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July 18th, 2022
Written By: Link the Bun

8 Ways to keep your Rabbit cool during the Summer months

If your rabbit is acting abnormally and you have concerns please take them to a vet immediately.

Rabbits do not handle heat very well, despite shedding they actually regulate body heat through their ears which makes it difficult for them to cool down. Due to this, keeping your rabbits cool can be tough during heat waves.

Rabbits have a fantastic mechanism that allows them to regulate body heat through their ears. The ear pinnae contain a network of complex blood vessels that cool blood through a process called vasodilatation.

Unfortunately, when the environmental temperature exceeds 102.2°F/38°C their built-in mechanisms stop working and your rabbit will start to suffer from heat exhaustion.

Rabbits can show signs of heatstroke from 75°F (35°C), this is a critical point in time as rabbits can die extremely quickly from hyperthermia.

Rabbit on an ice pad cooling mat

What are the signs of heat stroke?

Due to your rabbit’s excess fur, they may struggle to stay cool. Some breeds like the angora rabbit will have an incredibly difficult time staying cool, so it’s crucial to know the signs of heat stroke with a rabbit.

Rabbits that are older or very young are at a greater risk of getting heat stroke, as such you should continually keep them hydrated and make sure they’re eating and pooping regularly.

Signs of heat exhaustion in rabbits include the following:

  • Wetness around the nose
  • Hot ears
  • Fatigue or weak movements
  • Panting and shallow breathing
  • Seizures
  • Flicking head back
  • Drooling / Salivating
  • Muscle spasms and tremors
  • Disorientation
  • A body temperature above 104°F
  • Unconsciousness

How to keep your rabbit cool in the summer

Keeping your rabbits cool in the summer is crucial, especially during a heat wave. Whilst your rabbit may tolerate heat better than another, we suggest not risking it.

  • Use a cooling pad covered in your shirt – This is an all-time favorite of ours, we use an old shirt that we allow our rabbits to suckle on to cover flat ice packs. Simply put them in the freezer overnight and allow your rabbit to lay on them to keep their body temperature lower. A must-have for any rabbit owner.
  • Freeze water bottles – Another favorite for most owners, is simply to fill up bottles of water and put them in the freezer overnight. We suggest having multiple to take them out and refreeze them in rotation. Place these in your rabbit’s favorite spots and if they want to cool down they’ll lay next to them.
  • Give them wet fresh greens – Whilst many owners suggest just giving fresh dark leafy greens to get extra water in your rabbit. We suggest washing them and them keeping them wet when you give them to your rabbit. This gives them some extra hydration and keeps them fresher in the heat.
  • Put down ceramic tiles – Ceramic tiles stay cool almost all the time, as long as you’re not putting them in direct sunlight, they should stay at nice temperatures all through the day, you may be able to pick up some free ceramic tile samples at your local DIY shop. The only downside is that they are typically smaller than the ice mats.
  • Cold water behind the ears – As your rabbit uses their ears to expel any extra heat, we suggest putting small quantities of cold water on the backs of its ears. Be careful not to get any water inside their ears on in the front. You can put your hand in some cold icy water and just run it down their ears if that’s easier. You should not make your rabbit soaking wet.
  • Add Ice cubes to their water – Ice cubes are perfect for the warm weather, they keep your rabbit’s temperature lower, and keep their water cold and fresher. Ice cubes are a great cool treat for your furry friends.
  • Place cold damp towels as shade – If your rabbit stays in their cage, add a damp towel at the top of its cage as well as a small fan to assist with airflow and it will replicate an air-conditioned room.
  • Keep out of direct sunlight – This may seem obvious, but rabbits love to bask in the hot weather, so you may need to constantly nudge them out of the sunlight into a cooler environment.

What Causes Heatstroke in Rabbits?

7 Signs your rabbit is overheating

Just because your home isn’t 38°C / 102.2°F doesn’t mean your rabbit can’t get Heatstroke. It’s important to remember that there’s a multitude of potential reasons that end up causing heatstroke.

Some of the reasons your rabbit may have had heatstroke are the following:

  • Ambient Temperatures of 29°C / 85°F and over
  • Rabbits laying in the sun
  • Lack of Shade
  • Lack of accessible Water
  • Excessive Exercise / Stress
  • Thick Rabbit Coat
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Obesity
  • Neuromuscular Disease
  • Lack of ventilation
  • Heat intolerance

How can I tell if my rabbit is too hot?

Keeping your rabbit cool in the summer heat is important, these are some of the basic signs to spot heatstroke:

  • Fast, Panting / Shallow Breathing
  • Wet nose / under the mouth
  • Moving back and forth when breathing (Open mouth Rapid Breathing)
  • Burning up / Hot ears
  • Weakness / Fatigue / Listlessness, being sluggish is a sure sign of heatstroke
  • Muscle Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

There are plenty of videos online regarding Heatstroke with your rabbit, this is the best one I could find online which had a lack of commentary:


If your rabbit is facing signs of heat stroke, start with these steps:

  • Spray your rabbit’s ears with a misty bottle of cool water (Refrigerate it)
  • Bring your rabbit into the coolest room in your home
  • Provide fresh cold water and if possible, occasionally put ice cubes in it
  • DO NOT PUT COLD WATER DIRECTLY ON YOUR RABBIT OR PUT THEM IN A COLD BATH. This will put them into a state of shock.

If your rabbit’s heatstroke is excessive and causing your rabbit stress, please take them to your emergency vet.

Keeping Outdoor House Rabbit cool

To put it simply, the easiest way of keeping your rabbit cool when outdoors is to get the shade. In the wild, Hares and Rabbits will dig and cool down under the earth. This isn’t always possible, so if it is extremely hot definitely bring them inside where it’s cooler.

Rudely woke Link to take this! Sorry!

One of the things we’ve seen a lot of is rabbits being put in swimming pools, DO NOT DO THIS. Unless your rabbit has been given the go-ahead from your vet due to a health reason, avoid putting your rabbit in any type of water.

Instead, try misting your rabbit with some cool refrigerated water. We do this regularly on our rabbit’s ears and it’s perfect for cooling him down, do be cautious as not every bun will like this and it may end up stressing them out.

Life Hack: Keep your rabbits hutch cool quickly!

This is a fantastic little bun life hack, during the Summer put ceramic tiles at the bottom of your rabbit’s cage where they spend most of their time resting.

Ceramic tiles are designed to keep cool, as such, having them in the shade will keep them much cooler. Pair this with a bottle of Ice water and you’ll have a very happy bunny!

Are Pet Fans any good?

Let’s be honest with ourselves, do you prefer a little hand fan or one of those big fans who gets all of you? If you chose the latter, you are my best friend now.

Regardless of which size fan you get, your rabbit won’t like it if it’s directly facing them, as such, we suggest getting a bigger fan and simply pointing slightly to the left or right of your little bun friend.

Little Cage fans aren’t great when there’s a LOT of heat, so spoil your rabbit and get them something decent

Thank you for reading this post!
Link is an incredibly spoilt rabbit who lives completely free roam. When he's not jumping on his owners heads at 5am or digging at carpet he can often be seen loafed or eating copious amounts of hay.