The summer holidays are around the corner and hopefully a period of hot summer weather will come with it. With the children off school there are lots of opportunities to give your rabbits some extra love, exercise and attention. It’s also the ideal time to share some care tips with the youngest carers in the family to ensure they know how to look after their pets and how to keep them safe during the warmer months of the year.
Keeping Your Rabbit Comfortable
Rabbits can’t sweat like we do and this means they’re unable to cook their bodies down when they get too hot. Therefore it’s down to the owners to help them avoid overheating and succumbing to heatstroke. Here are a few ways to cool down your rabbits:
- Move the hutch and the rabbit run into a shaded part of the garden or create shade using blankets or a parasol.
- Set up a fan and position it over the rabbit hutch to create a flow of cooler air.
- Bring your rabbit into a cool room in your home, but make sure it’s made rabbit proof first.
- Mist the furry side of your rabbit’s ears with some water.
Click here for a list of heatstroke symptoms. Inform your child to let you know if they have any concerns about their pet.
Shedding and Hairballs
Rabbits shed and moult during the summer as they are getting rid of the excess hair that kept them warm during the winter. Your child will notice a lot more hair in the hutch and run and hair coming loose when being stroked or groomed. This is completely normal and nothing to worry about, however, it can lead to problems with hair balls. Teach your child how to groom the rabbit to prevent hairballs causing problems that could lead to a trip to the vets. Clearing the hutch and run of hair each day is another task that can be combined with feeding or play time too.
Keeping Clean and Health
Encourage your child to help you keep the hutch clean as this can be a way of preventing flystrike. Flystrike is very common and can be fatal when it’s left untreated. It is important that children who are in charge of caring for rabbits are aware of how to keep a hutch clean by:
- Making sure the hutch remains dry inside
- Removing wet bedding daily and replacing it with fresh bedding
- Being careful not to overfeed your rabbit
- Not feeding too many fresh greens
Adults in the household can check the rabbit and the hutch each day for any signs of flies, eggs or flystrike.
It’s important to teach children how to care for rabbits properly, but remember that adults also need to keep a watchful eye over the rabbits’ care.