Rabbits are especially prone to heat stroke, so their owners need to make sure they have a cool place to stay in the summer. Wild rabbits go underground or hide under bushes and shrubs to keep cool. Here, we look at what pet owners can do to help their rabbits stay cool when it’s hot outside.
Give your Rabbit Plenty of Shade
Keep your rabbit’s hutch as far away from direct sunlight as possible. Especially metal cabinets can get very warm very quickly and keep that heat all day. The best place to put your rabbit’s hutch is in a shady part of your garden, preferably under a tree or large bush. This will let some light in a while, protecting your rabbits from the heat. If you can’t move the hutch, try putting a big sun umbrella near it. This will help to make the sun’s light less intense.
The same goes for your rabbit run, mostly made of wire mesh and utterly open to the sun’s harmful rays. A light cover that lets the wind blow through and keeps it well-ventilated but also protects them from the sun will ensure it can exercise without getting too hot.
Put some ceramic or slate tiles on the floor of the rabbit hutch. They are made of challenging material so that they will feel calm and relaxed when your rabbits lie on top of them. A tunnel or hiding place inside the cabinet is also a great idea. This will give the rabbits another place to stay out of the sun.
Offer your Rabbit Fresh, Cool Water
Fresh water is always important; during the summer months, it should be refilled regularly throughout the day. With water bowls and bottles, your rabbit will have access to many liquids, and they may even like to lie in the bowls when it’s boiling outside.
Adding ice cubes to the water bowl and giving the dog a supply of fresh vegetables will help cool him down. These naturally have a lot of water in them, and your rabbit will enjoy munching on them on those long, hot days while staying hydrated.
Keep Flies at Bay
Probably the most annoying thing about summer is the flies. They are the most persistent animals, and they can drive us crazy. Unfortunately, they also guide our rabbits crazy.
Flies can hurt your rabbit severely if they lay eggs on it, so it’s essential to keep them away from the rabbit hutch. Cleanliness is critical; the only way to keep these pests away is to clean your pet’s bedding and litter box regularly.
If you groom your rabbit and cut off any extra hair, it will stay more relaxed in the heat and give flies fewer places to lay eggs.
How to Spot Heat Stroke Symptoms in Rabbits
As with other small animals, heatstroke can kill a rabbit. If you notice the early signs of heat stroke, you will have time to stop it from worsening. The most important signs to watch out for are;
- Fast, shallow breathing
- Wetness around the nose
- Breathing rapidly from an open mouth whilst throwing their head back
- Hot ears
If your rabbit has heat stroke, bring it inside immediately and put it in a cool room with good airflow. Do not put them in cold water because this can cause them to go into shock. Instead, place a cool compress on their ears. Give them lots of fresh, cool water and keep them calm. If they don’t seem to be getting better in a short time, take them right away to your local vet.
Read More: 3 Benefits of Regular Pet Grooming