Recognizing Heat Stroke in Your Pet Rabbit

Heat can be very dangerous to rabbits. They are more susceptible to heat stroke than humans, so if you are feeling hot imagine how your bunny feels.

Rabbit lying downHere are the symptoms of heat stroke in rabbits:

  • Reddening of the ears
  • Panting
  • Lethargy
  • Salivating
  • Weakness/Slow movement
  • Acting Confused
  • Convulsing

If your rabbit exhibits any of these symptoms begin misting their ears with cool water and immediately call your vet. Never put your rabbit under cold water or into a cold bath if they appear to have heat stroke.

To help prevent this condition in your pet rabbit, there are several ways to keep your bunny cool as the temperature rises.

    • Provide an area for your bunny that is out of direct sunlight. A little shade can make a big difference in temperature.
    • Stone or ceramic tiles will provide a nice cool feeling on their bunny bellies.
    • Air conditioning can help alleviate those warm feelings.
    • Open windows that provide a breeze. A fan can also be used, but do not have it blow directly onto your bun.
    • Groom your rabbit. Helping your rabbit to rid themselves of excess fur will help cool them down.
    • Freeze some water bottles and leave them out for your bun. They enjoy laying in the cooled air around these bottles and may even lick some condensation off the sides.
    • Water! Provide plenty of cool fresh water for your buns. You can add an ice cube or two and watch bunny happily lick at them.
    • Give ‘em a spray. Rabbits use their ears to regulate temperature, so by spraying some water mist on their ears you can help cool them down. Never get the ears completely wet; a quick mist will do.
    • A cool damp towel draped over an area where they hang out, their cage perhaps. Make sure it is not dripping right on your rabbit
    • Veggies! Give your bunny vegetables to help keep them hydrated. You can leave a little water on them after you rinse them off to add to their water intake

Using these tips and some common sense, you can avoid heat stroke. However, it is important to know the signs in case heat stroke does occur.

About the Author

P.A. Smith has been living with house rabbits since 1995. He also co-edits the fun wildlife website called Animal Fact Guide.