Rabbits don’t tolerate heat well and are more susceptible to heat stroke than humans – so if you’re feeling hot this Summer, just imagine how your little bunny must be feeling!
Rabbits can’t sweat like humans, instead they rely on a panting action and their ears to keep them cool. A rabbit’s ears are made up of large blood vessels – as a cool breeze moves past these vessels, it helps cool the blood. The cooler blood is then circulated throughout the bunny’s body.
Do you know the common signs of heat stress, and what to do if your bunny runs into trouble?
Signs of heat stroke may include:
- Laying fully outstretched.
- Fast and shallow respiratory rate or laboured breathing
- Hot ears
- Lethargic and unwilling to move around.
- Inappetant – refusing to eat or drink.
- Eyes half closed.
- Reduced toileting
If you rabbit is displaying any of these signs, seek veterinary advice immediately. Do not douse your bunny in water in an attempt to cool him – this can lead to further stress.
Here are some helpful tips to help keep your bun cool this Summer:
- Access to plenty of shade and cold water
Rabbits should have access to plenty of shade and cold water at all times, particularly on those warmer days. Provide multiple sources of water in case one is knocked over and even try placing ice blocks in his water dish to keep it cool throughout the day.
- Move your rabbit inside
When the temperature exceeds 32 Degrees Celsius outside, move your bunny indoors – particularly if there are consecutive hot days. It may be useful to place a fan nearby their cage, however be mindful not to have the fan blowing directly towards them. Also be sure to keep all cords well out of your bunny’s reach.
- Frozen water bottles
Freeze water in an old milk bottles and place them throughout their enclosure – they can lie against them when feeling hot.
- Provide room to stretch and cool down
Make sure they have enough space to stretch and cool down. Ceramic tiles can be placed in the fridge prior to putting in the enclosure.
- Water mister
Grab a water mister from your local hardware store – these can help cool the outdoor air on those warmer days. The water usage is minimal and these units often include a timer so they can be set to turn on during the hottest part of the day.