Yesterday was a glorious sunny day for most of us in the UK, and although showers and potential thunderstorms are expected over the weekend, we thought it would be the perfect time to pass on a few tips on how to help your rabbits stay cool during summer heat waves (let’s hope we get one!).
Rabbits can easily overheat in warm periods. They have a fantastic fur coat that is designed to help them stay active throughout even the coldest of months; they don’t have to hibernate thanks to this. However, this coat means they do get very hot quickly, so as responsible pet owners we all have to do our bit to ensure they stay comfortable and safe. Here are our tips for any new rabbit owners out there and for children who might be enjoying their pet rabbit for the first summer of many.
Position the Hutch in the Shade
Find a nice shaded spot to leave the hutch in over the summer months. If the hutch is left in full sun it will quickly begin to feel like an oven inside. Ideally, move the hutch throughout the day to the shadiest location if you don’t have a permanently shaded spot. Alternatively, try and create shade, with rabbit friendly planting or even a large garden parasol. Just make sure there is enough fresh air circulating around the hutch to keep your rabbit comfortable. Rabbits like to stretch out as well as graze on hot days, so ensure they have access to a rabbit run that is shaded too.
Lots and Lots of Fresh Water
Make sure your rabbit doesn’t run out of fresh water. The drinking water should be kept at room temperature, so you may want to use a thermal rabbit water bottle cover to help maintain the temperature. Check the water bottle each day and replace it if the water feels hot.
Know the Signs of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke can be dangerous for rabbits, so it’s a good idea to be aware of the signs as early assistance is important for survival. The signs to watch out for are:
- Hard panting
- Wet nose
- Blue or bloodied nostrils in extreme cases
If you notice these signs you can help by wrapping your rabbit in a wet towel, but remember to avoid stressing your pet out further, stay calm and quiet. Rubbing some ice on the ears can also help. Rabbits that are showing signs of distress can be gently placed into some cool water – not cold – and then leaving it to rest peacefully in a quiet and cool area.