When summer rolls in, it’s a relief for most people. But for animals, coping with the hot weather is never easy.
Bunny-lovers with a couple of them can fully relate to this.
However, you’re not required to do anything other than find amicable solutions to keeping your rabbits’ hutch cool.
Read on to learn how to keep a rabbit hutch cool in summer.
Summer Concerns for Rabbits and How to a Hutch Cool
Rabbits don’t tolerate heat well. It’s sad, but they actually could die from excess heat.
At temperatures of 85 degrees centigrade, they begin to show signs of distress from overheating.
Although each rabbit reacts differently to heat, you need to be especially careful with those aged above five years and those overweight, disabled, or long-haired.
Therefore, you need to keep their hutch cool during the summer, ensuring they’re cool and dry.
Provide a Shade
The first step towards realizing a cool hutch is to cover it with a shade or ensure the play and hutch area are under a shade.
Positioning your hutch under trees or between taller buildings will block direct sunlight from hitting the hatch hard.
For indoor rabbits, move your cage away from positions where the sun rays hit it directly.
If trees and buildings cannot offer any shade, shade sails, awnings, or umbrellas can help to cover your hatch, keeping your bunnies away from direct sunlight, especially on hot afternoons.
On days when it’s scorching hot, consider moving your pets to the basement, garage, indoors, or any other cool place within your home.
For rabbits that like to play and roam freely in your garden, provide them with plenty of bushes and shrubs. This will not only offer them shade but some enrichment from the shrubs too.
Don’t forget to eliminate any toxic plants present.
In addition, ensure your garden is safe and secure so that your bunnies don’t find themselves in odd places, such as hot sheds and greenhouses.
Trim and Groom
Most rabbit species have thick fur coats. This explains why the high summer temperatures can be a bother.
Fortunately, rabbits, especially the long-haired breeds, adapt quickly to the hot summer conditions by shedding out some of the thick fur from winter.
In its place, they develop thinner coats more suited to the warm summers.
While this contributes a lot to cooling, go an extra mile and try to trim as much hair as possible. Have a grooming schedule where you brush your bunnies to remove the excess fur.
Do this in a safe place, such as on the floor. This will help in cooling the rabbits.
It’s worth noting that stressful grooming does no good to your pets. Therefore, be gentle when trimming and brushing them. Make the sessions relaxing for the rabbits.
Provide Water in Abundance
During hot days, we humans tend to drink a lot of water. It helps cool our bodies and maintain hydration levels.
Well, rabbits are no different. They will want to drink more water. Therefore, provide them with a constant supply of fresh and clean water.
If you had two bowls or bottles for your bunnies, increase the amount to four during summer.
Also, keep in mind that water tends to get warm faster during hot days, so refresh the bowls when the water is no longer cold.
Alternatively, you can add a few ice cubes to the water to maintain it at lower temperatures. That way, and with enough water levels, you ensure your bunnies stay hydrated throughout the day.
Provide Fresh Greens in Plenty
Fresh green veggies contain a lot of water. Therefore, giving them to your bunnies in plenty is another ideal way of keeping them cool during summer.
You can also increase the veggies’ effectiveness by dipping them in cool water before feeding them to your rabbits.
Greens, especially wet ones, provide your pets with more water.
They’re more appealing to rabbits, and if you keep treating your bunnies to these tasty, nutritious veggies and even fruits, they will remain healthy and hydrated all through the summer.
It’s essential to exercise caution with the fruits and veggies you feed your rabbits.
That’s because many fruits and veggies can be dangerous to your little friends. Be careful in your greens-introduction approach to avoid problems such as gut stasis.
Cold Water Bottles
Another simple method of cooling rabbit hutches is through the use of bottles.
It involves filling a soda or water bottle with water and freezing it throughout the night.
Then, the following day when the sun is scorching, wrap the bottles in a sock or towel and hang them in the hatches.
Have several bottles at hand so that when those inside get warm, you have more to replace these.
When your bunnies are sleeping or resting, they can lie against these bottles to cool their bodies.
Granted, you want maximum cooling from these handy bottles, but at the same time, you don’t want to hurt the rabbits.
That’s why it’s recommended to wrap the bottles in something to avoid burning their skin.
Alternatively, you can position the bottle on the outer side of the hutch’s walls. Don’t worry—the bottles will still be effective.
Provide Cool Lying Surfaces and Hiding Places
There are several ways in which you can make the surface of your rabbit hutch cool. This way, you provide them with favorable conditions to take their summer nap, relax, and rest.
These methods include:
Use of Ceramic Tiles
Ceramic tiles are very effective in cooling hatches during hot summers. All you need to do is cover the hutch’s floor with the tiles and watch how well they work to keep the surface cool.
What’s equally remarkable about ceramic tiles is they don’t just cool the hatch. They also make it easier for you to clean the hatch.
Undoubtedly, bunnies love ceramic tiles, and you’ll notice they’re in no hurry to leave the hutch anytime soon.
There are cooling mats for small animals available in the market.
These are perfect for cooling the hutch, although they’re not so great for the mischievous kind that will keep biting them. For such rabbits, consider going the cold ceramic tiles way.
One cooling mat can cover two to three bunnies at once. It may be one of the most suitable ways of cooling your bunnies during summer.
The mats are comfortable, allowing the rabbits to play, feed, sleep, and rest happily throughout the day.
What’s great about cooking mats is that they play their cooling role whether or not you’re around.
Cardboard Boxes and Tunnels
Once the weather gets too hot, rabbits require a cool resting place to lie away from the hot weather. Whether in the hatch, indoors, or playing in the garden, cool hiding plays are essential.
DIY cardboard boxes and tunnels will give your animals sufficient shade from the sun, on top of acting as a cool resting place. Rabbits also enjoy hiding in such places.
Cooling mats, ceramic tiles, and hiding spots are all bunnies’ favorites.
Remember, they like jumping from spot to spot as they explore, and these cool surfaces and hiding places only add more fun to the fun.
While it can get a little cold indoors during summer, it often gets extremely hot.
For bunnies that don’t like to explore the outdoors, you need to move them to cooler places indoors. That‘s because summerhouses and conservatories also tend to get warm.
Alternatively, you can make the rabbits’ living places cool with an air conditioner. It’s vital to note that the fan should not point to your bunnies directly.
Moreover, there should be enough space such that when they want to move away from the breeze, they can comfortably do so.
Rabbits are known to be mischievous nibblers. Therefore, keep the fan’s wires out of their reach.
In addition, make the room even cooler by drawing the curtains on sides directly facing the sun and keeping the windows open. This will supplement the fan’s cooling efforts.
Signs of Overheating in Bunnies
As mentioned earlier, rabbits can develop heatstroke when the temperatures get too high. If you don’t act with speed and contact your local vet, your bunny may be at risk of dying.
Signs of heatstroke include:
- Short and quick breaths
- Sleepiness or lethargies
Other signs of overheating, especially in long-haired, very old, young, or overweight bunnies, include:
- Hot ears
- Rapid head tossing
- General weakness
- Wet nose
Your pet rabbits can only live a happy and exciting life during the summer if the hutch temperatures are favorable.
With the techniques mentioned above, you can be sure they will remain healthy and hydrated throughout.
Don’t lose your rabbits out of overheating while there are numerous ways of cooling them down. It’s better if you start implementing them right away.
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