Hot Weather and Rabbits
Rabbits are crepuscular, which means they are most active at dawn and dusk. These are the coolest times of the day. In the wild, rabbits stay in their dens during the warm parts of the day to stay cool and avoid over-heating. It is important that we provide our rabbits with living conditions which allow them to stay cool and safe during the warmer months.
Your Rabbit's Hutch
Make sure your rabbit's hutch is kept out of the direct path of sunlight throughout the day. This may mean moving the hutch under a shady tree, into a ventilated shed or, if a house rabbit, away from the window. As we know, metal retains heat. So, during the warmer months, a wooden cage would be better for your rabbit. Having a fan blowing where your rabbit is housed is a good way of providing ventilation for them.
Your Rabbit's Outdoor Run
If your rabbit has an outdoor run, make sure there are parts which are well shaded from the sunlight. Rabbits are naturally burrowing animals and providing them with an outside burrow would be great for enriching their summertime. Freezing water in plastic bottles and placing them in your rabbit's run or hutch, is a great way to give your rabbit something to rest on and keep cool.
Keep on top of the cleanliness of your rabbit's hutch during the warmer months. Remove stale vegetables from your rabbit’s hutch, and regularly clear out dirty hay and straw to keep on top of flies and mould.
Your rabbit's water will need regular topping up and changing to keep fresh over the warmer months. It is better to provide water in a ceramic dish, as any metal on water feeders and dishes will retain heat. A tip for your rabbit’s fresh water ... have a couple of water dishes, so there is one in the freezer keeping cool.
Summer Health Care
Regular health care checks are important at any time of the year. In warm weather, you need to keep a look out for fly strike. Fly strike is a particularly nasty condition that can affect rabbits with damp or dirty fur. You can protect your rabbit against fly strike with Beaphar Fly Guard. Fly Guard is a Veterinary preparation containing an insect growth regulator which gives protection against fly strike for up to 3 months.
If you would like any further advice on "Warm Weather and Rabbits", please contact the OSCAR Helpline on our freephone number 0800 195 8000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org