The summer has arrived and while many of us are enjoying the wonderful hot weather of the season, our pets may not be enjoying it quite so much.
Rabbits in particular are vulnerable to heatstroke and rely on their owners to provide them with cooler conditions during the summer months. Wild rabbits go underground or hide under shrubs and bushes to keep cool, so here we look at how, as pet owners, we can help in keeping rabbits cool in the hot weather.
How to Spot Heat Stroke Symptoms in Rabbits
Heatstroke in rabbits can be fatal, as for other small animals. If you can spot the symptoms of heatstroke in the early stages, then you will have time to reverse the effects. The main symptoms to look out for are:
Fast, shallow breathing
Wetness around the nose
Breathing rapidly from an open mouth whilst throwing their head back
Give your Rabbit Plenty of Shade
Metal hutches, in particular, can warm up very quickly and will retain the heat throughout the day. Placing your hutch in a shaded area of your garden is ideal, preferably under a tree or large bush in order to allow some light to shine through, whilst protecting your rabbits from intense heat. If you are unable to move your hutch, then try placing a large sun umbrella close by. This will help to break up the intensity of the sunlight.
Keep your rabbit hutch out of direct sunlight as much as possible
Offer your Rabbit Fresh, Cool Water
A fresh supply of water is always essential and this should be replenished at regular intervals throughout the day during the summer months. A combination of water bowls and bottles will give your rabbit access to plenty of liquids and you may find that they even enjoy lying in the bowls when the weather is extremely hot.
Keep Flies at Bay
Flies are perhaps the most annoying thing about summer! They are the most persistent of creatures that can drive us to distraction and unfortunately, they have the same effect on our rabbits.