The Dangers of Summer: Heat, Stress, and Fleas
HEAT CAN KILL YOUR RABBIT
The best situation is for all bunnies to be inside an air-conditioned home on days that the temperature is over 78 degrees, but we know that this is not always an option. Following are some tips on how to keep bunny cool on hot days.
Your rabbit’s cage should never be in direct sunlight, but in a well-lit shaded (if outside) area that is well ventilated but not drafty. Rabbits do not belong in garages. Garages tend to be dark and oppressive, even with ventilation and windows. Plus, rabbits are social creatures and they get dreadfully lonely if they are shut off from their people and whatever family activity is happening!
If air conditioning is not available, fans and bottles or cartons filled with ice are useful to cool things down. Keep a few plastic bottles (or milk/juice cartons) of water in the freezer in case of an emergency, and so that you have a supply ready when one has melted. Place the bottle in the cage next to your bunny.
Misting the ears is another helpful way to cool bunny down, and a damp towel across/over one end of the cage (where fan blows air freely through) makes a nice cool place for bunny to rest.
For rabbits that live outside (we implore you: bring your pets inside!) a timed mister system is advisable. Make sure that all wet food is changed daily. This is VERY important. Damp food gets moldy quickly in hot weather (it also breeds bacteria) which can make your rabbit extremely ill, or even cause death.
While preventative measures generally keep bunny comfortable, sometimes a danger-situation still arises. If you notice that bunny is panting, drooling or listless—immediate action is needed. Dampen ears with a mister or washcloth, put him next to a bottle of ice, and take him to the vet, ASAP. Extreme heat can cause the brain to swell (among other things) and bunny could very well die a very painful death.
SPRINGTIME RAINS BRING SUMMERTIME FLEAS
Controlling fleas is basically a matter of care and observation. Groom your rabbit frequently. Brushing his coat will not only remove loose hair and dirt, it will give you a chance to examine bunny for signs of fleas: black grainy material (dried blood) and actual fleas are your main clues. (See The Well Groomed Rabbit)
REVOLUTION(tm) can be safely used on your rabbit on a monthly basis. Consult a rabbit vet for more information on this product. Ivermectin is also safely used to treat mites.
DO NOT USE THE FOLLOWING PRODUCTS:
- Flea dips,
- lyme dips,
- flea powders,
- rug powders,
- store-bought flea drops, and
- flea bombs for your house.
DO NOT USE FRONTLINE!