It is that time of year again, the time of year that is most dangerous to rabbits, summer. For anyone who has been following me long enough knows that I am big on keeping rabbits cool. Now do I expect air conditioning for your buns, no (even though if you live in the south I would highly recommend it). I am going to share some ways that you can keep your buns cool in the summer.
- The simplest way to keep them cool is make sure there is moving air where they are. Fans are the simplest way to keep your buns cool. This is the method I use for my guys most often. I have one big industrial fan and some box fans that help blow the air around to help everyone stay cool.
- WATER, WATER, WATER, did I mention water? Water is key to keeping your rabbits alive in the heat. Without water they will die. I check my rabbits water at least three times a day when it’s hot out. I understand that many people work and can’t do it three, so make sure you check at least twice a day, once before you go to work, and again when you get home.
- Make sure your rabbits are out of the sun. The direct sunlight will heat them up more and they will die of heat stroke. Make sure they have shade or are out of the sun all together. If their cages are outside and the sun is directly on them put a tarp over the cage, LEAVE AT LEAST TWO SIDES OF THE TARP UP SO AIR CAN CIRCULATE, do not cover the whole cage or the cage will heat up more causing the rabbit to get too hot and die.
- Frozen water bottles, or frozen balloons. These are great ways to keep your buns cool. I prefer frozen balloons because the rabbits can eat the ice and cool off that way as well. Frozen water bottles are good, just beware that they may eat the water bottles.
- Cold tiles. Another way to keep them cool is to stick some tiles in the freezer and place them in the cages. This is a great alternative to water bottles and balloons which will will keep their coats dry and neat. The rabbits can lay on them and stay nice and cool.
- Cut their coats to help them keep cool. This for us who raise them for wool is something we don’t necessarily want to do, but if you have an older rabbit, or one who just isn’t handling the heat very well, shear their coat. Or if you are in for a string of really hot days. Their wool will grow back, your rabbit will not raise from the dead.
Here are some signs that your rabbit may be in trouble of overheating:
- The rabbit is panting or breathing really hard
- The rabbit’s nose and face is wet
- The rabbit feels hot to the touch
- The rabbit has all the above symptoms and looks lethargic
If you see your rabbit showing any of these symptoms bring it into the house where it’s nice and cool, even if your not sure bring it in where there is air conditioning and make sure they have water. If you don’t have air conditioning bring the rabbit where there is good air flow and a fan going. Leave them in the cool area until they look comfortable and it has cooled off outside, This could be the difference between life and death for that animal.
These animals rely on us to care for their needs and we should know them well enough to know when something doesn’t seem right, we need to make sure we are paying attention to what they are trying to tell us by how they act. So please, it’s so easy to think they are fine and no harm can come to them, but rabbits are fragile in the summer months and need our constant care and knowledge of what they need.