Heat Wave: Guidelines for Keeping Rabbits Cool in Summer

 As a bunny owner, you do all you can to keep your fluffy friends healthy and happy, and when it comes to keeping them cool in hot weather, it's important to keep them from overheating. As a species, rabbits do not do well in hot weather, and since they only regulate body heat through their ears, it is difficult for them to dissipate heat compared to other species.

Heat Wave: Guidelines for Keeping Rabbits Cool in Summer
Heat Wave: Guidelines for Keeping Rabbits Cool in Summer

 As a result, rabbits cannot tolerate extreme heat and may even die from overheating (hyperthermia). Believe it or not, temperatures above 25°C (77°F) are quite dangerous for rabbits and can put them at risk of heatstroke. It is also important to note that overweight, old and young rabbits are particularly prone to overheating.

This is an informative article. Nodisk One is not permitted to make a diagnosis or recommend any form of veterinary care. If your pet is in pain or ill, we recommend that you take him to the vet.

What Are The Signs Of Heatstroke In Rabbits?

 Hot weather can increase the risk of heat stroke in rabbits. Rabbits that have thick or long coats, rabbits that carry a few extra ounces, or that are very young or very old are at even greater risk. Temperature, ventilation and humidity are also factors that contribute to overheating, and knowing the signs of heat stroke in rabbits is crucial as it can in some cases be fatal.

 During the summer months it is important to check your rabbits regularly to make sure they are comfortable, well hydrated and not overheating. Being able to notice the early signs of heatstroke and what to do can mean the difference between life and death for your fluffy friends. Signs of heat stroke in rabbits include the following:

  • Panting or rapid, shallow breathing.
  • Salivate or drool.
  • Weak and listless.
  • Ears red and hot.
  • disorientation.
  • muscle tremors.
  • High heart rate (tachycardia).
  • Moisture around the nose area.
  • Head tilted back while panting.
  • Cardiac arrythmia.
  • Seizures.
  • Coma.
  • Cardiopulmonary arrest.
  • A body temperature above 104°F (the normal body temperature range for rabbits is 101.3-104°F or 38.5-40°C).

How Should You Handle Heat Stroke In A Rabbit?

 If you suspect your rabbits are overheating and experiencing heat stroke, the best thing to do is call your veterinarian immediately. Heatstroke can kill rabbits and you need to act fast. Your veterinarian may recommend intravenous therapy and hospitalization to bring down the temperature and reduce dehydration. Other things you can do while you prepare to take your rabbit to the vet:

  • Wet your rabbit's ears and body with cold water before taking him to the vet. This may be the best thing for overheated rabbits. You can dampen a towel with cold water and rub it along your rabbit's ears. As a result, there will be evaporative cooling.
  • Move your rabbits to a cool place and keep them out of direct sunlight. If they live outside, you can bring them inside your home if you need air conditioning or if the temperature in your home is below 77°F.
  • Provide cool, fresh water.

What Not To Do In Case Of Heatstroke In Rabbits

 Below is a list of things not to do if you think your rabbits are hyperthermic and at risk of heat stroke:

  • Avoid overcooling your rabbit. Excessive cooling can have the opposite effect and cause hypothermia (decrease in body temperature below 101.3°F).
  • Do not place them in a sink full of water or in a basin of water. Rabbits don't like to swim and placing them in a water bath could shock them.
  • Do not try to force your rabbit to drink or put water in its mouth as this can lead to an aspiration hazard; just offer fresh, cool water.
  • Do not leave your bun-bun unattended for any length of time.

 Heatstroke and severe hyperthermia are medical emergencies and affect nearly every system in the body. By keeping your rabbits cool during the summer months, you can avoid the risk of overheating.

How do I keep my rabbits cool in the summer?

It's important to watch your rabbits during the hot summer months, and while each rabbit may tolerate the heat differently, it's always a good idea to keep an eye on your rabbits. Below are fifteen ways to keep your bunnies cool in hot weather:

- Fresh and cool water: Make sure your rabbits have plenty of fresh, cool water to stay hydrated. You can even add an ice cube or two to the bunny's water jug ​​to keep the water nice and cool.

- Provide a breeze with a fan: Fans can be used to keep the air cool and create airflow, just make sure the fan isn't blowing directly at the rabbits, and it's always best to keep the fans out of their reach as you want prevent your pet from chewing on electrical cords.

- Frozen water bottles or ice packs: You can make your ice packs by filling a bottle ¾ full of water and then placing it in the freezer, and you can also use shipping ice packs. Before placing in the cage, wrap each frozen water bottle/ice bag in a clean towel. This way, if your bunnies need to cool off, they can lay down next to the wrapped ice packs to stay cool.

- Wet towels: To create shade and an evaporative cooling effect, drape wet towels over the cage. It is important to avoid covering the entire cage with towels as your rabbits still need air to stay cool. If you have a fan, you can use the combination of wet towels and airflow to create bunny air conditioning.

- Tiles, bricks or slates: Ceramic tiles or slate floors can provide cool places for your rabbits to sit to stay cool. However, always ensure that the tiles are not exposed to direct sunlight as they can get very hot. Even better, freeze a tile or two, wrap them in towels, and set them inside the cage.

- Move your rabbits to a cooler location: If your rabbits live outdoors, consider bringing them indoors. If you have air conditioning or an evaporative cooler, your rabbits will be much happier in cooler weather. Or, move them to a nice, cool place in the house.

- Give them a spritz: Since rabbits regulate their body temperature through their ears, try a water spray bottle to spray their ears. It's important not to soak your fluffy friend, just gently spray the ears.

- Soak the vegetables: Try soaking your green buns and vegetables in cold water or serve them straight from the fridge. This will help keep your rabbits hydrated.

- Self-cooling mats: You can buy self-cooling mats online or at pet stores. These mats can be put on the cage floor and offer cooling relief from the heat. When the cooling mat comes into contact with your bun, its temperature is absorbed by the cooling pad, which then releases heat.

- Ice cubes: Feel free to put a few ice cubes in a bowl for bunnies who enjoy licking them.

- Keep out of direct sunlight: Make sure there is plenty of shade available in their cage and that they are not in direct sunlight.

- Rabbit hole: We know that in the wild, rabbits burrow underground, that way they can stay cool and out of the sun. If your rabbits live outside, try creating a warren in a shady area of ​​the rabbit enclosure where your fluffy friends can hang out and cool off.

- Brush your buns: Using a brush to remove any extra fur is a good idea, especially if you have long-haired rabbits.

- Frozen vegetables: Consider placing a few vegetables in the freezer and offering them as a cool treat.

- Supervise older, younger, or rabbits with special needs: Older rabbits (over five) tend to be more sedentary and may not drink as much water as they should. Dehydration resulting from this may cause other health issues or even death. This also applies to overweight rabbits and incapable rabbits. Very young rabbits should also be supervised as they cannot regulate their body temperature as well as adults.

Keeping bunnies cool in hot weather is important, and by implementing some of the suggestions above, you can ensure that your fluffy friends will be comfortable and cool in hot weather.

Only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, are used by Nodisk One to substantiate the information in our articles.