Cooling Tips (Heat Stroke Prevention)
How Hot is Too Hot and How to Beat the Heat
Temperatures reaching 80 degrees and higher are potentially dangerous. Factors such as age, breed and health play a part in how well a bunny can handle rising temperatures. Babies, Seniors, long haired breeds all have a harder time dealing with hot weather. And since bunnies cool themselves via their ears, lop-eared bunnies may also be more susceptible to heat stroke.
Signs of may heat stroke may include: Sprawled out,breathing heavy, reluctance to move, salivation, ear reddening, weakness. If you suspect your bunny is suffering from heat stroke – seek emergency vet care immediately!
Check weather & set AC accordingly.
If you have air-conditioning, try and make sure to keep your temperature below 80 degrees.
This may seem obvious, but many times we leave in the morning and forget about afternoon heat so check the weather and prepare. Keep blinds closed even if the sun does not hit directly. The heat coming in from the windows on a hot day can bake a room.
Picture: Member Anitastark’s bunny “Sable” likes to hang out on the AC vent.
Poor Man’s AC: Fan & Damp Sheet
Not all homes are equipped with AC especially if located in an area where high temperatures are not normally an issue. However, that can make an unexpected heat wave even more dangerous.
I soak a sheet or pillow case and then...
…I hang it over pen and place fan nearby. The air cools off as it blows over the damp sheet. (I mist cloth every once in awhile to keep it damp)
On really hot days, I take a whole sheet, and when I had a cage instead of a pen, I covered most of the pen leaving spaces open for air to flow through.
An oscillating fan is best, otherwise make sure the bunny can escape direct air if desired, or be sure to place fan so it’s not blowing constantly and directly on your bunny.
Jack stretches out near the cool breeze.
Frozen Water Bottles, Cooler Blocks, Etc
Added Note from BinkyBunny: We have found that if you wrap the frozen containers in a cloth or towel, it stays frozen for MUCH longer. So if your bunny doesn’t chew on the towel or cloth it is a great way to keep things cool for longer.
Save at least two bottles so you can rotate melted for a new frozen one.
You can also use larger soda bottles filled with water too – I have discovered mine LOVE those even on days that aren’t hot.
Some bunnies, prefer a more cuddly version, one that doesn’t feel so cold and isn’t wet. If that seems to be the case with your bunny, put a sock on it. Note, some bunnies will chew up the sock so in that case take the sock off so that they don’t digest the material.
TIP#1 from Member MyBunny
“Freeze gallon milk jugs full of water. They last longer than the smaller bottles for people that may not be able to change them as often as they would like.” Note: Make sure to use the ones that have twist tops, not the flip tops.
TIP#2 from Member MooBunnay
“Lunch box ice blocks (not the soft cooler packages) seem to retain the cool very well.”
TIP #3 from Jane R via email (thank you!):
“We bought an inexpensive large glass casserole dish with a plastic top. We fill it with water, freeze it, put the top on and place it upside down in the bunnies’ cage. They sit or lay right on top of it and love to lick the cool condensation on the outside. One of the bunnies likes to chew plastic, so we also had to make a little wooden skirt to cover the parts of the plastic top that they can reach. It has been a great solution for those days when the frozen water bottles are not quite enough.”
Caution note to readers from BinkyBunny: It is important to be sure to use a casserole dish as stated or similar type dish that is made for temperature changes, otherwise it could crack.
I use 12 x 12 Ceramic Tiles from Home Depot for about $2 bucks each.
They stay cool even during hot weather. And if I really want to cool the tiles off, I stick them in the freezer for 5 – 10 minutes.
If the tile is too slippery, then turn it over and use the other side – usually has some sort of traction.
This great tip was sent in by Celine. Thanks Celine!
“Get lids big enough for bunnies to lay most of their body on. I lay a smaller flat dish on the ground and fill a bag with ice and put it in the dish and flip the plant lid over on top of it to make an “ice bed”. My bunnies love to lay on these to help dissipate the heat. On days that are cooler to me and under 75, I know that they are getting hot when they get up on these beds when there is no ice in them signalling to me that they need cooling off and I go fill them up.”
Frozen Bottle Beds
I found this works very well and lasts a long time.
My bunnies like to lean against something so I usually have a bed that has a high edge, but in the summer, I can create that edge with a large frozen water bottle. It’s better then “freezing” right up next to them — just keeps the bed nice a cool.
Bunnies cool off with their ears and it helps them cool off even more when you wet their ears. Best way is to dampen your hands or a paper towel and wipe over face and ears.
Ice Cubes in Water
Even if your bunny drinks from a bottle, you can still offer this as some bunnies actually step in it to cool off. Goofy!
A frozen treat is a good way to keep a bunny hydrated and cool.
There are many variations of this: You can freeze water with little fruit bits inside or just freeze flavored natural juice like apple. (be sure to dilute it so it doesn’t have too much sugar and cause a serious digestive imbalance) You can even freeze a favorite treat, like a raisin in the middle. I’ve filled flavored ice cube with rosemary and mint leaves, and they love it.
TREAT TIP 1 by member: MooBunnay
“My bunnies really loved frozen grapes, I cut them in half and kept a sack of them in the freezer”
TREAT TIP 2 by member: KokaneaAndKahlua
“Cut up fruit into little pieces, like Banana, Papaya – whatever your bunny likes, and put them in water in little cups or ice cube trays, and freeze them.”
Groom Excess Hair
It’s bad enough to wear a fur coat on a hot day, but it’s worse to have an “old” fur coat on top of a fur coat. This is especially true if a bunny is molting.
We love the hairbuster comb!
It’s going to be a blistering hot day. NOW What?
If it’s going to be one of those record breaking days that melts ice in seconds and you won’t be home to manage a damp sheet, and you don’t have AC. then it’s best to just move your bunny to cooler location. Like a basement or bathroom……
or even a bathtub blocking an escape with an x-pen. BE SURE that you haven’t used any harsh chemicals in the tub recently, and lay down a towel or blanket, so they don’t slip and slide. Even in the tub, put a litter box, water, and food. It’s tight, but it’s cool.
Dampen greens with fresh water – Keep your bunnies hydrated by offering wet greens.
Portable Swamp Coolers
A good solution to beat the heat in a smaller area as well as offers the benefit of being able to move it around.
Swamp coolers, aka: evaporative fans or air coolers can range from $40 – $300 (or even more for industrial versions)
To find them online, just search for “Portable Swamp Cooler” or check out the selection Ebay.
Window Air Conditioner
These can really come in handy during the hottest days. If you don’t want to spend $300 bucks for one, scan the want ads, craigslist.org, and garage sales. We found one in perfect working condition for $50 bucks! Be sure when you do use it to test it out first (especially a pre-owned one) to make sure it cools and/or does’t make it too cold if the setting is off or you are not paying attention.
Also, if you buy one used, be sure to clean any filters. I know that may go without saying but you just want to make sure there isn’t any mold spores or anything since it could have been sitting in someone’s garage or attic, etc.
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