If you keep or want to keep pet rabbits outdoors, you may know that rabbits are sensitive to temperature changes. When the weather gets to be 85 degrees Fahrenheit or more, they may start to overheat. However, a quick shift in temperature can also be dangerous. Here’s what to do if a rabbit starts overheating and how to prevent heatstroke in the first place.
If Your Rabbit Is Overheating
Your rabbit may be overheating if it shows changes in behavior like lethargy, loss of appetite, and weakness. It may have reddening ears, excess saliva, or excrement with little moisture. Instead of dipping your rabbit into cold water, take a cold compress and apply it to the ears and the rest of the body if necessary. Take it into an air-conditioned room immediately.
Placement of the Hutch
To prevent future mishaps, consider first the placement of the hutch. It should be in a shaded area, avoiding direct sunlight. Take shade under some mature trees or beside a house. The north face of a building is its coolest. If you do not have a well-shaded area, provide coverage with an awning or other invention.
Fresh, Cool Water
To care for any cat, dog, or rodent, an owner needs to provide fresh water 24/7. You may want to change out the water at least twice a day in the summer for your outdoor rabbits, or add a couple of ice cubes. Keeping the water temperature low will help refresh them.
Fresh, Cool Greens
Fresh greens rinsed in cold water will nourish and refresh as well. The rinsed veggies will give extra cool water droplets to keep your rabbits well hydrated. You can also make frozen treats for your rabbits out of appropriate fruits and vegetables and water.
If your pets need a break from eating and drinking, they can cool off by pressing up against a cold water bottle. You can use an empty plastic soda bottle for this; all you need to do is fill it up with water, freeze it overnight, and place it in the hutch the next day.
If the weather becomes unbearable, you can bring the rabbits inside for the season. The basement or garage are decent places to set up the hutch. To avoid temperature shock, bring them indoors when the weather grows temperate, but not too hot.
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