Rabbit is a creature that covers its entire body with fur, its fur covered all its body with exception its eyes area. By having that covered fur on its entire body, the rabbit will have a hard time to cool down itself against heat. Sure, few animal and human alike can cool down itself a bit by letting its body mechanism cool down their body. But unfortunately, the rabbit doesn’t have that body mechanism. The only natural way to get their body cooled down is to find a cool and suitable shelter, or make it by burrow the ground. By having a pet rabbit, you have to manage the temperature for your rabbit environment, especially in the heated season on the summer. You can let your rabbit live indoor as the temperature is rather easy to manage in rabbits ideal temperature, but any hotter than the ideal temperature might overheat your rabbit.
You also might want to read How to Keep a Rabbit Warm During Winter Time
1. Manage The Temperature
Please keep in mind, the ideal temperature for rabbit is around 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Your rabbit might able tolerate a maximum 86 Fahrenheit degrees but it rather no recommended for them. Any higher than that will make your rabbit have a chance of getting heatstroke.
Should you keep your rabbit outdoor, you have to give extra attention to managing its environmental temperature. Especially the Summer heat. Rabbit fur will trap the sun’s heat which will heat your rabbit quickly. Keep your rabbit out of direct sunlight if the heat is unbearable for your rabbit. Cover with blinds and curtain to any window if necessary to avoid your rabbit getting heatstroke. If the temperature does not make any difference or just getting higher, consider moving the cage temporarily to a cooler part in your house, a basement if you had one, or a room with air conditioner. Just watch out for the electricity bill.
2. Make Sure The Rabbit Nest/Hutch is Well Ventilated
You can also use an electric fan to help cool your rabbit. Place an oscillating fan that blows into the rabbit cage, but not directly toward the rabbit. It will make a breeze that will cool the rabbit. To give some freedom and not making your rabbit feel threaten by the fan, make sure the rabbit can escape from the fan should it want to. A cardboard box for the rabbit hiding place is a good idea. Also, make sure the fan cable cord is out of rabbit reach, While it will severely damage the electric fan function, the rabbit might get electrocuted.
3. Hang a Wet Towel On Top of Your Rabbit Nest/Hutch
The cool Moisture of the wet towel will further help your rabbit to get cool in hot summer season. By combine with running fan, the coolness will evenly spread. Should the rabbit nest is a mesh type one, the wet towel will provide cool shade for your rabbit.
Use a quite large towel that can cover the top of its nest, and soak it with cool water. Make sure to wring it until there is no dripping water from the towel and cover the cage with the cool towel. take care to not block the ventilation.
4. Place The Ice Pack Accordingly for Your Rabbit Hutch/Nest
Putting a few ice packs underneath your rabbit hutch/cage will cool the bottom of your rabbit hutch/cage. Making a comfortable cool place for your rabbit. Or you can make an ice pack by freeze a water bottle and put it inside the hutch/cage to create a cool spot for the rabbit to gather when they feel hot. Make sure you have more than one ice pack so you can rotate it to maintain the coolness of its hutch/cage.
Please be advise, never apply the ice directly to the rabbit body. it will be detrimental for the rabbit health should its temperature drop too quickly.
5. Provide Extra Fresh Greenery
Fresh greenery will provide much water that your rabbit needs to avoid dehydration due to summer heat and possibly make the food more appealing in the middle of summer. Wash the greenery in cool water to make it more fresh, cool and more appealing.
You can provide your rabbit more greenery if you have a patch of greenery garden of your own, help your self by reading this “How to Gardening Your Rabbit” article.
6. Provide Them With Cool Water
Keep watch for your rabbit needs of water during the summer heat. Make sure to change it a couple times a day to keep the water cool and fresh. You can also put some ice cube in the water dish or water bottle to keep it cool for your rabbit to mitigate the summer heat.
7. Trim Your Rabbit Fur
Rabbit will shed its fur the cool season is over. But unfortunately, the rabbit fur might just too dense for them to shed on their own. Should the rabbit can’t get rid of their winter fur, you should help them by daily comb its fur so their winter full can be properly shed. But for some angora rabbit variant which has to know for its dense fur, you might need to trim your rabbit fur properly. Consult your veterinary should your rabbit need a trim and bring it to pet saloon to properly trim your rabbit fur.
Should you need a guide on how to trim your rabbit teeth, you can read this “How to Trim Your Pet Rabbit’s Teeth” Article.
8. Only Let Your Rabbit Play/Exercise On Early Morning and Evening
Rabbit still need to be let loose to play and exercise even during the heated summer time. But please limit it only on early morning and evening time when its cooler. A couple hour of play/exercise a day should be fine for your rabbit. Your rabbit won’t like to playing and exercise and become lethargic when they feel hot.
9. Dip Your Rabbit Feet in Swallow Water Basin Is Ok
Should you feel your rabbit really need to cool himself. you can dip your rabbit feet in a shallow water basin. But make sure the rabbit itself is not struggling so fiercely. After dipping it for a while, make sure the rabbit feet is properly dried from the water.
Should you need a guide on how to clean your rabbit feet from mud and other, you might want to read this “7 Tips to Clean Your Rabbit’s Dirty Feet“Article.
10. In case of Heatstroke, Keep Your Rabbit Hydrated and Visit your Veterinary
Watch a common symptom of an overheated rabbit. A significance symptom of overheat can be seen at its ear. The ear will show the redness like vein due to the blood vessel become swelled. Other symptoms of heatstroke as follow:
- Wet fur below the nose
- Heavy and fast breathing
- Flared nostrils
- Sprawled out on the floor
- Hot ears and feet
- Inactive and not as alert as usual (lethargic)
- Eyes half closed
Keep your rabbit hydrated by provide your rabbit with enough fresh greenery and add some ice cubes in its water dish/water bottle. Visit your veterinary for more instruction to cure your rabbit heatstroke.