Best methods to keep your Rabbit cool during Summer

By Link the Bun
Published on: August 12th, 2020

In the UK it’s extremely hot right now, our houses are made with concrete and it simply traps the heat at every opportunity. Temperatures are hitting 35°C (95°F). Rabbits are actually very hardy animals but, much like ourselves they operate much better in the cold than they do the heat.

To put it into perspective, Anfora Rabbit Wool is 7 times warmer than sheep”s wool. So, next time you’re nitting definitely make a rabbit sweater.

This is particularly important to know because rabbits can start having signs of heatstroke at around 38°C (105°F). I can’t stress how important it is to know that Rabbits can die from heat stroke very quickly.

Typically you would want your Rabbits internal temperature to be between 38.3 – 39.4 Degrees Celsius (101 – 103 Fahrenheit)

What Causes Heatstroke in Rabbits?

Just because your home isn’t 38°C / 105°F doesn’t mean your rabbit can’t get Heatstroke. It’s important to remember that there’s a multitude of potential reasons that end up causing heatstroke.

Some of the reasons your rabbit may have had heatstroke is the following:

  • Ambient Temperatures of 29°C / 85°F and over
  • Rabbits laying in the sun
  • Lack of Shade
  • Lack of accessible Water
  • Excessive Exercise / Stress
  • Thick Rabbit Coat
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Obesity
  • Neuromuscular Disease
  • Lack of ventilation
  • Heat intolerance

How can I tell if my rabbit is too hot?

Keeping your rabbit cool in the summer heat is important, these are some of the basic signs to spot heatstroke:

  • Fast, Panting / Shallow Breathing
  • Wet nose / undermouth
  • Moving back and forth when breathing (Open mouth Rapid Breathing)
  • Burning up / Hot ears
  • Weakness / Fatigue / Listlessness, being sluggish is a sure sign of heatstroke
  • Muscle Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

There are plenty of videos online regarding Heatstroke with your rabbit, this is the best one I could find online which had a lack of commentary:

If your rabbit is facing signs heat stroke, start with these steps:

  • Spray your rabbits ears with a misty bottle of cool water (Refridgerate it)
  • Bring your rabbit into th ecoolest room in your home
  • Provide fresh cold water and if possible, occasionally put ice cubes in it
  • DO NOT PUT COLD WATER DIRECTLY ON YOUR RABBIT OR PUT THEM IN A COLD BATH. This will put them into a state of shock.

If your rabbits heatstroke is excessive and causing your rabbit stress, please take them to your emergency vet.

How do I prevent Heatstroke in Summer?

If you prevent heatstroke you’ll find it a LOT easier to manage than treating it. This really depends on if your rabbit is an outdoors or indoors Rabbit, so I’ll break this down as best as possible.

Keeping Indoor House Rabbit cool

Get Ice Mats

Using an Ice Mat to keep rabbit cool in Summer

Keeping the ice mat wrapped in an old shirt is a great way of keeping your rabbit dry!

Cool Ice Mats (Get it on Amazon) are honestly our rabbits favourite way of keeping cool. We wrap our Ice Mats in an old shirt (So it smells like us) and lay it on the floor for him to lay on.

You’d be surprised how cool it keeps our rabbit, he loves to flop and lay on them all day, to the point where even if it’s not cool anymore Link will still lay on it.

Freeze Bottles of Water

Frozen Bottles of Water are perfect for your rabbit to lean up against

For a more budget version of the Ice Mat, although I’d highly suggest doing this alongside the prior method.

Essentially, you simply need to fill a 2 litre bottle with water and freezen them, you’ll find your rabbit is likely going to lean agains the bottle to keep them cool.

I’d highly suggest having multiple bottles to swap them in and out, the bottles will take a while to freeze. So definitely have at least 4 bottles in rotation.

Water your Rabbits Fresh Greens

Wet greens hydrate rabbits in the heat

If your rabbit is lazy like ours, you’ll find they won’t drink until you bring the water bowl to them. A great way to tackle the lack of hydration is to simply water down and rinse your vegetables before giving them to your rabbit.

Make sure the water is cold and definitely fresh, we use refridgerated bottled water

Use Ceramic Tiles

Even with the heat, ceramic tiles stay cool which is amazing. If you can, lay the base of your rabbits ‘laying’ area with ceramic tiles.

Keep ice packs around there and your ceramic tiles will stay cooler for longer. Plenty of people put the bottom of their rabbits cage with Ceramic tiles.

Keeping Outdoor House Rabbit cool

To put it simply, the easiest way of keeping your rabbit cool when outdoors is to get them shade. In the wild, Hares and Rabbits will dig and cool down under the earth. This isn’t always possible, so if it is extremely hot definitely bring them inside where it’s cooler.

Misting bottle to cool rabbit down
Rudely woke Link to take this! Sorry!

One of the things we’ve seen a lot of is rabbits being put in swimming pools, DO NOT DO THIS. Unless your rabbit has been given the go ahead from your vet due to a health reason, avoid putting your rabbit in any type of water.

Instead, try misting your rabbit with some cool refridgerated water. We do this regularly on our rabbits ears and it’s perfect for cooling him down, do be cautious as not every bun will like this and it may end up stressing them out.

Life Hack: Keep your rabbits hutch cool quickly!

This is a fantastic little bun life hack, during the Summer put ceramic tiles at the bottom of your rabbits cage where they spend most of their time resting.

Ceramic tiles are designed to keep cool, as such, having them in the shade will keep them much cooler. Pair this with a bottle of Ice water and you’ll have a very happy bunny!

Are Pet Fans any good?

Lets be honest with ourselves, do you prefer a little hand fan or one of those big fans which gets all of you? If you chose the latter, you are my best friend now.

Regardless of which size fan you get, your rabbit won’t like it if it’s directly facing them, as such, we suggest getting a bigger fan and simply pointing slightly to the left or right of your little bun friend.

Little Cage fans aren’t great when there’s a LOT of heat, so spoil your rabbit and get them something decent!

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