Rabbits can struggle in very hot weather, so it’s essential that you keep them cool and calm. If your rabbit isn’t managing to stay cool, there’s a risk that they may get heatstroke, Read our advice on how to care for your rabbit in the heat.
Tips for keeping your rabbit cool in hot weather
1. Keep them hydrated
Rabbits need to drink plenty of water during warm weather to prevent dehydration.
Providing lots of fresh, clean water is essential, both in their hutch and in their run.
There are lots of ways you can encourage your rabbit to drink more, including providing both sipper bottles and bowls. Giving them a few fresh vegetables is also a great way to get more hydration into their diet.
Try rubbing something sweet and rabbit-friendly, like a small piece of banana, on the spout of their water bottle can encourage your rabbit to drink from it.
Visit our advice page to find out how to keep your pet hydrated.
2. Cooling mats
Putting out cooling mats gives rabbits somewhere to sit when it gets too hot.
Although you can buy specific cooling mats for rabbits, damp towels also work well and can be easily moved between a hutch and a run. On very hot days, you could even lay a large, damp towel over their hutch to create a cool, calm sanctuary for your rabbit.
Marble tiles or slates stay cold even on the hottest days, so put one into your rabbit’s run for the perfect cooling pitstop.
You could also freeze a bottle of water and wrap it in a towel to give your rabbit something refreshing to lie next to.
3. Provide shady spots
Whether you have an outdoor or indoor rabbit, it’s important to give them lots of shaded areas where they can relax away from the sun.
For outdoor rabbits, position their run and hutch in shaded areas of the garden. If you have an indoor rabbit, draw the curtains in their room to stop sunlight warming things up. Be aware of how the sun moves throughout the day to ensure your rabbit always has a shady spot to sit in.
You could even set up a shaded, makeshift hideout with their water bowl, a damp towel to sit on and their favourite vegetables to encourage them to keep out of the hot sun.
4. Regular grooming
Grooming your rabbit can help them regulate their temperature, particularly if they have long or thick fur.
As well as regular brushing to get rid of shedding fur, consider clipping it shorter to allow more air to cool their body.
Never shave your rabbit, as doing so can make them susceptible to sunburn. Instead, speak to your vet for their advice about your rabbit’s summer coat.
5. Regular cleaning
When things warm up, it becomes even more important to keep rabbits and their hutches clean.
Bacteria flourishes in warm, damp spaces, so clean out your rabbit’s litter and bedding twice a day in particularly hot weather to prevent it from spreading. We also recommend that you give your rabbit’s hutch a deep clean once a week with rabbit-friendly disinfectant.
The risk of flystrike heightens in hot weather, as flies like to lay their eggs in warm, damp environments; remember to check your rabbit regularly for any signs and gently clean excess urine or waste off their body.
Learn about the dangers of flystrike to keep your rabbit protected.
For more advice about caring for your rabbit in the heat, speak to a member of your local Medivet practice.
Flystrike in rabbits is particularly common during warm weather and can prove fatal. Read more about how you can spot the signs and what you can do to prevent it. It’s important to stay vigilant and protect your rabbit this summer.