With the summer in full swing and the temperatures on the rise, there are a couple of things you can do to help your rabbits beat the heat. Rabbits are pretty hardy animals, but they do much better in the cold than in the heat. This is especially true if you are raising fluffy Angora rabbits. Angora wool is up to 7 times warmer than sheep’s wool, that is true whether you are knitting it into a sweater for yourself or if you are a fluffy bunny with your own coat of wool.
When temperatures get up over 85 degrees, rabbits can start to experience heat-related stress. Rabbits can die from heat stroke, so it is important to help your rabbit stay cool in the summer. If your rabbit is in distress from overheating it is important for you to act quickly. Do not try to lower her temperature by dipping her in cold water, it could send her into shock. Immediately bring her into a cool, air-conditioned room. Apply cold compresses to her ears, and possibly to her entire body if needed. Emergency vet care might be needed if you can’t lower her temperature quickly.
It is much easier to prevent heat distress than treat it so here are our Top 7 Ways to Keep your Rabbit Cool in Summer!
Make sure your rabbit’s hutch and play area is in the shade. For indoor rabbits, position your rabbit’s enclosure away from direct sunlight. Outdoors, try to house your rabbit area under shade trees or where buildings can provide shade. If you don’t have natural shade from trees, use awnings, sun umbrellas, or shade sails to help keep your bunnies out of direct sunlight. Be especially aware of strong southern exposure or afternoon sun. If possible, move rabbits to a cool garage or basement, or into your home during the hottest days.
Give your bunnies a trim
Remove as much excess hair as possible to help keep them cool. Step up your grooming schedule to remove loose hair often. Consider giving long-haired bunnies a short summer haircut
Fill large 2-liter soda bottles with water and freeze them
Give the frozen bottles to your rabbits so they can lean against them and keep cool. Have a few bottles on hand so you can rotate them in and out of the freezer.
Give your bunnies ceramic tiles to lay on
The ceramic will stay cool, even in warm weather, and will be a great place for your rabbits to relax on. We covered the entire lower level of our rabbit hutch in ceramic tiles. Not only are they great for keeping cool, but they are easy to keep clean. Click here to read about how we made our rabbit hutch base!
Provide plenty of fresh greens
Wash the greens in cool water to help your rabbits get extra water and make them more appealing
Lots of fresh water
Change their water out a couple of times a day to keep it fresh and cool. You could try adding a few ice cubes to the water. Keep a close eye on their water levels and make sure they have constant access so they don’t get dehydrated.
Set up a barn fan or air conditioner for your rabbit
Don’t have the fan blowing directly on them, just by the cage to keep the air moving. Having an air conditioner inside is easy, but your outdoor rabbits would also love some cool AC! It’s easy to make a homemade “air conditioner” using an inexpensive foam cooler, a small fan, a bit of PVC pipe, and duct tape.Cut a hole slightly smaller than the fan in the cooler’s top, and secure the fan to the cooler lid so the fan is blowing directly into the cooler. On the other side of the lid, cut a hole for the pipe (this is where the cold air will come out). Fill the cooler with ice or ice packs and turn the fan on. As the air from the fan gets chilled in the cooler, cold air will come out through the pipe. Perfect for your outdoor rabbits (just make sure to hide the cord so they don’t chew on it!)
Check out this video to make your own! https://youtu.be/D3YvF4eVQO0
I made a cooling pad with cinder blocks & ceramic tiles and then built a cute little cabana to keep my buns cool in the shade. For directions, click here!
I don’t know much about rabbits, but never thought about them getting overheated so easily! Great tips and love the homemade air conditioner idea. I will definitely keep these in mind if my husband ever convinces me to keep rabbits. 😉 Thanks for linking up at Farm Fridays!
Did you ever get a rabbit xx
Sweet Thing our bunny and our neighbor bunny seem to be doing fine. Yesterday, when 104, they were running around the yard having a great time. Our bunnies go under the fence to play with one another.
If you’re feeding fruit, you can feed it in the form of an ice cube. If you have a spray tube you can shower from time to time a little bit of cold water. Hope that helps.
Thanks, those are great tips!
You can try ice cubes with mint or other safe foods/plants, too. This way you can feed him more ice cubes a day. Glad that helps!
I have bin soaking grass in water and hay bunnyys can eat and crawl under it. Also i have a shade up that a breeze can get through .so far its been workink for.me
those are great ideas!
Hello i was wondering if wetting a towel with cold water would also be a good option? Or would it harm them in any way?
Hi Sabrina, you just need to be careful your rabbit doesn’t get too wet. Rabbit fur can take a really long time to dry. Wet rabbits can be susceptible to hypothermia. But as long as the towel isn’t soaking wet and it’s not wrapped around them they should be fine. I think most likely they will avoid the towel because they don’t enjoy being wet. Maybe try wetting the towel and freezing it?
We were told by the breeder that we shouldn’t put our Highland Lop near blowing air as the develop pneumonia easily. Is this not something you’ve experienced? We are getting a lot of conflicting info from different owners, breeders, and our vet about everything bunny-care related!
That is not something I have ever heard of, so I did some google searches and didn’t find anything to support that. I know pneumonia in rabbits can be very deadly, but pneumonia is
usually caused by a virus or bacteria (sometimes by inhaling chemicals or aspirating liquids) so I’m not sure how blowing air could cause pneumonia in bunnies. I suspect it’s similar to the myth that going outside in the cold causes humans to catch colds. Does this breeder have a history with snuffles with her rabbits? Snuffles is like a cold in rabbits but is quite serious and quite contagious. It can lead to pneumonia and death. At the very least, I wouldn’t keep constant blowing air on her as it is just plain annoying lol. I usually set it up so they have places they can get out of the air if they want (by hopping out of the cage into the run). If they are always in the cage maybe set up an oscillating fan so it’s not always blowing in the same spot. Like I said I have never heard of this causing pneumonia and it hasn’t been an issue for my bunnies, but I certainly don’t know everything there is to know about rabbits. If your vet has experience with rabbits (not all do) I would defer to their knowledge over google or the breeder
Very useful tips. Due to the way the sun shines into my garden and the layout of the garden, I keep the rabbits at one end in the summer and then move them to the other end during the colder months.
That is a great idea!
We live in Vegas and it’s HOT here. Our bunny is an indoor one but he does go outside in the backyard and stays out there for 2-3 hours sometimes. We keep plenty of hay and water . We’ve noticed that he’s not eating much the past few days. Should we be concerned? Not sure what type of bunny he is but he is big. His ears are 5 inches long and he is, from head to tail, around 19-20 inches long .
Not eating could be heat related. Maybe keep him inside the next few days and see if his appetite improves
I’m thinking of getting a lionhead rabbit, would it be a bad idea to have it as an outdoor rabbit? would it be more susceptible to disease and parasites?
A lion head wouldn’t be more susceptible to diseases and parasites than any other rabbit. With their long-ish coat just be sure to check them regularly for ticks in the warm months
Your idea of a cabana is good but I don’t like your picture..
First that picture shows the coop in the sun, get it into the shade. Looks like you have plenty of room.. But if you cannot move the coop out of the sun, put a couple of layers of cabana, or tarp, covering, because the top layer will absorb the sun’s heat. The second layer will be much cooler, keeping your bunnies cooler too.
Second, the cabana is cutting off all circulation. Instead of “wrapping” the coop up, open the cabana up, like a big shade umbrella.
Any tile will heat up to the ambient temperature and actually stay hotter longer once temp starts dropping in evening. This would only work if you put tiles in the freezer and rotate them with cool once when they warm up.
I live in southeast New Mexico and we get super hot summers. I have a guinea pig and lop eared rabbit. I’m going to build a hitch with ground areas for them this spring. What are some suggestions for summer time? For sure a fan and water bottles and the tiles but when should I consider moving them inside? I would like for them to be outside as much as possible but I’m planning on bringing them in for the extreme heat over 95.
Yes for sure you will need to bring them inside when it’s really hot. Rabbits can show signs of distress when it’s over 90 degrees so to be safe I would use that as a determining factor. I would get a temperature gauge to put in their area so you can keep an eye on the temp in their exact space. You might want to consider a light colored shade sail or drop cloth to hang over the area and keep it shady also