Reviewed by Natasha Diehl
Rabbits are very active animals who love spending time outside in the summer and running around the house. Exercise is necessary, but if it’s too hot outside or your home doesn’t have air conditioning, your rabbit could easily become overheated. Rabbits with a lot of fur, that are very young or very old, or that are overweight are at the highest risk of overheating.
If your rabbit’s body temperature gets too high, serious problems will result. Thankfully there are several things you can do to help keep your rabbits cool and prevent them from overheating. If you live in a hot climate or have a rabbit that could be more at risk of overheating, talk to your vet about the different strategies you can implement to keep your rabbit safe this summer.
Rabbits will usually do just fine if your home temperature is below 77 degrees, but if the room temperature rises above 77 degrees, turning on your air conditioning (if you have it) is recommended.
If you don’t have air conditioning or you need to quickly cool your rabbit down, turn on a fan and let it blow on your rabbit. Setting a bowl of cold water with ice cubes in it in front of the fan will create cold air that blows on your warm bunny, too.
A ceiling fan in your rabbit’s room can help maintain comfortable room temperatures both with or without air conditioning.
If you don’t have air conditioning and there’s a breeze, open a couple of windows to help keep your rabbit cool while they play with their toys. Use screens and watch your bunny to ensure they don’t make any escapes.
Window Curtains and Blinds
Simply closing the curtains or blinds on the window will help block any sunlight from entering the room. This will help keep the room cooler.
If your rabbit has a lot of fur, trimming away excess hair from the ears, belly and bottom can help them stay cool. If they have long hair, a full hair cut and grooming may be beneficial. Remember your rabbit’s skin is extremely delicate, so use caution with any sharp grooming tools.
If your rabbit is outside, make sure they always have access to shade. You can also keep them out of direct sunlight entirely by placing their enclosure in a permanently shady spot.
Use a spray bottle to gently mist your rabbit’s ears. The evaporating water can help your rabbit cool off.
Frozen Water Bottles
Freeze plastic bottles of water or fill them with ice cubes and place them around your rabbit. They may enjoy licking the condensation off or laying on them to stay cool. You can also refill larger empty bottles to create larger things for your rabbit to lay against, but wrap the bottles in a towel first so that they don’t inadvertently freeze onto your rabbit.
Put a piece of granite or ceramic tile in the fridge or freezer and let your rabbit lie on it for up to 15 minutes at a time.
Your rabbit should always have plenty of water. Be sure to offer both a bowl of water and a water bottle for your rabbit to drink from, especially in the summer. To help keep the water and your rabbit cool, add ice cubes to your rabbit’s bowl.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can rabbits get heatstroke?
Yes, rabbits can get heatstroke if they aren’t able to cool their bodies off. Veterinary care may be necessary if your rabbit is too warm, and if the symptoms are ignored, seizures and even death may occur.
What are the signs of heatstroke in rabbits?
Rabbits can regulate their body temperature and primarily use their ears to cool off or absorb heat, so feeling the ears is the easiest thing you can do to see if your rabbit is too warm. Your rabbit may also be laying on their side, have moisture around the nose, be breathing quickly, seem weak, and even have their mouth open.
How can I tell if my rabbit is too hot?
The easiest thing you can do to see if your rabbit is too hot is feel the temperature of their ears. You’ll also want to observe their behavior for other signs of heatstroke.