Making sure that your pet rabbit remains healthy even in the summer can be quite a challenge. As we have written about rabbit care before, we suggest you check out our articles on rabbit accessories or our top picks in rabbit burrows.
While it is true that rabbits do have the capability to put up with warm weather a lot better compared to other small animals such as chinchillas (which, by the way, can suffer from heatstroke), they do not tolerate heat all that well and could actually die from getting overheated.
It can be very tempting for you to get a rabbit hutch and leave your pet out all day and all night, but the truth is that the rabbit needs to be taken out of direct sun or at least he or she should have a safe space to retreat to when he or she feels like being in the shade. Preventing heat distress is a lot easier compared to treating it, so here are our tips for making sure that your lovely pet never gets sick in the summer.
In the shade
If possible, try to make sure that your rabbit hutch or home is always in the shade. For indoor rabbits, make sure that the cage is out of direct sunlight. If you keep your rabbit outdoors in the warm months, house your rabbit in an area either under trees or which receives natural shade from your house.
If you have no trees nor can you find an area where the cage can be in the shade, you can use your imagination and get some shade sails, sun umbrellas, or awnings. If it gets really hot, you should consider moving your rabbits indoors, especially in the basement or somewhere you know for sure that it’s cool enough.
How about a haircut?
As much as some pet rabbit owners might be against it because it ‘messes up the look’ of their darlings, the truth is that all that hair can’t be good when it comes to keeping cool, particularly on a hot summer’s day.
Take your rabbit to the groomer or use safe scissors to remove some of the fur. We know this might not exactly result in an especially esthetically pleasing haircut, but believe us, your rabbit will definitely be grateful and a lot more comfortable. It’s actually generally acknowledged that all animals should get a haircut when the weather starts to be hot – from dogs and cats to rabbits.
Use the gift of ice
We might guess that you have some empty bottles of soda somewhere in your home, whether you use them to water your flowers or whatever else. Why not fill them up with water, put them in the freezer, and use them to cool down your rabbits? Naturally, you have to make sure that they aren’t made of glass as it expands when the water starts turning into ice. Use plastic bottles, instead.
The point is that you can put those bottles in your pet rabbit’s enclosure and he or she could lean on them whenever the heat starts to become scorching. However, we would like to emphasize that it is a good idea to cover the bottles with a towel to avoid leaving your rabbit in direct contact with something that’s far too cold.
At the same time, keeping them covered like that will make sure that they remain cool for a longer amount of time. Just replace them every several hours and your rabbit will definitely feel at ease thanks to them.
Greens all the way
One thing that can be challenging on a particularly hot summer day is making sure that your pet is well hydrated. While that might not necessarily be a problem in the case of dogs, for example, as they will drink water if they have it available, the truth is that smaller animals usually require smaller amounts of water and just aren’t in the habit of drinking too much. The same goes with rabbits.
Because rabbits don’t manifest a particular interest in drinking water, it’s your responsibility to feed your friend fresh greens with a high content in water. Wash them in cool water right before giving the leaves to your friend and he or she will naturally want to nibble on them.
Replace the water regularly
When it’s particularly hot outdoors, your pet rabbit’s water needs to be changed a couple times a day. You can also add several ice cubes into the water to keep it cooler, but the point here is that you need to pay attention and make sure that the water level doesn’t drop and that your rabbits are not left without any.
This is a little trick that you can take advantage of if you want to make sure that your rabbit remains more or less cool throughout the day, especially if his or her hutch is located in the shade.
We know that most people who get hutches from the market today will have to do something about those that do not come with a bottom. So, instead of using wood or some other material to prevent your rabbit from digging through the ground and escape, you should just use some leftover ceramic tile. Almost everyone who’s built their own home has ended up with several pieces of ceramic tile that apparently has no place anywhere. Why not make the most of it?
We hope that these tips were helpful and that you will be able to keep your rabbit cool whenever the weather starts becoming just a tad too hot.