As summer quickly approaches, so do the problems you might encounter with the heat and your pet rabbit if you house them outdoors... Rabbits have a tendency to tolerate the cold of winter a lot more easily than the heat of summer, so it is up to us to make sure our rabbits are comfortable and cool during the heat of the summer days.
Wild rabbits are a little better adapted to extreme weather conditions than your pet rabbit because they can take advantage of their surroundings to help keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Digging into the cool earth that remains shady all day is one way wild rabbits stay cool in the hot summer months... Only coming out in the middle of the day to take advantage of cooling rain from a summer shower, and doing most of their grazing at night when the temperatures are cooler.
Having your Pet Rabbit housed in Pens or Cages doesn't offer them the same opportunities as their wild cousins to take advantage of their surroundings, so it is up to us to try to make them as comfortable as possible in extreme conditions. Here are a few suggestions you might like to try to help keep your pet cool and comfortable in the hot summer months, and possibly avoid dehydration or even death...
Always make sure your Pet Rabbit's pen is placed in a shady spot during the heat of the day... and preferably some place where gentle breezes will flow freely through your Pet's Pen. This will help to keep your rabbit from over heating and possibly dieing from heat stroke.
Always make sure your Pet Rabbit has plenty of fresh clean water to drink every morning and evening... In the heat of summer, your Pet Rabbit has a tendency to drink twice or even three times as much water, so as a safty precaution, check your pet's water supply often to avoid dehydration.
You can also make use of old plastic soda bottles, milk jugs or water bottles by filling them 3/4 of the way full of water and placing them in the freezer over night. Place the frozen bottle of ice in your pets pen to create a cold spot where they can relax and lay against the bottle to help keep them cool.
An inexpensive pump-up sprayer filled with clean cool water can be used to mist your pet in it's pen during the heat of summer to help keep them cool as well. Once you have managed to wet the entire pelt with the cool mist, your pet will relax and take advantage of the cooler temperatures... They may fuss a bit about this type of cooling at first... But as summer lingers on and the heat increases, your pet will actually look forward to these misting baths.
I just wanted to remind everyone of the importance of keeping your Pet Rabbit cool in the summer months to avoid health problems that may arise from your rabbit getting over heated. By using your imagination, I'm sure you will come up with even more ideas that will work just as well to help keep you Pet Rabbit cool in the hot summer months...
Winter has it's problems for our furry friends as well as summer, and since your pet will be with you for many happy years, it's important that we understand how to take care of our pets on a year-round basis. This section is designed to help you better understand how to take care of your rabbit in the winter months to make them as comfortable as possible.
Rabbits that are kept indoors on a yearly basis will not be effected by the changing weather as much as a pet that is kept outdoors, so if you decide to keep your pet housed outdoors on a yearly basis, this section will help you make better decisions in your pets overall welfare.
The winter months can be a bit harsh, even in the south at times, which in turn effects the water supply to you pet more than anything... So when the temperatures dip below the freezing mark, I suggest pulling your drinkers in the evenings so you can wash them as well as refill them for your morning feedings. When you stop to think about it, the drinkers will freeze shortly after dark and your rabbit won't have water to drink over night anyway... So pulling the drinkers in the evening will insure your rabbit gets a much needed drink of water first thing each morning.
There are times even in the south when the temperature never climbs above freezing throughout the day... At these extreme times, it may be best to offer your pet water in a dish such as a heavy bowl so they have the opportunity to get a little fresh water, even if the conditions are extreme.
When the temperatures start to dip below the freezing mark on a regular basis in the fall, I like to take this opportunity to wrap my pet pens in plastic or felt to help protect them from cold crosswinds that could possibly lower your pets body temperature to levels that are unacceptable.
The Georgia State Department of Agriculture suggests that you have an "Environmental Protection Box" installed in the pens that helps to insure your pet's safety and well being. By building an inclosure that will withstand winds as well as rain and snow in the colder temperatures, will help to insure your pet's survival in harsh conditions. I usually do this with an "open bottomed" device of some type, placing the inclosure on the wire bottom of my pens, and adding hay or straw to a depth of 2 or 3 inches... As the straw becomes soiled with urine or fecal matter, it is easily and affordable replaced with fresh bedding through these extreme conditions.
Keeping your pet as comfortable as possible is always a good idea, and these helpful tips may make the difference in your pet's overall health and survival... As much as I love to sell rabbits to you guys... I really hate to sell one to you to replace one that has been lost to neglect ... Plan ahead for sever weather... Your rabbit will thank you for it...