Keeping rabbits cool during Summer’s brutal heat can be a challenge. Rabbits don’t possess a natural cooling system like people – they do not sweat. In the wild, they retire to the relative cool of their burrow during the day.
Since keeping rabbits outside is the only option for many owners, they are likely to be exposed to extreme heat during the Summer months. When the temperature rises above 80 degrees, heat-stroke in rabbits becomes a real concern for rabbit health.
Heat-stroke in rabbits can not only ruin your production stock or make a beloved pet uncomfortable, it can be a killer. Remember, when you take charge of any animal you are solely responsible for its humane care, regardless of their intended purpose. Your rabbit’s health should be a top priority.
So with that in mind, here is a trick to keep rabbits from suffering a heat-stroke when the thermometer pushes up toward the triple digits.
Recently I was informed by my veterinarian of a simple solution to help my rabbits stay cool in the Texas heat. Fill some 2-liter bottles with water, freeze, and then set them in the cage with the rabbits. That’s it. There is nothing fancy about it.
Do not fill the bottles all the way. When water freezes it expands, and this can lead to a busted water bottle. Leave approximately 2 inches of airspace in the top of the bottle.
The rabbits may initially scratch and lick at the bottles for a few minutes. Then they settle down and cuddle up to the blocks of ice and cool themselves down. When night falls, collect the thawed bottles, wash with soap and water, then refreeze.
In areas and times of extreme heat, consider using double the number of bottles, and cycling them twice a day. The uninsulated bottles melt fast.