With the weather getting warmer a lot of us just want to soak up as much of the sun as possible – but what about our pets? We all know how important it is to keep our dogs and cats hydrated, or keep the window open if we need to leave them for a moment in the car. But sometimes it can be easy to get a bit more forgetful when it comes to our smaller, bunny friends; especially if they are kept outside in a hutch. Read on to find out some of the ways you can help keep your rabbit cool this summer.
Of course it’s important to make sure your rabbit has plenty of water at all times. Although on a regular day you may only need to refill this water once, on a hot day it’s important to keep checking that it hasn’t evaporated or gotten to warm in the sun. To help keep your rabbit’s water as cool and refreshing as possible, place a few ice cubes In the bowl – this can also slow down evaporation.
Frozen Water Bottles
As well as providing vital hydration, lying next to a frozen water bottle can help keep your rabbit cool in the hot weather. Partially fill a plastic bottle and freeze it (ensure it isn’t overfilled, due to the expansion that occurs when water freezes) and wrap the bottle in some material before placing it your rabbit hutch.
When it comes to cooling down your rabbit’s environment water is, unsurprisingly, the gift that keeps on giving. Filling a spray bottle with water and misting your rabbit – especially their ears – can be useful, although it’s important to note that doing so too often can cause respiratory issues in the future. It is also important to only mist your rabbit if they react well to it, if bunny continually runs away from the spray bottle then stop what you’re doing to avoid upsetting your bunny.
Like other mammals, rabbits moult their fur. This practice will help your pet keep cool on its own, but can be helped along by grooming. Rabbits moult every three months and brushing them twice a week will not only keep them looking tidy, but will also greatly help them stay cool.
Positioning their Cage
This is one of the easiest things you can do for your bunny, but is also one of the most beneficial. Making sure their hutch/cage is out of direct sunlight will have a huge impact on preventing dehydration and keeping them cool. As well as this, pet toys such as tunnels will not only provide much appreciated shade, but also entertainment for bunny while you are out enjoying the sun. It’s also worth considering bringing your rabbit inside on very hot days as sometimes it can be cooler inside.
Even though these techniques can help keep your rabbit cool, it’s important to monitor them and take them straight to the vet if you think bunny is acting strangely. Good things to look out for in relation to dehydration/heat exhaustion are: lethargy, hot/wet fur (especially below the nose), your rabbit half closing their eyes, and if your rabbit is sprawling themselves out across the cage. Whatever you do in these instances though, do not bathe your bunny, this can send them into shock and sometimes even kill them! If in doubt, always take a trip to the vet.