8 Keys to Keeping Your Rabbit Cool During Summer

If your rabbits live in bunny hutches or bunny cages outdoors, summer can be a difficult time for them. In fact, it can be deadly if you don’t take extra precautions to care for them. Spend a few minutes with me here at Bunny Hutch HQ to consider how you can care for your rabbit in the summer.

Why Summer is Difficult for Rabbits

Fan for RabbitWe humans are able to withstand the heat better than many animals, including rabbits, for one primary reason – we sweat. Our bodies have the ability to release heat through the skin as a cooling system. Rabbits don’t have this ability. Compound this with a fur coat and you have a very, very hot bunny.

If it’s a wild hare/rabbit, they’ll try to compensate for this by burrowing into the earth. They get out of the sun and into the cooler ground. If you’ve seen a rabbit burrow, you know they can get very deep and this gets them much cooler. For those in a bunny hutch or rabbit cage, they don’t have this option. So, let’s consider how to make their summer a happier time.

How to Keep Your Rabbit Cool

If you house your pets in either bunny hutches or bunny cages, the best way to resolve the summer heat issue is to bring them indoors in the air conditioning during the hottest hours. You could put them in a bathroom, guest room or other room where they can be cooler. Just make sure you bring the litter pan. The one I’ve linked to here is excellent because it’s larger-sized for big rabbits and it also has high walls so that your rabbit can’t pee over the edge and on the wall/floor. You don’t want that mess.

Not an option? Then let’s consider alternatives. Here’s a list of things and I’d highly recommend you do as many of them as possible:

  1. Ensure your bunny has plenty of shade – You can’t overestimate the value of shade. Don’t believe me? Go outside on a day when it’s over 90 degrees and sunny. Stand in the sun for 5 minutes. Move to the shade and stand there for 5 minutes. You’ll notice. Your bunny will too.
  2. Put frozen water bottles in with your rabbit – Save some of those 2-liter or milk bottles/jugs and fill them with water. Freeze them and put them in the cage with your rabbit twice daily (one mid-morning, one mid-afternoon). They’ll lie against it and thank you for it.
  3. Rabbit BrushGive them ice water – Speaking of ice, put some ice cubes in their water twice daily as well (same times). Putting ice in a BIG heavy crock gives them the ability to dip their paws and/or ears in there if they want. Of course, they need the hydration desperately too. Make sure they NEVER run out of water in the heat. Do yourself (and your rabbit) a favor and get one of these lock-on crocks. They’re important because bunnies can’t tip them over and lose their hydration when it’s 100 degrees out. That’s a recipe for disaster. It’s worth the $6.
  4. Provide a cold ceramic tile – Buy a few of 12″ x 12″ ceramic tiles and keep a stack of them in the freezer. Put them in the bunny hutch or cage during the hot hours.
  5. Mist or wipe bunny’s ears with cool water – Rabbits dissipate heat through their ears. Wipe their ears with a cool cloth or mist them with cool water and it’ll really help.
  6. Brush, brush, brush – You should groom your rabbit anyway but removing that excess hair with a brush during summer is a must.
  7. Run a circulating fan – You don’t want a constant breeze on your rabbit but a clip-on circulating fan will help. You can make it even better by having it pass across a wet cloth to provide some cooling. Be careful to keep the cord out of bunny’s reach.
  8. Give them fresh veggies – Fresh veggies contain moisture. Don’t skimp on those when it’s hot out.

The heat is picking up here in South Carolina, so we’ll be taking many of the steps above to keep our rabbits cool during the summer. If you’re using a bunny hutch or rabbit cage as we are, we hope you’ll do the same.

Leave us a comment below if you are using some of these suggestions above or if you have other things you’re doing to keep the bunnies cooler.




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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Tami June 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Hi,
I’ve been experimenting with different things to keep my daughters poor bunny cool. (the one she promised to care for and now doesn’t pay any attention to,)
The majority of the hutch is in the shade, however in the morning the sun shines over the enclosed part so I put a big table umbrella (in heavy stand) over ithat part to provide shade there.
I put some flat ice packs in a paper bag from the (grocery store) and freeze them, bag and all. The bag gets nice and cool and with the ice packs inside stays that way quite a while. The bunny lays there all day. I give him Ice in his water often throughout the day. I’m going to go try a fan now and see how it works. I would bring the rabbit in the house, but everyone else is allergic to it : (

Reply

admin June 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Tami,

Those are great suggestions. I like the table umbrella idea (if someone has one) and I’m glad you’re putting yours to good use! I know of people who have done something similar by rigging up tarps over their cages/hutches by attaching them to nearby trees or to a part of the house. The shade makes a huge difference. Sometimes it’s just as simple as moving the hutch to a nearby shaded area. We often get used to seeing something how it’s always been, in a specific spot for instance, and don’t notice the simple alternatives.

The paper bag idea is BRILLIANT! I’ll have to give this a try with our bunnies. I can already tell you in advance that they want me to say, “Thanks Tami!”

Let me know how the fan works out. We’ve not tried that since our cages are 100+ yards away from the house. It would take quite an extension cord…

Thanks for dropping by!

Adam

Reply

GLORIA June 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I LIVE IN PUERTO RICO AND I HAVE 10 RABBITS I LOVE THEM I TAKING CARE GOOD,BECAUSE THE PEOPLE HERE LIKE TO EAT THEM I HAVE THAT, SO ASHAME, BUT I TAKING CARE AS MY PETS THEY SO FRIENDLY AND GORGEOUS. THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING YOU KNOW I LIVE IN A HOT WEATHER ALMOST EVERY YEAR.

GLORIA

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admin June 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Gloria,

I’m glad you found this article helpful and I appreciate what you’re doing for your wonderful rabbits. Thanks for visiting the site and taking the time to make a comment!

Adam

Reply

ELSTON ROBERTSON July 2, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I MOVE THEM TO THE COOLING CAGE WHERE FANS ARE BLOWING FROM BOTH SIDE ITS BASELY OPEN BUT WEATHER POF AND SAME WATERING SYSTEM FOR THEM

Reply

admin July 2, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Glad to hear it Elston! Thanks for visiting the site and commenting!

Adam

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Jennifer April 12, 2013 at 4:18 pm

This article is great, lots of simple suggestions. I live in california where it can sometimes get up to 100 during the summer. My rabbit is in a large cage in my room whenever nobody is home, but the rest of the time he is free roaming. I work long hours 3 days a week, and I was wondering how large of a circulating fan I should buy for my bun? He is a fully grown Netherland dwarf. I also love the ceramic tile idea as well as the ice in the paper bag that Tami mentioned.
Thanks for this incredibly helpful article!

Reply

admin May 7, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Jennifer,

Thanks for the kind words. The short answer to your question is the bigger the fan the better. Of course, you’ll need to consider cost and practicality. I can’t imagine having one of those four feet in diameter fans that blow like a jet engine for your bunny but it sure would cool the room! If it’s a small to medium sized room, I would suggest using a simple box fan. They’re inexpensive and it will push a lot of air. These fans would also be on the ground at the bunny’s level. You could even get two if you needed without breaking the bank.

Take care!

Adam

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