Temperatures over 80º Fahrenheit can be dangerous for a rabbit. In hot weather, please observe the following to protect your bunny from overheating:
☼ NEVER leave a rabbit unattended in your vehicle. Even with the windows down, cars heat up fast. When you transport your bunny to the veterinarian or pet-sitter, make sure you bring along frozen water bottles to place in the carrier in case of emergency. Avoid traveling with your rabbit in the middle of the day.
☼ Housing a rabbit in an outdoor hutch is not recommended. If you absolutely cannot keep your rabbit indoors during the summer, make sure the hutch or outdoor run has adequate ventilation and is shaded throughout the entire day. When the outside temperature reaches 80º F or higher, place a jug of frozen water in the hutch to keep bunny cool. Wash a plastic jug or liter bottle, fill it 4/5ths full of water and put it in the freezer overnight. Be sure to have an extra bottle or two ready to swap out. Your rabbit will lie against the frozen bottles of water to cool off and drink the moisture off the sides of the bottle. Misters can also be used to cool the air around the rabbits (don’t train the misters on the rabbits unless it’s very hot). But keep in mind these measures may not be enough to protect your outdoor bunny if the temperatures get too high.
☼ If your bunny lives indoors but you do not have air conditioning, keep her cool on hot days by placing bottles of frozen water in her living area. Cross-ventilate when possible by leaving windows partly open.
☼ Provide water in heavy crocks if possible, rather than in water bottles with a sipper—rabbits drink more water from an open dish. The water crock must be heavy to prevent your rabbit from tipping it over. You can add ice cubes to the water to keep it cool longer while you are away at work. Water must be easily accessible; make sure if you do use a bottle that it’s at a comfortable height and your rabbit can drink (about 6-8 inches from the bottom of the cage or fence for an average-sized adult rabbit, lower for babies).
☼ Place a ceramic tile or marble slab in the corner of your rabbit’s living area. The tile provides a cool spot for bunny to lie on. You can put the tile in the refrigerator or freezer to make it even cooler.
☼ Rinse a towel with cold water, wring it out, and hang it in front of a fan so the cool air blows through it. Don’t train the fan directly on the rabbit, and make sure she doesn’t have access to the fan or electrical cord.
☼ If you go on vacation, choose an experienced pet-sitter who knows how sensitive bunnies are to the heat.
☼ Symptoms of overheating include: listlessness, wet nose and mouth, hot ears, mouth breathing, convulsions or frantic activity. To treat an overheated bunny, wipe cool water on her ears and wrap her in a cool, wet towel before rushing her to a rabbit-savvy veterinarian.