends to rabbits too.
But all pets do not handle heat the same way. Dogs and cats can handle heat better than bunnies can. Perhaps, it has something to do with the thickness of their fur.
Remember that heatstroke is a common thing in rabbits, especially when they feel very hot. Even if a rabbit has a way of regulating heat, it might not be helpful when the days are pretty hot.
So turning on the air conditioning during the summer months is important to keep the air cool for your rabbit.
By Adamantios – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Tip #2: Move Your Bunny to the Basement
If your home has a basement, you can always relocate your rabbits’ enclosure there when the days are hot!
Naturally, the coolest section of the house will be in the basement. This is because there are normally fewer windows in basements; there is equally less direct sunlight reaching this space.
Interestingly, they can be up to 15 degrees cooler than the main floors above them. Hence, it’s a good alternative to an air-conditioned room for your rabbit.
Tip #3: Place Ceramic Tiles in Rabbits Enclosure
When other surfaces begin to warm up, a ceramic tile is pretty good at remaining chilly. Even to this day, many people, especially kids, will love to lie on these kinds of floors when they feel very hot.
Interestingly, rabbits like to do the same to keep themselves cool too. However, you can always make these marble or ceramic tiles available in your rabbit’s enclosure.
Get them and place them on the floor or the sides. This way, your rabbit can feel comfortable stretching out or leaning against them.
What’s more, you can make these tiles extra chilly before placing them. Keep them in the refrigerator for about an hour before laying them on the floor in your rabbit’s enclosure.
Tip # 4: Spray Water at the Back of Your Rabbit’s Ears (Spritzing)
Another way to help keep your rabbit cool in the summer is to wet their back ears a bit with cool water. Understand that rabbit bodies release most of the internal heat through their ears.
So spraying water behind their ears can help them cool off. I recommend that you spray it so you don’t soak their ears. So, the best thing to use is a spray bottle filled with water.
This way, you can control how much water touches their ears. In addition, you should be careful doing this and avoid water getting into your rabbit’s ears.
If this happens, the water can remain trapped inside their ears and eventually lead to an infection.
Tip #5: Use Frozen water bottles
During the hot weather, you can create frozen water bottles to keep your rabbit cool. Do this by filling old plastic water bottles with water and letting them freeze thoroughly in the refrigerator.
Once they are super frozen, use an old towel or blanket to wrap them up. This is important to keep your rabbit from getting wet or too cold due to the freezing nature of the bottles.
Afterward, place them in your rabbit enclosure to help keep them cool. Similar to ceramic tile, this frozen water bottle technique offers a cool surface for your rabbits to lean against at their own will.
Tip #6: Circulate the Air in the Room
Another important way to ensure your rabbit stays cool during the summer season is to circulate the air.
It’s not a good thing for air to be stagnant, especially in a closed-off room. It can trap heat. Hence, you want to keep the air flowing.
Do this by opening windows and doors. In addition, you should turn on the fans in your home. However, do not let your fan blow air onto your bunny directly.
Remember, rabbits don’t sweat, form their skin so there’s no point doing this! Instead, you might end up harming your rabbit and causing them respiratory issues.
Tip #7: Make Fresh Cool Water Available
Aside from overheating, you do not want your bunny to suffer dehydration. It easily leads to heat stroke in rabbits.
To prevent this dehydration during the summer months, make sure your bunny has access to plenty of fresh water daily. It’s impotent that your rabbit doesn’t look for water to drink.
In addition, you need to change the water often during the day. This ensures the water is fresh and cool at all times for your rabbit.
If you observe that the day is hotter than usual, you can add ice cubes to the water. This will help to keep it cool for longer periods.
Bunnies also have preferences! Many rabbits will drink more from a bowl and others might prefer to drink out of a bottle.
Hence, you should use a water container that encourages your rabbit to drink more.
Tip #8: “DIY” Cooling Unit With A Fan and Ice
When there’s no AC, you can always improvise. That’s right! Create something similar!
With a standing fan and a bowl of ice, you can create a cheap cooling system to help keep rabbits cool in summer. Place the ice right in front of the fan.
This way, chilly air will circulate in the room as the fan blows through the bowl ice. No doubt, it won’t perform as effectively as a normal air conditioner.
However, it will still significantly cool the room and prevent your rabbit from overheating.
Tip #9: Brush your Rabbit
Regular grooming is important to keep your rabbit’s fur suitable for summer. In addition, your rabbit needs to shed its winter coat when the weather gradually gets warm.
As they shed these excess fur meant for winter, they will now have lighter fur which helps keep them cool during the hot days. Although the molting season might last for several weeks, grooming your rabbit’s fur can help make things quicker.
In the summer, you might wish to clip your rabbit’s fur if it’s long-haired. It will equally help your bunny keep cool during summer.
Tip #10: Create Shady Areas for Rabbits
It doesn’t matter if you keep rabbits indoors or outdoors, you should offer them plenty of shade, especially when it gets very hot during the day. A rabbit needs to have shady places to hide from the sun at its own will.
If they can’t, exposure to direct sunlight can swiftly result in heat exhaustion. Above all, it is ideal to let rabbits choose between direct sunlight and shade on their own.
This way, they can better control their body temperatures during summertime.
Tip #11: Offer Rabbits Fresh Leafy Greens Rinsed in Cold Water
Wash your rabbit’s fresh leafy greens in cold water before giving them to him or her each day. Moreover, you don’t have to totally shake the extra cold water droplets off.
Leave it that way so your rabbit gets to eat the greens chilled. This is the best way to serve them greens during hot weather.
Aside from providing fresh cool water for your rabbits to drink, these cool leafy greens can encourage hydration.
READ ALSO – HOW TO FEED RABBITS
Tip #12: Use Lesser Bedding
When the season is hot, you should use less bedding or none in your rabbit’s enclosure. Most of the floor space in their enclosure should be exposed.
Rabbits will benefit from stretching out on flat cool surfaces like a bare floor. It’s a great way for bunnies to keep cool when the days are hot.
Heat Stroke in Rabbits
A very dangerous condition that rabbits are likely to experience during summertime is heat stroke. And this happens when your rabbit feels so much heat.
Overheating (hyperthermia) is common in rabbits during summertime owing to their inability to sweat plus their thick fur. Hence, hot rabbits will suffer heat stroke when they have no means of cooling themselves.
In addition, both indoors and outdoors rabbits can overheat. However, a rabbit living outdoors has a higher chance of experiencing it.
In addition, when it comes to age, both very young and very old are more likely to experience heat stroke.
This is because rabbits easily get stressed out at such ages. As a result, their bodies don’t control temperature rise very well.
Now, if your rabbit should experience heatstroke, take it to the vet immediately! Meanwhile, you should do these few things to keep your bunny cool:
Spritz their ears
Offer your rabbit cool water to drink.
Wrap your bunny with a damp towel
Place frozen water bottles next to your rabbits
Prevention is always better in this situation and you can do that by monitoring the signs of heat rise in your bunny:
Here are common signs of overheating in rabbits:
Refusing to eat
Weakness or lack of energy
Head Bent backward
Moving slowly or abnormally
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.
With these tips listed in this article, I believe you now know how you can help your rabbit stay cool in warmer seasons. Remember that bunnies are great at keeping cool on their own when their body temperature rises.
However, it doesn’t seem to help all the time, especially during summertime. Hence, your rabbit needs your help to remain cool so they don’t overheat. What’s more, you don’t need to do every single one of these tips to keep your bunny comfortable in the summertime.
We provided you with many options in case you might not be able to do some of them. So get on with it and keep your rabbit’s body temperature in check throughout the summer!