Sometimes it’s difficult to understand what a rabbit is feeling and how to best help them since they don’t communicate as we do. One thing that your rabbit can openly react to is the temperature of its environment.
Rabbits thrive in cooler conditions and they enjoy air-conditioned rooms—especially those kept between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Try your best to know the signs of your bunny’s discomfort and learn how to react to those signs. This article will help you understand if your rabbit is too hot or not and how to best cool it down.
Signs Your Rabbit Is Too Hot
Your rabbit will communicate in different ways if it is uncomfortable and many of these will be natural things that the body of your rabbit will be doing to cool itself down.
A bunny’s ears are the main way in which they regulate their heat and will be the best indicator to know if they are too hot or not. A rabbit’s ears act as a conduit for heat and will naturally feel warmer than humans are used to.
If the rabbit’s ears feel extremely hot to the touch, then you know that your rabbit is too hot and needs to cool down.
Another good sign that your rabbit is trying to cool itself down is through fast, shallow breathing. This isn’t the same as panting but can be mistaken for it. If the bunny seems to be acting normal but has this type of breathing it may be a good idea to cool it down in some way.
If your bunny has a wet nose this is a good indicator that your rabbit is dealing with heat and is trying to cool itself down. If you see that your bunny’s nose is wet then begin cooling down your rabbit.
Another great way to become aware of your rabbit’s temperature levels is to see if it is indifferent about normal activities that it is usually fine with. Try giving it a snack, or letting it out of its cage to run around. If it doesn’t seem to be acting normal with these common activities then try to cool down your rabbit and make it more comfortable.
Possible Signs of Heatstroke
There is a difference between your bunny being too hot and having a heatstroke. Heatstroke is very dangerous for a rabbit and should be treated immediately. Understanding the signs of heatstroke can help you act quickly in keeping your bunny healthy.
One of the greatest signs of heat stroke is the color of the ears of the rabbit. If they are red in color then there is a good chance that your bunny has heatstroke. Immediately work to cool down your bunny, particularly in the ears
Short and fast breath was mentioned as a sign that your bunny is too hot, but if your bunny is noticeably panting then you should look into cooling it down. Panting is rapid shortness of breath and can be difficult to distinguish. Each of these signs of overheating can be prevented. Check out my article How to Care for a Rabbit in Hot Weather which will give you ten vital tips for keeping your rabbit from overheating.
If your bunny starts to salivate that is a good signal that it has heatstroke. Your bunny will need a way to cool down and salivation is a possible way in which the rabbit tries to do this. But it is not best to leave your bunny to do it alone. It will need all the help it can get to try to cool down.
When your bunny gets too hot it will stop acting normal. One sure way to tell if your rabbit is having heatstroke is if it isn’t moving. Rabbits are energetic creatures and will be active unless something is wrong. If it is hot outside and your bunny isn’t moving then it’s probably time to get them to a cooler area and bring their temperature down.
A good final way to know that your bunny is having a heatstroke is if it is convulsing. Convulsions are dangerous and might need to be dealt with by a vet. It is definitely time to start treating your rabbit if it is convulsing.
What if I Don’t Have AC?
There are many ways to keep your rabbits cool in the heat of summer or even just during a hot day. Air conditioning is a great way to keep them cool and will help them feel more comfortable. But if you don’t have AC then here are some ideas to cool down your rabbit.
Ceramic tiles are fantastic ways to cool down your rabbit. They hold a cooler temperature and can even be placed in the freezer to be super cold.
You can also use frozen water bottles. Putting these in the rabbit’s cage with a thin layer of fabric over them is a great way to keep them cool. They will lay against these and have a more comfortable time on a hot day.
What cannot be stressed enough is the importance of their ears in regulating their temperature and wetting their ears is a great way to cool them down. They may not like their ears being wet, but it is effective in cooling them down.
Creating your own homemade AC is not too difficult. Simply get a fan and a wet cotton towel and drape it over their cage and then aim the fan at the towel. This will create naturally cool airflow for the rabbit to feel.
Giving your rabbit cool water is an excellent way to stave off the heat. They need to stay hydrated and having cool water will help cool them down.
LIFESAVING TIP: Here are 10 effective tips on how to get your rabbit to drink water. If your rabbit is overheated and refuses to drink, he or she will need some encouragement with these different methods. Rabbit dehydration is a serious issue and, if left unchecked, can be fatal.
One final step to take if they are still hot regardless of your best efforts is to simply move them into a different area that is cooler. Sometimes they are just in a too hot part of the house and they need to be somewhere cooler. A good suggestion is a bathroom or perhaps a basement.
Many of these suggestions came from this video and it has some additional insight into ways to keep your rabbit cool. Plus a visual is always helpful to understand a suggestion.