Summer is in full swing, and so are the high temps that come along with it. Overheating in summer can be a danger for any pet, but rabbits are particularly at risk due to the fact they don’t tolerate heat very well. Penned enclosures limiting their movement can sometimes compound the problem. If you have them on your property, follow these five simple tips for keeping rabbits cool in warm weather.
Yes, it’s a no-brainer, but not everyone pays attention to where the sun hits throughout the four seasons. The sun shifts, a lot, from winter to summer. Make sure your hutch is getting enough sun in the winter and plenty of shade in the summer. If you’re usually gone during the day, you may not be fully aware of where the sun's at in your yard between noon and 4 p.m.
2. Pet Fountains
Of course proper hydration is a must in order to survive, but nothing’s more refreshing on a hot summer day than an ice cold drink of water. Your rabbit might think so, too. On especially warm days, throw some ice cubes in their water whenever you can. You can also get a circulating water fountain that keeps water from getting warm and stagnant.
3. Pet Grooming
If your rabbits are of the long-haired variety, you might want to consider cropping their fur short in the summertime. Another thing you can do is brush them frequently during the warmer months to reduce their coat of heavy excess fur.
A lot of people aren't aware of this, but rabbits dispel heat through those long, floppy ears of theirs. If you believe your rabbit is overheating, try misting his or her ears with water to cool them down. You can even set up a mister system to make the heat more bearable.
5. Cool Surfaces
Providing a cool surface to lie down on or up against is an excellent way to help your rabbit stay comfortable this summer. If you have any leftover ceramic tiles, you can lay one or two in their enclosure for them, or you can place a frozen two-liter bottle of water in their pen that they can not only push up against but lick the cold condensation off of.
Keep an eye on all your pets this summer, but be extra vigilant with those pets that are elderly or that don't tolerate heat well.