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April 30, 2019 2 min read 0 Comments

As the weather warms, we see dogs panting, birds bathing, but what about our rabbits? They can't sweat or pant and with the thick fur that they have, puts them at risk of overheating. The only way rabbits release heat is through their ears. If you have a rabbit or know someone with one and are worried about the hot weather approaching, read on...

Symptoms

It is important to know the symptoms of your rabbit overheating as there is always a chance it can happen and catching it quickly can help prevent the worst.

  • Fast breathing
  • Wetness around the nose
  • Tossing their heads back with rapid breath and an open mouth
  • Not showing any interest in anything/lethargic
  • Hot ears (as they regulate their body temperature using their ears)
  • Abnormal body temperature

A rabbits normal body temperature should be around 38 - 39.7 Degrees Celsius and their comfortable environment is around 12.77 - 21 Degrees Celsius. They could still start to overheat in the 20 degrees, check on them frequently once the weather starts to warm.

Prevention

The first step is to create shade for the rabbit, you can do this by moving them out the sun or placing a cover over half of their hut if they are outside. Inside cages, you can place a cool damp towel on one side of their cage to create shade and a cooler area for them to lay in. 

A nice cool breeze from a window is a perfect way of cooling them down if there is no breeze coming from the window then using a circulating fan that breezes past your rabbit are great. 

As they don't sweat or pant, the thick fur can give them a higher chance of overheating, frequently grooming them, getting rid of loose unneeded fur can be a huge help.

Encourage your rabbit to drink water, place ice cubes in a bowl, they will enjoy laying next to them with the cool air coming off and may even lick the water from it as it melts! Give them vegetables that have just been rinsed (leave the water on to increase their water intake.)

Their ears are the most likely to get the hottest as they are releasing the heat from them, gently mist their ears with water to help cool them down but never soak their ears.

Take more care in observing your older or overweight rabbits as they may not get up to drink water if they are too hot.

If you do suspect your rabbit is far too hot, take them to the Veterinarian immediately as heat stroke can be a very serious thing in rabbits. However, prevention is easier than treating so following these steps should help you to avoid the worst outcome, keeping your rabbit as comfortable as possible.

Enjoyed this blog and thought it was helpful? Why not read about feeding and caring for your rabbit here:

https://petnpony.co.uk/blogs/news/feeding-and-caring-for-rabbits

Helen Best
Helen Best



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