Summer is coming up quick! This can be a dangerous time of year for bunnies. Rabbits are very vulnerable to overheating, as they can only regulate their body temperature through their ears. As the weather warms up, you’ll need to take a few precautions to keep your furry friend comfy, cool, and safe in the heat. Read on for some summer bunny care tips from an Omaha, NE vet.
It doesn’t have to be absolutely scorching out for bunnies to overheat. Anytime the temperature goes above 77F, Floppy is at risk. Unlike us, bunnies can’t sweat to cool off. Panting doesn’t do much for them, either. The only way they can really regulate their body temperature is by their cute ears. (It’s worth noting that senior rabbits, young bunnies, chubby buns, and longhaired furballs are particularly at risk.)
The biggest thing is to make sure that your bun is in a room that isn’t too hot. Whenever it goes over 77F, you’ll need to turn on air conditioning or start a fan. On really hot days, you can lightly mist Floppy’s ears. Having a fan blow over a bowl of cold water can also help bring temps down. You can also put some frozen water bottles or frozen towels into your pet’s cage. Or, freeze a large ceramic tile for her to lay on. Your furry buddy may also appreciate having some ice cubes in her water bottle.
Keep an eye out for signs of heat exhaustion. Rapid breathing is often the first thing you’ll see. Floppy may also act listless and lethargic. Other warning signs include moisture around the nose, hot ears, and tossing the head back. If you notice any of these, immediately take steps to cool your furball down. If she’s in a sunny area, bring her to a cooler room and give her some water. Dampening her ears with cool water may help. Contact your vet as you are doing this.
One might think that putting Floppy in a kiddie pool or soaking her with water may be a good option, but this is actually quite dangerous. Rabbits are terrified of water, and can actually go into shock if submerged. Plus, wet fur and skin puts your cute pet at risk of flystrike!
As your Omaha, NE veterinarian, we’re here to help. Contact us anytime!