How do you keep your rabbits cool in the summer?

Rabbits are comfortable between 45-75 degrees Fahrenheit (7-24 Celsius). If it gets hotter than 75F/24C, make sure your rabbit doesn't overheat! Temperatures above 80F/26C can be deadly for rabbits. Pet rabbits (European Rabbits) evolved in cool climates and they're very susceptible to heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Here are some other ways to keep your rabbit cool in the summer:

  • Give your bunny air conditioning. This is the best way to keep your rabbit cool. Fans aren't an acceptable alternative because rabbits don't sweat, so fans don't cool them down very much. (It's by evaporating the sweat from our skin that fans work to cool humans down.)
  • Make sure your bunny has access to the shade at all times! For example: If the hutch is outside then move it into a more shaded area or place a sun canopy over it.
  • Give your bunny plenty of fresh cold water. Start to change the water twice a day because rabbits don't like warm water, so don't give it to them. A couple of ice cubes in the water can keep it cool.
  • Ice bottles can be put in the hutch. As the ice melts, the air around the bottle will be cooled down.
  • Mist your rabbit's ears with cool water, or run an ice cube over the outer ears. (But don't hold the ice down because you can hurt the skin, and don't get water in the ears because this can lead to infection.) The hutch can also be sprayed with water.
  • Chill ceramic or stone tiles in the freezer and give them to your rabbit to lie down on.
  • Hang cold wet towels near your rabbit and aim a fan at them; as the water evaporates from the towels, the air around them will cool. Don't aim the fan directly at the rabbit or put the towels on the rabbit! This will only stress the rabbit, and stress increases discomfort and illness.
  • Some rabbits enjoy a cool sponge bath and this can help to cool them down, but other rabbits don't like getting wet. Know your rabbit: if she doesn't like getting wet, don't do it.
  • Maximize air flow, because when air is constantly moving through a room or area, this keeps it cool. Maybe change the direction of the hutch to keep the rabbits area cooler.

Watch your rabbit for signs of heat stroke. If she's lethargic and panting, she's overheated: start trying to cool her down and call the vet for advice. If your rabbit is unresponsive, salivating, weak, confused, or convulsing, this is an emergency: go to a vet immediately!

Do NOT immerse or soak an over-heated rabbit in cold water: not only can this stress and shock your rabbit, but the cold water can constrict the blood vessels and make it even harder for the bunny to cool down.