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
We 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Give 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Brush, brush, brush – You should groom your rabbit anyway but removing that excess hair with a brush during summer is a must.
- 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.
- 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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