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Buns in the Sun

Don't Let Your Rabbit

Loose it's Cool

  Click >Snow Bunnies

for Winter Season Tips

Some people think domesticated rabbits can tolerate heat since wild rabbits adapt in hot climates.  Wild rabbits are acclimated to the weather and the heat.  Domesticated rabbits are descendants of the European Rabbit and would normally live in warrens with deep tunnels they dig out that are cool underground in hot weather.  Your rabbit doesn't have a warren to stay cool.

 

How to Help Your Rabbit Keep its Cool:

 

Made for Shade: Keep your rabbit out of the sun and have a cage in the shade.  Indoor rabbits with direct sun into their cage or pen in the summer need to be protected, too.  Heat passing through a window doesn't escape back out so the room heats up.  If you let your rabbit run in the garden in the summer, have a shady place for it to rest.

 

Fans: A fan that will pass a breeze by the rabbit is great  and particularly a circulating fan so the breeze isn’t constant.  Groucho spends his summer by his own personal fan.  Don't put the rabbit's cage in front of an air conditioner and so they really "chill out!"   Be sure to bunny proof the cords!

 

Less Fur: On long-haired rabbits – give them a "hare" cut for the summer.   Also, brush hair out of a bunny’s coat so there isn’t extra.  After all, that is a fur coat your rabbit is wearing in the summer.

 

Vegging Out: Vegetables help keep rabbits hydrated so make sure they are getting plenty.  Rinse the vegetables and leave the water on them. Be sure they don't get too warm and remove if they look wilted.  

Cool Spots: Ceramic tiles, marble tiles or brick/cement pavers in the x-pen (puppy pen)/large cage or in a favorite spot are cool areas for lounging rabbits.

 

Water:  Put a couple of ice cubes in their water crock  or bowl – this will keep their water cool and the ceramic crock will be nice for them to lounge next to when it gets too warm. My rabbit, Rosemary, used to take them out to lick them on the pen floor. 

 

Mist Ears: Rabbits dissipate heat through their ears so you can mist them to help them keep cool. Don’t make them wet – just mist occasionally.  Plant misters work well.  A spray bottle full of water will scare a rabbit. 

 

Cool Buddy: Freeze a few 1 liter pop bottles full of water and then put a thin sock over the bottle, then get wet under the faucet and put it in the rabbit’s area.  Rabbits will lay next to the bottle to cool off.  I keep one or two in the freezer all summer and rotate in the rabbit pen. Rosemary and Groucho shared theirs by laying down with their bottle "ice cube" between them. Hops is pictured next to his "cold buddy." (Yes, that is a hole in the sock.) 

 

Heat Stroke:  If your rabbit gets heat stroke, mist his ears.  Absolutely no cold baths or showers!   Call your vet immediately!

 

In the Car:  Just like a dog or cat - never leave a rabbit in the car in the sun or hot weather!

 

Photo Credit:  Isn't Pongo a great beach bunny!  Pongo was a gorgeous mini-rex adopted from the The House Rabbit Connection.  Also, Miss June enjoys her cool tile on a warm day in Los Angeles.

 

Snow Bunnies

Staying Warm in the Winter

 

Rabbits do not hibernate for the winter. In fact, they are just as active in the winter as they are in the other warmer seasons.  They do tolerate cold better than heat, but they cannot dig a nice deep, cozy warren underground to get away from either extreme in the house or in a hutch.  Here is what you need to consider:

 

House Rabbits: the bunny of the house still needs to be kept at a comfortable temperature even if it is not outside in a hutch.

Drafts:  check for drafts if the rabbit has a pen or cage under a window and can't hop to another area. 

Heaters, Woodstoves & Fireplaces:  be sure your rabbit doesn't get near a hot space heater or a hot fireplace.  Some rabbits enjoy sitting near the hearth just like a dog or cat, but be very, very careful the first time the rabbit discovers the fireplace.

Thermostat:  Don't turn the temperature down too low when you leave for a weekend thinking the rabbit or rabbits will be just fine.  Have someone check on them.  The power can go out leaving the rabbit in the dark and cold long before you return.

Fill the Litter Box with Hay:  If the power does go out, make sure your rabbit has somewhere to burrow in to stay warm.  I overfill the litter boxes with hay in the winter since my rabbits will eat a blanket in short order.  Fortunately, the power has only gone off once, but they were snuggled up in their hay when I got home from work.

Hutch Rabbits: If you can absolutely cannot bring your rabbit or rabbits inside for the winter, please make sure their hutches are winterized.

Location: If you can move the hutch, locate it next to the house on the warmer side that gets the least amount of wind.

Cover the Hutch:  A tarp covering the hutch can protect from the elements. However, do not cover the hutch so there is no air circulation. Rabbits need ventilation. There are hutch covers available commercially online.

Hay:  Make sure there is plenty of hay for the rabbit to burrow into to stay warm.

Water: Check the water daily to make sure it is not frozen and on really cold days, check it twice.

Exercise:  Rabbits still need exercise in the winter.  On warmer, dry days, let them out to run or bunny proof a room in the house where they can play.

Heaters:  Be careful. I have heard of people using a greenhouse heater if the rabbit is in a shed structure. There are also microwavable heat pads available. Never use a hot water bottle since they are easily chewed.

Repairs: Be sure the hutch is in good shape and there are no leaks for rain or snow to get in.

 

Get two rabbits: 

A bonded pair of  rabbits seem to enjoy snuggling 

 and will help keep each other warm. 

Be sure they are neutered or spayed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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