How to keep your rabbit cool in sun

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by Vetsavers of St Thomas’ Road, Spalding

Heat can kill your rabbit fairly quickly – if you think your dog can die in a car, a rabbit can die in a hutch just as easily.

Here are some pointers to try to help keep them cool...

It is especially important to remember to keep an eye on your rabbit during the summer. Each rabbit will tolerate heat differently and it is important to observe your pet daily.

How do I keep my rabbit cool?

* Make sure bunny is out of the sun. If they are confined to a cage or small room for part of the day, be sure that there is plenty of shady space for the bunny to rest.

* If you place a tile in the freezer overnight and then put it in the hutch when it starts to get warm through the day, the rabbit will lie on this to keep cool, but don’t it in the sun or it will get very hot.

* Set up a fan that will breeze past your rabbit without blowing directly on them all day.

* You can also drape a damp towel over part of the cage so the fan will blow through the towel and create cooler breeze. Just remember not to leave the cord where the bunny can get to it!

* Place a few ice cubes in their water bottle so the water is kept cool.

* Mist the rabbit’s ears. Rabbits lose heat through their ears and misting them will help keep the rabbit cool.

* Brush out excessive fur. If you have a long-haired rabbit, consider cropping your bunny’s coat short for the summer months.

* Fill one or two-litre bottles with water and freeze them. Once frozen, put the frozen water bottle in Bun’s cage so he can lean against it to keep cool. Keep a few of these on hand in your freezer.

* Be especially watchful of rabbits over five years old or ones who are overweight or incapacitated. They tend to be more sedentary and may not get up to drink water if they are too hot. This can quickly lead to dehydration, which can lead to death or other health problems.

* If it’s unbearably hot and your house is cooler than outside, bring your rabbits indoors if possible, and let them run around outside once the hottest part of the day has passed.

What do I do if you think your rabbit has heat stroke?

Rabbits don’t actually pant to keep cool, so if you see your rabbit with his mouth open and breathing quickly they may have heat stroke. Do not submerge them in cold water. This could place the rabbit in shock. Dampen his ears and body with cool water. Get him to the vet straight away.

* This week’s question is from Jodie, who also wants to know what ‘Flystrike’ in rabbits is. We will cover this next week.